1. What is the title of your book?
Catching On Fire
2. What is the genre and age rating?
I like to think it crosses many genres. Since the heroine is 24, it fits best in the New Adult category. But, it also includes romance, adventure, suspense, humor…even a wee bit of a sci-fi/paranormal. (Never met a genre I didn’t like, I suppose.)
3. Give a brief synopsis, using your own words.
A young woman discovers that others see the same symbols she has in her head. Since the symbols (Glyphs) feel like they are the solution to the dystopian visions connected to them, the woman (Rachel) sets out to find other seers in an effort to translate the Glyphs’ meaning. She’s also searching for love. And she discovers so many people and events aren’t at all what they seem on the surface.
4. Is it part of a series? Is the series completed? What made you decide to do a series rather than an epic?
It is the first in a planned trilogy. The second book is supposed to come out in 2013, but I’m cutting it close, so it may be 2014.
I did a series mostly because an epic project would require organizational and memory skills I simply do not have. Plus, I’m trying to blur the line between fiction and reality. I’m writing about the present and near future. If I get too far ahead on the future and I’m not accurate in predicting the course of events, that blurry line starts coming into focus.
5. Visually describe your main character and provide a picture if you were inspired by an actual person.
I’m not big into descriptions. Rachel has a slight frame and is, ahem, well endowed. She’s very self conscious about her chest. And she’s very intuitive. Scarily intuitive, actually.
6. What are his or her biggest faults? Using a short excerpt from your book, can you show us an example?
No particular scene comes to mind, but Rachel is borderline paranoid. She worries about EVERYTHING.
7. What are his or her best qualities? Using a short excerpt from your book, can you show us an example?
Well, this would take pages! I tried to make Rachel as Mary Sue as I could get, since that seems to be the popular fiction fad du jour. Except, I wasn’t a very good model for a Mary Sue so I invented a character that combines all the best traits in every young woman I’ve ever admired. Rachel is a pretty amazing character.
8. Is there a romantic interest for your MC (main character)…or maybe more than one? Would you describe it as antagonistic, angsty, steamy, romantic, and or loaded with sexual tension?
Oh, there are several. Isn’t that how it is in life? There’s either no one or too many choices –but no choice stands out as obviously perfect on most given moments. We run the gamut on relationship styles. I can tell you, when I was writing one scene, I really wanted to have it go further. Not for the book, but for me. If my husband had been with me that night, he would have been a very happy man. Unfortunately, I was out of town at the time. However, I wanted to keep any encounters in the book at a level appropriate for a Young Adult audience. I have lots of high-school aged readers.
9. Visually describe the romantic interest(s) and provide a picture if you were inspired by an actual person.
There’s an aw-schucks farmboy type with a great, lanky body. A sophisticated middle-easterner with a slightly more compact great body. The farmboy’s brother who is totally ripped. Gee, I’m sensing a theme here.
10. Who is your favorite secondary character? Why?
I fell for one of the romantic interests. But, I’m not going to say which one. The driver, Faris, turned out to be a kind of a combination bodyguard/father figure. He’s so interesting he got a lot more ink than I intended.
Then there are two young girls, twins, that I hope to have a much larger presence in the second book. That’s actually a bit of a problem right now — they keep stealing the show and taking the second book down a path it’s not intended to go.
11. Were any of your characters inspired by people you know or have known?
My mother swears Rachel’s grandmother is based on her. But she isn’t. There are some events I’ve borrowed from my real life (I’ve been in extreme danger at least a dozen times), but no characters based on real people.
12. Post a short excerpt (1-2 pages max) that you think that readers will love…
I think the first few chapters that you can read as a free excerpt on Amazon give you a good taste for the book. But, to give you a sense of some of the action, here’s an excerpt at the point where Rachel’s world starts spiraling apart:
I could barely drag myself out front. My feet felt like giant blocks of concrete that my wobbly legs couldn’t attempt to lift. Once I heard the shots, I felt like I slipped into an alternate universe. Surely this couldn’t be my world. People did not shoot guns in my world.
I simply wanted to crawl into a corner, curl up in a ball and disappear. I’d been running on adrenalin when I thought that just maybe there might be some way I could help. But now that the shooting had stopped, the thought of facing the aftermath had me paralyzed with fear. I didn’t want to see what happened. If I didn’t see it, I could cling to the hope that everyone might be all right. But, deep inside, I feared the worst. I imagined innocent people sprawled bleeding and dead across the sidewalk. All because of me. Because of my stupid website.
I can’t begin to describe the level of dread I felt walking toward that restaurant door. Would there be children crying for their dead mommies? Or mothers for their children? Would Jim’s involvement in all this cost him his opportunity to get a medical license? I would have been very happy to have the earth explode. For those endless seconds it took to reach the door, the future seemed too difficult to bear.
We peeked out the door. Any sign of physical threat appeared to have ended. The van with the masked gunmen was gone. Three bleeding bodies were strewn across the pavement. A half dozen or more people were out there. One was bent over the evil mother, trying to stop her bleeding. A couple of the others were holding guns on two masked men, which seemed unnecessary. Except for the blood pouring out of them, they were motionless on the pavement.
Jim rushed over to the mother and started tending her wound. He yelled instructions for the others on how to stop the bleeding of the masked men. No one moved, so I went over to apply pressure as Jim directed. One of the others followed suit.
The guy I tried to help appeared to leaking rather than actively bleeding. “Jim, I think he might be dead.”