Interview with Talented YA Thriller Author Natasha Neagle

Nat head

Natasha graduated with a degree in Biology from Old Dominion University and a Master’s in Education, Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Phoenix. A middle school science teacher by day, she spends her nights coming up with new ways to torment her characters. A self-proclaimed nerd who would love nothing more than to see the world through book store windows. She considers herself to be a forward-thinker, which makes conversations very interesting when certain topics open for discussion. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, two children, four cats, and two dogs.

Hi Nat! Thanks for coming on the site 🙂

When did you know that you wanted to be a writer? How did you start?

I’ve been writing since I was a little girl, but didn’t decide to attempt to write a novel until 2008. It was a long, slow process, but when I sat down to write, it was because I had a dream (as cliché as that sounds) that I couldn’t get out of my head. It became my YA Fantasy.

What genre(s) do you write in? What is it that you love about them?

After my first novel, the next three novels I wrote were YA Thrillers and Suspense. I love how each of them is different from the one before it. It’s critical to me that the voice of each of my characters are unique. All of my novels are diverse in some aspect or another, which is important to me because I want my novels to reflect real life. I like to think that all my novels host badass, strong females that deal with whatever horror is dealt them in a way I never could.

Can you tell us a little bit about your thrillers (since they are fav’s of mine)?

A GAME OF SECRETS: YA LGBT THRILLER

Love can be brutal. Sometimes it can be fatal. Especially if you have dirty little secrets.

After sixteen-year-old Arissa falls for Erica, harassment from a “Secret” stalker escalates into attempts on her life. Arissa must unveil Secret and expose them before threats become reality, and she and Erica wind up dead.

A GAME OF SECRETS is an 82,000 standalone YA Contemporary LGBT Thriller with series potential. Fans of Sara Shepard’s Pretty Little Liars Series and Tess Sharpe’s Far From You will enjoy A GAME OF SECRETS.

THE LANGUAGE OF LIARS: YA PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER

She loved her friends to death.

Seventeen-year-old Raine Harper doesn’t remember her party the media coined The Sweet Sixteen Massacre—the one only she survived. While under experimental treatment for PTSD, fragmented memories of the night resurface, and Raine discovers everyone lied…including her.

THE LANGUAGE OF LIARS is a 67,000 standalone YA Psychological Thriller with series potential that switches between the present and the past—the latter presented in reverse order leading to the massacre itself. Fans of Michelle Hodkin’s The Mara Dyer trilogy and E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars who enjoyed the dual timelines and thrilling twists of Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places will enjoy THE LANGUAGE OF LIARS.

(I NEED THIS BOOK NOW BTW)

THE DAY YOU DIED: YA CONTEMPORARY SUSPENSE

Some friendships are to die for.

Junior year can’t get any worse after a hater blog blames Ember for her arch-enemy’s murder. But then she connects this crime to 11 murders—all unsolved. She’s next.

THE DAY YOU DIED is a 78,000 standalone YA Contemporary Suspense with thriller elements and series potential told in a semi-epistolary format utilizing blogs, journal entries, text messages, emails, and news reports. Fans of Cecily von Ziegesar’s Gossip Girl and Rob Thomas’ Veronica Mars who enjoyed the plot twists of Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train will enjoy THE DAY YOU DIED.

OMG I love your mind 🙂

What inspires these crazy ideas? How do you come up with them?

I become inspired by the most random things. It could be something I hear on the radio or on the news. Something a student says to me in passing or even a bumper sticker. For instance, I went to a concert this weekend and the atmosphere of the band I watched was so unique, I spent majority of the show plotting a YA Contemporary that I plan to write from the different POVs of the band members. But, like everyone has a TBR pile, my TBW (To Be Written) pile is getting ridiculous.

Did you decide right away that you wanted to go the traditional route and get an agent? How have you found the querying process?

I always knew I wanted to go the traditional path if possible. A GAME OF SECRETS (it was named something else when I queried it) landed me multiple offers of representation, but after a year with my agent we decided to amicably part ways. With that being said, I’m currently querying THE LANGUAGE OF LIARS. The pitch has been very successful, but agents are so busy so I’m locked in a holding pattern. If for one reason or another it doesn’t land me an agent, I have THE DAY YOU DIED ready to query.

What are your thoughts about hybrid and self-publishing? Would you be interested in publishing as an indie author?

More authors are becoming hybrid and self-published authors these days as traditional publishing becomes more difficult to achieve. I would like to take the traditional route for publishing first, and I’m not opposed to becoming a hybrid author.

All writers are readers so who are some of your favorite authors and why?

I’ve recently returned to grad school, so unfortunately fun reading is on hold. I’m reading tons of grad books on becoming an effective administrator. But, two authors who always stood out in my mind:

Stephen King – His mind…I just want to crawl in there and hug his brain. I love to have twists in my plots and the twists he comes up with catch me off guard more times than not. Writers tend to see the twists coming a mile away and I can’t always see his.

J.K. Rowling—Her ability to world-build. With every Harry Potter book of hers I read, I felt like I was there. I could close my eyes and see everything as she described it.

What are you working on now? Do you outline or write by the seat of your pants?

I’m currently writing a YA Contemporary Romance to give myself a break from the dark thrill of my previous novels. It’s so much fun and I’m really enjoying it. I always have an aspect of romance in each of my novels so to have an entire novel focused around the romantic aspects of my main character is different. Not having to worry about threats or people dying is unusual, but did I mention how much fun I’m having? All the kissing…

I’m a total plotter. I outline like a crazy person. I have tried so hard to be a pantser, but it sets off my anxiety and isn’t worth it to me. I love to outline and whenever my characters do things that I didn’t anticipate, I go with it and just incorporate it into my outline. Sometimes it makes for big changes to the outline and sometimes not. Also, I have moments when something I’ve outlined just doesn’t work with the overall anymore. When that happens, I simply cross it out. I tend to leave all the chapters I’ve outlined in what I call my “background bible” (a document I create to house my outline, pitch, character descriptions, setting descriptions, etc) with the words crossed out so that if I ever need to go back, I can see what I originally planned and compare it to what I ended up writing.

What does a typical writing day look like for you/what is your process?

I tend to reread a few pages before I start writing to get myself in the mindset of the character. I carry my laptop with me wherever I go and if I can’t carry it, I have notepad on word where each of my novels has their own file for me to add information to. I also carry a journal with me that I use if I have to go to a meeting or something and get hit with an idea that won’t let go, I can write it down and still appear to be productive. I’ve been sacrificing my makeup recently to work on my #SecretWIP so I write for about 30-45 minutes every morning before I leave to take my kids to school and go to work (I wake up at 5am and I’m out the door by 6:30).

If one of your novels was made into a movie, which would you choose and what actors would you cast to play the three main roles?

Such a great question! I always go to the internet and find pictures of people or actors who represent best what my characters look like. I’m a visual person and it helps me to see something if I’m going to describe it.

For THE LANGUAGE OF LIARS, I’d love to see the following actors cast:

Raine: Kat Graham (AKA as Bonnie from The Vampire Diaries) because my MC is biracial; African American mother/Caucasian father).

Colin: Rupert Grint (AKA Ron Weasley from Harry Potter). Written to be a redhead, Colin has a physical disability, so I’d love to actually have him played by an actor who also has said disability (which Rupert does not).

Sam: Michael B. Jordan (Creed, The Wire, Friday Night Lights) or Tristan Wilds (The Wire & Adele’s ex from the Hello video).

What have been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned on your writing journey so far?

NEVER GIVE UP…NEVER SURRENDER. So what if I stole that from Galaxy Quest. It’s something I have to remind myself daily. Separating from my agent was the hardest thing I think I’ve ever done as a writer and I backed away from the writing community when it happened because I was so afraid everyone was going to give me judgy side-eyes (which of course never happened). When I talked to people, I quickly found out how many authors leave their agents and it made me feel a lot better. I love the writing community and wouldn’t trade it for the world.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers about writing? What about the process of trying to get published?

Participate in twitter contests. Make friends. Help each other out. Be a cheerleader. Don’t get discouraged. Find CPs and Beta readers, but not too many. Keep that part of your writing life small. Don’t think that what you have is 100% perfect when you give it to someone to read. Let them find errors and raise questions, but don’t allow another reader to completely change your novel unless it’s something you considered doing to begin with. Join organizations like RWA, Kiss of Death, YARWA, SCWBI, etc.

MAGICAL ADVICE!

Anything else you would like to add or talk about?

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER!! I love to chat.  https://twitter.com/natneagle?lang=en

Thank you so much! Where else can people find out more about you and your books?

Website: http://www.natashaneagle.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/agirlnamednat

Interview with Urban Fantasy Author Megan Paasch

Megan Paasch
Megan Paasch

When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?

In second grade, I had a teacher who was highly focused on writing and the writing process. My third grade teacher was the same way. And I loved it. I think that’s around the time I decided I wanted to be a writer.

I started reading and researching a lot about the craft before I had the courage to actually do it. How did you start?

I probably should have done that. It would have saved me a lot of time and trouble. I just jumped into it. I had an idea that had been simmering for several years, and every once in a while I’d write one or two chapters on it. Then I’d put it away when life got busy, and come back to it and start over again. Then one day I realized if I was going to write the book, I needed to just write it. So I did. It wasn’t until I’d finished that I went back and studied the craft a bit so I could figure out how to revise the darn thing.

What genre(s) do you write in? What is it that you love about them?

I write modern/urban fantasy and . . . I guess you could call it paranormal mystery? That’s what my current one seems to be turning into anyway. I love anything that puts some kind of fantastical twist on everyday life. Since it’s based in the modern world, it adds that tiny extra bit of believability to it—that if you just know where to look, there could be all kinds of amazing things hidden behind the façade of the mundane, and if you just happen to run into the right person, or open the right door, or step onto the right forest path, you might find it.

I LOVE this.

What route to publication are you interested in?

I’m currently pursuing traditional publishing, but I’m open to going indie or hybrid as well. I especially like the idea of being a hybrid author, actually, because it allows for a larger range of publishing options and more freedom to write whatever the heck you want.

 

All writers are readers first. Who are some of your favorite authors and why?

Oh gosh, I could fill pages with this. Let’s see. I’ve always been a huge Alexandre Dumas (pére) fan. He’s great with characterization and with mixing humor and light-heartedness with some very heavy and dark moments. I like to try to do the same with my stories. I’m also a huge fan of Jasper Fforde. His stories are both funny and smart—as I’m reading, I find myself wishing I could get inside his head and rummage around a bit to see if I can figure out how his mind works. I also love L.M. Montgomery, Charlotte Bronte, Terry Pratchett, Susannah Clarke, Maggie Steifvater . . . like I said, I could go on and on. I do find that a lot of my favorite authors are especially gifted in creating unique and rich characters—something I aspire to be able to do as well. Not sure if I’m there, but we’re all our own worst critics.

What inspires your ideas? How do you come up with them?

I . . . have no idea. Honestly, I really don’t know. I do find that I come up with a lot of ideas just randomly, like an epiphany, while I’m letting my mind wander doing something mundane like washing dishes or driving. Sometimes I’ll be inspired by something I read in an article. There is one story that I’m in the process of hashing out in my head that came to me after reading about this weird, internationally scattered art installation some guy is setting up in Europe. But that’s an anomaly. Usually a random thought comes in, or I see something while I’m driving along, and it hits some kind of chord with me and I have to come up with a story around it.

What are you working on now? Do you outline or write by the seat of your pants?

I’m kind of keeping the details of my current project close to my chest at the moment, but I will say that it’s a paranormal mystery—kind of Practical Magic meets Stephen King? I think? And it has to do with dreams. I’ve outlined this one extensively. More than once, actually. I think I’ve got it figured out this time. However, everything else I’ve written has been by the seat of my pants, which worked out really well for me with my first one, but started giving me trouble with subsequent stories, which is why I thought I’d change up my process this time.

What does a typical writing day look like for you/what is your process?

I’m a stay-at-home mom, and one of my kids is still only in half day preschool, so I don’t get a lot of quiet time to write. I try to use the time when my youngest is at school, but sometimes I end up using it to get chores or errands done. Or to, um, watch Netflix. Don’t judge! If I don’t write during that time, I’ll write a bit in the evening after the kids go to bed. And occasionally, very rarely, I’ll find I’m able to focus enough to get a few words in while the kids are keeping themselves occupied with something else and aren’t being overly noisy. As for my process, it involves a lot of staring, writing, staring, checking social media, chastising myself for checking social media when I should be writing, staring some more, writing some more, and so on and so on. So basically, a typical writers’ process from what I hear.

If one of your novels was made into a movie, which would you choose and what actors would you cast to play the three main roles?

I’d have to go back in time to get the actors that I want at younger ages, but I’d make Charlotte Elemental (a Fae modern fantasy that I’m currently querying) into a movie with a young Claire Foy as Charlotte and an also younger Lucas Bryant as Liel. The villain, Analeigh, would be played by Joanne Whalley at the age she was when she played Sorsha in Willow.

What have been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned on your writing journey so far?

I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned has been to relax, and I’ve only just figured that out within the last six months or so. I’ve learned the hard way to slow down and remember that it’s not a race to get published, and that I write because I enjoy it. And if I let myself get too stressed and anxious, it isn’t so enjoyable anymore, and if writing isn’t enjoyable, what’s the point? So I’ve stopped setting word count goals, and I just try to write something everyday. And if I do miss a day, I don’t beat myself up over it. Sometimes the brain needs a break.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers about writing? What about the process of trying to get published?

Well the first bit of advice I’d give them is the answer to the last question—remember to relax and keep the work enjoyable. But, keeping that in mind, don’t get too lax either. Keep writing, keep working, be persistent. Your first novel is probably going to be your baby. It also probably isn’t going to be the one that gets you an agent (though it might!) Your second one might not either. Your third might. Or it might not. But keep cranking them out. With each novel you write, you’re learning things. Brandon Sanderson’s sixth novel was the first one of his that got published. (I think it was his sixth. Don’t quote me on that.) And he writes huge novels. That’s a LOT of writing and learning that took place before he got to where he needed to be to get his books on the shelves. So don’t get discouraged. Keep at it.

Thank you so much Megan! Where can people find out more about you and your books?

Thank you so much too! You can find me here:

Website: http://meganpaasch.wordpress.com

Online at: @meganpaasch (twitter) and also @writerneuroses (a twitter parody account)

 

Cover Reveal: The Warrior Prophet By Lisa Voisin

I am super excited to reveal the awesome cover for THE WARRIOR PROPHET, the third book in Lisa Voisin’s The Watcher Saga, and to share an excerpt from the book.

There is also an amazing giveaway included with the reveal for ecopies of THE WATCHER and THE ANGEL KILLER, the first two books in the series, so you can catch up.

WP

DESCRIPTION

Mia Crawford is a prophet.

She can see angels. She also sees demons. Everywhere.

She knows the angels are preparing for war to get her fallen angel boyfriend, Michael, back.

A war that could take years.

Haunted by visions of Michael’s soul being tortured, Mia can’t rest until she knows he’s safe.

To save him, she must make an impossible journey through Hell. Her only guide is the one person she prayed she’d never see again.

Excerpt

While the angels battled outside, a ghoulish female demon pounded a crack in the protective structure around Michael’s hospital room with her fist. Her long, stringy black hair whipped over her face with each blow. She struck and struck until she hit the perfect angle. The structure cracked.

Her eyes glowed red and her skin was the color of black polished granite, wet with black slime. With a tearing sound, like ripping silk, the crevice grew. Her form as ragged and filmy as liquid smoke, she slipped into the crevice and poured herself through. I struggled to make a sigil of my own and managed to make the first cone. By the second, she was in my face. Her cold, dead stare mesmerized me and her shrieking pierced my eardrums. But when she reached a bony arm for Michael, I reconnected to the network and ignited the room, throwing her beyond my reach.

She picked herself up and circled the outer edges of my halo, inching closer to test it. I dropped Michael’s chart on the bedside table and flared my energy out further. My halo wasn’t as big or bright as when Michael and I had been connected, but I could hold her off. I had to.

Available April 13, 2016

Pre-Order it now:

Amazon: Kindle: http://amzn.to/1Rkq5RK

Amazon Print: http://amzn.to/1QJEsi4

Kobo (epub): https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-warrior-prophet-2

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-warrior-prophet-lisa-voisin/1123449947

Add it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29332802-the-warrior-prophet

 

About the Author:

A Canadian-born author, Lisa Voisin spent her childhood daydreaming and making up stories, but it was her love of reading and writing in her teens that drew her to Young Adult fiction.

Lisa is a technical writer, a meditation teacher, and the leader of the Lynn Valley Literary Society’s Young Writer’s Club, a writing group for teens. A self-proclaimed coffee lover, she can usually be found writing in a local café. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her meditating or hiking in the mountains.

Though she’s lived in several cities across Canada, she currently lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her fiancé and their two cats.

More about Lisa can be found on her web site: http://www.lisavoisin.com.

LISA sm

Twitter: @lvoisin

Facebook: http://facebook.com/lisavoisinauthor

Blog: http://lisavoisin.wordpress.com

Web: http://lisavoisin.com

Mailing List: http://lisavoisin.us6.list-manage1.com/subscribe?u=3845a001b6170d0681adfa77a&id=bd90f09ba9