Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop Featuring J. Meyers, author of Intangible

3rd Annual Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop 
January 18th to 24th

Thanks to Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf and I Am a Reader, Not a Writer for hosting this great giveaway hop! This hop will feature a terrific writer, J. Meyers, and her book, Intangible

Goodreads Book Description: Twins Sera and Luke Raine have a well-kept secret—she heals with a touch of her hand, he sees the future. All their lives they’ve helped those in need on the sly. They’ve always thought of their abilities as being a gift.

Then Luke has a vision that Sera is killed. That gift they’ve always cherished begins to feel an awful lot like a curse. Because the thing about Luke’s ability? He’s always right. And he can’t do anything about it.

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

My Review: Intangible Review

Author Blurb: j. meyers grew up in Vermont, spent three years in Germany when she was a kid, and now lives in Central New York. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s chasing after her four kids, exploring the outdoors with her family, baking sweet treats, and forgetting to make dinner. Intangible is her first novel.

Author Interview
1. I am always interested to see how authors start out. This is your first book-- what made you decide to start writing? What made you decide YA in particular?
I’ve been writing, totally by accident, for the past 18 years. I started out inputting changes to manuscript for an educational texts publisher and worked my way up to writing. Without realizing it, I’d become a writer. I co-authored a couple of parenting books several years before I decided to write fiction. I actually never thought I had what it took to write novels—I mean, it’s a huge undertaking to make up an entire world and people it with fully rounded characters, whether it’s contemporary fiction or fantasy. I’ve been a lifelong reader and have always marveled at the craft of writing a book. It felt so complicated and beyond my capabilities, so I stuck with non-fiction.
But then I discovered YA lit and fell totally, helplessly, irreversibly in love. I raided my library’s shelves and read everything I could. The books were so creative, so infused with hope, and for the first time I thought, I could write this and I want to write this. I’d finally found my genre. :-) So I kept reading every YA I could get my hands on, studying what each author did well (and didn’t), and started brainstorming for an idea that would be different.

2. I love both the title and the cover for the book-- but I' d love to hear the story for how you came up with both of these things. I think it's intriguing how it stars twins and yet, only a girl is on the cover-- I assume it is Sera?
I created the cover myself using a stock photo and playing around with photo editing software. My first attempts were terrible! Really and truly. I was sure I’d be hiring a graphic artist to do it for me. But I finally found the perfect photo and did some simple coloring to give it an otherworldly feel. I chose to just have Sera on the cover because it’s more her story than it is Luke’s. The next book is more Luke’s story, so he’ll be on the cover.
The title, I will admit, was really difficult to come up with. I wanted something that was different—that when you searched for it online you wouldn’t have to wade through all the other books of the same title. And I came upon the word intangible totally by chance. I was bemoaning to my mom how I hadn’t come up with a title I liked, that the only things I’d thought of just weren’t right, and she said something like “It should be an interesting word, like frangibles.” I’d never heard of frangibles before (some medical equipment she needed at the time had these things called frangibles, and it means “fragile”) but the word that popped into my mind when she said it was intangible. And the more I thought about it, the more I loved it and realized I’d found the perfect title for the book. (Thank goodness for moms, you know?)

3. I really enjoyed your three dimensional characters. Can you tell us a little about how you decided to write about twins and the development of the other characters in the book? Did you all have them planned out or did the appearance of some surprise you? Did you have a favorite?
I’d started out with just Sera as the main character, but wanted to be sure the story would appeal to both girls and boys, women and men, so I decided to give her a twin brother. I did a lot of research about twins because I wanted to make sure Sera and Luke came across as twins in every possible way—their interactions, the way they spoke, the way they related to each other and how it was different from the way they related to others. The twin bond is remarkable and like no other relationship on Earth—I wanted to show that as best I could.
The other characters were all planned out and I spent a lot of time standing in each character’s shoes to figure them out. They surprised me in many ways. For example, Marc was supposed to be just a bad guy from the start, but I loved him so much I didn’t want him to be bad anymore. I wanted him to be a good guy who was in a rotten situation and sometimes made poor decisions but also didn’t have much other choice. But he also couldn’t be 100% bad because then how could Sera fall for him? She’s smarter than that, you know? So he had to be a good guy that she could fall for, that Luke could be good friends with too.
I don’t have a clear favorite. I love Jonas’ strong sense of loyalty and complex moral code, Fey’s wisdom and kick-butt-ness, Luke’s sense of humor and quest to make a difference, Sera’s desire to help and her stubbornness, Marc’s wit and struggle to do the right thing, and Quinn’s teasing remarks and willingness to help. And I even love how much delight Lilith takes in her evilness.

4. You told me in an email that you also love to read YA. Do you have favorite authors, books, recent inspirations?
I am so inspired by other YA writers and read almost exclusively YA books. Some of my favorites include:
Laini Taylor’s Dreamdark series (Blackbringer and Silksinger), and Daughter of Smoke and Bone for her incredible world building talent—her worlds are so real they practically breathe.
Franny Billingsley’s Chime also for creating the most amazingly alive world and an incredible story.
Sarah Dessen (any of her books) for her quirky secondary characters and perfect dialogue.
Aidan Chambers’ This is All: The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn for laugh-out-loud-until-tears-are-running-down-your-face scenes, incredible dialogue, and ripping your heart out at the end of the book. 
And I absolutely love E. Lockhart’s The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. Frankie is perhaps my favorite fictional character ever.

Also, a series that I’m finding really inspiring right now (that is not YA, but is just as fantastic as good YA) is the Wool series by Hugh Howey. It’s a great dystopian series of 5 novellas. I’m in the middle of the omnibus edition (which has collected all the novellas into one book) and totally loving it.

5. For our aspiring writers, can you talk a little about the process of plotting out the book? That was something I greatly admired in yours-- I never felt that the pace let up and that the secrets revealed themselves when they should.
I took several months to plot out Intangible before I started writing it—mostly because I have four kids and don’t have the time to waste on a tangent that goes in a wrong direction (and that makes me have to rewrite half the book) or on trying to figure out what’s going to happen next every time I sit down to write. I needed it to be all mapped out ahead of time so when I sat down to write I’d know exactly what I was doing. I made a *very* detailed outline that ended up being 40 pages, single spaced. (I’m not kidding when I say it was detailed!)

Honestly, I was shocked at how creative the outlining process was—I hadn’t been expecting that after all those dry, boring outlines I had to write for research papers in high school and college. It was as if I were writing the book in shorthand—so it was the creative process in an abbreviated form. And it made fixing plot problems so easy because 40 pages is much easier to work with than 350 pages when you’re having to move stuff around or change things and figure out what plot points your changes are going to affect. It’s a more manageable length for that kind of stuff. And once the story line was as perfect as I could get it, the writing of the book was pretty painless—I was basically fleshing out the outline, writing the scenes out in complete detail. So every time I sat down to write, I knew exactly what I was doing, what was going to happen. (Though sometimes things changed a bit because a character would surprise me by reacting differently than I’d thought they would.)

6. Talk to us about the next book-- we are all dying to know about the sequel!
Book two is called Imaginable and I’m so very excited about this book! I can’t wait to share it with everyone. Luke gets this new aspect of his gift that is so freaking cool! And I’m so not telling what it is. ;-)

I had hoped to release it by the end of the year, but unfortunately it’s not going to be ready in time. As a consolation, though, I am releasing a novella in December entitled Indomitable and it tells Jonas’ story. I wanted to have something to give my fabulous readers who’ve been waiting very patiently for Imaginable. And then I’m hoping book two will be ready by sometime in February.

Thank you, Christina! It was such a pleasure to chat with you! :-)

Enter to win either the grand prize of a signed paperback or signed bookmarks/temporary tattoos for three lucky runner-ups!
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  1. thanks for the awesome interview and giveaway

  2. Thank you for such a fantastic giveaway and a brilliant interview. Intangible sounds like a fantastic book, and one that i shall definately be adding to my list of books to-read!

  3. Thanks for the interview and giveaway!

  4. Thank you very much for the international giveaway ! :)

  5. Sounds like a great book. Can't wait to read it--though, hopefully I'll win this book instead of having to go out and buying it. :P
    Thanks. :)