How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing since before I could write, if you know what I mean. I’ve always loved inventing stories or “tall tales” as my parents call them. I wrote and illustrated children’s books for my younger brothers when I was still in grade school. In fifth grade, I wrote a short MG novel. I tried writing screenplays in high school but never got very far with those. Really, I started writing seriously about two-and-a-half years ago when the local paper offered me a book review column. That gave me the courage and consistency to write novels. Farsighted is my second written but first published.
What inspired you to write your first book?
Everything started with a single image—my face in these tacky oversized sunglasses reflecting out at me from the car’s side mirror. I was daydreaming while my husband drove us across Michigan for my sister’s wedding. Something about my image really struck me in an almost horrific way. I felt the glasses made me look blind but found it so weird that there was still a clear image within them; it seemed so contradictory. At the time, my book club was reading The Odyssey, which features the blind Theban prophet, Tieresias. I started thinking about what it would be like to have non-visual visions of the future and began forming a modern Tieresias in my mind. Lo and behold, Alex Kosmitoras was born. I didn’t want him to be alone in his psychic subculture, so I found other characters with other powers to keep him company. Thank God for my poor fashion sense.
When you first started writing Farsighted, did you plan for it to be a series?
Yes, I did. I’ve always wanted to write a series, and YA lends itself to that really well. How sad would you have been if JK Rowling, Suzanne Collins, or Stephenie Meyer decided to stop after book #1? I would have missed Alex, Simmi, and Shapri had I made them one-hit wonders. The hard part will be stopping after 5 books. I still bat around the idea of a prequel from time to time.
What can you tell us about the sequel?
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 ;-)
Which of your characters do you relate to most and why?
This is a really tough one for me to answer, because all the characters are so different than I am. I definitely identify with Alex and his desire to be accepted but to also remain independent. His battle between the two sides of himself is another thing I understand very well. In high school, I was also that person on the periphery. I was always different, which was both a challenge and a mark of pride.
If your real life as a teenager was a Young Adult book, what would you, the main character, be like?
Oh my, Alex is a lot like my teen self actually. We were both moody, overly dramatic, quick to rush to conclusions, and we both felt really alone in the world. I’m so glad I’m out of my teen years!
What book have you read too many times to count?
Harold and the Purple Crayon and Charlotte’s Web. These were my favorites as a child. As an adult, I find there’s just far too many awesome books out there to get stuck on a replay loop with any one title.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
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. 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. A 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!
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I like to work, haha. No, seriously. I run my own company, and I love my job. Work is relaxing. When I’ve worked too hard and have to call it quits for the day, I like reading on my Kindle, taking bubble baths, and watching Glee. I also have 5 birds, a dog, and husband.
What is the best piece of writing advice you ever received?
Have fun with your writing. Don’t put pressure on yourself or your story and don’t try to fit either into some type of mold. Just let it flow :-) Not every work HAS to be published, but every work will teach you something, and it will make you a better writer. Find the joy in writing, and you won’t go wrong.
Emlyn wanted to share the book trailer for Farsighted with you. Enjoy!
You can also read this interview on Examiner.
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