I am very pleased to welcome Chloe Neill here to DarkFaerieTales.com to talk about her debut Young Adult novel, Firespell, which is scheduled to be released on January 5, 2010.
Chloe is giving one lucky commenter a chance to win a Firespell Gift Pack . Details are listed at the end of the post.
Firespell is the first book in her Dark Elite series. You can read the excerpt here.
Synopsis (Product Description):
As the new girl at the elite St. Sophia’s boarding school, Lily Parker thinks her classmates are the most monstrous things she’ll have to face…
When Lily’s guardians decided to send her away to a fancy boarding school in Chicago, she was shocked. So was St. Sophia’s. Lily’s ultra-rich brat pack classmates think Lily should be the punchline to every joke, and on top of that, she’s hearing strange noises and seeing bizarre things in the shadows of the creepy building.
The only thing keeping her sane is her roommate, Scout, but even Scout’s a little weird—she keeps disappearing late at night and won’t tell Lily where she’s been. But when a prank leaves Lily trapped in the catacombs beneath the school, Lily finds Scout running from a real monster.
DFT: Could you start things off by telling us a little about the book?
CN: Absolutely. FIRESPELL is the first in my new Dark Elite series, and introduces us to 16 year-old Lily Parker, who’s just been sent to Chicago for boarding school. She learns that strange things are afoot, and that there’s a lot more to the world than she knew.
DFT: What motivated you to write Firespell?
CN: Actually, my agent (the fabulous Lucienne Diver) approached me about putting together a proposal for a young adult novel. I knew I wanted to set the books in Chicago (my favorite setting city) at a boarding school (I always wanted to go to boarding school). I also wanted to include a very brave heroine, as Merit, the heroine of my Chicagoland Vampires series, can be a bit timid. Thus, Lily was born!
DFT: If you could describe your main characters with only 3 words, what would they be?
Lily: Brave, Smart, Funny
Scout: Daring, Sensitive, Sassy
DFT: Tell us something about your research process and the choices you make when creating the story.
CN: Actually, I’d say I make choices, and then do the research. For example, I might want to include a character who’s a fairy, so I’ll research the mythology and history of fairies and learn what I can. Then I’ll figure out what details from that mythology I might want to include to make my story as rich as possible.
DFT: Do you have a long-term plan or goal for this story universe? What happens next?
CN: I have some general, long-term plans, and an outline for book two. No telling, though. You’ll have to wait for the next installment!
DFT: What influences and inspirations (both literary and non-literary) did you draw from while writing Firespell?
CN: I’m influenced by all sorts of things! Visually, the architecture and spaces of Chicago are very inspiring, and helped me create St. Sophia’s and its surroundings in the Loop. I do a lot of research about clothing and hairstyles (The Sartorialist is a favorite), which helped me figure out who Lily and Scout were, and what they might look like. From a literary perspective, I’m not sure I had a specific influence, although I definitely wanted Lily to be a self-sufficient investigator–a kind of magical Nancy Drew.
DFT: Who is your favorite character in this book, and why?
CN: I really love Scout (and named my new dog after her!) She’s a very brave, thoughtful, loyal girl, and she definitely has a sensitive side.
DFT: What other projects are you working on that you would like to tell us about?
CN: I’m currently editing TWICE BITTEN, the third book in my Chicagoland Vampires series, which will be released on July 6, 2010. Additionally, I’m working on the second book in my DARK ELITE series (release date TBA).
DFT: What is your favorite fairy tale, and why?
CN: Little Red Riding Hood, because I think there’s a lot more to the tale than meets the eye.
DFT: What question are you never asked in interviews but wish you were?
CN: Hmm. I’m not sure there is one! My interviewers usually ask fabulous questions. I am sometimes surprised I don’t get more spoiler questions, though. Not that I’d answer them anyways.
DFT: Why do you think there is the misconception that young adult books are not as deep or as complex as books for adults? What is your response to this misconception?
CN: I actually wasn’t aware that misconception was out there, but if so, I think it’s definitely a misconception. That YA books use a different kind of writing style or vocabulary doesn’t change the fact that they address important, weighty topics, just like “adult” books. After all, how many life lessons has Dumbledore taught us?
DFT: What books/genres do you read when you have the chance? Any must read authors or series?
I read a little bit of everything. Right now, “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy and “Ghost Train to the Eastern Star” by Paul Theroux are on my treadmill rack, so I’m reading fiction and travelogues.
DFT: What is your definition of a “bad writing day”? How do you deal with bad writing days?
CN: A day when I open the Word document and have no idea what to do, when I can’t see inside the heads of my characters to flesh out the story. It’s usually some mix of (1) energy level, (2) motivation, and (3) focus that creates these times, and they tend to come in cycles (bad writing month, followed by good writing month, etc.) I’d say I’m in a “bad writing” mode now, as I’m not as productive as I’d like to be.
DFT: Do you have a particular writing process or any writing rituals?
CN: I don’t, actually. My schedule has recently changed, so I’m still trying to get into a new mode. I’m happy to take suggestions.
DFT: What creature are you afraid of most?
CN: I really, really don’t like snakes. They freak me out on a deep, genetic level.
DFT: If you could be any paranormal creature, which one would you be and why?
CN: Hmm. Something that flies, probably. I’ve always wanted to be able to fly.
Thanks so much for having me today!!
DFT: Many thanks, Chloe for taking the time to stop by Dark Faerie Tales.
One lucky commenter will have a chance to win a Firespell Gift Pack.
To enter, leave a comment below answering the following question:
If you were a member of a splinter group of rebel teens with unique magical talents, what abilities would you want your team to have?
1. +1 entry for answering the question (required).
2. +2 entries for becoming a follower of this blog and Dark Faerie Tales on Twitter.
3. +3 entries for tweeting about this contest, blogging about it, linking via your sidebar etc…(please tell me where!).
4. Giveaway is open to everyone.
5. Please include your email address in your comment.
6. Giveaway ends Monday, January 4th at 11:59 PM EST.
7. The winner will be picked with the help of Random.org.
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.