Sorry for the delay in announcing the winner of PERSONAL DEMONS Contest #2, but I delay no longer: Congratulations, Lauryn S.! I’ll get your books in the mail to you this week.
And the author of PERSONAL DEMONS, the awesome Lisa Desrochers, took time out of her busy schedule (as in, during her trip to Singapore) to talk with me a little about her debut novel:
CG: Your MC, Frannie, has a truly enormous mission to fulfill, even by the standards of paranormal heroines. Without giving too much away, how did you set out to build a character dynamic enough to carry such a burden?
LD: Honestly, I wasn’t thinking in terms of “dynamic” when I started writing Frannie. I was thinking more in terms of “real.” As the story progressed, she found herself in tough situations and she had to figure out how to deal with them. It was really a matter of her character learning to roll with the punches, and, on occasion, punch back. But most of all, I wanted her reactions to come across as genuine.
CG: PERSONAL DEMONS has plenty of sizzling sexual tension. If you were going to name one cardinal rule for creating that kind of chemistry on the page, what would it be?
LD: I didn’t really know what I was doing when I wrote Personal Demons, so to break it out into “rules” is hard. I guess chemistry goes back to what I said in the last question. It needs to be organic to feel genuine. In other words, it needs to flow from the characters. They have conversations in my head and I take dictation. It’s when I try to manipulate those conversations that I get into trouble and lose the chemistry.
CG: This book is your debut novel. Can you talk a little bit about your path to publication, and what parts of the publishing process have been most surprising to you so far?
LD: I think my road has been pretty standard. I wrote Personal Demons in February and March 2009, revised and polished it in April and May, queried in June and July, and landed my truly fabulous agent in September. The part that hasn’t been standard is Macmillan putting Personal Demons on the shelves in nine months. That would be the most surprising thing so far. Personal Demons sold at auction Christmas week and I thought we were looking at a summer 2011 release, so when my editor told me September 2010 was our target, I almost fell off my chair.
CG: Frannie’s family is much different from most of those in YA fiction, as is the role they play in the book. Can you talk a little about the importance of her parents’ influence?
LD: Frannie comes from a religious family, with the traditional Catholic upbringing, including a parochial school education. Her family has been through some rough patches, however, that have Frannie questioning their belief system. The biggest of those is the accidental death of her twin brother, which both she and her mother have taken especially hard. She and her sisters (all four) have learned to cope in their own way, but her mother still struggles with the loss ten years later, so her father is the primary emotional support system for the family—but he’s also much more. (That’s an Original Sin teaser :p)
CG: Where do you usually like to write? What’s the most unusual place you’ve ever ended up writing a chapter?
LD: I like to write in my family room. My “office” is the loveseat, one end of which is piled with books. I started writing there because, until I had my agent, my husband didn’t know I was writing (I know: #wifefail) so we’d sit together in the family room and I’d write while he was watching TV in the evenings. The most unusual place I’ve ever written was last summer in a turn out of a windy little road that lead down to Monterosso al Mare, Italy when my husband stopped to take some pictures (he still didn’t know I was writing) and I scribbled about three pages on some napkins in the glove box.
CG: In what ways are you like Frannie? In what ways are you totally different?
LD: Frannie has her insecurities, but she puts up a tough front. She doesn’t want anyone to know when she doubts herself. I’m also like that, especially in the writing and publication process. I’ve had huge moments of self-doubt, but I just smile and pretend that I couldn’t be more confident. We’re different in a lot of ways. For one, I don’t have a drop-dead gorgeous angel to protect me, or a totally hot (both literally and figuratively) demon after my soul. Seriously, Frannie is a much more emotional creature than I am. Because of that, she doesn’t let go of things very easily. But she’s passionate about the things she believes in—something I could learn from her.
I hope to have more interviews — and, of course, more yummy ARC giveaways for you guys in the near future. (And yes, an AFTERLIFE ARC giveaway will be part of that!) But I’m only having one more contest before I leave for my Australia tour late next week (aiee!), and that is a giveaway for a much-anticipated YA werewolf romance I really enjoyed: LOW RED MOON by Ivy Devlin. Want the ARC? Then enter the contest:
1) Email me at evernightclaudia at gmail dot com with the subject line “LOW RED MOON Contest.”
2) In that email, tell me what you like best about werewolf stories!
3) Also in that email, include a name and address where I can send your copy if you win (and yes, I’ll ship anywhere.)
4) Do all this by Wednesday, Aug. 11, when I will choose one winner (just one — I only have the single copy!) at random.