Friday, November 20, 2015

Promo Interview and Giveaway: Emerge by Melissa A. Craven

Book Details:
Emerge by Melissa A. Craven
(The Awakening #1)
Publication date: April 1st 2015
Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

Allie Carmichael has always believed life is simple.

You’re born. You live. You die.
She has no cause to believe that equation works differently for her, but there has to be a reason the world treats her like a pariah.

When an unexpected move to Kelleys Island brings Aidan McBrien crashing into her life, Allie is thrown by his reaction. He doesn’t shrink from her touch. He doesn’t stutter or make a quick exit. He smiles and welcomes her into his circle of friends, who aren’t exactly comfortable with Allie, but they seem to get her in a way most people don’t.

Finally, Allie has a real shot at normal and rides that high right up to her sixteenth birthday when she wakes in agony—an experience Aidan insists they have all faced. She struggles in ignorance, uncertain of what is real and what isn’t. When she emerges, Allie is different. She has always been different, but even among her extraordinary friends, she and Aidan are special.

As Allie struggles to maintain her tenuous grasp on the power that threatens to overwhelm her, she worries she will lose herself in this strange new world. A dangerous world where she will have to fight tooth and nail to defend the power and freedom that is her birthright.

…only Allie hates to fight.


Barnes and Noble:

Author Interview:
1.    What does your writing process look like?  Do you know the whole story when you start?  Or do you just start writing and go with it (seat of the pants writing)?  If you plan it out, how do you do that?  Outline, note cards, post-it notes, etc.?
Although I do some general planning with outlines and notes (and voice memos of me talking to myself while I’m driving), I am most definitely a pantser. I never really know what’s going to happen until I’m in the moment and actually feeling it. So I bounce from one part of the book to another. Right now I’m elbow deep in my current Emerge project and I have a hodge-podge of chapters and scenes that probably only make sense to me. Eventually it all comes together, but I always begin with a solid, but extremely general plan. I don’t like to commit to anything until I really get in there and see how it goes because it never goes according to plan. My characters are too stubborn for that!

2.  How do you come up with your ideas for your stories?
Constant daydreaming. Something will capture my interest and spark an idea that will not go away until I figure out what to do with it. Sometimes that means staring at the ceiling in the middle of the night. If I’m not certain what direction I want to go with said idea, I’ll talk it out with one of my friends--the ones who will still talk to me about my book without rolling their eyes or changing the subject. Only then will I even attempt putting it on paper. But my story is never far from my thoughts.
When it comes to things like my characters gifts, traits and histories, I will always begin with a basis in mythology and history. I like to start with a nugget of truth to keep the story grounded in reality and then see where that takes me. 

3.  How long have you been writing?
I started to get into writing when I was in college, so about seven years now. I never thought of myself as a writer, but after several professors commented on my academic style, it seemed less intimidating. When I first contemplated writing a book, I wasn’t sure if it was something I would ever finish, but my success as a student gave me the confidence to try it and I fell in love with it!

4.  What tips do you have for aspiring writers?
Make sure you love what you’re writing. You need something driving you to keep you motivated to finish. And don’t be afraid to ask for help. Looking back now, I should have sought the advice of other writers and readers long before I finally did. I belong to a group called YA Authors Rendezvous now and I wish I had that same support system back when I first started writing. Writing a book is like building a house. It takes a team of skilled individuals to create a set of construction documents and see it though from the foundation to placing the very last window. No one person can do it all. It's the same with a book. It takes more than just one author with a good idea to tell a great story, and editing is the most vital part of that process. Educate yourself on what the editing process actually entails because it's so much more than fixing typos and using correct grammar.
And don't listen to all the noise. This is a weird time in the world of publishing and everyone has an opinion about how and when authors should promote their books. Some of it is great advice, but take it all with a grain of salt. Keep your head down and write a good book because nothing else matters if your product isn't the best it can be. Write a good book and all that other stuff will fall into place. 

5. How important are names in your books?  Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds, or the meaning?  Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?
Choosing names is so difficult for me. I don’t really have a process other than scouring all the baby name sites until I find something that suits the character. It has to fit the person I see in my mind, so I guess it’s more of a feeling for me. Often, I will use a placeholder until I find just the right name. For a long time, Aidan had a different name but I can’t even remember it now.
Oh! And I gave Allie my middle name, Ann, and my sister's, Marie, so she became the four-named, Alexis Ann Marie Carmichael.

Some fun questions:
I love YA, but I'm also a big epic fantasy fan/dork, and have been long before Game of Thrones made it even more awesome. The Demon cycle by Peter V. Brett is one of my favorites because it’s everything I love about the genre, without the huge time commitment of a dozen 800+ page books (at least not yet!) Brett's work is very original and I love that.
But I'm a YA fangirl at heart. I've been so busy writing, I'm way behind in my TBR pile. But I’m always looking for books that feature a genuinely strong female lead with a strong male counterpart standing beside her. Those are hard to come by.
And of course, Harry Potter will always have a place of honor on my bookshelf. I love the level of complexity and depth to Rowling's work. (And the strength of Hermione is legendary.)

Movies/TV Shows
Supernatural! Huge Dean fan! (And Crowley ... and Castiel!)  And I’m looking forward to the Shadow Hunters premiere in January. There was so much I loved about The Mortal Instruments, but was hugely disappointed in the movie. I'm thrilled to see another YA book series on television! (Oh! The 100 is on my top list of favorite shows too, can't wait for next season!)

Music is part of my daily writing process. I must have the right music to fit my mood and what I’m writing. But I get distracted so easily, I can’t have anything that I can sing along with if I expect to get anything accomplished. I’m a big fan of both Classical and Classical Crossover music. I adore Beethoven, and I am definitely a Bach girl, but I have a special love for violinists like David Garrett, Vanessa Mae and Lindsey Stirling ... and groups like 2Cellos and Eklipse. Aidan plays the violin for a reason—I’m obsessed! String-fangirl, right here!

Food/writing snack
Popcorn! I usually have a bag of Fit popcorn at my desk (that I share with the dog) and I cannot get through the day without Dunkin Donuts iced coffee!

Social Media Site
Blog (every 25th of the month):
YA Books Central 

Author Bio:
Melissa A. Craven (the “A” stands for Ann–in case you were wondering) was born near Atlanta, Georgia, but moved to Cleveland, Ohio at the age of seventeen. She still thinks of Cleveland as home, so it was only natural for Emerge to take place there.
Today, she is back in Atlanta–for some reason she can’t seem to stay away from the ungodly heat that makes her long for things like “lake effect snow” and wind that will knock you flat.
Melissa decided a long time ago that the “life checklist” everyone else was clutching so tightly in their fists, just wasn’t for her. She does everything backwards because she is weird like that, but then, she is an artist and artists are notoriously “unique” and “quirky.”
She is an avid student of art and design, and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of West Georgia in 2009. She worked as an interior designer for several years, but she’s always thought she might like to be a writer when she grows up.
In her spare time, if she has any, she enjoys shopping for derelict furniture she refinishes to exercise the interior design part of her brain. 

Yeah, you read that right, I have TWO giveaways for you here!  One is the tour-wide one, which is listed first, below that is the one that I am able to offer you here at my stop.

Tour-wide Giveaway:
  • Signed copies of Emerge books 1 + 2, bookmarks, mug, keychain and a $10 Amazon gift card (ends November 26th)
  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Site-only Giveaway:
  • Emerge: The Awakening signed copy + a mug (expires November 30th)
  a Rafflecopter giveaway