Please Welcome to Blood Rose Books Today:
If there was one author you could co-write a novel with (they can be alive or dead) who would you choose and why?
Honestly, without even thinking, I’d immediately answer Anne McCaffrey. She was an author I began reading in the fifth grade, and I continued to read (and re-read!) into adulthood. She created so many worlds and characters that I immersed myself in for most of my life. I can’t imagine anything more satisfying than being able to experience that creative process firsthand.
You released your debut novel, Spark Rising, in late 2014. Can you tell us the process you went through to get it published? Any advice for other authors out there looking to have their works published? When did you finally realize that you had made it?
Originally, I’d planned to go the traditional publishing route. I had agents interested, though I kept hearing again and again that dystopia was a hard sell. Then I spoke with friends who were indie authors, and I did some research, and I decided that was the route for me. I found an excellent professional editing team with amazing references, hired the best cover artist I could find, and just went for it. Really, that’s the key. Do your homework, whatever the route you choose, and then throw yourself into it whole-heartedly. Don’t cut corners. Do it right, even if you have to save money first or invest years into it.
As far as when I realized I’d finally made it...hmmm. Have I? Ha ha! Honestly, I think I realized I had something special when the first reviews came in and readers who didn’t know me were so overwhelmingly positive. And then when Spark Rising began winning awards...that was when I started to actually experience feelings of “Wow! Is this really happening?”
The Dystopia genre appears to be the genre that everyone is writing in these days (even authors that are well established in other genres), what do you think draws authors to these genres? Why did you decided to release your debut in this genres? How do you believe your novel stand out from the rest of the crowd?
I think Dystopia actually speaks to the part of us that wants to hope. So many think of it as a dark genre, but the stories themselves are usually about a character or group of characters who are trying to overcome that darkness and its effects on their lives. That’s what is at the core of Spark Rising, and it’s why I love writing dystopian stories.
I hear again and again that Spark Rising is different. I think it’s because I wrote what I loved--and I love science fiction, dystopian, romance, urban fantasy, action adventure. All of those things are woven together. There’s even a bit of a dark superhero feel. Spark Rising is also written for the NA/Adult reader instead of for YA, so the story-line is a little grittier, a little darker, a little sexier. I adore YA dystopian fiction, but I wanted to explore more adult themes. I think my readers were ready for that, too.
What do you think would be the hardest or most challenging genre to write a novel in and why?
How do you see the world coming to an end? Based upon Spark Rising would you say that the end will be man-made? Do think we as a species will survive?
I do think the end of the world as we know it will definitely be at our own hands. At this point, even “natural disasters” have been shaped by our mistakes. But I’d like to believe that we will survive, somehow. Again, it’s all about hope for me.
Your concept of Dust and the ability to control it was one of the most interesting powers that I have read in a long time, where did the inspiration for this power come from? How would you describe Lena’s powers for those who have not read the book yet?
I had a dream about a girl living in an abandoned gas station in the Southwestern US desert, very post-apocalyptic, and she had these powers. As I began to write, the cause revealed itself. So then I had to go back and do my research. Would this hypothetically be possible, and if so...how? Her powers were always a part of her. It was my job to make the world of the future fit around this amazing person.
For those who haven’t read the book... Lena Gracey is a Spark. To others on our future Earth, that means that she has the ability to manipulate and create electrical energy. But Lena is self-taught, and she knows that Sparks are capable of so much more. That knowledge makes her dangerous. It makes her a weapon. It makes her a target.
Spark Rising has some darker themed elements in it (slavery, abuse, caste system) what appeals to you about the darker aspects of human culture?
It’s what we do. We are capable of both immense kindness and incredible depravity.
When I was younger, I took a graduate seminar on genocide. It was both fascinating and shattering. I think human beings live on a very thin edge of grey. Darkness is on one side and light is on the other. The interplay between the sides, both individually and culturally, as we fall to one side or the other or attempt to hold on to that midpoint despite the forces pulling at us from the world outside and from within ourselves is where I find compelling stories. What makes one a hero? What makes another irredeemable? How close are the two really? Can someone be BOTH? Hmmm...
Spark Rising is the first book in you Progenitor Saga, how many novels do you have planned for the series? Can you give us a few tidbits about what is going to come next?
I had originally planned five, but then my second book had to be split into two! I’ve gone back and revised the larger series outline and now I expect that the Saga will be three sets of three novels. They’ll all be inter-related and feature the same characters, but each set of three will deal with a specific conflict and can stand alone. That’s the plan anyway.
This first set of three, including Spark Rising and the upcoming Spark Awakening, covers the opening of the revolution and follows Lena’s discovery of the strength of her powers and her innate darkness and how she ultimately chooses to deal with both (hint: that changes throughout the three books!). It’s also a love story about two very flawed people from different worlds trying to figure out what “happily-ever-after” means in a dark, violent world where their choices and the people around them may put them at odds.
And I will say that Spark Awakening, as it is written now, has a fairly significant cliffhanger. But I am focusing on finishing and getting the third book out as quickly as possible!
Do you have any information on upcoming works or events that you are able to share?
Spark Awakening is coming in the early part of 2016! I’ll be signing at the Deep in the Heart event in San Antonio, Texas in February and my goal is to have it out by then. I’m also hoping to be at RT 2016 in Las Vegas, and I will absolutely be at Utopia Con in Nashville next year.
There will also be a novella from Ace’s point-of-view releasing about the same time as Spark Awakening. I am mulling different ways of making that release special for my readers--it may be a free read somehow. Stay tuned!
What is one book (other than one of your own) that you think should be a must read for everyone?
Toni Morrison’s Beloved. Without question.
I just want to say Thank You once again to Kate for taking the time to do an interview with me. Her debut novel Spark Rising is really really worth a read if you are looking for something new and different in the dystopia genre (which I think we all are). Kate has very nicely supplied some giveaways (INT) below, so make sure you enter so you can try two ways to get your hands on Spark Rising.
a Rafflecopter giveaway