Monday, November 5, 2012

Blog Chain

One of my favorite authors is Amber Argyle, the very talented writer of Witch Song and Witch Born. She has lots of great things going for her, and she's right here in Utah, to boot. I found her on Facebook, and it turns out she's really down to Earth and friendly, too. So when she posted an opportunity for friends to join in on a blog chain, I jumped right in. Here is a link to her blog entry about it.

Basically, it works like those chain letters we used to exchange in Jr. High. Apparently, everyone has a different version of this, but in my school, it was a letter that you had to copy 10 times, and give to 10 people, or you'd have bad luck for 7 years, or some nonsense. This chain, however, is without lame ultimatums. Amber got the request from another writer, and when that writer answered the questions on her own blog, she included a link to Amber's page. Then Amber, answered the questions on her blog, and added links to some other writers' (mine included) blogs, and we are all supposed to do the same. And so on...

What I really like is that it gets me talking about my book. Not the process of writing it, or how soon it will be published - business-like details, if you ask me - but my actual characters and story. I also like that it connects me to these other amazing writers, and that we can help each other spread word of mouth about our stories.

So, let's get to it. This is the interview with my own answers about my book.


What is the working title of your book? 
Underground Rose

Where did the idea come from for the book? 
I knew who my main character and her best friend were before I knew anything else. I knew the first crazy thing that would happen to them, which is the catalyst for the rest of the story, but I had no idea what would happen after that. So, I started writing. I made it through 3 chapters, and realized I still hadn't figured out what would come next. 

I put a lot of thought into it, and one night, as my head hit the pillow, it was like the answer was inserted into my head - a thought that was not my own. "Underground Railroad," it said. Those two words gave me the rest of my plot.

What genre does your book fall under? 
YA Urban Fantasy, which just means that it's set in the world we live in now, and I didn't create a different world for my story. I'm still not positive I love that label. It's more like YA Rural Fantasy, since more than half of the book is spent in cabins in the mountains, riding horses, or tending to farms.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? 
I thought hard about this, and even did some research, and I just couldn't come up with anyone. Rose is a 14 year old girl, with wild, flaming red hair and flawless freckled skin, who is a tomboy, but is very beautiful and doesn't realize it. I have a picture on my Pinterest of how I picture her ... sort of ... but I couldn't find the name of the girl in the picture.  I didn't even get to the part of looking for Amber or Megan.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? 
Running from witch hunters was never in the plan for fourteen-year-old Rose Wilson, but when her best friend is mortally wounded, Rose discovers she has an ability to heal and is thrust into a world of magic and war, sending her on a dramatic journey to a safe haven on the sea.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? 
That is the question isn't it? I would sure love to have my book published traditionally. I intend to seek publishing with one specific label, but if that is not successful, I will seek out representation by an agent.

I think self publishing is a viable way to sell books, and some of my favorite books were published that way, I'm just hoping for more help with the business end of it, which you can get more easily through a traditional publisher.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? 
Two years. I know, that's crazy long. I was learning as I went, and editing all the time, but this is how long it took for me to write an actual ending to the book. Then, I tore it apart and rewrote it, so I don't even know if I should count it as 2 or 3. It's been 4 now, and I'm really, really, really sure it's done. Until an editor tells me to fix it, that is.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? 
I have a hard time comparing it to anything, to be honest. I can tell you that, as a kid, I was inspired to write by Lois Duncan, and I've passed my love of her books on to my kids. I do think Underground Rose is something like her work, only 20 or 25 years newer. I also think the style has similar elements to the YA books from Maria V. Snyder, or Lisa Mangum.

Who or What inspired you to write this book? 
When I first started writing my book, I spent a lot of time researching authors. I wanted to know their history, their story, specifically how they got into writing. Ultimately, I found that most authors were doing some other career or job before writing finally became their career. That process inspired me the most, and I researched dozens of authors.

I was inspired the most by 2 writers. First there was Brandon Mull, who wrote Fablehaven. He lives in Utah (I am big on supporting local authors) and he spoke at my kids' school. I decided I wanted to find out more about him, so I dug around on the internet, and I found out that Fablehaven was actually his second novel. The publisher who did Fablehaven told him the first one wasn't quite there, but if he wrote another book, they'd look at it. So he wrote Fablehaven, which spawned a phenomenal series of five books, and in the end, it landed on the New York Times Best Seller list. Pretty amazing for a guy who had a completely different job before that.

The next is pretty cliche, so please don't flog me. But I'm from Utah, and Twilight was big here. Stephenie Meyer got her education here, and it was pretty sensational that she was having such huge success. Her books really took off about the time I started writing mine, so she was on my mind. I read her story, and found out that Twilight was inspired by a dream. She wrote from the middle of the book to the end, and then from the beginning to the middle. And she did the whole thing in like six months. She was offered an enormous advance on her book, and the rest is history. She went from stay at home mom to household name in a matter of months. Although she went to school for it, she never really planned to write, she just couldn't get that dream out of her head. 

Before they were famous authors, they were regular people. I decided if they could do it, maybe I could too. 

I still check out the author before I ever read a book. I'm just as curious about the people who write the stories as I am about the stories themselves.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Rose really grapples with her decisions about her powers. She doesn't want them, because they make her different, and she just wants her life back. She wants to be normal. It takes saving a second person from serious harm for Rose to finally begin to accept her healing power as a part of herself. I think we all have something about ourselves that we feel this way about, and it's important to recognize that we are all unique, and our uniqueness is what makes us valuable and interesting.


The next person in my chain is the fantastic Deborah Bryan, who has written a number of things, but the two on my Kindle (so far) are The Monster's Daughter, and Memos From Your Closet Monster. You should definitely check her out. I think you will enjoy her wit and depth. See her blog here.