Big day on the blog, with a fantastic author interview and my very first giveaway! Check it out:
I’ve been following the progress of The Last Year series since author Trisha Leigh announced the first book’s release day months ago. I mean, come on, I’m just as much a sci-fi girl as I am fantasy, so I’m on board with eerie alien takeovers. Whispers in Autumn turned out to be a lyrically written YA dystopian, complete with 1950s-style surface that hides a rotten core. I loved it and immediately badgered Trisha into allowing me to interview her. She was a good sport and had some great answers to my questions.
The original idea came from a tweet, believe it or not. Someone tweeted that their friends daughter had woken up in the middle of the night terrified she didn’t exist. It struck me for some reason and I wrote it down. Over the next several days a main character arrived, and eventually told me why she was scared she didn’t exist, and everything kind of fell into place from there.
How long was this book in the making, from idea to finished product? And what’s changed the most since the first draft?
I had the idea during NaNo 2009 (I was working on something different), and I wrote the first draft of Whispers in Autumn in about 6 weeks, from Dec 09-Jan 10. I signed with an agent to rep the book in July 2010, and she and I worked on revisions until April of 2011, when I decided we didn’t make the best team. I let it sit unattended for a year while I worked and queried other projects, then picked it up in April of 2012 to self-pub.
As far as things that have changed, I think Althea changed the most. The world building also changed, but not in its most basic format. It was more of a deepening than alterations. Althea and I struggled because of the essence of who she is — a girl whose grown up never talking about herself and her strange life. I like to think she and I reached a compromise where information sharing is concerned.
In your acknowledgments, you thank the real Althea, whose name you borrowed for your main character. This piqued my interest, especially since I love that name. Can you tell us about the real Althea?
Althea is a (now) 15-year-old girl I knew through a friend. She read the first draft of WIA and loved it, and I loved both her name and the fact that she is one of the most determined girls I know. The real Althea is a swimmer, and at the time I was writing the book had been given bad news about a shoulder injury, but she showed up to practice every day while she was sidelined just to kick. Every. Day. Althea the main character borrowed the real Althea’s tenacity and spirit, but also her gentle personality.
And yeah, I love the name. It’s different and it’s strong.
You’re indie/self-publishing this series, which I think is awesome. What has that experience been like so far? Any regrets or things you’d do differently?
No, no, regrets or things I wished I could change. I have the good fortune of being friends and critique partners with Denise Grover Swank, who is a self-published author to be reckoned with, and had followed her process closely. The experience has been exciting, terrifying, exhausting, and rewarding at the same time.
Working with editors and watching my work grow has been amazing, and the fact that there have been no — zero — complaints about how my novel is written thrills me. That was my goal. To put out a product that is indistinguishable quality-wise from a book coming from the Big 6 in any way except sales outlets, and I’m super proud of how it’s turned out.
Winter Omens releases this week. How does the second book differ from the first book? And what was your greatest challenge in writing it?
Winter Omens has a slightly different cast of characters, for one, but for another it doesn’t take place in civilization. The Others know about the kids now, who they are and what they look like, which means they have to run and hide. So the setting, for one. For another, it was nice to be able to tell the story without focusing so much on the world building of the first novel. The second book is also more violent and tense.
As far as challenges, I struggled with the new character (yes, a second boy) and making sure he came across on the page exactly how I saw him in my mind—in lots of ways very different from Lucas, the love interest in WIA. Another aspect was making sure enough conflict and action came into play, but I think we managed that pretty well.
Anything you can tell us about the rest of the series? I mean, no real spoilers, of course, but…seriously, any tidbits?
Hmm, that’s a hard one! I’ll say that the cast of characters — not only human ones — continues to grow as the series progresses. Also, the choices get harder as they land more and more in gray areas instead of black or white ones.
And Althea gets a dog.
Batman or Iron Man: Iron Man. I love a sense of humor.
TV Show You Can’t Live Without: Seinfeld
Favorite Genre to Read for Fun: Contemporary YA
Three People You’d Have the Biggest Fangirl Freakout About Meeting: Zac Efron, JJ Abrams, and Mandy Moore
In honor of the release of Winter Omens, I’m doing an epic The Last Year ebook* giveaway!
Click the images below to check out their plot summaries if you’re not familiar with them. But, really, it’s aliens and creepy mind control and rich prose – what else do you need to know?
Two first prize winners will get an ebook of Whispers in Autumn (or, if you already have that one, Winter Omens).
One grand prize winner will win ebooks of both.**
You up for it? Good. I can’t use the fancy Rafflecopter on my blog, so we’ll have to do this the old-fashioned way. Here’s how you get entries:
- First, you’ve got to leave a comment. That’s step number one. If you want no others entries, then all you’ve got to do is wave, say hi, mention which of Trisha’s books you want, and that’s pretty much it.
If you want extra entries:
- Follow Trisha on Twitter (include your Twitter handle in your comment) [+2]
- Follow me on Twitter (include your Twitter handle in your comment) [+2]
- Tweet about the contest (leave me the link to it in your comment) [+2]
- Answer the lightning round questions in your comment:
- Batman or Iron Man [+1]
- TV Show You Can’t Live Without [+1]
- Favorite Genre to Read for Fun [+1]
- Three People You’d Have the Biggest Fangirl Freakout About Meeting [+1]
You have until Sunday, September 30th to enter! I will use random.org to announce the winners on October 1st!
*If you do not have an ebook reader and still want to enter, go ahead and do so. We’ll work something out if you’re chosen.
**If you already have Whispers in Autumn and you’re picked as the grand prize winner, you won’t be disqualified. We’ll work something out in that case, too. 🙂