Where did the story idea come from/how did it come about?
The idea for the novel came from a dream. I know it sounds completely corny, but I dreamed about my protagonist, Vivian. Last school year, I had a group of 8th grade students who were avid readers. The class make up was almost entirely female, and I had been reading one science fiction/paranormal romance and realistic romance after another to recommend to these girls since those were the genres they preferred.
My own children were two and four at the time, and my husband and I were struggling to get them to sleep in their own beds at night. We would put them to bed each night and would lie in bed with them until they went to sleep (big parenting mistake, by the way). I would lie there, fighting to stay awake and failing miserably. In that between time when I wasn’t asleep but wasn’t truly awake either, I would see her story. The first scene I dreamed was the scene with Easton at the lake when he sees her take the lightning into her body.
One thing you want the reader to walk away with after reading this book.
I want the readers to see a strong, independent teenage girl. In so many paranormal romances, the female character, while typically the narrator, is not the supernaturally powerful character. She waits for her brooding, Byronic hero, who happens to be a vampire, werewolf, angel, demon–take your pick–to rescue her from some terrifying situation that is usually the result of her bad boy syndrome! I didn’t want that for Vivian. I want readers to see that she takes care of herself (and anyone else when she needs to).
Why did you choose your genre?
Is there any other? Just kidding! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal. I usually have to force myself to read any other genre, but I do like historical romance and some realistic, too. To be honest, I wish I enjoyed realistic fiction more. It seems like everyone is writing paranormal romance, but alas, it is my first love.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?
Writing, no. Publishing, yes. Storytelling is something I’ve always done. The writing is just a natural extension of the storytelling. But publishing is a whole other beast! I find it discouraging and tedious to send query letters and browse literary agency sites. In fact, I think it sucks the joy out of the writing. You pour the proverbial blood, sweat, and tears into a work only to be told how ‘it’s just not what we’re looking for’ or ‘I just couldn’t connect to your story’. That is why I decided to e-publish. Life is too short to wait six months to hear back from agents who are overworked and overwhelmed by their slush piles.
What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Interesting that you ask this because just last month I had to speak at Career Day in the junior high school where I teach. The counselor asked me to speak not as a fifteen-year veteran of teaching but as an author. I felt like a total phony! What do I know about writing? I’ve written one novel that I e-published! When I said this very thing to my nephew, he said, “Have people bought your book and told you they enjoyed it?” When I answered that they have, his reply was, “Then you’re an author.”
So, when I spoke to this group of eager faces, I tried to remember that, and the one thing I stressed was DON’T GIVE UP! If an agent rejects you, if you can’t get your format just right for some site you’re trying to upload to, or if your computer crashes right before you publish (and yes, that did happen), don’t stop. Sounds like a cheap inspirational poster, but it is 100 percent true. Believe in yourself, even when you want to give up.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
I like to call it a ‘detour’ :) Blocks imply you can’t get around. Detours just require time and creativity. Sometimes, you get a sign, and the detour is easy to find. Sometimes, you have to build a new road. But build it you must.
I actually use the same technique I use when I’m creating a new lesson for my students. Begin with the end. What result do I want? Where do I want to be when I’m finished? Then, I walk backward. Make an skeletal outline, and fill it as you go.
What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
Grammar and mechanics are essential–and I’m not just saying that for job security! Yes, writers stretch or modify grammar and mechanics for the sake of creativity and style sometimes, but I really wonder if some of them know the rules at all.
I also think computer skills are important, especially if he or she is planning on e-publishing. A basic knowledge isn’t enough. The ‘Help’ function is your friend!
~*~*~* Author Bio ~*~*~*~
Andrea Murray has been teaching English for longer than most of her students have been alive. She has taught everything from junior high language arts to concurrent credit freshman composition. She lives in a very small town in Arkansas with her precocious daughter, energetic son, and racecar-driving husband. When she isn’t writing or reading novels for her students, she’s probably watching reality television or cheesy science fiction movies. In addition to Vivid, Andrea has also written Vicious, the sequel to her first novel.
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~*~*~*~ The Giveaway ~*~*~*~
Everyone who leaves a comment on Andrea’s Chicklit Plus Page will be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card! If you purchase your copy of Vivid before May 28 and send your receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, you will get five bonus entries!
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