Welcome to another edition of my new monthly feature, Author Spotlight. This week I am excited to bring you an interview from author E.V. Fairfall whose newest book just released on Valentine's Day. When I decided I wanted to do this feature, I knew right away that I wanted to try to get E.V. on in February. Not just because of her book release (though that was definitely a part of it), but also because she has become a wonderful friend and I wanted to give you all the opportunity to learn more about her as well, and perhaps even talk to her yourself.
I have actually read both of E.V.'s books, as we spoke the first time after I reviewed her first book Transformed last year during a blog tour. It was then that our friendship began, and we have been talking ever since. It's been so fun to get to know her more, and she has given me some great advice as an aspiring writer myself. I was thrilled when she asked me if I would be interested in being a Beta Reader for Sleeping Tom, and it was a wonderful experience. I highly recommend that your read both Transformed and Sleeping Tom because they are both amazing (and Sleeping Tom is book one in a series, so there is more to come!). Anyway! Onto the interview questions...
1. How did you first think up the idea for Sleeping Tom? Is it something that just came to you, or did you take motivation from somewhere?
It started because my husband sleepwalks. Well, he doesn’t actually walk around but he talks and does crazy things. I woke up one night to him giggling. It was a really cute, innocent giggle but it was 3:00 a.m. so I couldn't imagine what could be so hilarious.
“What’s so funny?” I asked
“I’ll tell you in the morning.” He said
I sat there for a minute. “You always say that but you never remember in the morning; tell me now.”
He was quiet, then he giggled again, “Folders,” he paused, “and cotton balls.”
I couldn’t stop laughing. He laughed too for about a second before he was asleep again. I got out of bed and wrote it down so I wouldn’t forget and went back to sleep.
Night 2: Around 3:00a.m. again I woke up to him out of bed looking at my legs.
“Honey, what are you doing?” I asked.
“Why are your feet hanging off the bed?” He asked, his voice full of sweetness and true concern.
It freaked me out a little and I pulled my feet up.
Then he asked, “Do you want to play a game?”
“No, go back to bed.”
He got back in bed and was out like a light. This continued all week and after five days I was exhausted. Of course I told him about these nightly adventures but he didn’t recall anything about them.
While we were sitting at Starbucks, I complained, “It’s kind of like you’re a totally different person when you’re sleeping” and thus Sleeping Tom was born.
I started writing it a week later but it has taken about 3 years to get it to where it is today.
2. How was writing Sleeping Tom different than writing your first book, Transformed?
When writing about the paranormal, a writer has more options. In Sleeping Tom there was no magic wand to make Gabriel better or to help Caden with her life. I’ve had to work through it with them. Elements of school (which are more present and annoying to work around in the sequel), parents and friends all have a hand in pushing the plot. Also Mother Earth (from Transformed) doesn’t have the same repercussions for her actions (they were of my own choosing at least) while in Sleeping Tom things like being grounded are very normal reactions from parents. Real like elements can be difficult because everyone had different experiences. If a reader hasn’t had a tough life or hasn’t witnessed a friend going through something difficult, they may not be able to relate to the situation, whereas in a paranormal book the reader expects situations to be out of their element. I’ve enjoyed the challenge but it has been demanding. I wanted to work with characters who really needed help and I guess I didn’t realize that, just like in real life, it is hard to figure everything out and make the right choices.
3. Did you base any of the characters in the book (personality, looks, etc.) off of yourself, family, or friends?
Well as you now know :) I got the idea from my husband. For Caden I took one important personality quirk from my best friend Michelle which was how she always wears the color black. I tried to imagine how she would feel/react if someone bought her clothes that weren’t black. Other than that, each of the characters was independently created.
4. What are your thoughts and hopes for the book in the future? Do you see any sequels for the story, and have you already begun writing them?
This is a three book series. I really like standalone books (my other book Transformed is my proof) but Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder) is very complex and honestly, so are teenagers. It takes time to find yourself and when you’ve already had a hard life, well, it doesn’t make it any easier. Writing the sequel has been a great experience. I’ve really enjoyed finding out more about each character and about the disorder. I’m about half way into the sequel, which is called Waking Gabriel.
5. Any advice for other aspiring writers about the process of writing and having books published?
Yes! Read tons of books in the genre you would like to write in and go to a writers’ conference. The conferences are about $300-400 dollars but if you truly want to write a book, they will save you time and money and they will give you peace of mind. My first writers’ conference was at the Southern California Writers’ Conference (SCWC) in San Diego, CA but you can find them everywhere.
There is a saying, “writing the book is the easiest part,” and you have no idea how true that is. When you go to a writers’ conference they help you figure out how to make your book better, how to query agents, who to talk to, and best of all you make friends. I met Ara Grigorian (a wonderful writer, whose first book is coming out soon) and he has taken his own time and helped me with Sleeping Tom. He really is a true friend that I hope to keep forever. Other writers understand what you are going through; they pick you up when it gets hard. They go through the same rejection.
When I went to SCWC I had just finished Transformed. I brought the manuscript and went to an advanced submission with an author. This is where they read the first 50 pages of your book and let you know both the good and bad. My reader was author Michele Scott. While we were going over my book — in this draft I had taken out the character Cricket — we were talking and I mentioned Cricket. She looked at me and said, “I think you should put that character back in.” It is a good thing I did because in all of my reviews of Transformed, everyone loves Cricket.
During the same weekend I went to the rogue workshops (I’m not sure if other conferences offer this) but they are from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. and you sit with 5-10 other writers and an editor. My editor/writer was Laura Taylor. She read the first 10 pages of Transformed out loud to the group. She gave me a lot of edits and the other writers (like author Evan Ramspott) joined in with suggestions. I was so excited that when I got home that night I stayed up until 3 a.m. rewriting the first chapter (the conference starts again at 8 a.m.) and the following night I went to her rogue workshop again. She read the chapter rewrite and really liked the changes and direction. I ended up re-writing Transformed to follow a lot of her suggestions. So in the end you can directly see how the Southern California Writers’ Conference affected my book. Now as I go forward with my writing I can use those suggestions towards my other books. I can’t praise the process enough. If you use what the conference offers it can be abundantly helpful.
One last thing: I was terrified to have my work read out loud in a group. I don’t think many people go into the process fearless, but just remember, you aren’t doing it alone.
Don't forget that I am giving away 3 e-book copies of Sleeping Tom, enter HERE.
Thank you, E.V., for letting me host you on the blog!