Thanks to Kendra Highley for the tag in The Next Big Thing Author Blog Hop. It’s so satisfying to know that Kendra (author of Matt Archer Monster Hunter!) thought of me when she came up with her choices for authors.

What is the working title of your book? There are a few coming out in 2013.

  • Olivia’s Army is the second installment in Olivia’s Realm.
  • The SciFi is currently called Rock Hopper.

What genre does your book fall under?

  • Olivia’s Army is a middle-grade paranormal romance. Yup. I wrote that.
  • Rock Hopper is space opera.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

  • Olivia’s Army is about Olivia getting along with the beings in the field down the street from her house as they deal with an influx of refugees from the forest Seda ran to when Olivia expelled him in January.
  • Rock Hopper is a space opera tale of self-discovery as well as political and religious war that follows three different people (a driven socialite, an extroverted bus driver who wants a lifelong party as long as he doesn’t have to sit still, and the driver’s brother, an introverted inventor) as they travel to Eureka for a wedding no one really wants, but some people need.  (and that is indeedy one sentence.)

Where did you get the idea for the book?

  • Olivia’s Field was a book written with a 10 year old who wanted to read what the big kids were reading in mind. My niece was a high-comprehending for her age, and circumstances were that she needed something special for herself. My sister said, “[she]’d gag on Sweet Valley. She wants to read about getting ready for college and that boy who notices the heroine when no one else sees how awesome she is.” Olivia’s Army, as part of a trilogy, was the natural extension for Olivia and her exploits in the field. Without giving anything away, in Olivia’s Field we discovered that there is a world inside the field of a vacant lot she cut through. By the end of the first book, the field is Olivia’s own place. By the end of the second book she deals with the field’s inhabitants regularly and adeptly. Because the genre is romance, there’s a guy. He’s hot.
  • Rock Hopper was also close to home. My husband took a cool new job as an asteroid miner and brought home a lot of research on the solar system and propulsion. It was fascinating. I read what he had around, then I started researching myself. At one point we were reading the same articles independently and talking about the same papers. The difference was I wanted to write a space opera with religious overtones and my husband wanted to mine asteroids. We both win.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Three things happened at about the same time:

  1. I started watching The Guild Annotated version on youtube. It was freeing! Felicia Day and Kim Evey are real people who had real people issues while putting together this amazing webshow.
  2. I realized Lindsay Buroker isn’t an author savant, but a real live person who wants to see other people succeed as authors. She gave incredible advice and realistic language that made me see that I might be able to find an audience in an area outside of fanfiction.
  3. I was having trouble with an island-to-island journey story and my loving husband said, “Why can’t they be asteroids instead of islands.” And I was off.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

First, I outline to the point of knowing dialogue and have only occasionally been surprised by the characters own choices. Then:

  • Olivia’s Field took 2 weeks to write, and a month to edit.
  • Rock Hopper was 2 months in writing and a month of intense crazy editing.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

  • I don’t want to compare my books because I feel my story is my own, but things I’ve read over the years definitely influence me. Olivia’s Army is darker than Olivia’s Field. The first is probably most like Got Fangs by Katie Maxwell and Olivia’s Army would be more comparable to …I don’t know. It’s still middle reader, and has its bubbly moments, but the story is progressing as she loses who she thought she was and becomes who she will be.
  • Rock Hopper is space opera in the old tradition. I don’t want to compare myself to the greats, but I can say that my influences were large scale and old school. It’s a journey story, a character driven self-discovery tale. Kind of coming of age for adults who thought they were already grown up. In space. With War and religious battles.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

  • So many choices. Olivia’s got red hair and is odd. She’s an athlete, so a real-type girl. The men in that story are a punk-looking guy and a huge blonde Nordic man with a pony-tail. I’ll leave it to your imagination. That’s what books are good for.
  • In Rock Hopper, Muk is probably best described by the model on my facebook page. Dusky skin and green eyes. Then Vits and Alind are middle-eastern/Indian subcontinent brothers. When I’d done the character development for writing the book, I’d frankensteined some pictures together to make them look the way I wanted to see them in my head. It was probably overkill, but I knew what I wanted and didn’t want to mix them up. Then in my head, James is a prominent character. He was very important to me, so I knew exactly who he looked like, but will leave that to your imagination. Finally, Jolise. You think I’m not going to give you any actors, but here I will. I really liked Amber Benson in …well, everything she did that I’ve seen. I think that she could bring all the elements of Jolise’s personality together into one believable package.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

You’d think this wouldn’t be a hard question, but it is. I love and write in many genres and voices. I’d be sad if I had only one genre or voice that I could represent because of contractual obligations. I’m in a very happy kind of limbo, waiting for a couple of tremendous opportunities (contests) that have contingencies which preclude publishing until March if not later. I don’t know my chances, but I’m happy for either representation, or indie.

I believe that self-publishing has creative advantages in genre, voice, and reader interaction and am excited to see how marketing a self-published book works. I love to learn, love to interact with people about characters and want the opportunity to have that interaction. And I like my own time scale, so in

I also believe that publishing through traditional houses has a cache with people who don’t understand how hard an indie author works and potential reader reach that self-published books just can’t touch. The resources of a knowledgeable agent and invaluable and the advertising, editing teams and art directors of a traditional publishing company can amaze you.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

  • I love manga and comic books, so Olivia’s Realm is an homage to the manga format. I’m trying hard to find an artist who is willing to work for royalties who would be willing to bring Olivia’s Realm to life as a graphic novel. Until then, if you like 少女 manga, please give the Olivia’s Realm books a try.
  • For Rock Hopper, my scifi love of movies and stories (and comics) comes together with my background in world religions to create something that can be read for fun (the way you’d watch a movie) or deeply. Rock Hopper isn’t the first book in the series, but it is the pivotal book that the others culminate to and then disseminate away from.

Tag 5 authors

These are some amazing authors who are worth checking.

Katje van Loon authored many poems, but her most recent novel is Bellica, and is getting great reviews. Bellica is an overarching good versus evil where the love of power is challenged by the power of love. And military might. It’s pretty cool, check out the first eleven chapters on her site. She has such a wide variety of work that it’s worth snooping around the sites linked off her blog for more goodies!

Alton Bock, author of The Incorruptibles Saga, a rather romantically plotted time travel tale. I’m looking forward to reading Jungleland. Squee! Time travel and true love. Alton is very personable and his blog is fun to read.

Chris Jones is a speaker and writes for the Provo Daily Herald. He wrote the non-fiction Mastering the Six Channels of Marketing and is currently writing The Repairers. He writes short stories and is currently working on a children’s book as well! I’ve fond Chris is a great supporter of authors who are honing their craft.

Laura Altermatt is a new voice, though not a new writer. She has created the most fantabulous universe. We can’t have an alternate present without an alternate past, and Laura’s protagonist has lived it all. Boy has he lived. As Laura’s beta reader, I can attest: The alt-present is coming with an attitude.

Kristina Pui lives in a quiet town, but her novel is anything but still. She wrote The Bitter Sweet, a young adult urban fantasy novel set in North Carolina. In it Isadora has to unravel how she is connected to the Icarus. All the while the supernatural world is stalking Isadora. Can she solve the mystery before it’s too late?