This week again I was lucky enough to have a YA author give me an exclusive interview! The idea behind the “Writer in the Spotlight” feature is that published (and bestselling) authors are the best source of advice for us, would-be-published writers. Today’s interview is with debut author Lisa M. Stasse. Her Dystopian novel, The Forsaken, is already available in the US and it will be out in the UK on August 2d, 2012.
A writer in the spotlight – 10
Author : Lisa M. Stasse
Genre : Young Adult, Dystopian
Official Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtIwks26SZU
Books : The Forsaken (2012)
My interview (22/07/2012):
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
Yep, ever since I was in high school. Either a writer or a photographer.
When and where do you write?
I usually write on my laptop in the early hours of the morning (or late at night, depending on how one looks at it!)
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
It hasn’t hit me yet. I hope it never does! I figure it might one day, but hopefully that will be many years and many books from now.
What do you say to people who want to be writers?
I tell them to read as many books as possible (which is some good advice I got from writers I admired when I asked them) and to write a little bit every single day. I read 3-5 books/week–a mix of YA and adult fiction, with a little bit of nonfiction in there too (I love travel books).
Is it better to outline and plot your novel or “go with the flow”?
I plot everything out because I’m crazy obsessive, but at the same time, I leave some wiggle room to come up with cool scenes and surprises along the way. If everything is too well-planned, then writing scenes can get boring and then the story can lose some energy.
Do you set goals for yourself as you write?
Definitely! I usually try to write a certain number of pages per day (depending on the day and the project) and I often reward myself with coffee or chocolate if I reach my goal. Of course, I often drink coffee and eat chocolate even when I don’t reach my goal, so I’m not sure how well my incentive plan is working out for me!
On “The Forsaken”:
To write this book, where did you get your inspiration from? Were you aware of the coming dystopian trend when you wrote it?
When I was writing The Forsaken, a few dystopian books were a big deal (The Hunger Games, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, The Maze Runner) but there wasn’t a huge onslaught like there is now. I pretty much wrapped up most of my book in 2010/early 2011. Books just take a while to come out. Having said that, I kind of love the giant wave of dystopian lit. It means people have a lot of choice in what they decide to read.
How did you come up with your characters? What made you choose teenagers as main characters?
Maybe I’m still a teenager at heart! And I think that that age is so great for writing complex characters–I remember when I was 16, I was a total conflicted mixture of extreme optimism and extreme pessimism. I also think teens make great characters as protagonists in a dystopian novel. Dystopians can deal with really serious and intense issues.
What type of music did you listen to when you wrote this book?
My musical tastes are all over the map, from indie rock (The Dirty Projectors, Ryan Adams, Cornershop, Long Winters) to dubstep (Deadmau5, Skrillex) and dance (La Roux), to old school classic rock (Beatles, Neil Young) and to really weird stuff as well (Salem). I also love Florence and the Machine, as well as a lot of singer-songwriters (Cat Power and Feist).
What are you working on now?
I’m finishing up copyedits on Book 2 of THE FORSAKEN trilogy.
Which authors inspire you now?
Margaret Atwood, Suzanne Collins, James Dashner, JK Rowling, Orson Scott Card, Stephen King, Carrie Ryan, Tahereh Mafi, Jeanette Winterson, Leigh Bardugo, Veronica Rossi, and Veronica Roth.
Any YA books you would recommend?
Divergent, Looking for Alaska, Shadow and Bone, The Hunger Games (obviously!), Paper Towns, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Shatter Me, Ender’s Game, The Maze Runner (and there’s probably a hundred more but those are the one off the top of my head!).
Thanks for the interview Lisa!
THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME!!! I really appreciate it–it was fun!!!
The Forsaken will be out in the UK on August 2d, 2012. Buy it on Amazon here.