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How a Young Adult Novel was Born…

LIVE interview with Simon Rose on Fantasy Fiction Focus YouTube channel gets to the bottom of how The Fountain (my debut YA Romantic Fantasy Novel – out December 8, 2015) was born.

I’m a busy mom of three who works full time. The number one question I’ve gotten from friends and family since The Fountain was launched is HOW? There’s no easy answer to that. Writing is a commitment for sure, and The Fountain is a story that kept growing as I wrote and ended up being a wonderful mix of  magic, mystery and intrigue.

While the launch of The Fountain has taken much more time and attention than I’d ever imagined, I’m excited by people’s reactions and can’t wait to get Book 2 in The Fountain Series out there! Writing is definitely a discipline – one that I’m proud to be student of.

Hope you enjoy the interview as much as I enjoyed recording it!

LIVE Fantasy Fiction Focus Interview – Suzy Vadori

7 Days an Author…

Flying high after launching The Fountain with Evil Alter Ego Press this week – terrific launch party at Wild Rose Brewery, amazing reading with 8 other amazing authors (Randy McCharles, Madison Avery, Clare C. Marshall, Nola Sarina, Adam Dreece, Neil Enock, Glynn Stewart and David Poulson) at Owl’s Nest Books, Planning meeting for When Words Collide 2016 and a strong week in sales. Couldn’t be happier for this jump start to my author journey. Thanks to everyone for your support and well wishes.

The Fountain is available in print and eBook in Canada here:

Chapters Indigo

and in the US here:

amazon.com

Photo Credits to Dave Harold and G.W. Renshaw. Thank you!!

 

Some Strange Questions my Publisher asked me…

For original transcript of interview, please visit https://evilalteregopress.wordpress.com/category/interview/

We here at Evil Alt Ego Press are super excited to introduce the newest member of our author family, Suzy Vadori. Suzy is the author of The Fountain, coming out December 8th 2015. Recently Suzy sat down with Michell and I to talk about her book, and tell us a little bit more about herself.

The interview was great fun and we are excited to share it with you today. So, without any further delay:

evilalterego

Tell us a little about yourself
Where do you live?

View More: http://lydiamacintosh.pass.us/suzy

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

evilalterego

Have you lived there all your life?

View More: http://lydiamacintosh.pass.us/suzy

I’ve moved around a lot. I was born in Nova Scotia and still visit there every summer. As a kid I also lived in Toronto, London (Ontario), Boston and Calgary. In my adult life I’ve lived and worked in Toronto, New York City and now back to Calgary. My books tend to be set in places I’ve lived and know. The Fountain is set near Boston, where I went to grade school.

evilalteregoWhat do you do for a “real” job?

 

 

 

View More: http://lydiamacintosh.pass.us/suzyI use the right side of my brain, running operations for a packaged goods company. Lots of math and project management.

evilalteregoHave you always wanted to be a writer?

 

 

View More: http://lydiamacintosh.pass.us/suzyYes.

evilalteregoSince is it indelicate to ask a woman her age, are you old enough to remember the “Coke and a Smile” ad campaign? What about the Mean Joe Green – Coke ad?

View More: http://lydiamacintosh.pass.us/suzyI’m actually good with my age. I don’t really see age as a hurdle. You can do anything you want to do, at any age. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

evilalterego So… YA fiction – Team Edward or Team Jacob, Team Gale or Team Peeta, and what faction would you be in?

View More: http://lydiamacintosh.pass.us/suzyTeam Jacob, hands down. No choice – I tell my husband he looks like Taylor Lautner.
If I had to choose – Gale. But neither’s relationship with Katniss really fits what I expect from a romantic story line. Katniss deserves more than either of them offer.
Sadly, I have to admit I’d be in Erudite. I’d like to say I’m dauntless brave or selfless abnegation, but I’d rather sit around and think all day…

evilalteregoWhen did you get started writing?

 

 

View More: http://lydiamacintosh.pass.us/suzyIn grade school I wrote lots of stories and started lots of novels that I never finished.

evilalteregoThis is your first book, where did the idea come from, or can you describe the process of writing this book?

View More: http://lydiamacintosh.pass.us/suzyThis book, believe it or not, came from a novel I started when I was 10 or 11. I was (and am) a huge fan of Gordon Korman and his MacDonald Hall books that took place at a boarding school. I just love the setting where the kids can sneak in and out of each others’ rooms at night, breaking rules. Of course, this novel setting is with older kids, who have more mature problems as well as a romantic story line, but it still has the fun, rule breaking aspect of being away from parents.

evilalteregoAre there other books in the world of The Fountain?

 

View More: http://lydiamacintosh.pass.us/suzyThe Fountain is the first book of The Fountain Trilogy. The most common questions I get asked by readers of The Fountain are about Courtney, who only appears in The Fountain briefly. She is such a strong character and the story of how she got to that point is the one that wants to be told in the second book.

evilalteregoWho is your favorite fictional character?

View More: http://lydiamacintosh.pass.us/suzyAnne of Green Gables. Sassy, smart and accomplished in her time.

evilalteregoDo you have any writing habits or rituals? For example, do you only write in the morning with a fresh cup of coffee three inches away from the left side of your computer, because everyone knows you only drink coffee with your left hand while you are writing. Your blue fuzzy slipper socks on your feet, because the pink ones are just silly when you are writing. And of course the music cranked up to 4.75 because anything more or less would just not work. For example.

View More: http://lydiamacintosh.pass.us/suzyNo. I work full time and have a busy life with my husband and three kids, so I write when and where I can, I’m not fussy. I keep a laptop in my purse and pull it out whenever I have the chance. I write in hockey arenas, on airplanes, sitting in a hallway waiting to pick up kids at their activities, wherever. If I actually find myself with a block of a few hours, I pick a coffee shop or pub and don’t get up. Being out of the house works well for my creative process. Less dishes and laundry calling me. But editing is a whole different story. I can edit in those places too, but more often than not I edit in my home office or at my kitchen table. Editing feels more like work than initial writing, so I feel more justified ignoring the chores.

evilalteregoTell us your favorite part of the whole process with this book.

View More: http://lydiamacintosh.pass.us/suzyI love getting feedback from readers. I love when they get excited about the book and ask questions about The Fountain’s world and Ava.

evilalteregoWhat is next for you?

 

View More: http://lydiamacintosh.pass.us/suzyI am working on Books 2 and 3 in The Fountain series. Book 2 will come out next year.

We want to thank Suzy for taking the time to sit down with us and answer our questions, strange though some of them where. We are really excited to work with her and look forward to sharing her book with you. For more information about The Fountain, please check out the Evil Alter Ego Press bookstore. For more information about Suzy Vadori see out authors page.

The Fountain – A Novel for Young Adults

fountain-final

Careful what you wish for. It just might come true.

Ava Marshall, driven by a desire to learn more about her mother’s past, moved across the country to attend St. Augustus. But her mom’s secrets will have to wait, because she finds herself instantly hated for her family’s connection to her new school and is forced to fight alone against a classmate who is setting Ava up to be expelled.    

Fleeing campus, she takes a shortcut to her Gran’s house through the forbidden West Woods and discovers a mysterious fountain that has the power to grant a wish and change it all. But can she live with the consequences? Or will she end up breaking every school rule and risking the love of her life to make it right…  

Five Reasons to Stop Reading this and Get Back to WRITING!

Hello! 

If you’re anything like me, writing is something I NEED to do!  Right now, I’m researching and outlining my next book, which doesn’t leave me much time for blogging.  So, I thought I’d write a post that will inspire you to get back to your writing, too.  After all, that’s the goal, isn’t it??

Five Reasons to Stop Reading this and Get Back to your own WRITING!

1.  It’ll never get written if you don’t even start

2.  I have yet to hear of a book deal for your creative prose in tweets or text messages.  Put your creativity to use.

3.  If you write just a page per day, you’ll have a mid-sized novel will be done within the year.  Phew!

4.  Writer’s block?  Write around it!  Start in a different place, use a different voice, change the setting…  just write through it.

5.  Because there is no feeling like being in the zone and having the words flow.

Happy Writing!

10.   Only YOU can tell your story

Now go write.   

Coming out of the Writer’s Closet

If you’ve always known you’ve wanted to be a writer, went to school for it and have several books published and no other source of income – this post is not for you.  But many of us have had other careers and lives before finally “coming out” and becoming writers, and I for one am very excited to hear about people’s journeys! 

“Actually, I’m writing a book, too,” the person I’ve just met whispers to me at a party.

“Really?” I say loudly. “I’d love to hear more about it!”

“Well,” this person says, darting their eyes around the room to see who’s listening, “I haven’t really been telling people, I don’t know where I’m going with it.”

If this scenario sounds familiar to you, my advice to them is always the same.   You have to tell your friends and family and start talking about it, or you’ll never get it finished!  The best thing I ever did when I started writing my first full novel was to tell people I was doing it.   

Now, writers have a reputation out there as a group for being a bit reserved, and granted, I don’t exactly fit into that category.  But still, tell people.  For one thing, talking about my writing is usually a great conversation starter, but for another, I found the pressure very motivating!  Stating my goals out loud made them real to myself, my friends and my family.  I no longer had to write in secret.  I could stick my laptop under my arm and walk out the door, waving to my family. 

“Bye!  I’m going to work on my book..”

What a great feeling. 

You might have friends and family ask to read what you’ve written.  I always let them.  They’ll undoubtedly tell you that it’s GREAT!  It’s wonderful.  (Take the praise with a grain of salt.  They are proud of you and don’t want to hurt your feelings).  If you let them review a Work in Progress, you’ll hear:

“Here are some typos I’ve found, but great job!”

 Is this helpful?  Well, yes – because you are creating champions and supporters along your way.  They still have to buy your book when it comes out to see if you took any of their suggestions, or mentioned their helpful feedback in the credits.  If that’s something that motivates you, as it does me, then having friends and family read your work can be really helpful, though unless they have experience writing and editing, it won’t move your manuscript forward in the direction that you need it to go in to get published.  For that, you need to talk to those who have done it. 

GET INVOLVED!  The biggest surprise to me throughout this journey was just how welcoming the writing community is.  At first I was shy.  After all, I didn’t have a completed work to share, I didn’t know what a query was or how to find a writing group.   Take a writing course, attend a writing conference, look for online groups, join Twitter (I can’t believe how many writers are active and helpful on Twitter!)… find somewhere that works for you to meet writers. 

I was astounded at the number of writers I spoke with who invited me for coffee to share their experiences and point me in the right direction.  As it turns out, they love talking about writing as much as I do.  Taking the time to learn from their experiences has opened many doors for me and gotten me on my way.    

So, shout it from the rooftops if you want to take your writing career somewhere.  “I’M A WRITER!”   Then sit down and start writing. 

What are Your Kids Reading?

What are Your Kids reading? 

Or are you just happy that they are reading at all?

When I was 12, my dad “caught” me reading Flowers in the Attic (VC Andrews).  I still remember how angry he was, flipping through the pages and realizing that it was about incest and murderous plots.  He threw that book in the garbage and suggested I get some better reading material.  (Throwing a book out?  The thought still makes me cringe). 

The next book I checked out of the library was Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler’s auto biography.  I picked it out trying to impress my dad, thinking – how could he possibly object to such a clearly historical gem?  How educational!  I left that one on the coffee table in plain view.  Looking back, it probably wasn’t a more appropriate choice.   The thoughts of a madman that led him to execute millions of innocent people simply for their heritage or their beliefs, was that any better reading for my young mind?  By the way, I borrowed Flowers in the Attic from a friend and continued to read the whole series anyway.  Except the second time, I knew to hide the books.  Thanks anyway, dad, for trying to keep me sheltered just a little bit longer!

Bright kids will always look for answers that they can’t ask their parents in the books that they read.  I don’t think that reading things deemed beyond my years hurt me in the long run, though I certainly didn’t think they were beyond my years at the time. 

Even books targeted at younger ages have historically had mature themes.  I was appalled when I recently brought out some of the books I’d loved as a kid, to share with my own children.  Madeleine (Ludwig Bemelmans) talks about guillotines and animal cruelty, I had to answer lots of questions about smoking, shockingly, while reading Ramona and Her Father (Beverly Cleary) and Curious George (H.A. and Margaret Rey).  Curious George smokes a pipe in one of his earliest appearances. 

“Mom, doesn’t Curious George know that will make him DIE??” 

The wolf eats the pigs, the Farmer’s wife cut off their tails with a carving knife (Three Blind Mice), the old lady in the shoe whips her children soundly… the list goes on. 

The trend in recent years seems to be to take these mature themes out of picture books, thank goodness, though the trend is for Young Adult books to contain more violence.  This certainly seems true when we look at the break out successes in the past few years.  To name a few, the Divergent Series (Veronica Roth), The Book Thief (Markus Zusak), Paper Towns (John Green), all feature teenage characters who deal with very grown up danger and potential violence.

But should young adults and teens really be reading these?  Would you let your own kids?

Let’s look at an example you may have read.  Yes, the Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins) includes violence, but the reader feels the characters’ disgust and helplessness at the world they find themselves in, and I think that’s a great thing for kids to experience through reading.  It sends the message that just because everyone around you thinks that everything is okay the way it is, if you know in your heart that it’s wrong, you can find the courage to make the change.  What a lesson, hidden in a terrible world.   There are many great examples like this.  These are the books that stand head and shoulders above the rest, and their weeks on the bestseller lists speak for themselves. 

I for one think that reading some of the material out there, violence and all, can still be an amazing learning and growth experience for youth.    

So, will I let my kids read Flowers in the Attic when they are twelve?  To be honest, I don’t know.  I guess I’ll just have to see what happens when we get there. 

Do You Write About the People Your Life?

Do You Write About the People in Your Life, and do They Mind?

The key to a great novel is character development, right? Absolutely. You can start by knowing your character’s backstory, giving them mannerisms, writing out what their thoughts might look like if they kept a diary… the list goes on. Some of what you create during this process you’ll use in your manuscript, some you won’t.

But have you ever wondered where the inspiration for these multi-layered characters comes from in each writer? I’m sure for each writer it’s different. Friends and family who’ve read something I’ve written sometimes tell me they recognize a character, with a knowing cluck of the tongue. I just scratch my head and say, “really?”.

When I write, I think of my characters as new, unique beings. The suggestion otherwise made me think. Do I really write about the people in my life, subconsciously? YIKES! If so, should I be embarrassed? Should I apologise? The thought intrigued me.

So, the next time I sat down to create a new character for my new project, I tried to keep a critical eye as I went through what is now a routine process for me. My answer as to whether or not I write about the people in my life? A resounding…

Sort of!

Of course, like most writers, I do go through the lists of things about my character that help me to get to know them. For a small character I might write a single page of notes that only I will ever read. For a main character, the notes might almost fill a book themselves as I nail down just what I want them to think or feel.

So, do my characters look and act like the people I know? Surprisingly, no. I’m more likely to choose a celebrity at first, rather than someone I know to define my character’s looks, accent and mannerisms, just for ease of recall. For example, if my character is supposed to be middle aged, ghostly pale and from Australia, I might write Nicole Kidman at the top of my first character page, just so I don’t have to create each and every physical trait for her from scratch. That character may end up nothing like Nicole Kidman when I’m done exploring her, but it’s a starting point.

In fact, when I think about my latest completed project, young adult (YA) novel THE FOUNTAIN, I know exactly what each character would look like if I met them on the street. Strangely, they are like nobody I can remember meeting before, though their appearances are very clear in my mind. Actually, if I actually ran into someone on the street that matched the image of one of my beloved characters in my mind, I think I would go into shock.

So, if it’s not their looks or their actions, what is it that I draw from people I know?

I copy the feelings they evoke. I want the reader to feel the main character’s disgust when her unfair teacher enters the room. The protagonist’s longing for the new girl in class must be palpable when he talks to her. I think of it as their “theme”, almost like a theme song that follows my characters around my novel, though with less fanfare. If I don’t feel their theme arrive when they do when I’m reviewing a scene, I do it again until I get it right.

The mood I want the reader to feel when they experience a scene is something that I draw from things I’ve experienced. What it’s like to lose first love. How it feels to have your innermost thoughts exposed. These are things that must feel real to the reader. And they are.

My intense memory of feelings is what compels me to be a writer. I write YA because I think that the discovery of who you are and who you want to become is such an exciting and individual journey. I let my characters borrow my feelings about certain people because I want the reader to experience this bitter sweet journey in a convincing way.

So go ahead, comb my manuscript for a glimpse of yourself. But know that it might be in how I felt when we said goodbye that time, and nothing else.