Book Nerd Interview
Lazy Days of Summer Giveaway Hop
Tell us your latest news.
I am mentally working on several books right now. One is the sequel to "The Hollow of Mont Noir," another is a fairy tale with a paranormal twist, and the last is a dystopian novel. I plan to finish the sequel first, and then I'll see which of the others grabs my attention at that time.
Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
I've always been really into reading, and I think of myself as a reader first and a writer second. I only write things that I would want to read myself.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
"The Hollow of Mont Noir" is the first book I've written, and I wrote it in 2011. (Never mind how old I was....) I liked to write short stories as a child and I started trying to write a novel several times, but this is the first complete book that I've finished.
For those who are unfamiliar with your novel; The Hollow of Mont Noir, how would you introduce it?
It is a young adult paranormal romance story about a seventeen-year-old girl who moves across the country with her parents to search for her missing brother. In her new town, she begins to learn that the world is much more complex than she ever knew. One of the recurring concepts in the book is "hope," and how it can be both wonderful and crushing.
Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
I am currently working on the second book in the HOWL Series, called "Ochre Sky." It picks up where "The Hollow of Mont Noir" leaves off. I don't want to get into too much of the plot and give away the ending of the first book, so I'll just say that the main theme of this book will be "choices."
Do you have a favorite quote that you keep visible in your work environment to help inspire you?
I work wherever in my house is the quietest at that point in time, so I don't have many physical things related to my writing. One quote I like to think of is from "Horton Hears a Who" by Dr. Seuss: "A person's a person, no matter how small." It reminds me that even the most seemingly inconsequential characters in my stories need to be well thought-out, fully developed people, even if only in my own mind.
Did you learn anything from writing Allison and what was it?
I've learned how much a person's own experiences affect how they relate to a character in a story. Some reviewers have commented that Allison seemed very mature for a teenager, others that she was immature, and still others said that she was perfectly realistic for a teenager. None of them are right or wrong, the differences just come from having different perspectives and different perceptions of how a "normal" teenager would think and act.
If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I can't answer this question without giving away the end of the series. All I can say is that Allison has some growing up to do over the next few books, and she will have some difficult decisions to make. Hopefully, by the end of the series, she'll be in a position to dispense sage life advice to female leads of other series.
What is the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
When I was about three-quarters of the way done with "The Hollow of Mont Noir," my husband and I bought one of those wooden playground sets for the backyard and assembled it ourselves. It took forever, and for a couple of weeks, I spent all of my free time drilling, measuring, and hammering. That kind of derailed my writing for a while, and by the time we were done, it was summer and I just wanted to be outside.
Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?
If I had to pick one book, I'd probably say "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" because I read that as an adult and it renewed my love of young adult books. (But, ask me tomorrow and I may have a different answer...) I also love "Wuthering Heights" because Emily Brontë perfectly matches love and tragedy.
When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
I don't lie very often and I'm not very good at it because I am uncomfortable doing it. If someone were to ask me about how much I weigh, though, I might be tempted to shave off a few pounds of baby weight still lingering from my last pregnancy.
Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
My awesome husband got me an iPad to use for writing, so now I can write anytime and anywhere I want to. I love it!
If you could be any mythology creature, what would you be?
A pixie with a little green tutu, just like Tinkerbelle.
What’s the worst job you’ve had?
Right after college, I worked as a chemist at this tiny little place, testing water and soil samples for contaminates. It was quite possibly the worst company ever, and safety was their last priority. Luckily, I only worked there a few months before I found another job, but I heard that after I left, a bunch of people got sick and OSHA was called in to investigate. Scary!
When was the last time you cried?
I'm a total sap. I have two little boys, ages 3 and 9 months, and I get all choked up looking at pictures of them when they were younger. They're just growing up too fast.
What is your favorite Holiday and why?
Christmas. It's a magical time of year, especially with little children in the house. Their excitement is contagious, and my husband and I look forward to Christmas morning as much as they do.
Where can readers stalk you?
Allison Spencer was no stranger to the paranormal. An animal empath, she had the unique capacity to sense the feelings of animals around her - an ability she liked to call "Crittervision." She had never met anyone else with unusual powers and had gotten used to the fact that she was just an eccentric in a world full of normal people.
Allison lived an otherwise ordinary life and was looking forward to finishing high school along with her friends and her boyfriend in her hometown of Ocean City, Maryland. But when her older brother, Logan, suddenly disappeared from a small college town near the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York, Allison's entire world was turned upside down.
Logan still hadn't been found after several months, so Allison's parents decided to move the family to the Hollow of Mont Noir, New York to look for him themselves. In addition to leaving behind her home and her friends and being dumped by her boyfriend, Allison suddenly had to deal with life in a small town, a strange creature that seemed to be stalking her, a new school full of cliques and cattiness, parents who were preoccupied with her missing brother, and an illogical fascination with an outcast boy who didn't talk to anyone at school.
As Allison settled into her new home, she began to realize that not everything - and everyone - was what they seemed. She soon learned of the existence of supernatural creatures living side-by-side with humans and was faced with a whole new set of questions - and some shocking answers - about herself and her family.
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