First Author of the Month post! I’m very excited about this one because the author is someone I really look up to. She’s the author of the brilliant dystopian/paranormal YA novels BLACK CITY and PHOENIX which I enjoyed very much. So without further ado, I present you…
Now onto the interview!
How did you get started with writing?
It’s always something I’ve loved to do, even as a little girl, but I started writing my first ‘serious’ novel when I was fifteen. My best friend and I would write during registration and lunch, (and sometimes during class too! Ssh, don’t tell anyone), and pass chapters to each other to critique. It gave me such a rush. But being an author wasn’t something I ever considered doing as a career, as it just wasn’t presented to us as an option. When I got into sixth-form college, I continued writing novels, but I also wrote a few trashy movie scripts, as my friends and I used to make horror movies at the weekend. And one of those scripts actually helped me get into university (I did a BA Hons in Scriptwriting for TV and Film). When I left uni, I went into journalism and wrote for a couple of videogames and travel magazines for a few years, before finally plucking up the courage to write my first YA novel!
What is your writing process like?
Generally it begins with the hook – for Black City it was ‘a drug-dealing supernatural boy who gets a heartbeat when he meets his true love—and the story grows from that. I then spend a few weeks obsessively discussing it with my friends, working out the basic plot, and then I start writing a few scenes to get into the mind of the characters and explore the world. I NEVER write in order, I just can’t do it—I hop about the story, laying down the path, and then go back and fill in the blanks. It takes about 3-5 months for me to write ‘The Shitty First Draft’, as it is a very organic process. If I can, I try and leave it a few weeks before I start revising it. My second drafts are nearly always rewrites rather than revisions—I move whole scenes around, cut characters, fix plot issues (and sometimes even changing elements of the plot). Then the third draft is finally something that resembles a book. After that it’s then on to copy edits, line edits, First Pass pages and finally it goes to press.
What made you decide to write young adult fiction?
I’d tried writing adult fiction several times throughout my teens and early twenties, and it never felt right. It wasn’t my ‘voice’ and I just wasn’t interested in the situations and issues adults dealt with. I felt all the real drama and interesting stuff in life happens when you’re younger, when everything is a first: your first kiss, your first love, the first time you leave home, the first time you’re betrayed. Then I started reading the Harry Potter books, and they were sort of my gateway book into MG and YA literature. From that I devoured as much MG and YA literature as I could, and I knew then that this is what I wanted to do. I went with YA, simply because I like to write darker stories featuring a LOT of kissing and hot boys!!!
How long did it take you to write Black City?
I started writing Black City back in the summer of 2009. It was published in November 2012. So about 3 years! But I was working full time for the majority of that, so it’s not like it is now, where I can dedicate my entire day to writing. Plus, I have a publishing schedule to work to now, so that pretty much determines the pace I write! I can get a book written and edited in about 6 months now.
What did you discover about yourself when you worked on the Black City series?
That I like to kill my darlings!
Now let’s talk about your newly released book, Phoenix! Which character surprised you the most while writing it?
I’d probably say Elijah, mainly because he only had a minor role in Black City, so it was the first time I got to properly know him. And so I was learning all about him as I was writing the book and I came to really care about him. He has a lot of layers and he’s hard to predict – you can’t necessarily trust his motivations or what he’s really thinking, which makes him exciting to write.
What song best describes Phoenix?
Freedom Fighters by Two Steps from Hell. It’s such an epic score and really suits the action and drama of the book.
Jesselle says: Love this song! It’s perfect! 🙂
What is your favorite quote from Phoenix?
Ooooh, that’s a good one. Um… I actually really like this quote from the Prologue, as it sends shivers through me:
“Your Transporter is ready, Your Excellency,” Forsyth said.
Rose simply nodded, dismissing the man, and turned his attention back to the ants. He watched the insects for a moment longer before crushing them under the thumb of his white-gloved hand.
He had waited long enough. The moment had come to put his plan into action. It was time he reminded Ash Fisher and Natalie Buchanan why they should fear him.
The answer to this next question is something I’m really dying to know. How does the Thracian language sound like?
I always imagine it sounding Spanish, although a more ancient and provincial version of it.
If you wake up one day in the Black City world, what place would you visit first? Why?
I’d go to Beetle’s barge, as chances are that’s where the whole gang will be hanging out. I’d love to meet them all face-to-face (I might fangirl over Ash a little bit though, so I’m sure Natalie will have a few words to say to me!). Plus, Beetle can take me on a canal tour of the city. What better way to see it?
I’m sure hearts stopped beating for a moment with the cliffhanger ending of Phoenix. A lot are very eager to read the final book! What can readers expect in Book 3?
I’m not allowed to reveal too much at this stage, but I can promise you there will be lots of action, shocking revelations and kissing!
What is your message to Ash and Natalie, now that the series is coming to an end?
Thank you for the incredible journey, my friends; for the tears, the heartache, the laughter, and the joy. I’ve enjoyed every second of it. And I’m sorta gonna cry now. But know you will always be in my (dual) heart. And whenever I shut my eyes I will hear your cry. “No fear. No power.”
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write what you love to read. Don’t try and write in a genre you’re not completely passionate about just because you think it’ll have a better chance of selling, as it’ll show in your writing and ultimately it’s not good for your career.
Thank you Elizabeth for the opportunity to interview you and for making this day super special! 🙂
Connect with Elizabeth:
So why is JUNE 15TH a special day? IT’S MY BIRTHDAY! And what’s a birthday without a GIVEAWAY? 🙂
A paperback edition of BLACK CITY
Open INTERNATIONALLY and ends on June 22nd. 🙂
Please click on the Rafflecopter link: