Monthly Archives: October 2012

The Next Big Thing

By sheer coincidence, two different authors – Adriana Ryan and Paula Jones – invited me, both on the same day, to participate in the Next Big Thing blog hop, which has been making its way around the internet lately. It’s a way to give authors a chance to talk about their books, and why would I turn that down? My answers to the questions are below:

What is the working title of your book?

The Torturer’s Daughter.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I was doing a writing exercise, and decided that for the exercise I would write about a torturer. What came out was a scene where a girl awkwardly tried to repair her friendship with her former best friend, whose parents had been executed a year ago, while the girl’s mother, who had executed them, listened in. I wrote a few more scenes with those characters, and somewhere along the line I decided I wanted to turn it into a novel.

What genre does your book fall under?

YA dystopian.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I’m always terrible at this question. I don’t think I watch enough movies to answer it. The last time I saw a movie was… um… I saw part of Thor on Netflix. In July. I asked a friend of mine who is much more familiar with actors than I am, and we decided on Salma Hayek for Raleigh and Amanda Seyfried for Heather, but had trouble finding anyone for Becca (besides possibly Anna Kendrick?) and Jake.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

The daughter of the regime’s most infamous torturer has to choose between her conscience and the people she loves when she learns the truth about her dystopian society.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Self-published – in fact, it just came out last week!

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

About two months. Which isn’t bad, considering I was trying to turn it into second-draft material for Holly Lisle’s How to Revise Your Novel course at the same time. Although it was a rewrite, I still consider that to be the first draft, because it was a total rewrite. Nothing survived of the original except the basic premise and a few of the characters.

I wrote the original version in two weeks. But the problem with that one wasn’t that I wrote it in such a short amount of time – it was that it started as a series of vignettes loosely based around a central premise, and so it had too many characters, too many POVs (granted, for me, more than one POV is generally too many), too many time jumps, and not enough actual plot.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I’d say All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin and maybe Article 5 by Kristen Simmons (minus the romantic focus). A dystopia that is more realistic than stylized but is a whole lot grimmer than the world we have now. A focus on characters’ struggles with, and victories over, their own circumstances within the dystopian world rather than the dystopia as a whole. Plenty of inner conflict.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Holly Lisle’s How to Revise Your Novel course really helped make this novel what it is. It had a solid premise and good characters. The revision course helped me give it an actual plot, plus structure and tension and all that good stuff.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

While I was first writing this, I joked that the theme of the novel was “Torturers are people too.” That’s actually not too far from the truth. It’s about what happens when you start seeing people as less than human – and what happens when you realize that they’re as human as you are.

The way this works is that I’m supposed to tag five other people to participate. But I hate it when I come across things like this that I’d like to participate in but know I don’t know anyone who is going to tag me. I mean, what are the rules there? Is it acceptable to do it anyway? Will it look like I don’t understand how it’s supposed to work? Why should there be an artificial limit on the number of participants in the first place?

So instead, anyone who wants to is welcome to participate. Comment with a link to your answers, and I’ll link back to you.

This Is What It Feels Like to Fulfill a Dream

It’s been a week since The Torturer’s Daughter was released, and I’m still having trouble processing it. It’s hard for me to believe that I really do have a book out there for people – people who don’t even know me – to read. I know eventually I’ll be used to this; I’ll take it for granted. I won’t get a chill every time I see my Amazon page, and start giggling like a little girl whenever I see that someone else has bought my book. But for now, I’m savoring the newness of it. The surreal unfamiliarity.

When I first started thinking about self-publishing, back when I was only going to do it under a pen name for a project that didn’t pan out, I knew I wanted to do it seriously, professionally, rather than just for fun or just for the heck of it. The lines get murky when it comes to self-publishing, I know,  but there’s a difference, at least a psychological one, between self-publishing with the intent to start a professional writing career and, say, posting a story on fictionpress.com. There’s nothing wrong with the latter, but it’s not what I wanted. But like I said, the lines get murky – so I had to figure out where that line was for me, draw it out inside my head. And that line was having a stranger pay for something I’ve written. I didn’t know how long it would take me to cross that line when I published The Torturer’s Daughter, but I had faith that I would.

I crossed it the first day it came out. Then crossed it twice over. Then again, and again, and again. I don’t know whether dreams are fulfilled at a geometric or exponential rate, but by either count I ended up far ahead of where I thought I would be.

The day The Torturer’s Daughter came out was one of the three best days of my life.

The sales I’ve gotten so far would look like nothing to someone who’s been doing this, and doing well at this, for a long time. But how I felt that first day wasn’t about numbers. It was about crossing that line, crossing it and leaving it in the distance. It was about reaching something I’ve been aiming towards for so long that the aiming itself was one of the threads my life was woven out of. The giddy bemused disorientation of looking at that thread and realizing it no longer belongs, and that something else has taken its place.

This is what it feels like to fulfill a dream.

It’s HERE!!

I may or may not be bouncing around the room like a crazy person right now. 😀

The Torturer’s Daughter is available now on Amazon (for Kindle): The Torturer’s Daughter on Amazon

And on Smashwords (for all other devices): The Torturer’s Daughter on Smashwords

It should be available on Barnes & Noble and Kobo shortly – as soon as Barnes & Noble works out some technical problems on their end, and I work out some problems on my end with the Kobo edition.

If you’re holding out for a print edition, it should be coming out before the end of the year! Sign up here to find out when it’s available.

(It looks like people are enjoying it already – it’s made it to #3 in hot new releases in the “Parents” category, and #4 in hot new releases for the “Values” category! 😀 )

Release Date News

I admit, I’ve been procrastinating on setting a release date for The Torturer’s Daughter. It’s mostly due to a superstitious sense of apprehension – a feeling that once I set a definite date, something will happen to ruin it. Then there was the nasty sinus infection that wreaked havoc on my editing schedule.

But I’ve (mostly) fought off the sinus infection, taken a look at what still needs to be done, and given the superstition a kick in the pants… and I have a release date! The Torturer’s Daughter will be coming out on October 22nd. It will be available on the Kindle store, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, and Kobo. You’ll have to wait a little longer for the Apple, Sony, and print editions, but those should all be available by the end of the year.

If you want to be notified when the book is available, sign up here! Otherwise, keep an eye on my site, or on Facebook and Twitter.