1. What is your favourite month of the year? (Is there a reason why?)
I love October, because I love watching the leaves turn colors and of course HALLOWEEN!!
2. If there's one place in the world you could choose to live in, where would it be and why?
I’d really like to live in Michigan my whole life. The summers are perfect and the winters aren’t too terrible… There are lots of places I’d like to stay at for a few weeks at a time, but none of them would be home like Michigan is. I could live part-time in New York City, Texas, Italy, Greece, Egypt, England… I wish I had a million lives so I could live everywhere I ever wanted to live.
3. What is important in a good Young Adult main female character/heroine for you? What qualities do you look for or think is important for a good and strong YA female character? (And also what qualities do you always include in the construction of your own YA central characters?)
The most important component in writing a good heroine is realism. In the attempt to create a strong heroine, a writer includes confidence, courage, and possibly special powers. They often forget that a character, like any real person, needs a balance to their ideals and flaws. Without flaws, she will come off as pompous or even a bully. In order to balance the ideals with flaws, writers will add traits such as clumsiness, or she doesn’t like some physical aspect of herself like her hair or her nose is too big, or she doesn’t think boys like her, ect. These things can come off as “cutesy” without a writer realizing and that’s where readers interpret a heroine as a Mary-Sue.
The balance between ideals and flaws is my first task when creating a heroine. For example, Ellie of the Angelfire series has amazing powers and she’s confident and brave—but not all the time. Just like real people, she can doubt herself and she can be afraid of scary things. My second task during character creation is planning her growth arc, which ties in with balancing her ideals and flaws. At the beginning of Angelfire, Ellie has forgotten who she is (the archangel Gabriel with a human body and soul) and she has no idea about her past or her destiny. She’s afraid of the reapers and she’s afraid of Will (her Guardian) because of what he can do and of his role in her destiny. Any normal person would be confused and terrified at first. But the key here is she grows. She comes into her own at a steady pace, though sometimes becoming resistant to her mission and longing for a normal life again, and during the entire trilogy Ellie is on her own growth journey. Where would the story be if right away she became this infallible warrior? A story has plot, but it also needs a demonstrable character journey. That’s how you create a strong, realistic heroine with depth.
4. Does Ellie resemble you in any way or can relate to you in any way? If so, how? Do any of the other characters in your books reflect or resemble you?
I think there may be small pieces of myself and people I’ve met in all of my characters. They’re all little Frankenstein monsters. Ellie has my girly side, we both love Cold Stone, and while neither of us always makes the right decision, Ellie tries hard to do the right thing like I do. Over the course of the Angelfire trilogy, Ellie grows up so much and I feel like I grew up with her while writing these books over the past few years in my early twenties. I feel so close to her and it’s been hard to let go of her story now that it’s finished.
5. Where/how did you get this idea of writing a story involving Angel/Angelblooded Demon Hunters? And the idea of Angelic and Demonic Reapers?
I’m asked this question so often and I always have a different answer, because there are so many answers. The truth is ideas just come to you. You spend your entire life learning, becoming curious, and asking questions, and I think a lot of story ideas come from asking “What if?” That’s how a high concept premise is created. I grew up in a Catholic/Protestant home and became vastly curious about culture, religion, and mythology at a very early age. The concept of good vs evil and heaven vs hell were themes that shaped my adolescence. One day I wondered, “What if an angel was human?” I wondered why and what she’d be doing on Earth. The answer seemed obvious: fighting evil. I wanted to create my own monsters to replace the typically seen demons in a heaven vs hell story, so I reinvented the myth of the reaper. My mortal angel battles against the demonic reapers, who kill and eat humans to send their souls to hell, and she’s helped by the angelic reapers, who have sworn to protect human souls. That became the basic premise for Angelfire and that premise only had me asking more questions to fuel my ideas. What would an angel with a human soul be like? How would that affect her? How are the warrior-like angelic reapers organized? Do they just fight the demonic, or do they also protect? What if one angelic reaper protected the mortal angel? What if he fell in love with her? Ideas grow from questions, just as trees grow from seeds. The more you read and learn and discover this world, the more questions you have and the more ideas you will have. So if you want to write a book, first ask a question.
6. If you can spend either a day in Paris or a day in Rome, which one would you choose and why?
Rome, absolutely without a doubt. I’m a huge history nerd and the Roman Empire has always been one of my favorite civilizations to study. I’m pretty sure if I ever saw the Coliseum in person, I would cry.
7. What is your favourite hobby? (Apart from horse riding? XP)
There are things to do other than horseback ride? *commence panic* Well, I really love playing The Sims and it’s my favorite way to procrastinate. I also love photography so much, but now that I’m a full-time author, that is more of a hobby.
8. If one character from any book can come alive, who would you want to come alive and why? (Which book he/she is from?)
I’m totally in love with Balthazar from Claudia Gray’s Evernight series. I wouldn’t want vampires to be real, but just this one would be okay. Actually it would be seriously stupendously gorgeously okay.
9. What is your all-time favourite book (and why)? What about movie?
I’m one of those people who have a million favorites because I can’t decide. But if there is one book that I’ve re-read countless times, it would be Tailchaser’s Song by Tad Williams. It’s a fantasy about cats who live in our world but have this unending mythology that is so intricate and evocative. The story just devours me no matter how many times I’ve read it since childhood. I have the same “can’t decide” problem with movies too. One of the movies closest to my heart is Tombstone. I’ll watch it over and over and over again, and I can recite the script by heart. My dad and grandpa are obsessed with cowboys and the Old West, and by watching with them all of the John Wayne and Clint Eastwood movies ever made, I could relate to them and we had a love in common. Tombstone is a mutual favorite, besides True Grit. Even now, every time I visit my grandfather, we watch Tombstone and say all the lines out loud.
10. What is your favourite mythological tale?
I was always partial to stories of Aganippe, the winged black mare worshipped by Greek cults who punishes people by sending them nightmares. Greek mythology is one of my least favorite mythologies, mostly because of the sexual violence, but I think the idea of Aganippe is really cool.
11. How far are you from finishing Shadows in the Silence? Is there even one tiny little hint you could drop us about the story? XD
Shadows in the Silence is totally done on my end. Now I just sit back, work on my new series, and wait for the publication date (January 29!!!). The plot is pretty much under lockdown, considering the insane ending of Wings of the Wicked, but I will say this: Prepare to laugh, cry, and grip your seat tight because it’s one heck of a ride. I got to play with my love of history and archaeology, so Shadows is quite the globe-trotting adventure! The prequel novella A Dance with Darkness (January 2) is a must-read companion and tells the origin stories of how Will’s parents, Madeleine and Bastian, got together and of Cadan and Nathaniel and how their lives intertwined six hundred years ago. It’s very dark, very sexy, and more adult than my other books.
So now, onto the giveaway! I'm giving away a Signed paperback copy of Angelfire (Angelfire #1) donated by Courtney. Remember, it includes an exclusive story in Will's P-O-V! This giveaway is also part of the Fall Into Fantasy Giveaway Hop hosted by Kathy from I am a Reader, Not a Writer and Dorine from The Write Path. To hop to other blogs in this hop, find the list here. This giveaway is international, so anyone can enter! The winner must reply within 48 hours after I've contacted him/her, otherwise a new winner will be selected. I do retain the right to disqualify any entries that are unfit. Anyway, other than that, GOOD LUCK!
|Angelfire (Angelfire #1)|