Interview with Elisa Freilich, Author of “Silent Echo”

Elisa Freilich is the author of the spellbinding novel Silent Echo.  Here is some of what she has to say on reading, writing, and the inspiration behind the book!

 

1) Silent Echo revolves around the sirens of Greek mythology and a world of music. What was your inspiration in outlining the plot?

I have always been a person fascinated by words, language and lyrics. If you think about it, words are our most powerful weapon. I wanted to write a unique story that would center around the beauty and power of words and writing about a Siren just seemed like a great way to do that. When I wrote the first iteration of Silent Echo, I would put in other people’s songs to move the musical scenes forward. When I realized what the copyright issues would be with that, I was both disappointed but also inspired. I now had the chance to write my own music, my own lyrics to all the music in my head. It was a very liberating experience.

 

2) Throughout most of the novel, Portia is incapable of speech. Was it difficult to describe character interactions without using standard dialogue?

 

That is actually one of the things readers love about Silent Echo – the different modes of communication. It wasn’t really difficult for me to write the scenes that way because, ahem, kids today actually don’t do all that much straight-up talking with the advent of the cell phone, wi-fi etc. I learned from observing my own children but then also delved into the world of the hearing and speech impaired. I love that Portia and Felix can sign to each other and the majority of their peers don’t know what they are saying! It’s like they have their own language. Actually, those two really do have their own language…

 

3) Silent Echo contains a lot of lyrical verse. Were there challenges in writing verse that correlated to the story line?

As I mentioned earlier, writing the lyrics was actually my favorite part of creating Silent Echo. I was delighted to be able to tap into all the wordplay that is constantly swimming around my head. I love music largely for its ability to put a person in a certain mood and I was challenged to do this to the absence of sound in Silent Echo. But the musical scenes really just came spilling out of me and now that I am editing SE’s sequel, Griffin’s Call, I am so excited to expand on the lyrical repertoire of the Silent Echo story.

 

4) Do you have any past experiences in music or mythology? How much research was involved in writing Silent Echo?

I have always loved mythology! When I decided that I would write about a Siren, I re-read The Odyssey and literally could not put it down! (The last time I had read it was in Ninth grade and I barely remembered anything so it was extremely compelling.) That was basically enough to get me moving on the mythology part of silent Echo, as much of the storyline was extracted from my own imagination and then layered atop Homer’s epic poem. As far as the music, I am one of those people that hears a song once or twice and somehow automatically remembers the lyrics. I also like so many different types of music, from pop to jazz, so I drew on all of that to write this “musical” story.

 

5) What encouraged you to become an author?

I love connecting with teens. And, ahem, even though I am nowhere near teen-hood anymore, I still think of myself as one of the gang. I am determined to stay connected to my kids’ world in a way that they can relate to (sorry to end on a preposition there ;)). When I was writing Silent Echo, I kept saying to myself, “Elisa — write a book that Abigail and her friends would want to read.” Abigail is my oldest daughter (and, incidentally my cover model for Silent Echo) and her friends do love Portia Griffin’s world. I do think that one day I will go beyond Young Adult, however. The back burner in my head is constantly simmering with new stories and eventually one will pour out in a voice that is meant to connect with an older audience.

 

6) Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Know that the world of books can never be exhausted! When I was writing SE, I got my fair share of rejections until I became agented and then published. There were times I felt like giving up and I would say things like “well maybe the world doesn’t need another story”. But that’s the thing — there can never be a surplus of great storytelling. My husband once said to me, “just because the kids read the Twilight series doesn’t mean they won’t read your series too! It’s not like buying shoes or pocketbooks where eventually your budget or closet space is going to put the kibosh on you.” And now I have come to learn that readers are readers. They embrace all new stories and there is always room for one more — especially if you’ve poured your heart and soul into it!

 

7) What are some of your favorite books/authors?

I grew up on Pat Conroy and Margaret Atwood. The Prince of Tides and Cat’s Eye were the kinds of books that shaped my adolescence and my love of reading. As far as current authors, I am a big fan of John Green, Meg Wolitzer and Lisa Genova. As an adult, I can say that one of my favorite reads continues to be Garth Stein’s, The Art of Racing in the Rain. It is a tender story that gets me every time…

 

Thank you Elisa!

 

 

Happy Reading!

Kayla

 

Find Silent Echo :

 

Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Silent-Echo-Elisa-Freilich/dp/1626811342/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1422911525&sr=8-1&keywords=silent+echo&pebp=1422911539252&peasin=1626811342

 

Barnes and Noble

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/silent-echo-elisa-freilich/1116862760?ean=9781626811348

Interview with Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki, Authors of “Branded”

Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki are the authors of the booming new novel, Branded. Here is what they have to say on reading, team writing, and books in general.

1) What inspired you to become an author?   

It was actually a joke at first. We used to meet up once a month and talk about books that we had read. At that time, we were on a dystopian kick and with every book, there was always something that bothered us. Or something we would have done differently. So joking around I said to Missy, the only way we would be 100% happy with a book, was if we wrote one ourselves. And honestly it still feels weird to the both of us to call ourselves authors.

2) Where did you first get the idea for “Branded”? How did you decide to incorporate the seven deadly sins?

I (Abi) came up with the premise over a month or so of different thoughts. I was running and listening to music and just letting my brain wonder. It was like taking pieces here and there and stirring it in a pot. I thought about the Scarlet Letter and how she was humiliated publicly, just by the “A” she has to wear around her neck. I remember thinking about how awful prison would be without and guards. I was trying to come up with another way to humiliate humans that would be visible to the human race. That’s when I thought about the 7 deadly sins, I googled the deadly sins and colors. And sure enough, they existed. I decided to call the jail without walls “the Hole”. After these few ideas, I wrote the first chapter and sent it to Missy. I was so nervous and I was shocked that she loved it. After that we worked together and correlated the rest of Branded. It started with a few ideas and blew up from there.

3) What are the benefits to team-writing? Are there any drawbacks?

No, we don’t have any drawbacks at all. The most popular question people ask us? What’s it like to write together. And here’s our answer. It’s incredible. We each have ideas, and are comfortable allowing the other person to write them. We never get bored because if one of us has a writer’s block, the other person can pick up and keep writing. We continually sharpen each other’s skills. Sometimes, I read something Abi wrote and I’m blown away. It forces us to be better and to keep pushing the boundaries.

There are times we have to be critical of each other’s writing, but it’s not personal. And we understand that. It’s for our shared dream of being successful. We both want our books to be enjoyed. We both want readers to stay up all night and think about it after it’s finished.

I remember reading an article, early on, about how writing together with another author causes loss of friendship, backbiting, and turmoil. This simply, hasn’t been our experience. I’m very comfortable handing over a scene I’ve written to Abi and allowing her to change all the dialogue. Seeing it from another perspective, helps me gain insight into how my writing might look to another person’s eyes. And sometimes, Abi sends me something she’s written and I change sections of it. It’s all part of the process. We trust each other when it comes to adding and editing things. In the end, our styles mesh. And more importantly, we mesh.

4) You just recently became officially published. How does it feel to have your work recognized by an agent?

Unreal. We still can’t believe this happened to us. Neither of us were authors before we wrote Branded. We are still in complete shock. We will break down when we walk into a book store and see Branded on the shelf. All we can say is believe in yourself and keep fighting. If we can make it, anyone can… if you work hard enough and take advice to help improve yourself and your story.

5) In what ways do you relate to Lexi Hamilton?

In so many ways, Lexi, is a mix between the both of us. We wanted her to be as real and realistic as possible. She has flaws, fears and real life struggles.

6) Do you have any advice for aspiring authors/writers?

Stick with it. Believe in it. Find a good editor. Find reputable bloggers that will give you an honest opinion & believe in your book! Ask other authors for advice when you need it. The indie community is very supportive if you just ASK. It won’t be easy, and it’s definitely a long process, but it’s worth the effort when you can say you wrote a book!!!

7) What are your favorite books and/or authors?

The Fault In Our Stars

The Hunger Games & Catching Fire

Divergent & Insurgent

Twilight, New moon and Eclipse

Continue reading

Interview with Jennifer Parr, Author of “Tortuous Shadows”

Jennifer Parr is the author of  the enthralling novel Tortuous Shadows. This is what she has to say on reading, writing, and being a independent author.

What inspired you to become an author?

Growing up, I never had the desire to write, though I’ve always been a creative person, but that all changed when I started reading the Twilight saga some four years ago. I’d finish one book and start writing my own version of its sequel in my mind. I was hooked instantly.

How did you first get the idea for Tortuous Shadows?

Trying to fall asleep, believe it or not. I was sick and it was one of those nights that sleep was too distant a thing to achieve, and I just started thinking about a set of twins and what kind of life they would have if they were the first twins ever born and what would cause a thing like that to happen. I immediately had the names Aria and Aaron and it was like I already knew everything about them. I already loved them.

In what ways do you relate to Aria Morgan?

Aria is such a shy, inverted person when she’s around people she doesn’t know, which is me to a tee. If you know me, really know me, then I can be myself, just like Aria. She knows who she is, but she keeps her true self hidden, shining only for those who really embrace her, those who love her.

What are the benefits of being an independent (indie) author? Are there any major drawbacks?

Honestly, I haven’t found many benefits of being an indie author, aside from the fact that I decide my own deadlines. My life has been hectic the last ten months or so since I moved from California, and if I had been stressed with deadlines I probably would have cracked. Then again, my second book would have been published by now, but hey, what can you do? The major drawback in my opinion is a lack of guidance. Everything I’ve done has been on my own accord, without any support from an agent, editor, publisher, anything. It’s been difficult, but I believe that one day I’ll find the agent that’s right for me.

Do you have any other series in the works in addition to the Avalon Valley books?

I do, actually. It’s a sci/fi adult series that I am very excited about. I wrote the first book The Purifier rather quickly, inspired by the freedom I found in writing with fewer restrictions (being that the Avalon Valley series is set in an older type of setting, before modern technology). It’s set in New York and the main character is a guy, and I found it very entertaining to write from the male perspective.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors/writers?

Just keep writing. If you love it, do it. It doesn’t matter how bad it is when you start out. The more you write, the more you grow. If you learn to push yourself and rethink the way you arrange words, you can discover that there is beauty hidden within you that you never thought you had.

And last but not least, what are you favorite books and/or authors?

My favorite author is Maggie Stiefvater, who brought us the beautiful and haunting Scorpio Races, a standalone novel about deadly water horses and the brave riders who back them every November for the even deadlier Scorpio Races. This novel is so near and dear to my heart, as is the author – I’d probably die if I ever met her. 🙂

 

Thanks Jennifer!

Happy Reading,

Kayla

Interview with Jaime Guerard, Author of “Awaken”

Jamie Guerard is the author of Awaken, a fantastic novel full of mystery, romance, and suspense. This is what she has to say on reading, writing, and everything literary!!

 

Hi Jaime! Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions.

Hi Kayla, I would like to first say thank you for hosting this interview! Your support means the world to me!

 

What inspired you to become an author?

Wow…how do I answer this question? I know a lot of people say they were inspired by reading or they always knew that they wanted to be an author, but for me, Awaken came to me right after I read the Twilight Series! I was drawn to the writing style and the emotion, characters and how a book can suck you into another world. It was then that I knew writing stories and creating a fictional world was something I was destined to do.

How did you first get the idea for “Awaken”?

Oh I love this question because I remember the exact day/hour it came, as if it was yesterday! It was October 14, 2008 when the entire Awaken Series (all three books) filled my head with mystery, suspense, love and a storyline that just had to be told! I’m not sure why it came. I’d been searching for my “purpose” in life and at the time I was a stay-at-home mom that didn’t do much but provide every waking day to the care of my family. But I knew there was more for me! So the next month (September 2008) I sat down at my computer and started to write!

In what ways do you relate to Bre Davis?

I think the main trait that I have (that Bre struggles with throughout the series) is faith in the unknown. What I mean by this; Bre has so many obstacles in her life that force her to trust in herself. She has to have faith that, even when the odds are stacked against her she has the strength and power to overcome anything. She has to believe everything will turn out okay even in the bad times. So many times in my life when I didn’t know what was going to happen, and it didn’t seem like things would get better, I had to believe that everything happens for a reason.

What is your writing strategy?

My writing strategy is a little different than most authors. Some authors have word counts per day that they want to achieve, others have storyboards so they can visualize how their story needs to flow and what needs to happen. For me, I write when the chapter comes to me. When I started writing Awaken I already knew the major scenes that needed to happen in the novel and the elements (between each character) that needed to take place. So from there I would work up to those big scenes and only wrote when I was inspired (which was most of the time).

What is the best part of being an independent (indie) author?

There are a lot of things to be thankful for in this industry, but if I had to choose one it would be the connections I’ve made with other indie authors! There’s no way I could’ve done this and published my novel without the help and support of my fellow authors. I love you all!

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors/writers?

My advice for aspiring authors is to sit down and get your thoughts out of your head and don’t worry about making your MS perfect.  Editing will happen later! When I first started writing Awaken I was taking a lot of time trying to edit my MS. I would spend months on one chapter and it wasn’t getting me anywhere. But one day my husband gave me some great advice and that was to just write it out and then go back and edit. I’m so glad I listened to him because Awaken probably still would’ve been unfinished.

Do you have any favorite books and/or authors that you would recommend?

Some of my favorite novels are: Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer, Divergent Series by Veronica Roth, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Colins, Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, Bitter Angel by Megan Hand, Branded by Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki (to name a few).

 

Thanks again Jaime!!!

Happy Reading,

Kayla

Up-and-Coming Author Interviews!!!!

author interviews

Over the next few weeks, I will be posting interviews from Up-and-Coming authors, including:

Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki: Branded

Jennifer Parr: Tortuous Shadows

Jamie Guerard: Awaken

Myunique C. Green: Bloodlines: Everything That Glitters

B.H. Parker: Mark Of The Corripian 

Lindsay Cummings: The Murder Complex

 

Stay Tuned, and Happy Reading!

Kayla