Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Teen Author Interview with Sophia Whittemore

The gamblers at the Red Fields call Avery Faro a Monster. I call him my cousin. I know about his secret weapon though, the thing that wins him all those fights. Avery can’t feel anything, not pain, and not love. We aren’t even that close, third cousins, really. But, somewhere along the way, we became closer than that… far too close. Now I think that he’s lost it completely. He’s jealous. He’s possessive. He’s hiding something from me. He calls me his Laurel, only his. But I know there are secrets at the Red Fields. By day, Avery is just a regular schoolboy. By night, he morphs into an underground fighter. How can I save Avery from himself? 

How do you defeat somebody who doesn’t even feel? 

Your first book, The Funnyman, was published last March, when you were only seventeen-years-old. Can you tell us a little about your writing journey? How long did it take for you to find a publisher? 

- It took me a year to find my publisher Clean Reads. My writing journey had its ups and downs. There was some frustration, some sadness, and a whole lot of motivation from myself and from those around me. To find publishers, I basically sat down and did my research into the publishing industry. I scoured blogs, vlogs, top ten lists, and writing sites. The Internet was a huge resource in publication because so much of publishing these days is related to the online market and the social media generation. It was a great experience though with an ultimate goal. 

You’ve had two more books published since your first release. What does your writing routine look like, and how are you able to write so quickly?

- I force myself to write every day. I drink coffee early in the morning and sometimes I write late into the night. I try to keep a healthy sleep schedule, but sometimes I just have to write something down and I wake up all over again. I write quickly though because I believe in every project I'm working on. And if I don't believe in it, I set it aside and look at it later with fresh eyes. 

Is being an author everything you’ve dreamt it would be? Why or why not?

- Yes and no. Yes because I'm writing and doing what I love. I'm meeting people who inspire me and people who are able to take something from my work. It isn't like a dream though because it is still real life. It's still me and I'm still the same person, but I'm also an author now too, which is a giant part of my identity. 

What advice would you give to aspiring teen authors?

- For the publishing industry, sit down and treat it like a school research project. Use writing books from local libraries. Give yourself homework and write every day. Go online and research as many resources for writing as possible such as writing forums, publishing houses, and agents if you so desire. 

From the writing perspective, find your voice. Don't get a giant thesaurus just because you feel the need to use big words. Sometimes the best writing comes naturally. The only voice in the world like yours IS YOU. Use that as an asset because you will always have something to say. 

What’s next in your writing career? Should readers expect more books from you in the future?

- I write every day so I do have a couple projects burning up my laptop. I finished / am close to finishing the final book in my Imepetus Rising series, so that's always good! I love writing about magic because there's something about imagination that calls to me. It helps you escape reality, but it also helps anchor you to who you are in the inside. We could all use a little bit of magic sometimes, and writing is mine. 
Author Bio

Sophia Whittemore is a Dartmouth student and multiracial author with an Indonesian mother and a Minnesotan father. She has had book signings at Barnes & Noble for her Impetus Rising Series, available on Amazon and other outlets, the first book published when she was only seventeen. She has been featured as a Standout in the Daily Herald and a Rad Reads author in Girls’ Life Magazine. Her love for the English language manifested itself in eighth grade when she went to the Scripps National Spelling Bee and has continued with other languages such as Spanish and Indonesian. Her prior publications include “A Clock’s Work” in a Handersen Publishing magazine, “Blind Man’s Bluff” in Parallel Ink, and winning multiple awards in the Best Midwestern Writing competition for high school writers. She currently resides in Chicago, Illinois with her family and food-loving mini schnauzer called Tiger. Drawing on inspiration from her two cultural backgrounds, Sophia lives a life playing tennis, traveling, and writing about her dual life experiences through other characters in her works or on her blog.

Connect with Sophia

post signature

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Giveaway!: Autumn-Inspired Bundle + Autographed Copy of "Purple Moon" & "Unwritten Melody"

It's my favorite time of the year! Time to light the pumpkin-scented candles, brew a pot of pumpkin-flavored coffee, and bundle up beneath a blanket by a fire and read a good book. 

To kick off the cold seasons -- and prepare for the upcoming release of my YA novel, Unwritten Melody -- I've decided to offer an autumn-inspired bundle giveaway! 

Pin This! 

This bundle will include ...

  • an autographed paperback copy of Purple Moon
  • an autographed digital copy of Unwritten Melody
  • Starbucks Instant Pumpkin Spice Latte
  • Purple Moon bookmark and coffee mug
  • $10 gift card to your choice of Yankee Candle, Starbucks, or Amazon
  • candy corn

How to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

** The winner will be announced during my virtual launch party for UNWRITTEN MELODY. RSVP by clicking here. **

Thanks in advance for your support! I hope everyone's having a happy almost-autumn and drinking tons of PSLs, or the new Starbucks chile mocha!

{PSST ... Speaking of chile mochas! Sign up for my newsletter if you'd like to receive a recipe on how to make a healthier version of the chile mocha. My fall newsletter will be out soon!} 

** Questions for you ... **

  • Which would you rather live without -- spring or autumn? 
  • What's your favorite fall tradition?

Let me know in the comments! =)

post signature

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

YA Author Spotlight & Interview: Brigid Amos, Author of "A Fence Around Her"

Having a mother with a past is never easy. For Ruthie Conoboy it becomes the struggle of a lifetime in 1900, the year Tobias Mortlock arrives in the gold mining town of Bodie, California. Ruthie is suspicious of this stranger, but her trusting father gives him a job in the stamp mill. Soon, Ruthie suspects that her mother and Mortlock have become more than friends. Can Ruthie stop this man from destroying her family?

Can you give us a brief overview of your publishing journey so far? 

I was very fortunate that the first publisher I sent A Fence Around Her to accepted it right away.  That publisher was Stephanie Taylor of Clean Reads Publishing. I think this happened because just as I was getting ready to send the manuscript out, I stumbled across another Clean Reads YA historical novel that was somewhat similar in tone to my own work, making me think that Stephanie would be interested in my novel as well. It turns out I was right about that. I believe the most efficient way of finding a publisher for your novel is to identify a novel that bears some resemblance to your own, and then submit your manuscript to that publisher. I have always heard this about literary agents, and I imagine it holds true for publishers as well. The rest of the publishing process with Clean Reads has been pretty seamless. I have really enjoyed working with the editors assigned to my book, particularly Kimber Leigh Wheaton and Ellie Isenhower. All of that was done through track changes and email, but it really felt like a conversation. It was so fascinating to work with cover designer Cora Bignardi. Despite the time difference (Cora lives in Italy!) we had a lovely email exchange and she was so accommodating. I was simply blown away by the beautiful cover she made for my book. She even incorporated one of my own photos of Bodie, California into the background of the cover image. That was too cool for words!

What was the inspiration behind A Fence Around Her, and how long did it take to write this story?

The ghost town of Bodie, California is the true inspiration behind the book. Bodie was a gold mining town in the Eastern Sierra that boomed in the 1880s. On one of my trips there, I snatched up as many books as I could carry away from the museum bookstore. In one of those books, I read the heartbreaking story of Lottie Johl, a former prostitute who tried to become a respectable member of Bodie society. People were so cruel to her. They even forced her to leave a masquerade ball when they realized the beautiful masked woman was in fact, poor Lottie Johl. Spurned by the people of Bodie, she isolated herself in her parlor and painted wild, otherworldly landscapes.  This story was the seed that grew into A Fence Around Her.
 I started writing A Fence Around Her in 1998, but then, life intervened. At that time, I only had a few chapters completed. Once I came back to the manuscript around two years ago, it took about a year to finish it. I have more time and write a lot faster now than I used to, so hopefully it won’t take me so long to write my next novel!

Have you found that your love for theatre and playwriting strengthens your ability to write fiction, and vice versa?

This is a really interesting question, since I am always pondering the connection between my fiction and my plays. I’ll start with the fact that playwriting is much easier for me than fiction. For most writers, it would be the opposite, but I seem to have an innate talent for playwriting. So it is playwriting that tends to influence my fiction rather than the other way round. I have found that this can be a good influence in that playwriting allows me to build tension in a scene through dialogue. However, it can be a bad influence when I forget that I am writing fiction and get carried away with too much dialogue and not enough exposition. Of course, that’s where editing comes in. One way that my theatre background really comes in handy is when doing public readings. The other day I was working at the Nebraska Writers Guild booth at York Author Fest, when a fellow guild member came out to tell me it was my turn to read. I rushed into the conference room with a chapter of my book and did a dramatic reading. Everyone told me it was the best reading they had heard there. My acting experience really helps in that respect.

Do you plan to continue writing books for teens?

Yes. As far as fiction is concerned, I’m a young adult historical writer. I even plan to continue to set my novels in Bodie. The place has so many more wonderful stories I look forward to weaving into fiction.

What advice would you give to aspiring teen authors?

While there are some teen authors who are still teenagers, most of us are adults. I would tell aspiring teen authors to stop trying to imagine what teens today are thinking or feeling. You will find an authentic voice if you get in touch with the teenager you once were. The world changes, but the hopes, dreams, and sorrows of young people remain constant. If you want to write for teens, share your own teen experience, even if it is filtered through the lens of fiction. If you do that honestly, teens will believe your story.

Book Excerpt:

When I left the house that day to go to the Sawdust Corner Saloon to fetch my father, the day we met Tobias Mortlock, my mother was still lying in bed moaning as if from a mortal wound and threatening to do herself harm. While I was gone, she had gotten up and tried to console herself by working on her latest landscape. But something had gone wrong, for when we came through the front door into the parlor, we found my mother slumped on the floor. Her silk dressing gown lay in folds around her and her blond curls stuck to her head in a multicolored array. Little pots of oil paint were scattered across the floor dribbling the last of sky blue, forest green, and yellow ochre onto the Persian rug.
“Lilly, what have you done?” My father reached down and lifted her to her feet, then walked over to where the easel lay collapsed on the floor and righted it also. He peeled the wet canvas from the rug and set it on the easel, then stepped back to have a look at it.
Somewhat distracted by the bits of red fuzz from the carpet embedded in the wet paint, I fixed my eyes on the canvas, trying to sort out the swirls of color into a cohesive image. My mother waited silently for our verdict. She seemed, in that moment, as fragile as a sparrow. I was relieved when my father broke the silence with his jovial critique.
“Why Lilly, it is the spitting image of Mono Lake. Yes, here are the islands in the center, and here the mountains rising up in the background. It is quite an impressive site, just as we saw it that day.” Two summers before, my father had taken us on a trip to the lake on the narrow gauge railroad that brought us firewood from the lumber mill on its southern shore. I remember how much my mother enjoyed that rare outing, saying over and over that the lake reminded her of the San Francisco Bay.
“It’s a fine painting, Mother,” I said. She moaned.
“What was that, Lilly?”
“No, Father, she didn’t say anything. She only made a sound.”
“Not good enough!” Mother wailed. Her sticky, colorful curls quivered like bunting in a light breeze.
“That’s not true, dear,” my father said. “You are a fine artist. It’s these fools in this town who don’t appreciate it. Look around at all the beauty in this parlor! Every day, I come home and think, who else has so many beautiful works of art on their walls? Maybe just Leland Stanford, Randal Hearst, and me.” He reached out to brush back her sticky hair. She slapped his arm away, smearing paint on the cuff of his sleeve.
“I’m not talking about the stupid painting," she said. “It’s me. I’ll never be good enough, not in Bodie.”
“Of course you are. I married you, didn’t I?”
At this she let out a wild scream and shook her head as if fending off a swarm of bees. Oil droplets sprayed in all directions, and I looked out the window to see if anyone could have heard. Mortlock had long moved on, and the street was deserted.
My mother stopped shaking and screaming, but she was still furious. “I am so sick of hearing about how you did me this grand favor by marrying me. If you’d wanted to do something for me, you would have taken me away from this awful place. You would have taken me somewhere people didn’t know me, where I could have been a regular woman.”
My father looked at the paint-spattered rug. “Ruthie, why don’t you go in the kitchen and start boiling water. I think your mother needs a bath.”
As I lit the stove and poured water into pots, I could hear their voices in the parlor, still going back and forth as they always did. Hers was like a mournful violin, his like a jolly French horn hopelessly out of step with the violin. Together they made a dissonant sound like musicians trying to play a duet, but each playing a different piece of music. And it never mattered what they were playing since it was always a variation on the same theme.

Author Bio

Brigid Amos’ young adult historical fiction has appeared in The MacGuffin, The Storyteller, Wilderness House Literary Review, and Words of Wisdom. A produced playwright, she co-founded the Angels Playwriting Collective and serves on the board of the Angels Theatre Company. She is also an active member of Women Writing the West and the Nebraska Writers Guild. Although Brigid left a nugget of her heart behind in the California Gold Country, most of it is in Lincoln, Nebraska where she currently lives with her husband.

Buy the Book:

Connect With Brigid:

post signature


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...