Today's interview is with Angela Frazier, author of the YA adventure debut, Everlasting.
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.
Welcome Angela! Tell us a little about yourself as a writer – do you outline, or wing it? Do you write daily, or in snatches?
As a writer, I tend to figure out a story as I am writing it. I can try to outline, but normally, I veer off course and go in completely new directions. I don’t usually figure out the real plot of a book until about two or three drafts in, and it can be both time consuming and frustrating!
When – and why – did you begin writing?
I started writing very early on, when I was about seven or eight probably. I remember writing a horror story for my 3rd or 4th grade writing contest and my mother’s concerned expression and question if I really wanted to tell those stories J I believe I started writing because of the fascination I had (and still have) with the fact that everyone has a story.
What was your process writing this book? What did you have trouble with, and what inspired you?
The process was so messy and lengthy. It took me six years to make my way through many different drafts of Everlasting in order to find the right plot for my cast of characters. I really had such a hard time trying to work out what their story was. I think it was the characters ultimately who inspired me. I didn’t want to let them go, and I still don’t.
Everlasting sounds like the ultimate adventure story: Australian outback, treasure hunts, forbidden love, sailing, even magic. Where did it all come from? Did you plan on making this an adventure story, or did that happen on it’s own?
Oh, yes, adventure was the first thing I knew I wanted to write. I also knew forbidden love and Australia were going to be thrown into the mix, but the magic end of the story was what eluded me for many years and many drafts!
What did it take to get Everlasting on bookshelves?
It took a lot of trial and error. I made a lot of mistakes, including sending the first draft out to agents before I knew how to revise. That was way back when I thought spell check was revision! I had to learn the craft of writing, the business end of writing, and how to let other people critique my work for the better. Above everything else, getting a book onto the shelves takes perseverance.
Tell us something about your book that we wouldn’t know just by reading the blurb.
Oscar is not just a “handsome young sailor.” He is Camille’s father’s first mate and is a part of their family—her father loves Oscar like he’s his own son, and yet he holds Oscar and Camille completely apart. Camille believes her father loves her, but that he holds Oscar in higher regard.
Here on Headdesk, I have a minor obsession with the rules of writing. Is there any particular rule you write by?
We’re kindred spirits, I think, because I have a ton of rules! One of them is that I never ever switch point of views in the middle of a scene. Bouncing from head to head is too easy for the author—the challenge is to stick with one point of view (until at least another scene or chapter).
If you knew a teenager who aspired to be a novelist, what would you say to them?
I’d tell them to keep writing, keep learning the craft, and to not be afraid of rejection There is a lot of it, and for a reason—rejection makes a writer with true passion for publication stronger and more determined.
How have you grown as a writer, and how do you hope to see yourself grow in the future?
I think I’ve grown to be more realistic and more flexible with my writing. My published self is still the same as my pre-published self, just with more information to share. I hope that as I see more of my books make their way to the shelves that I can help other writers achieve their dreams. It’s been the most amazing experience.
What’s next for Angie Frazier?
Well, my first middle grade mystery, The Midnight Tunnel: A Suzanna Snow Mystery, will be coming out in 2011, along with the sequel to Everlasting (no, I couldn’t leave Oscar and Camille just yet!). I’m also going to be writing a second Suzanna Snow mystery for 2012!
Wow, that sounds exciting! Congratulations on the series and your current debut. And thanks for stopping by.
Thanks for inviting me here!
Angie Frazier is a writer, mom, freelance editor, a good cook, and a horrible housekeeper. Angie’s debut novel, Everlasting, will be published in 2010 by Scholastic Press, and is a mixture of everything she loves in a good book: history, mystery, adventure, romance, and fantasy. Her middle grade novel, Suzanna Snow and the Mystery of the Midnight Tunnel, will be published in 2011. She lives in southern New Hampshire with her husband and their two daughters. Learn more about Angie and her novels by checking out her website.