Today we're welcoming author Emlyn Chand to the blog on her tour with Goddess Fish Promotions for the paranormal YA novel, "Farsighted".
Emlyn is giving away a $50 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter. So comment today AND follow her tour (if you click on the banner above, it'll take you to a list of her tour stops) -- the more you read and comment, the better your odds of winning. You could be introduced to a great new author AND win a GC!
What's Farsighted about?
Alex Kosmitoras’s life has never been easy. The only other student who will talk to him is the school bully, his parents are dead-broke and insanely overprotective, and to complicate matters even more, he’s blind. Just when he thinks he’ll never have a shot at a normal life, a new girl from India moves into town. Simmi is smart, nice, and actually wants to be friends with Alex. Plus she smells like an Almond Joy bar. Yes, sophomore year might not be so bad after all.
Unfortunately, Alex is in store for another new arrival—an unexpected and often embarrassing ability to “see” the future. Try as he may, Alex is unable to ignore his visions, especially when they begin to suggest that Simmi is in danger. With the help of the mysterious psychic next door and new friends who come bearing gifts of their own, Alex must embark on a journey to change his future.
And now ... let's hear a little from Emlyn!
It all comes down to the enjoyment factor. YA is my favorite genre to read, so it’s only natural that I would choose to write it as well. I like the vulnerability and changeability of the characters. I love the ease of language and the connection that is created by writing in first person point-of-view. But mostly, I like the readers of YA. YA readers WANT to enjoy books .Their primary goal is not to dissect the literary merit of a story but rather to find a bit of entertainment. YA readers are also extremely loyal to authors they like and can border on fanatical. It makes you feel good as an author ;-)
What research went into creating a believable blind main character?
I read books about coping with blindness in a school setting and spent a great deal of time pondering how I might behave if I couldn’t see. In the story, Alex has always been blind; he’s always known the world to be a certain way. Not everyone understands that, and they have trouble talking about it with him. I gave Alex a tendency to overcompensate. He knows who he is and what he’s capable of, and he wants the world to know it too, so sometimes he overdoes things a bit.
Was it difficult writing from a teenaged boy's POV?
You know, it wasn’t as hard to write blind as I initially thought it would be. As I got to know Alex better and better, it became easier to tune into his way of seeing things. Now, of course, I had to self-edit and rely on my 7 beta readers and 2 editors quite a bit to be sure that I had taken out any visual descriptions that accidentally slipped in. Another really strange thing that happened as a result of writing blind is that I actually wrote the whole story without knowing what anyone or anything looked like (except for Alex). When it came time to shoot the book trailer, the directors were asking me questions about the scenes and which props they should bring, and I really, really didn’t know what to tell them!
Do you write full time? If not, do you hope to?
Not full time, no. I also have my own business, which requires a lot of work to keep it going. I am lucky in that I love BOTH my jobs—both writing and running Novel Publicity. I think I’ll need both to keep me happy. Right now, I work about 100 hours per week, mostly devoted to Novel Publicity. I’d like to be able to work 30 hours per week for NP and write 30 hours per week. That would be the best life!
What's a typical day for you?
Ultimately, My day is quite simple. Wake up (usually anywhere from 2 AM to 6 AM depending on how much I need to get done). Work until 7 PM. Eat dinner with my husband. Either watch television or read a book until I fall asleep. Repeat on loop. When I’m actively writing (as opposed to editing or marketing my work), I like to write at least 1 1/2 hours first thing in the morning. I go to Biggby or Panera to get it done. The rest is devoted to my burgeoning business, Novel Publicity.
Hey, didn’t somebody important say, “far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing?” I don’t mind having to give-up the other parts of my life to pursue my work, because I love it. I know I’ll eventually need to achieve a better balance, but for now, I’m content to push the pedal to the metal.
Plotter or Pantser?
Um, both actually! I begin with a seed of an idea and work out from there. With Farsighted, I started with Alex and created the rest of the story and characters to fit around him. Using the runes as a structural framework for this novel created an outline for me too. I’m a numbers person as well as a word person. I love things to be organized just so. If you set a stack of papers in front of me; I’m going to fuss with them until they are lined up in a perfect stack. It’s just the way I am. Shaping each chapter around a rune gave the story order, which made me feel happy and comfortable. Whenever I got stuck and didn’t know what should happen next, I was able to learn more about that chapter’s rune and get the inspiration I needed to continue. The runes themselves tell a story, one that is successfully completed. I felt that boded well for Farsighted.
Anything coming up from you we should be looking forward to?
Farsighted is a 5-book series. Each book will be told from a different character’s point-of-view, so in book #2, we’ll actually be able to see what Grandon looks like! Next up is Open Heart. I hope to have that ready by the middle of next year. I’m keeping the narrator a secret until closer to the release date ;-)
Do you mainly read in the genre you write in? Why or why not?
Absolutely. I LOVE YA—I read it, write it, love it! My favorite author is JK Rowling. The more I read, the more I realize how brilliant she is as an author. If you remove the dialogue tags from Harry Potter, you still know which character is speaking, and Rowling managed to create an intricate beautiful world without allowing her character development to suffer, which is tremendously rare. I consider her literary God. Suzanne Collins, and JD Salinger are classic faves. But… my favorite book is A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, definitely. The novel has so many layers and entertains on so many levels. Also the characters in that novel seem more real than those from any other I’ve ever read. It’s just beautiful—that’s the only word for it.
Tell us about some author who's inspired you? How?
I’ve been inspired by so many authors. The most profound influence would have to be the earliest. As a child, my favorite book was Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crocket Johnson. It opened my eyes to the world that could exist if only I was willing to create it—I think it’s what encouraged me to be a writer in the first place.
Any questions for our readers?
Sure! Hello, readers: What elements really attract you to read a story in the first place? And what elements make it memorable and worthy of recommendation to your friends? I’d love to hear your thoughts on that.
Where can we find you?
Author Website: www.emlynchand.com
Novel Publicity: www.novelpublicity.com
SUPER AWESOME BOOK TRAILER: http://youtu.be/tZjskE5zjzM
Care to share an excerpt with us?
Simmi and I arrive at this rally point together from Mrs. Warszynski’s to wait for Shapri. Several minutes go by. I want to suggest we leave without her but don’t think that’ll score me any points with Simmi.
“You didn’t want Shapri to come tonight, did you?” Simmi asks.
“Well, I—no, I mean, it’s fine. I’m glad she could come,” I sputter.
“You’re such a horrible liar,” Simmi teases, pushing me playfully.
“Hey, that’s not fair. I can’t hit you back. You’re a girl.”
“I’m just teasing you.” Simmi blows a raspberry and pulls her body up onto the circular wall surrounding the flagpole area. I hesitate before pulling myself up too. Simmi scootches over so we touch at the hip. She loops her hand through the crook of my arm and places her head on my shoulder. “I never would have gotten away with this in India,” she says. “But I’m glad I can here. I’m a psychic feeler. I need to be in touch with others.” She pauses and strokes my arm with her free hand. “You know, when I touch someone I can make them feel what I want them to, but I can also sense their existing emotions. It’s almost the same as being able to read minds. Everything important has to do with the heart, not logic.” She lightens her tone. “But don’t tell Dr. Brown I said that, he’d take marks off of my next chem exam out of spite.”
I laugh nervously. Is she like Miss Teak in a way? Can she read my feelings for her? If she can, why hasn’t she said anything? I contemplate reaching over and kissing her, so I can know for sure how she feels. But I’ve never kissed anyone before. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to initiate it. Do I take her out for dinner and a movie first? Or make some lengthy speech declaring my intentions? Do I kiss her, just like that? Or do I ask for her permission before making my big move?
I decide to ask if it’s okay. Simmi is a classy girl. She needs respect. I swallow, hoping the motion will open up my airway, because right now, I’m kind of having trouble catching my breath. “Simmi,” I start.
“Yeah, Alex?” She lifts her head and links her hand in mine, nudging her slender fingers in between each of mine.
“Would it be okay if I…”
“There you two are!” Shapri says, running over to us, panting heavily. “I thought we were meeting in the commons.”
“No, we agreed on the flagpole,” Simmi says, hopping down from the wall.
The moment is gone. I don’t know when I’ll get the chance and the nerve again. My opinion of Shapri transforms from cautious indifference into outright hatred. Why did she invite herself along?
Shapri clears her throat. “Did I—Did I interrupt something here? Maybe a little romance?”
“What? No, no,” Simmi says shaking her head adamantly. “Nothing like that, Alex is like a brother to me.”
Ouch. Pain. Stabbed in my heart. I’m like a brother to her? I guess this means romance is off the table…
Thanks so much for stopping by today! I have the PDF for your book and will be reviewing it next year. I can't wait!