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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Emlyn Chand: A Guest Interview

Hello Emlyn and welcome to the Erris Coven Blog!

1) Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m Emlyn, a 26-almost-27-year old YA author. I am also the president of Novel Publicity and a crazy bird lady too. And, oh yeah, I emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in my left hand (at least that’s what my Twitter bio says).

2) Please tell us about your novel.
Farsighted tells the story of Alex Kosmitoras. Here’s my mini teaser:  Alex Kosmitoras may be blind, but he can still “see” things others can’t.  When his unwanted visions of the future begin to suggest that the girl he likes could be in danger, he has no choice but to take on destiny and demand it reconsider.

3) What was your favorite part about writing Farsighted?
My favorite part of writing this book or any book is getting to know my characters. They start out as vague concepts, but with time and effort, they actually begin to feel real. That process of literally bringing someone else to life is unbelievable. Yeah, it may give us writers a bit of a God-complex, but it’s so much fun!

4) Would you say Farsighted is character driven or plot driven?
I set out to write a plot-driven novel, but it ended up being character-driven. For the most part, I think stories live or die with the characters who populate them. Plot is important. World-building is important. But a story without strong or relatable characters isn’t going to stay with readers in the same way. To that end, it was incredibly important for me to create characters who would feel real to the story. Readers have really identified with Alex and Shapri as feeling extremely authentic. Some people like Simmi too. :-D
5)  When I first read that Alex was blind, I instantly knew that I wanted to read Farsighted.  What inspired you to write his story? Did you experience any roadblocks while getting into his character?
Everything started with a single image—my face in these tacky oversized sunglasses reflecting out at me from the car’s side mirror. I was daydreaming while my husband drove us across Michigan for my sister’s wedding. Something about my image really struck me in an almost horrific way. I felt the glasses made me look blind but found it so weird that there was still a clear image within them; it seemed so contradictory. At the time, my book club was reading The Odyssey, which features the blind Theban prophet, Tieresias. I started thinking about what it would be like to have non-visual visions of the future and began forming a modern Tieresias in my mind. Lo and behold, Alex Kosmitoras was born. I didn’t want him to be alone in his psychic subculture, so I found other characters with other powers to keep him company. Thank God for my poor fashion sense. J
At first writing from the first person POV of a blind character was a challenge, but it got easier as I went. I started out by conducting a ton of research and going back and checking my work to make sure that I had not mistakenly included any visual details. It was a good and rewarding challenge. I think I’m a stronger writer going forward because of it.

6) If you could spend one day with any of your characters, who would you spend it with?
I’d have the most fun with Shapri—no question about that. It might be nice to get to know Miss Teak better. If you can crack her tough exterior, she’d make a fascinating conversation partner.

7)  What would you say your greatest strength as a writer is?

Onomatopoeia. I love using guttural noises and expressions. That makes the dialogue feel more authentic. But is this a strength of a preference? Hmmm... Based on the feedback I’ve been getting from readers, one possible answer could be characterization. People seem to really identify with a couple of my characters, particularly Alex and Shapri.

8)  How would you describe your writing process? Do you make an outline first?  
I begin with a seed of an idea and work out from there. With Farsighted, I started with Alex and created the rest of the story and characters to fit around him. Using the runes as a structural framework for this novel created an outline for me too. I’m a numbers person as well as a word person. I love things to be organized just so. If you set a stack of papers in front of me; I’m going to fuss with them until they are lined up in a perfect stack. It’s just the way I am. Shaping each chapter around a rune gave the story order, which made me feel happy and comfortable. Whenever I got stuck and didn’t know what should happen next, I was able to learn more about that chapter’s rune and get the inspiration I needed to continue. The runes themselves tell a story, one that is successfully completed. I felt that boded well for Farsighted.

9)  I love reading independent authors. Do you have a favorite you can recommend?

I have too many favorites to recommend just one! I work with a whole bunch of talented authors on a day-to-day basis through Novel Publicity. Some great authors to try would be Terri Giuliano Long, Lauren Clark, and Christine Nolfi if you like women’s fiction, and Kimberly Kinrade, Karen Pokras Toz, Patti Larsen, and John Corwin if you like YA.

10)  Do you have any words of wisdom for anyone considering self-publishing?
Yes, you can do it... but it’s a lot of work. Don’t skimp on editing, cover design, or marketing. You’ll need the complete package if you want your book to stand out amongst its competitors. It’s a lot of work but very worthwhile.

11)  Your book trailer and cover are both amazing. Do you enjoy that aspect of publishing?
Of course, I do! I love all things book marketing and having a captivating cover that truly captures a book’s concept is vital. The trailer was a lot of fun to do as well; I wrote the script based, recruited the actors, and was present on the day of the film shoot. It really made the characters come to life, assigning actors.

12)  What are your future plans in writing? Can we expect another story featuring Alex and Simmi?
Farsighted is a 5-book series. Each book will be told from a different character’s point-of-view, so in book #2, we’ll actually be able to see what Grandon looks like! Next up is Open Heart. I hope to have that ready by the middle of next year.





13)  Is there anything else you would like to share with us today?



Thank you so much for the brilliant interview questions and for giving me a home on your blog today :-D




 It has been my pleasure! I love getting to know other authors and learning about their writing process.

To my followers: be sure to stop by tomorrow to read my review of Emlyn's novel, Farsighted!
 

Blog Tour Notes

THE BOOK:  Alex Kosmitoras may be blind, but he can still “see” things others can’t.  When his unwanted visions of the future begin to suggest that the girl he likes could be in danger, he has no choice but to take on destiny and demand it reconsider. Get your copy today by visiting Amazon.com’s Kindle store or the eBook retailer of your choice. The paperback edition will be available on November 24 (for the author’s birthday). THE CASH PRIZES:  Guess what? You could win a $100 Amazon gift card as part of this special blog tour. That’s right! Just leave a comment below saying something about the post you just read, and you’ll be entered into the raffle. I could win $100 too! Please help by voting for my blog in the traffic-breaker poll. To cast your vote, visit the official Farsighted blog tour page and scroll all the way to the bottom. Thank you for your help with that. THE GIVEAWAYS:  Win 1 of 10 autographed copies of Farsighted before its paperback release by entering the giveaway on GoodReads. Perhaps you’d like an autographed postcard from the author; you can request one on her site. THE AUTHOR:  Emlyn Chand has always loved to hear and tell stories, having emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true story). When she’s not writing, she runs a large book club in Ann Arbor and is the president of author PR firm, Novel Publicity. Emlyn loves to connect with readers and is available throughout the social media interweb. Visit www.emlynchand.com for more info. Don’t forget to say “hi” to her sun conure Ducky! MORE FUN: There's more fun below. Watch the live action Farsighted book trailer and take the quiz to find out which character is most like you!  
 

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Emlyn Chand said...

Thank you for having me today, Bonnie. This was a GREAT interview. You sure know how to ask the tough questions ;-)

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