Announcing the 2nd Annual Book Lover's Holiday Hop.
December 4th to 10th
Co-hosted by Maryann from Chapter by Chapter
Thanks to both I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and Chapter by Chapter for hosting this great giveaway hop!
Goodreads Book Description: On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother-to-be and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze.
Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore.
Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
My Amazon Review: Review of My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century
Author Website: http://www.rachelharriswrites.com/
Author Interview Part I.
1. Tell us a little about your journey in writing your first book. What and who inspired its conception?
My first book is actually a YA Contemporary I hope to be telling you all about very soon (*wink*), but I started writing My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century only a few months later. As a homeschool mom, I was busy catching up on all the classics I never read myself as a child (refusing to read anything else) so I could be well-versed on them and, well, that’s what I thought I needed to do. Never mind the fact that at the time my girls were only 4 and 5 at the time. But in the middle of all that, my wonderful husband decided to buy me Twilight. Luckily, this was April two years ago and all the books were already out, because I read that baby twice in two days, and he quickly bought me all the rest of them. By the end of the week, and the entire series read (including Midnight Sun) I admitted I was obsessed and hooked. I started gobbling up YA books like candy, reading a book or two a day most days, just having an absolute blast. By that August I thought about trying to write my own YA book.
So for inspiration, I blame my husband and Stephanie Meyer, in that order =D
2. I love your protagonist, Cat, and can't help but wonder if she is patterned at all after yourself or other people you know. Can you remark on her in particular and in general, how you come up with characters? Which character was the most fun to write? Which character was the most unexpected?
The main character in that first book I wrote is most like me. I think that’s not usual for authors to do. Cat, on the other hand, the similarities aren’t as easy to spot. First off, she’s a daughter of Hollywood. I’m not. I did work for a summer at Entertainment Tonight so I got a glimpse into that world, but I’m as far from celebrity as you can get. And then, Cat’s funny. I’m so not. I think I’m silly, yes, but that’s mostly because I’m spastic and like to laugh, and people laugh with me (or sometimes at me lol). Cat is good with one-liners. I have no clue where that comes from. But at her heart, Cat is loyal, she’s close to her dad, she longs for that really good, close friend she can lean on and trust. That’s me completely.
As for other characters, I’m a big character writer and reader. When I sit down to plot a book, I always start with them. I start with who the book will be about, and then figure out who the love interest needs to be to challenge/complete them, then fill in the secondary characters with whoever my protagonist needs to reach her character arc. I have fun finding certain mannerisms that are unique to them, certain words and characteristics, and I always hunt for the perfect actor or model picture to fit them in my head.
And as for which character was the most fun to write, and who was the most unexpected, I’ll stick with just My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century (though boy does book 2, A Tale of Two Centuries have a fun love interest!!!), and say the most fun AND the most unexpected was Reyna. She was magic personified, she had a bit of mystery surrounding her, she was smart, and cool, and had her own unique sense of humor. I really, really hope to one day do a prequel from her point of view, showing when she first got her powers and the life she led.
3. I absolutely loved the setting of this novel, Florence, Italy. Can you tell us a little about your research into this location (we all want to know, did you actually go there for "research purposes"??).
He he! I’ve been to Florence, Italy, before, but not for this book. My husband did everything he could to try to get me there—he even found a sixteenth century palace you can stay in—but the money just wasn’t there. Sigh…. But the memories from my past trip are still so vivid in my mind that it helped. Plus, Google Earth ROCKS!!!! And it’s scary, too LOL. You can travel anywhere you want from the comfort of your room, in your pjs.
I also did a ton of research on the setting and time period via books and videos, so that helped a lot. My favorite resource: Renaissance Florence on 5 Florins A Day by Charles FitzRoy. It’s written as a modern day travel guide, if we lived in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. So awesome!
4. For aspiring writers out there, what would you say was your greatest difficulty and what was the greatest lesson in your journey to publication?
Wow, those are two great questions and my Mama brain is completely cramping! Hmm, I’d have to say my greatest difficulty post-publication is writing on a deadline—that’s so hard!!—but during the journey to publication, the greatest difficulty was having patience. It actually all happened really quick for me as far as writing, agent, pub house contract goes, but me wanting to just jump in and write instead of doing all the research and studying I did. I broke my favorite novels down for everything they’re worth, trying to learn everything I could about them: how many pages per chapter and how many chapters total; how they handled backstory and narrative/dialogue; how they actually told the story and handled pacing. And the whole time I was doing that, I was just so eager to get jumping on my own story. But short of getting an MFA, I needed to put my time in to learn craft. And I’m still doing that.
As for the greatest lesson, well my greatest difficulty turned into a pretty awesome lesson, but I’d probably say balancing how to handle critique and other people’s suggestions, while always keeping in mind the story you want to tell. Listen to your gut and heart, let the ideas sit for a minute or even a day, and then take what you agree with, what you think will make YOUR story better. But “your” is the key word in that sentence. This is your baby and at the end of the day, you have to be happy with the book with your name on the cover. It’s okay not to take every suggestion, even if they come from your editor. They are on your side and want to help make your dreams happen. Talk to them honestly. As long as you are professional about it, they really do welcome your ideas!
5. Possibly, my favorite scene in your entire book was that of the staging of Snow White in Renaissance, Italy. Do you write in scenes or do you have the whole plot outlined? Did aspects in the story change unexpectedly as you were writing? If so, what?
So funny that you mention that scene! I’m actually a *huge* plotter, needing to know exactly where my story is going before I start writing, but that particular part of the story kind of came up unexpectedly. I knew they were going to go out in the country and talk about theater, but when I was in the middle of it, I just started writing Cat leading them in Snow White and it just worked. What’s even funnier is that the song I’d picked out a month or so before that to represent that part of the story was Taylor Swift’s Today Was a Fairytale….and Snow White is a fairy tale. Seems like it was meant to be =D
So yeah, while I plot, occasionally certain things come up that I didn’t intend. Sometimes it is that characters change on their own, other times whole scenes get cut out or added that I hadn’t considered. That’s just another aspect that makes writing fun.
6. Is there a sequel planned? If so, can you tell us a little more about your next book? If not, what do you have next on your agenda?
Yes there is =D A Tale of Two Centuries will be out June 2013. That one is already in my editor’s hands and they are working their magic. I can’t wait for people to read this story—I had so much fun with it! After that, Rearview Mirror will be out December 2013, and that’s what I’m working on now. It’s a YA Contemporary Thriller, and I’m having a blast with it. You can find out more about that project on Goodreads (*grin*)
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1. Interview and Giveaway with Tracy Rozzlynn, author of the Fast-Tracked and Verita trilogies, Two Sets of Fast-tracked (first two books), Two sets of Verita Trilogies (first two books) OR $25 Amazon GC
Verita and Fast Tracked Giveaway
2. Interview with Eric Gale and giveaway of signed ARC of The Bully Book (INT)
Bully Book Giveaway
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