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Interview

Interview with Sara B. Larson, YA Author of DEFY

Sara56Hi Everyone!!

I’m so EXCITED for many reasons. First, I have this snazzy new website thanks to the incredibly patient and awesome Andrew Heacock (quikchaos on twitter)! I couldn’t have asked for a better web dude than Drew. He was a delight ;o)

I’m ALSO excited because we have a guest today!! The amazing and sweet author of DEFY Sara B. Larson! This was a fun interview, you guys. I’ve always adored Sara since we connected about a year ago. She’s one of the kindest people I’ve met in the writing world. So I’m seriously honored for hers to be the first post on my new website! Sara’s book, DEFY is everything I’ve been looking for in a YA fantasy, and I just know readers are going to love it!  It’s definitely become one of my favorite YA fantasies! So, let’s get to it, shall we?

Welcome to the mosh pit, Sara! We’re a good group of rock stars, so grab a drink, relax and enjoy!

*grabs a Shirley Temple* (Yes, I really am a fourteen-year-old in disguise.) Thanks for having me!

 

1. Okay, first. We have to talk about Alexa. LOVE HER. She’s brave and strong and someone I want on my side. Where did you get the inspiration for her character from? Other characters? Real life people?

Alexa is a very complex, fascinating character, and I absolutely loved writing her story. She is a very tough, strong, and determined young woman. But she also has this vulnerable side that she tries to hide—a softness, deep down inside that’s trying to work its way out, that reminds you she’s still a teenage girl. She’s incredibly talented at fighting—and she’s worked extremely hard to reach that level of skill. Alexa has dealt with some horrible losses and situations in her life, but she’s always done what she had to do to protect herself and keep moving forward. Alexa came to me exactly how she is; I didn’t have to think up her character. Sometimes I do draw on people in my life to help shape characters, but not too often.

 

Defy_AM_Rev2. On the same note, what inspired you to write the story of DEFY?

DEFY came from a very difficult period in my life, when I lost someone I loved. I was so upset by his death that I couldn’t write anything, but a friend of mine told me to stop trying to write a book and just write what I was feeling. So that’s exactly what I did. I sat down and wrote a scene, not intending for it to go anywhere…but then I got curious about the characters. This whole fascinating world unraveled itself and I realized Alexa had a very intriguing, difficult, but ultimately amazing story that needed to be told. I threw myself into that writing and from there the story took on its own life. It became a story of survival and moving forward, a story of what true courage and strength is, and a story about the many different kinds of love, and hope (even in the most desperate of situations) and risking everything for the chance of a better future.

 

3. What draws you to writing fantasy? Have you written any other genre before?

Oh man, I guess the easiest answer is because I just love magic and making the impossible seem possible. I love escaping our actual world and immersing myself in something completely different and new, but with enough similarities to still feel familiar. Plus I love being able to make up my own rules. I get so stressed about getting every little detail and fact right when I write anything set in our world/society. (Which I have also done.) I have written other genres, and I probably will in the future. But most of the time, I usually end up having some sort of magic or fantastical element in my stories.

 

4. What did you do first when you learned your book was going to be published?

I cried. No, literally. When my agent called and told me “Guess what? You’re going to be a published author!” All I could say was, “I am?” and then commenced trying very hard to not break down into sobs. They were tears of happiness, tears of relief, and tears of disbelief. It was such a long road to get to that moment, and it’s been my lifelong dream, and I almost couldn’t believe it had really happened. Eventually I did stop crying and started jumping up and down and screaming in joy. Then the celebrating commenced!

 

5. How many drafts of DEFY did you write? Was this a story that came easily to you?

When I first started writing Defy, I hit a sort of block about 8k words in and put it aside for quite a while. But the characters wouldn’t leave me alone and when I came back to it, I realized one of them was keeping a VERY big secret from me. As soon as I figured out that one integral secret, the book took a totally different direction —in a totally awesome way. The rest of the plot clicked into place after that and I finished the first draft two weeks later. I revised it for two months, and got my first agent offer two days after I started querying (twelve hours after I sent that particular agent my query). It was an amazing whirlwind that I still can’t quite believe happened after everything else I’ve been through to get here!

 

6. What do you hope readers will get out of DEFY?

I hope that they will come to love these characters as I do, with all of their strengths and flaws. I hope that as they learn about all of the struggles and tragedies that many of them have endured or deal with in the book, and that they will be able to see their strength and courage and be inspired by them.  I think that ultimately, DEFY is a story about hope, about never giving up no matter how bad things seem. And it’s a story about love, in all its many forms, and the power for good it can have.


Okay, now the fun ones!
 (Haha, I’m actually the worst at these because I am SO indecisive. Just ask my husband!)

Favorite movie(s) – See? I’m already struggling. How to pick? I love so many and they’re all so different. Growing up I’d say THE PRINCESS BRIDE and WILD HEARTS CAN’T BE BROKEN were my faves. Now some of my faves are the extended versions of LOTR, THE ULTIMATE GIFT, I know it might be clichéd but I really loved THE NOTEBOOK and recently I really loved AUSTENLAND and CATCHING FIRE. And THOR. Who doesn’t love Chris Hemsworth? And Loki, of course. Man, I could keep going so I better just stop.

Favorite book(s) and why – This list is so huge, I don’t even know where to start. But I think if I HAD to pick just one book (or series) that I could read for the rest of my life, it would be Harry Potter.

Favorite line you wrote – Hmmm, that might be too spoilery. But here’s a snippet that I love that I think is okay: “True beauty is what lies inside of us, not what the world sees. A beautiful shell that houses a vile soul becomes sullied over time. But an outer shell, imperfect as it may be, that houses a beautiful soul shines with that beauty, radiating it for all who have eyes to see.”

Favorite hot beverage (since it’s winter and all) – Hot chocolate, hands down. I LOVE hot chocolate with whipped cream. (And ironically my kids are watching The Polar Express right now and Tom Hanks is singing about hot chocolate as I type this!)

Thanks so much for visiting! Thank you so much for having me! This was fun!

You can pre-order DEFY on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and you can add it to goodreads, too!

You’re probably asking, where can I find Sara if I want to gush about her book? Well, here are the links to all her hot spots! blog, twitter and facebook.

Until next time.

Rock on,
Er

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Interview with author, Melanie Hooyenga!

Hey Everyone!!
I hope you’re all doing well and having a good week! We have a special guest today. My friend Melanie Hooyenga! Melanie and I met online years ago. In fact, her blog was one of the first I ever followed! And now we know we’re real life friends. She’s awesome as is her book, FLICKER.
So, instead of me rambling on about it and her, I’m going to let her tell you ;o)
Here we go!!!



Welcome to the mosh pit. Tell me about yourself in 140 characters ;o)

A variation of my Twitter bio is: YA-writing, graphic-designing, home-renovating, Schnauzer-owning, sarcastic liberal who designs book covers and is getting married in April. 

What is FLICKER about? Do you have plans for a series?

FLICKER is the first in a trilogy, and I’m currently working on Book 2, FRACTURE. The series follows Biz, a seventeen-year old who uses sunlight to flicker—or jump backwards—to yesterday. At first she uses her ability the way any teenager would: she cheats on tests, relives memorable dates, and fixes fights with her friends, but little girls start disappearing in her town and she realizes she can help people besides herself. And there’s a hot guy.


Me: Oh, well. A hot guy? I’m in. Ha. Trust me, there’s more than just a hot guy!

What was it that first appealed to you about writing?

I’ve written for as long as I can remember. I’ve always loved telling stories and there’s something about watching another person’s face while they read something from your head that’s addicting. Now if only I could figure out a way to SEE all my readers…

Where’s your favorite place to write?



Preferably someplace quiet with minimal distractions. Like a lot of writers I know, I suffer from the “ooh shiny” syndrome and a productive writing session can quickly turn into Facebook chats or good old people watching if I’m not careful. 

Me: What? Pssh. Come on, no writer does that? Ha. Okay. I’m guilty. 

What is our favorite part of the writing process? 



Editing. 

Ha! I’m kidding. Discovering the story that my characters want to tell. As you (Erica) know, I’m unable to write a story unless I have an idea where it will end, but while I may have an outline, I rarely know the details in the middle. That’s the fun for me.


Me: I know. I have no idea how you do that. But it’s kind of awesome.

What’s more important to you – a good voice or a good plot?

 


A good voice. I know everyone’s different but if I can get lost in a character, then I’m sold on pretty much any plot. My goal in writing is to make people believe my characters, and I think that comes with a strong voice.

Me: Word.

What do you wish you knew before publishing/querying that you know now? Any tips to our aspiring authors?

 


I queried FLICKER for a year and a half (with a few breaks during that time) before ultimately deciding to self-publish. Three years ago I swore up and down that I would never go this route, but I realized that my main goal is for people to read my stories, and now that’s happening.

 My advice to aspiring authors is to make sure you’re in this because you love writing. I know everyone says that, but publishing is an excruciatingly slow business and if you don’t enjoy all that time spent alone — I mean writing — this may not be the right thing for you.

What’s your favorite thing to do that no one knows you do. (Guilty Pleasure?) 




I spend way too much time playing Bejeweled Blitz on my phone. I have a lot of things going on (this year alone I bought a house, got engaged, and published a book, plus I design book covers on the side of my full-time job) and it’s a great way to block out all the thoughts buzzing around in my head. We recently got an alarm clock that has a dock for my phone so now I can bring the little jewels to bed with me. Which may not be a good thing.

Favorite book and movie and why.

I have a really hard time picking a favorite book because I never reread them and I read a lot of different genres. I recently read DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth and admire the way she created a dystopian world that’s different from all the other books out there. It’s a full market and I think Roth really set herself apart from the others. Stephanie Perkins’ ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS and LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR are other favorites of mine. 

Moulin Rouge is one of my favorite movies. I love the story, the actors, the directing, and especially the singing. I’m incapable of watching it without singing along at the top of my lungs. (That might be another guilty pleasure.)


AND Ewan McGregor is in it ;o)

FLICKER is available ebook only at Barnes & Noble, or both print and ebook on Amazon! I’ve read it and it’s awesome!!

Anything to add?

I’m really excited to hear from readers and hear what they think of FLICKER. People can email me at melaniehooyenga@gmail.com, find me on Twitter (@MelanieHoo), my website (melaniehoo.com), and of course on Facebook (facebook.com/MelanieHooyenga). 


Thanks for stopping by Mel! This was fun ;o)

Have a great weekend, everyone!!

~Er

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An Author’s Tale


Hello there!
I hope everyone is having a fab weekend ;o) I’m hangin’ with my sis, so it’s a great one for me ;o) Aww. I know. Corny. But she’s been in Japan all summer!
We’ve got a super-awesome-delicious-treat for you today!
Please join me in welcoming author, Adam Slade to the rocker’s mosh pit today! Adam is one of the coolest writers on the blog block and he has taken some time to answer some of my questions ;o)
Love his book. Love him. Let’s see what he has to say, shall we?

1. Tell us about yourself in 140 characters ;o) Like a tweet!

It all began way back in 1983, when my mother gave birth to me in a hospital near the conurbation of Manchester. It took some time for me t–“

Bah, I ran out. Lemme try that again… “I’m a sarcastic writer and gamer geek, with a penchant for music, reading and wearing hats while I edit.”

2. You have some fascinating characters in your book, A REAPER’S TALE, how do you come up with them? Are they like you? Someone you know? We want the deets!

Most of the time I sit down and think, “What kind of character do I want? Serious, silly, kickass, wimpy?” and then start to mold the new character out of brainmatter and double-sided tape. Occasionally, I’ll consciously make a character that’s an amalgam of other characters from books, TV and other mediums, but most are the brain ‘n tape thing. I try to avoid consciously using friends and family, but sometimes they inspire dialogue.

3. You have an awesome blog, “Editing Hat.” How long have you been blogging? Have you learned anything in particular?

Thanks! I’ve been blogging for a few years now, and what I’ve learned could probably be written on the back of a matchbox. Still, let’s have a go…
A – Keep the topics light and short!
B – Be active in your comments section on every post.
C – Be nice and approachable!
D- Don’t preach. No one cares.

See? Matchbox.

4. Can you show us a sentence from your very first WIP? Do you still have it?

I’m actually working on editing and rewriting my first WIP as we speak. I overwrote the first draft with the second (I’m now on the third), but I have a print out somewhere… Lemme find…
*Scrabbles about* Aha! Here’s the very first line:

“Garett picked himself up off the floor and knocked the dust off his clothing.”
(The line is now much revised, and is now the second scene instead of the first.)

Okay, now we get serious…
Oh noes!

4. What do you have in your living room? (What’s in a living room tells us a lot about someone…)

A coffee table, a TV, an oversized plaster mantlepiece (with small fire), two sofas, one mismatched chair, two dog beds and two dogs, one daft, one dopey. 😉 LOL (me too)

5. What did you wanna be when you grew up?

An archaeologist. Or a geologist. I wasn’t fussed as to which.

6. Scary Movie or Romantic Comedy and why.

I dislike both, but I’ll go with the romcom, as I love any media that can make me laugh, and I REALLY dislike horror. *shudder*

7. Favorite book, movie, dessert

Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett (hilarious), Payback (Mel Gibson), aaaaaaand… Cake (any)!

Mmm cake.

8. If you met your idol what would you say?

A. What the? You look different in person
B. Bloody Hell, I thought you were dead. Am I dead?
C. I love you, I love you, I love you.
D. ‘ello, I’m Adam and you are awesome.
E. Other (Erica doesn’t know me as well as she thinks she does, Ha)

Probably D, though if they were dead, it’d be B. 😉

9. What’s your next book about? A sequel to A REAPER’S TALE?

I have two drafts that need editing and subbing. One is indeed the sequel to A Reaper’s Tale (longer, better, dafter), and the other is my first ever WIP. It’s a dark fantasy currently titled Solus.

Cool title!

10. What’s an ideal date for you? No not the number…. LOL

Bah, you stole my joke!

An ideal date would be a night curled up on the sofa with my fiancee, just chatting and cuddling. Dull, I know, but it’s what I want, durn it!

Not dull at all! Aww. You guys have such a great love story!

11. Any pearls of wisdom to bestow?

“Never sit down with a light bulb in your back pocket.” Unless you meant writing related, in which case, “Never sit down to write with a light bulb in your back pocket.”

Hit him up at the following:

http://www.editinghat.blogspot.com/

http://adamslade.moonfruit.com/

Lyrical Press, A Reaper’s Tale

Find him on Twitter @adamslade

Thanks so much, Adam! I’m reading A REAPER’S TALE right now, and I love it. It’s a funny, quick-witted, excellent read!

Have a great weekend everyone ;o)

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Over The Hill To Regan’s Blog I Go!

Hi Everyone,
I hope you are enjoying your day!

Just wanted to pop in to tell you about an interview Regan from Regan Leigh.com did all about lil ole me. Can you believe I’m that lucky! She’s one of the coolest, sweetest peeps I’ve met in my writing adventures ;o) She has a fantastic series on writer love over there, check out her interview with Madeleine, too!

Look for an interview here with Author, Adam Slade, coming on August 21st! You can check out his awesome blog Here!

Enjoy the rest of your week!

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Interview With The Fabulous Brooklyn Ann!!


Hi Everyone!

I have a special treat for you today ;o) I had the pleasure of interviewing my friend and fab author, Brooklyn Ann. She blogs, she tweets, she’s awesome. Cop a squat and let’s find out more about her!

So tell us a little about yourself.

Let’s see…Back in my goth days I was an artist, with secret dreams of being a rock star. I wrote stories, but didn’t think anything of it. I wrote my first novel and the beginning of my second during my 5 year stint as a caregiver for developmentally disabled adults. I half-heartedly queried the 1st one, but was interrupted by marriage, motherhood, then divorce. Then I met my husband and went to college for a degree in automotive. I worked as a mechanic for a couple years, but it always came back to writing.

Wow. You’ve had an exciting life! How cool, you were a mechanic!

What’s unique about your journey?

The majority of the journey took place in wake of tragedy. I lost my mother and my career in a 5 month period. The loss of my mother taught me that life was not forever and I didn’t want to waste it being miserable. So, when I inherited a small sum, I took a gamble. I used the money to take a year off and really get serious about pursuing a writing career. In the last year and a half, I purchased a laptop, learned how use the Internet, researched the industry, built up my platform, made lots of friends and connections, wrote 2 1/2 novels and landed an agent.

You have a great attitude in the midst of a tragedy. Looks like the gamble paid off!

So, you’ve recently acquired an agent… er two, the awesome Jonathon Clements and the fabulous Cari Hawks Foulk from Tribe Lit/Wheelhouse.*squeee* Congrats!! Tell us the journey to finally sealing the deal? Details… we want details!

I made friends with Cari on twitter back when she was an editor. And when Tribe lit came into being last January, I kept up with her progress, even though at first I didn’t think they represented romance. I was also already twitterfriends with most of their authors. I was querying my 2nd novel, but I learned quickly that it had a lot of issues and put it on hold to write a historical paranormal that was floating in my head. After a couple months into querying that one, (much more successfully, I must add) I learned that Tribe did indeed rep romance, so I sent a query. I got the full request while I was on my honeymoon. A little over a month later, Cari and Jonathon offered representation. My full query stats are here: http://brooklynann.blogspot.com

Awesome! Gotta love that Twitter.

Any special talents? Keep it “PG” Miss Brooklyn… ;o)

LOL Well, I’m an excellent cook and a semi-professional dart player. I have a partial photographic memory, and I’m a Karaoke star. I can’t sing very well, but I put on a good show and I have fans.

Oh. I’m totally flying out there to see that.

What do you do for fun?

I love to read. Seriously, it’s an addiction. I also enjoy hunting, fishing and painting. I’m also a movie buff. My favorites are 80’s B horror movies. I dig the cheesiness and the impressive latex gore.

I love 80’s movies! They crack me up.

Name one literary character you wish you were in a past life.

Elizabeth Hardwick, from Virginia Henley’s A WOMAN OF PASSION. Elizabeth was a poor farmer’s daughter who became the richest woman in England and amassed an empire. She was actually based on a real historical figure, but in the novel she gets a happier ending. She is the ancestor to the infamous Duke of Devonshire. She had a thing for older men, just like me 🙂

She sounds fantastic. I could totally see you as her.

Which would you say is more valuable to you, social media wise? Facebook, Twitter or Blogging?

Twitter, all the way. It’s brief and casual and so much easier to make connections. Almost all of my connections, including my awesome beta readers and my agent came from twitter.

Yay Twitter! If you guys are not on twitter, get on there. Seriously!

Favorite book, movie, song?

My favorite book is IT by Stephen King. I’ve read IT 9 times and will likely read it 9 more. My favorite movie…that’s tough. I think it’s a tie between Natural Born Killers, Revenge of the Nerds, Kill Bill, Spaceballs, Nightmare on Elm Street and Subspecies. My favorite song(s) are anything by Megadeth, NIN, Tori Amos, and Metal Church.

OMG. IT scared me. I hate clowns. I love Spaceballs though ;o) Nice list.

What would you do if you weren’t writing?

Since it’s a little late to pursue the rock star dream, I’d probably paint.

Um. It’s never too late. Get that voice warmed up. We’re going on the road!

Anything you want to add? Pearls of wisdom?

Pursuing your dreams is hard work, but worth it.

Absolutely!

Thanks Brooklyn ;o) Check out her uber informative, entertaining blog Supernatural Smut.

Hope everyone has a lovely week! Until next time…

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