First a picture of my favorite ornament this year!
(Read to the end of the interview to enter the giveawayS!)
Where do you get your character names? Do they come natural or does it require a lot of thought? (Dana Mason)
I LOVE dreaming up character names. They are such an important part of the story and can have so much symbolism attached to them. For the Shadow Series the names of my characters came from a 2nd/3rd grade class where I was a volunteer. I taught kids how to read and it was so rewarding. The teacher was fabulous too. And so a lot of the names of the characters in 13 on Halloween and Shadow Slayer were inspired by the kids I got to know through my volunteer work. Roxie just introduced herself to me. I’ve never known a Roxanne. But, I really like that she has an X in her name. I think that’s cool:) Drew was originally called Andy in Shadow Slayer, but I didn’t like that name as much as Drew, so I switched it. Sometimes I write an entire story and switch out a name that doesn’t work for me any more after I’ve written and revised and put the polish on a story. Most of the times characters just come to me and their names are a part of them, so it doesn’t require very much thought. Great question Dana! Thanks for asking it and for joining the tour.
Do you do a lot of research before starting a book? (Giedre)
I do a certain amount of research for all my books. But some way more than others. For Winnemucca, a small-town fairy tale, I delighted in the research of mariachi music. Mariachi music is folk music and so there really isn’t a lot written about its history, especially about female mariachis. But I was very lucky to find the history of Lydia Mendoza and so I based Esperanza’s character on the life of Lydia Mendoza. If you want to read a little bit about Lydia Mendoza click here.
For Transfer Student I did quite a lot of research about aliens. And extraterrestrials. What one might look like. There’s so much literature out there about about UFOs and I found one book in particular extremely helpful when I came up with the way Rethans appear and their world. I wanted to research a plausible parallel planet to earth and found this research fascinating. So I dove into the books and literally found it so fascinating, I almost didn’t write the book 🙂
For 13 on Halloween & Shadow Slayer I did a lot of research about luck and superstition and animal spirits. I also researched The Tempest.
In my current WIP, a WWII tale based on the real life survival of my family in Indonesia, I’m doing quite a bit of interviewing and reading historical documents, verifying prison camps and hellships. It’s all very fascinating.
So…as you can tell I LOVE research. And I love it so much that I might never write. This is the dilemma. How much time should a writer spend on research? Well, thankfully Dana Jo Napoli, a great YA writer, came to my rescue and gave me some great advice. She said first to give yourself a set timeframe in which to do your research and stick to it. You can’t research forever. (Wise woman, huh?) And second, you will always find information that conflicts. If you have two different bits of research to choose from when writing your story always pick the one that will let you write a better story, a more dramatic story. I tell you what, I think that advice is fabulous. It’s saved me from researching books and never writing them. Thank you Dana Jo Napoli!
Do you have a favourite SF series or movie that inspired you to write Transfer Student? (Jen Minkman)
Well, yes. Every series I ever watched from Star Trek to Lost in Space to The Jetsons to My Favorite Martian. I’ve always been drawn to the portrayal of aliens, perhaps because there isn’t a greater “outsider” than an alien. And I think aliens are a metaphor for growing up. We often feel like aliens in our own lives/bodies while we are just growing into them. We don’t recognize ourselves sometimes. And so, I love exploring the very literal instance of what people/societies would do when they are confronted by a person/species they don’t understand.
If you any free time … what do you do on said free time? What’s one thing you do to unwind? What’s one of your favorite guilty pleasures? (Veronica Huerta)
I love to play the piano. I haven’t played in years and am just back at it. I took lessons for eight years from the nuns at a local convent in Chicago. I think Sister Mary Carl and Sister Miriam Rose are looking down on me and smiling, even as I hit some wrong notes 🙂 I love to cook/bake and I love to garden. I love to hike and ski too 🙂 My favorite guilty pleasure is to go to movies and see a double feature and eat lots and lots of popcorn!
Who would you cast to play the lead in Winnemucca, a small town fairytale? (Suzy Turner)
I cast Emma Stone as Ginny. I love Emma and think she’d be fabulous. Anyhoo….here’s the rest of my Dream Cast: http://laurasmagicday.wordpress.com/winnemucca-trailer/ if you want to see who’s who in Winnemucca.
How did the story of Shadow Slayer. come to you? (Tara)
Great question. The story of Shadow Slayer evolved over a period of time. Originally the series was going to be the Teen Halloween Series, but I didn’t really think that title described what was happening in the series. So, I changed the name of the series to reflect the real drama of the books, the shadows. As I dove deeper into what a shadow really is, I came up with the plot of Shadow Slayer. I think it is fascinating to explore who we become and why. And the idea of “another us” out there wanting “in” on our lives. The constant struggle we all have between good vs. bad, our wants vs. our needs, our desires vs. our reality. These are all things I hope to explore in the series.
I hear that there’s four books in this series.. any idea if you plan to continue on with this series or any spin offs in the works? (Veronica Huerta)
There are four books in the series. Moon Killers, is book 3 and will be out in early 2013. Last Life is book 4 and is due out this summer. I wouldn’t rule out a spin-off, although I haven’t got that mapped out yet. Thanks for the suggestion! *grabs notebook and scribbles down ideas* 🙂
Thanks for all your wonderful questions! I had a fun time answering them 🙂
Where will the tour be next? Click here for the schedule.
Enter the giveaway! What’s up for grabs? 4 ebook copies of Shadow Slayer!
Just tweet this post to enter to win! (tweet button is below) Easy. Peasy. Good luck 🙂 Winners will be announced on Monday 12/17!
CONGRATS TO MEAGAN YESTERDAY’S WINNER
OF AN EBOOK COPY OF WINNEMUCCA, A SMALL-TOWN FAIRY TALE!
Click here to enter the tour giveaway today! The prizes include: 2 – $10 Amazon Gift Certificates 2 – paperback signed series copies of 13 on Halloween & Shadow Slayer 5 – ebook copies of Midnight Surrender, a paranormal romance anthology that includes a lost excerpt of Shadow Slayer.