Author Jonathan Ryan interviewed my writers group for his blog on patheos.com, a large and in charge inter-faith website. Not many people know the history of Writers Cubed, so I’m honored that he found our little story news worthy.
All right, I’m on a kick with all of these blog tours. There are lots of good books coming out right now. This week I want to introduce you to a little dandy entitled, DEFY, by the beautiful and talented Sara B. Larson. I currently own both a hard and digital copy of this book, but this is me holding my favorite kind of copy… an ARC (advanced reader copy).
DEFY is a story about a girl named Alexa who, at a young age, makes the choice to cut her hair to pretend to be a boy soldier in the king’s army. Since the alternative was being made a slave in the “breeding house” I’d say she made a good choice. She and her twin brother, Marcel, become incredible fighters. So good, they find themselves working in the prince’s elite royal guard. Loyalties are tested and dark magic and sorcery play a huge role in this adventure romance, especially once the people she cares about most, a fellow guard named Rylan and Prince Damian, reveal a secret of their own . . .
Expect action and a unique new world that you’ve never experienced in Sara’s debut masterpiece. Can’t wait for the next book!
That or I downloaded it from someone else’s blog. I’ll leave that for you to decide.
I know you’re dying to hear more about this delicious new steampunk, time travel gem, so without further adieu, here’s the book jacket:
Welcome to the war. The Tesla Institute is a premier academy that trains young time travelers called Rifters. Created by Nicola Tesla, the Institute seeks special individuals who can help preserve the time stream against those who try to alter it. The Hollows is a rogue band of Rifters who tear through time with little care for the consequences. Armed with their own group of lost teens–their only desire to find Tesla and put an end to his corruption of the time stream. Torn between them are Lex and Ember, two Rifters with no memories of their life before joining the time war. When Lex’s girlfriend dies during a mission, the only way he can save her is to retrieve the Dox, a piece of tech which allows Rifters to re-enter their own timeline without collapsing the time stream. But the Dox is hidden deep within the Telsa Institute, which means Lex must go into the enemy camp. It’s there he meets Ember, and the past that was stolen from them both comes flooding back. Now armed with the truth of who they are, Lex and Ember must work together to save the future before the battle for time destroys them both again.
After devouring this book, I talked to Tyler Jolley and Sherry Flicklin (co-authors, see bios below) about the creative process…
Me: I’m currently in the plotting phase of co-authoring myself, and am curious how you handled the team writing. Did you each choose a character? And if so, who and why? Or did you divide the book by scenes and play to your respective writing strengths? Was the collaboration process difficult? Would you do it again (Outside the Lost Imperials series, that is)?
Sherry– It wasn’t something either of us had experience with, so it was very much trial and error for us. We knew we had these two characters. I knew which one I wanted to write, so I handed the very rough idea for the other character to Tyler and asked if he thought he would be interested. The fact that he was able to create and build the character the way he did was pure luck on my part. I’m not sure how he was able to make Lex his own, but he really did. At the beginning of the process we wrote separate chapters and sort of leap–frogged each other chapter to chapter. Later, when we had to come together and work, it was a little harder. But having gone through it once, it’s made working on the next book much easier. I don’t know if I would do it again, outside this series. Maybe. It would depend on the person I’d be working with.
Tyler– Jen, thank you so much for having us I feel like we didn’t even have to twist your arm that much. You are going to really enjoy co-authoring. Sherry’s correct there was some trial and error to the way we did it, but once you get in the groove of things it becomes quite enjoyable. It’s almost like a built in critique partner or cheerleader. Make sure the co-author is someone who can compromise on ideas or anything that has to do with the book. Sherry and I are both very strong personalities, but we both respect each other and what one another brings to the team. There are bumps and disagreements, but if you have the correct person you will be able to make it through any stressful brainstorming or editing session.
(Me) I’ve always been a huge fan of time travel, but have felt unequal to the task of keeping track of the plot and developing a convincing system of rules/world building. How did you come up with the unique time travel-snail-Contra method for EXTRACTED? I’ve honestly read nothing like it.
Sherry– Going in we both had different ideas about what methods we wanted to use, which actually worked out well for our story because we knew the factions would each have very different ways of achieving the same ends. The Tesla Institute uses tech to create the mental resonance. At the core of the Institute, they have nicer equipment, and are more military about how things like that are done. The Hollows is a whole different ballgame. I’ll let Tyler explain that.
Tyler– The snail thing is right out of my crazy brain. We had to have a little science behind even though it is way out there. When the contra pill is made the chemical inside has a specific time stamp for the time they are targeting. It works on aligning the mental resonance also. Think of it like each time has a different wavelength, Contra aligns the time travelers resonance in their brains to the exact wavelength of the particular time. Kind of like tuning a radio and trying to find a clear signal. The main thing is when we came up with the concept we had to come up with specific rules and we really tried never to break the rules of the time travel in Extracted.
(Me) I don’t want to include any spoilers, especially for the 450 teens coming to see you (Tyler) at Teen Author Boot Camp in March. But I have to ask, did you first start out with the concept of writing a time travel steampunk, or was it the Romanov siblings that first got the creative gears spinning?
Sherry– The idea of the Romanovs kicked off the idea. Making it steampunk just sort of fit with the idea of Tesla and what everyone was doing. Plus, it’s just a fun aesthetic to create a world in.
Tyler– I can’t wait to meet every single one. We are going to have a good ‘ol time. Sherry had this idea of using the Romanov family especially Ember. She wanted to have Lex in there also, but felt she needed a guy with Peter Pan syndrome to write a teenage boy part. That is where I entered the scene. After the first few meetings we started talking about what the world would look like and what type of environment the time travelers would live in. Steampunk just seemed to fit.
(Me) This is the obvious one… WHEN DOES THE NEXT BOOK COME OUT? How many can we plan for in this series? (I’m dying here. Dying.)
Sherry– We don’t have a release date yet for book two. But I will say that it is from the POV of two different characters (from the first book). We looked at the plot and said, “who has the most to lose during this part of the story?” and that’s how we picked. We actually outlined books 2&3 at the same time, so we are very aware of how it all comes together in the end.
Tyler– There won’t be any promises but we are working real hard to have it come out in 2015. It is going to be epic. Second books are the hardest to write as an actual story and not just a filler book. We know this and have some awesome plots ready. Many more questions will be answered, even the ones you didn’t know you had.
For you Teen Author Boot Campers, you can catch Tyler Jolley on March 8th where he’ll be teaching a class on Genre Mashups and Graphic Novels/Comics. You can learn more about the TABC schedule here.
In the meantime, pick up EXTRACTED!
Meet Tyler Jolley and Sherry Flicklin, the co-authors of EXTRACTED.
Tyler H. Jolley is a sci-fi/fantasy author and full-time orthodontist, periodontist (see: Overachiever). He divides his spare time between writing, reading, mountain biking, and camping with his family.
Sherry D. Ficklin is a full-time writer and internet radio show host with more mouth then good sense. She has a serious book addiction, but continually refuses treatment, much to her husband’s chagrin.
Tyler and Sherry met one fateful day and bonded over their love for books, science fiction, and donuts. Their first co-written novel came shortly after. Now, they still do all those other things, but also go to various steampunk conventions and events under the guise of ‘research’. They can often be found lurking on the Lost Imperials Facebook page or over on the official website, www.thelostimperials.com.
Congratulations to Peggy Eddleman for the release of her big debut SKY JUMPERS! This lead title from Random House has received a ton of hype. My kids and I can’t wait to “sky dive” into this book!
So happy to announce that Peggy will be presenting at the 4th annual
Teen Author Boot Camp in March 2014!
Now go order SKY JUMPERS for your 8-12 year old!