Feb 11, 2010

Guest Author: Angie Frazier

My guest for today is Angie Frazier, author of Everlasting (YA, Scholastic, Jun 1, 2010)  and Suzanna Snow and the Mystery of the Midnight Tunnel (MG, Spring 2011). 

Here is the Book Summary for Everlasting  from Angie's website:

Sailing aboard her father’s trade ship is all seventeen-year-old Camille Rowen has ever wanted. But as a girl of society in 1855 San Francisco, her future is set: marry a man she doesn’t love, or condemn herself and her father to poverty. On her final voyage before the wedding, the stormy arms of the Tasman Sea claim her father, and a terrible family secret is revealed. A secret intertwined with a fabled map, the mother Camille has long believed dead, and an ancient stone that wields a dangerous - and alluring - magic. The only person Camille can depend on is Oscar, a handsome young sailor whom she is undeniably drawn to. Torn between trusting her instincts and keeping her promises to her father, Camille embarks on a perilous quest into the Australian wilderness to find the enchanted stone. As she and Oscar elude murderous bushrangers and unravel Camille’s father’s lies, they come closer to making the ultimate decision of who - and what - matters most.
Ladies and gentlemen--Angie!

1. When did you start to write?
     I believe I was in the second or third grade when I started to write stories by hand on pads of yellow lined legal paper. Most of them were mysteries, horror, or ghost stories. In middle school I wrote a full-length novel on my dad’s old typewriter, and then in high school I wrote a time travel Civil War romance. I recently tried to re-read these, but couldn’t make it past the first pages—they were terrible! But it was a start, and I was hooked.

2. Your YA novel, Everlasting, is set in 1855 on the Tasman Sea! What prompted you to choose that setting?
     The Tasman Sea is only one of the locations—though a pivotal one—in the book. Mostly the story takes place in Australia. At that time, gold had just been discovered in Australia and people were flocking there to seek their fortune. It’s that sense of the unknown, of the untamed wilderness, that really got my imagination brewing. Plus, I’ve always wanted to visit Australia! This way I could see it through my characters’ eyes.

3. Tell us something about Suzanna Snow.
     Suzanna is the protagonist in my first middle grade novel, Suzanna Snow and the Mystery of the Midnight Tunnel, due out in Spring 2011. It’s a coming-of-age mystery set against the backdrop of a grand hotel in the seaside village of Loch Harbor, New Brunswick, and it revolves around the disappearance of a young hotel guest. With everything happening with Everlasting right now, I keep forgetting about Zanna! Each time I think of her though I get excited. She was a fun character to write!

4. What (or who) is your greatest source of inspiration?
      This is a great question, and it’s not something I’ve really thought a lot about before.  My husband and daughters, and my parents and sisters are all sources of inspiration for me, but when I ask myself why I write, what inspires me to spend so much time and energy creating stories people may or may not enjoy, the answer is for my own personal happiness. It could sound selfish I suppose, but when I’m happy, I’ve found the people around me, like my husband and daughters, are happy too. And isn’t being happy what the majority of people want from life? I’m inclined to think so. I’m so grateful one of my sources of happiness comes from my career.

5. Do you have some specific rituals for writing (a hot drink, a special place, music...)?
         I used to have rituals when writing, like complete silence and a cup of tea or coffee on hand to sip, but I’ve recently discovered ways to write even with two little girls playing in the background, or on the fly in the car or library or coffee shop. I definitely get more accomplished when I write at night when the house is silent and there is no one popping up next to my computer who needs me every five seconds ;-) I also challenge myself to write at least 1,000 words before calling it quits for the day.

6. Who are your favorite authors of all times?
     I’m in awe of Jane Austen and Edith Wharton, and how their insightful, witty, romantic, and heartbreaking stories have stood the test of time. I also love Natalie Babbitt, Lois Lowry, Katherine Paterson, Avi, Neil Gaiman, and some authors I’ve read recently and loved are Kristin Cashore, Cassandra Clare, and Suzanne Collins.  

7. What do you do when you get writer's block?
     I read, or knit, or open up old, half-finished manuscripts and read those. It’s the best way for me to forget my current WIP problems and still feel like I’m feeding my creative side. Reading is the most effective cure, though, and I usually get the itch to write again after I’ve read a few books.

8. Is there something you wish someone told you about writing and publishing when you were just starting out?
     The best piece of advice I got came to me about three years after I started to write and query seriously toward publication. I was attending the Vermont Novel Writing Retreat when the question came up about how to approach and interact with editors and agents. The award-winning author Tanya Lee Stone was there and said, “Have something to say.” Such simple advice really, but I realized I had absolutely nothing to say. That’s because three years into writing, I still didn’t know the children’s literature genre. I’d been writing in a vacuum. I hadn’t read a whole lot of YA or MG books, and I suddenly wasn’t sure I had anything worthy to add to it. So I got to work and started reading everything I could, joined online forums like Verla Kay’s Blueboards, and truly immersed myself in YA and MG.
I made so many mistakes—all the classic blunders—and while I wish I could have scored that publishing contract faster, I’m grateful to have learned everything I have the hard way. 

Thank you for this interview, Angie! It was a pleasure to have you at Willing To See Less!

Thank you, Ivana!

 Make sure to check out Angie's cute website, her Livejournal blog and Goodreads page and follow her on Twitter!

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