In honor of continuing our Indie month celebration, Never Too Old for YA Books and I would like to welcome Kate Avery Ellison to our group and my blog.
You may know of Kate's books:
Title: Frost (The Frost Chornicles, #1)
Publication Date: April 18, 2012
Blurb from Goodreads:
In the icy, monster-plagued world of the Frost, one wrong move and a person could end up dead—and Lia Weaver knows this better than anyone. After monsters kill her parents, she must keep the family farm running despite the freezing cold and threat of monster attacks or risk losing her siblings to reassignment by the village Elders. With dangers on all sides and failure just one wrong step away, she can’t afford to let her emotions lead her astray. So when her sister finds a fugitive bleeding to death in the forest—a young stranger named Gabe—Lia surprises herself and does the unthinkable.
She saves his life.
Giving shelter to the fugitive could get her in trouble. The Elders have always described the advanced society of people beyond the Frost, the “Farthers,” as ruthless and cruel. But Lia is startled to find that Gabe is empathetic and intelligent…and handsome. She might even be falling in love with him.
But time is running out. The monsters from the forest circle the farm at night. The village leader is starting to ask questions. Farther soldiers are searching for Gabe. Lia must locate a secret organization called the Thorns to help Gabe escape to safety, but every move she makes puts her in more danger.
Is compassion—and love—worth the risk?
...and this beauty:
Title: The Curse Girl
Publication Date: May 14, 2011
Blurb from Goodreads:
When Bee is imprisoned in a magical, cursed house because of her father's selfish choices, she has just one plan... escape! But she must solve a riddle and help her fellow prisoners break the curse that binds them all before she can leave, and that is proving more difficult than she originally thought thanks to the bitter young master of the house, Will.
Will wants nothing to do with Bee or her help (and he certainly isn't planning on falling in love with her), but he might have underestimated just how determined and clever--and irresistible--she can be
Kate's sequesl to Frost, is due out very soon:
Title: Thorns (The Frost Chronicles, #2)
Expected Publication Date: August 31, 2012
Blurb from Goodreads:
Lia Weaver went against everything she’d ever known when she risked her life to help a Farther fugitive named Gabe escape from the Aeralian soldiers, and her life changed forever. And the Frost changed, too—the Farthers have taken over her village, a new group of vigilantes calling themselves the Blackcoats are making plans to overthrow the Farther occupiers, and the Thorns are seeking for her to join them.
Lia seeks to fight back against the evil and injustice that has swallowed up her home, but danger lurks at every turn. The monsters that dwell in the deepest regions of the Frost are growing bolder and more dangerous every day, a Farther noble takes up residence in the village on a mysterious mission, and Lia discovers that her parents were harboring even more secrets.
As the frozen world of the Frost grows even more perilous, can Lia survive
And a little about our author:
I've been making up stories since I was five years old, and now I'm thrilled to be able to do it as a full-time job. I have an obsession with dark fantasy, dystopian futures, and Pride and Prejudice-style love stories full of witty banter and sizzling, unspoken feelings. When I'm not writing, I'm creating digital art, reading funny blogs, or watching my favorite shows (which include TVD and BSG). I live with my geeky husband and our two bad cats in Atlanta, GA.
My first book, The Curse Girl, was published May 2011. Click here to read the first chapter!
My most recent book, a creepy YA fantasy with dystopian elements called Frost (The Frost Chronicles #1),released April 2012. Click here to read the first chapter!
Book Bloggers ~ If you are interested in reviewing one of my books, send me a message. I'd love to hear from you!
If you're wondering why I categorize books as "breathless," "cake," or "amnesia," check out this blog post!
And without further ado, I introduce to you the wonderful Kate Avery Elllison!
1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I wanted to be a writer since I was about five or six years old and my mother explained to me that it was an actual job people could have when they grew up. I've always looked stories and books.
2. How long does it take you to write a book?
On average, about three months for the rough draft. Revision time depends on the individual manuscript, and then I work with beta readers and an editor, which adds more time. So overall, usually about 4-6 months.
3. What do you think makes a great story?
Characters people care about, a unique and fascinating world, and a plot with lots of unexpected twists that keeps you reading late into the night. I also think humor adds a special something, even if the story itself is not a funny one.
4. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
Pretty weird. I tend to write mostly between 10 PM and 3 AM (less distractions, my creativity is best at night, etc), so I sleep late and go to bed when some of my neighbors are leaving for work.
5. How do you balance family and writing?
I am married, but I don't have any kids yet, so I have very flexible hours. If I need to stay up late finishing a chapter, I can. My husband is my biggest supporter, and he's very encouraging. He often hangs out with me while I'm working and reads a book or some other quiet activity so I don't feel lonely. Of course, he eventually goes to bed, because I stay up much later than he does.
6. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Sometimes I read a news story or hear an anecdote from someone, and my brain goes, "What if?" and starts coming up with ideas. And then I get a flash of creative insight that can be a character, a scene, or even a whole plot for a book--and it sometimes happens just like that. Sometimes I have to sit down and plan the story out (usually for sequels). I'm really not sure how it happens. I also have a lot of dreams that turn into story ideas, which might just be my brain doing that same "what if" while I'm sleeping. I also get great ideas in the shower.
7. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I'm an extremely rational/logical person, but there's a sort of mystical aspect of writing that I can't quite explain. It's very intuitive. A lot of times, I write a bit blindly and trust my gut instincts, and the plot points all come together and work out in the end like I (subconsciously) knew exactly where the story was going. And maybe I did. I don't understand everything about how creativity works, but it's pretty mysterious sometimes.
8. How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?
I've written somewhere around twelve books, but so far only three have been published--The Curse Girl, Frost, and Once Upon a Beanstalk (and Frost's sequel, Thorns, releases soon). Of the three, Frost is probably my favorite. My absolute favorite book I've ever written hasn't been published yet, though.
9. Are your characters based on anyone you know?
Not really, no. I tend to develop the plot and characters together in tandem--the plot develops based on the what the specific main character would do, and the main character's personality develops based on the type of person who would make sense in the plot of the setting and resulting action of the book. But I do take aspects of people I know and incorporate them into characters. Usually I take quirks of my own, or my husband, or friends/family. But I also really like writing characters who have very different personalities than my own--it's a challenge.
10. Do you have a favourite place you love to write?
Yes. I like to write in my bed, because I have a memory foam mattress and it's sooooo comfortable!
11. How hard is is to get published?
This is a wonderful time for authors, because we have so many paths to publication open to us now. Traditional publishing houses, small and indie presses, e-publishers, and self--the possibilities are myriad. If you are determined, talented, and determined not to give up, you should be able to find some measure of success on a path that works best for you.
However, traditional publication by on of the "Big Six" publishing houses (many writers' dream), is still very difficult to break into these days. But the landscape of books is changing, and that is no longer the only path people can take.
12. What do your family and friends think about your books?
My parents and siblings are some of my biggest fans. They read everything I write, and they recommend my books to everyone they meet. A number of my friends have read my books and liked them, and still more of my friends are very supportive of me as an author even though they haven't read my books. I feel very loved.
13. What do you like to do when you are not writing?
In addition to writing, I'm also an artist. I especially love photography, photomanipulation, and design. (For instance, I designed all my book covers myself.) You can see my artist profile and some of my work here: http://werekat12.deviantart.com/
14. Do you have any suggestions to help aspiring writers better themselves and their craft? If so, what are they?
Read everything you can get your hands on, and write every day. Reading will teach you what (and what not) to do, and writing will help you learn how to do it.
15. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
An author or an artist. Now I do both.
16. What are your favourite books and which authors inspire you?
It's hard to pick favorites, but I really love the authors Robin McKinley, Eloise Jarvis McGraw, Megan Whalen Turner, Margaret Atwood, and Flannery O'Connor. Additionally, although I don't write mysteries, I was very inspired by the famous mystery novelist Agatha Christie and her love of twists and unexpected reveals.
17. For an aspiring writer what do you feel are certain do's and don’ts for getting their material published?
DO: Read a lot, write a lot, learn to revise and polish, find beta readers and critique partners to help you revise, and never stop improving your craft by reading books about writing. Also, don't give up!! All authors experience rejection, and it doesn't end after publication. If anything, the rejection gets more intense.
DON'T: Rush to submit/publish your first draft. Let the work sit for a while before reading it over with fresh eyes. You'll catch a lot of errors once you've given yourself some time and distance from the work. Don't think you don't need the help of an editor. You really do. Also, don't be afraid to mess up or get things wrong. Sometimes you have to figure out what the story isn't before you can know what it is. So you might have to delete some chapters or start over, but that's okay. It's all part of the process.
18. What are you working on now?
I'm still working on the Frost series (The Frost Chronicles), and I'm also working on a young adult contemporary novel that doesn't have a title yet. It's a fun change of pace from my fantasy-dystopian series, and that's always nice.
Here are some more links for ways to connect with me:
My Twitter: https://twitter.com/Katiewriting
Thanks so much for having me!