The Teen Appeal

Giving truth to Memphis youth

Exclusive Q&A with authors: Part 2

Yesterday you saw the first part of Madison Woods’ interview with a variety of authors, detailing how they got into writing and what inspired them. This is the rest of the interview. Please comment and give the Teen Appeal your thoughts.

Q: What is your novel about? Where is it available (Sites/Stores)?

Lily Paradis: Ignite is a coming of age story about a 21-year-old girl named Lauren who suddenly has to take care of her three younger step-siblings. She has to decide if she can take care of them, or if they’ll be put into the foster system and split up. There’s an element of romance with her gorgeous neighbor, Dean, but you’ll have to read to find out what happens there! It’s available on Amazon! It will be up on B&N after my Amazon exclusive contract runs out.

J.D. Netto: The Whispers of the Fallen series revolves around a boy named Isaac and the finding of the Diary of Lucifer. You may purchase the first two books of the series, The Whispers of the Fallen and Rebellion, on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, BookDepository.com, etc.

Sarena and Sasha Nanua: Our first book, The Gemstone, follows a 15-year-old girl named Arica Miller who is given a magical gemstone necklace from her mother. Soon after, she receives strange hallucinations which connect to her family’s past with sorcery. All dating up to Halloween night, Arica has to battle monstrous creatures, suspicious friends, and an enemy keen on stealing her gemstone! (It is young adult fantasy.)

Sarah Daltry: Backward Compatible is, to me, a story about gaming. It’s about this awesome culture that is so misunderstood. By no means do I think that Katie, George and Lanyon represent all gamers or even the majority of them, but they represent some gamers for sure. There are all these attitudes that gaming is stupid or violent or childish or for losers who live at home in their parents’ basements and are antisocial, but that’s like writing off movies, TV, books, or any art form as those things. Gaming is extremely social and these characters find love and friendship through it. I also think it’s a story about being weird – and being happy with that. George and Lanyon are clearly nerdy, but they’re okay with that. Katie, however, still seems to fight with the feeling that she isn’t normal and a lot of it came from being picked on in high school. Even years later, in college, she still feels like she won’t belong, but through the book, she learns that she doesn’t need to belong, because her real friends don’t care. That’s an important lesson for everyone, I think. The book is currently in eBook on Amazon, but is going up for preorder on other sites and should be available everywhere in mid- to late October. The paperback is available everywhere and even if it’s not stocked in stores, it should be able to be ordered. (Same with libraries, I think.)

Pete Clark: To me, Backward Compatible is about a close group of friends who share similar interests and are just doing what they love during a break in life’s usual cluster of responsibilities.

Michelle Madow: The Secret Diamond Sisters: Savannah. Courtney. Peyton.  The three sisters grew up not knowing their father and not quite catching a break. But it looks like their luck is about to change when they find out the secret identity of their long-lost dad—a billionaire Las Vegas hotel owner who wants them to come live in a gorgeous penthouse hotel suite. Suddenly the Strip’s most exclusive clubs are all-access, and with an unlimited credit card each, it should be easier than ever to fit right in. But in a town full of secrets and illusion, fitting in is nothing compared to finding out the truth about their past.

Q: How far do you want your book to reach? Do you see your book getting its own movie adaptation?

Lily Paradis: I would love for it to reach as far as possible! People are wonderful and have been so supportive so far, I’m very grateful.

J.D. Netto: Every author wishes to see his/her work reaching as many readers as possible. I believe after a book is released, it takes a life of its own, traveling as far as its readers decide to take it. I love that readers around the globe are discovering The Whispers of the Fallen series every day. Yes, I do see my books becoming movies in the near future.

Sarena and Sasha Nanua: I suppose any author hopes their book will reach a wide audience. That’s our goal! We truly believe both young and old readers would take interest in Arica’s story. If our book ever became a movie, we would be ecstatic!

Sarah Daltry: Well, in a fantasy world, I want Wil Wheaton and Joss Whedon and Felicia Day to read my book! 🙂 Realistically, though, I just want it to reach the right people. I want it to reach teens and college students and nerds and gamers. I’ve had a struggle as an author because I started out writing romance, which wasn’t really what I wanted to write but what everyone said I should write to get myself established, but that means that people think it’s a romance. I mean, it’s a love story, but in a fun and dorky way. It’s not your typical romance, that’s for sure! I think it would make a great movie or TV show actually, but that’s in the hands of the movie gods, I guess.

Pete Clark: I would like everyone who is interested in the subject matter to know about it and read it. That’s not going to happen, of course, but I like when people read my stuff. At least people who like the sort of things I write. I think it’d make an excellent movie because it’s so heavy on comic dialogue and character. It would be very well-suited to that medium, but I sincerely doubt it will become popular enough to get picked up for one.

Q: What kept you motivated to keep writing?

Lily Paradis: I felt like I had a duty to share the stories in my head, because I didn’t want to be the only one who got to know the characters. I had a few friends who liked my writing, so I felt like I should keep going because others might as well! I couldn’t leave my characters locked up inside my head with nowhere to go, if that makes any sense at all.

J.D. Netto: My motivation to finish this series is in the fact that I believe in my characters and their journey. They have a story that needs to be shared, and I know many out there are willing to discover that story—many need to discover it.

Sarena and Sasha Nanua: We always wrote just for the fun of it. Ever since the release of our first book, when we knew people was actually reading our book, our new motivation became our readers (family, friends, and readers from far and wide!). Our goal has always been to become authors–and at a young age, we had done it!

Sarah Daltry: Ironically, I haven’t been motivated for the last few months. However, what motivates me are small things. Reminders about why I do it in the first place. A comment an author I respect makes or a book I read that really inspires me or even just a nice email from a friend or reader. It’s not about reaching millions who don’t get what you’re saying; it’s about reaching two or three who really, truly do.

Pete Clark: I just enjoy the process of writing. I always have. As long as I like telling stories, I will continue to write.

Michelle Madow: I know that if I don’t finish writing a book, it will never be published so other people can read it. Keeping that end goal in mind always keeps me going!

 Q: How did it feel to get your book published?

Lily Paradis: It felt strange. It had been in my head, then it was on my computer, and it felt surreal to hold it in my hand or see it on my kindle. I don’t think it’s hit me yet. It has been a dream of mine for so long that I can’t wrap my mind around the fact that it actually happened.

J.D. Netto: It was a bit surreal the day my publisher offered me a book deal. I find it very humbling that someone believed in my story.

Sarena and Sasha Nanua: We were so excited! This had always been a dream of ours. Now, when people ask what we want to be when we grow up, we still want to say Author! Even though we already are…

Sarah Daltry: I thought I would be excited to be published. My first novel was published by a major publisher and then I did the indie thing and have gone back to traditional with my upcoming fantasy novel, but what I’ve realized is that it’s not about the name on the book. It’s about someone reading your book and letting you know they liked it. I got two tweets recently from someone who’s read Backward Compatible several times and it just feels awesome to know that it worked for someone and I got it right.

Pete Clark: It was satisfying to an extent, but I honestly prefer speaking with a person one-on-one about what they thought, as opposed to the respect of being published. But it is still nice.

Q: Do you have any advice for teenagers who want to pursue a career as an author?

Lily Paradis: Write what you love. There will always be people out there who don’t like your writing, and they’ll try to change you. If you don’t love what you’re writing, you won’t have any fun at all. Don’t listen to the naysayers, and do it for you.

J.D. Netto: Do not be afraid to fail. Fail once, try again; fail twice, try harder; fail three times, get up on your feet and keep on going. The secret to being a writer is the willingness to grow from the wrong and right ideas you have. Believe in your story and characters and don’t be afraid to be unique. Often times, authors want to write about what is “hot” in the industry. Stick to what is “hot” for you. That will get you far.

Sarena and Sasha Nanua: Keep writing, despite any negatives! Writing should be a fun experience. If you really want to be an author, practice reading every day; study why and how an author writes the way they do. Soon enough, your writing style will begin to shape itself and you might just create a best-seller.

Sarah Daltry: Be true to yourself. Over the past year, it’s been a huge conflict for me. As I said, I changed my stories around to fit what people said I should write rather than what I wanted to write and it’s hard to deal with that day after day. Maybe people want a romance writer who wants to talk about hot guys, but I’m a nerd who would rather talk about Doctor Who and Xbox, so I can’t keep that up. It’s about self-respect and also self-awareness. I write all these stories about being happy with whom you are, but that’s easier said than done. However, that’s the best advice I can give. If you look at your work in progress and realize that you’re thinking about things like marketing or money or reviews, you need to put it away and go back when there is nothing but you, the characters, and the story. Because that’s when you will write your best work.

Pete Clark: If you enjoy writing, then keep doing it. If you are expecting to become famous and make money, then marry a Kardashian.

Michelle Madow: Write every day. (Well, at least five days a week, since sometimes you need breaks!) Figure out a word goal you want to reach every day, and reach it. Don’t be too hard on yourself — what you’re writing is only a draft. It’s most important to get words on the page! Once you do that, and complete the story, you can go back and edit it later.

So there you have the authors’ stories. Perhaps you would like to get writing and start writing articles for the Teen Appeal? Contact us through the website to get involved.

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