There is awesome in the air! Today we’re joined by Emlyn Chand, the guru behind Novel Publicity and author of FARSIGHTED, a really cool book you’re going to want to learn more about. Fortunately, you’re in the right spot to do just that, so get cozy. Stay tuned to learn more about Emlyn, then check out her links and book trailer. Before you go you’ll find out how you can enter to win a $50 Amazon gift card. (See? I TOLD you it was a great day to be here!)
Welcome Emlyn, and congratulations on the release of FARSIGHTED! This book has such a unique angle with the main character, Alex, blind. How were you able to connect with a blind character and bring him to life for your readers?
Thank you; it feels great to finally be able to attach published to author in my bio 😀 To connect with Alex, 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.
I love the overcompensation. I suspect that makes him very real to readers, which is always a win. Not to pick on poor Alex, but between his parents and problems at school, his young life is a symphony of things not going his way. How did these pieces come together for you? Did you plot ahead of these challenges, or did some creep into the manuscript as you wrote?
Sometimes life gives you lemons, right? Alex’s life is his life. It’s what he knows. I planned most of the challenges ahead of time. Being different, of course, leads to being ostracized by the highs school cliques. That felt natural. What I didn’t count on Dad being unemployed—at least not initially—but I knew the family was not well-off financially. Unfortunately, financial issues aren’t common in the fictional Midwest town of Grandon.
Ouch. It sounds as if Alex has a lot to overcome, and those facets all make for a strong character. But he’s not the only one, Emlyn. YOU are a busy, busy woman. How do you balance your own writing career with running Novel Publicity and leading a book group (and on top of that still manage to read a book a week for pleasure)?
Well, I don’t! Everything else in my life is out of whack. I work anywhere from 13 to 17 hours per day. Every day. This does not leave time for social interactions, family, taking care of my health, or any sort of leisure activity (and, sadly, I don’t read a book per week anymore—guess I need to update my extended bio)!
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.
Wait. Did you say get UP at 2am? I didn’t even know that was possible! You, ma’am, are dedicated. And your coffee must have superpowers! Of course, they wouldn’t be your only oddity. :c) Quick question for those of us who have read your bio: what color was the fountain pen? *grin*
Ooo! No one has ever asked about the fountain pen other than to challenge the validity of my claim or to inquire about my mother’s health 😉 The fountain pen was grey—that’s my favorite color and a very nice color for a pen to boot.
Your book cover is gray, as is my blog. You must be loving it here, LOL! (And I’ve had six babies. For the doubters, the fountain pen has nothing on the shoulder width of a full term newborn. True story!) From writing—gray pen and all—to reader, which genre are you drawn to as a reader? Do you prefer to read in the same genre as your WIP or do you mix it up?
I LOVE YA! I read it, write it, love it! The only other genre I read with regularity is literary fiction. I run a book club with roughly 400 members, and we’re solely devoted to the classics.
Darn. For a second I thought you were a really enthusiastic fan of ME, but alas, ’tis the genre of young adult that has your heart. And WOW, what a book club! I hope they’re all paying rapt attention to this next question. *grin* Looking back over all of the intimate moments you’ve created between characters, which scene would you most like to experience for yourself? What makes it so alluring?
There’s a special scene about half way through the book that takes place in Miss Teak’s psychic shop, but unfortunately, I can’t say any more because of major spoilers!
You, ma’am, are a TEASE! Now that we know that much about you, let’s see how well you play with others. Have you ever battled with any of your characters over their personality traits? If so, who won – you or the character?
My characters always win! For each manuscript I write, I have one minor character who refuses to remain minor. These players take over the stage and throw-out my previous plans. In Farsighted, this character was Shapri. She’s now my personal favorite and many readers adore her as well, but she was not supposed to be a main character. She demanded it, and I’m so glad I listened!
Like children, aren’t they? And heaven forbid they are RIGHT because they never let you forget it. ;c) Of course, the best stories tend to take over at times, characters and all. Planned or otherwise, how do you keep track of plot elements or twists?
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.
Wow. I’m really impressed . . . and here’s your chance to impress me some more! What are you currently working on?
I’m working on book two in the Farsighted series. It’s called Open Heart and will be written from the point-of-view of a different main character. I’m also toying with the idea of a special hardcover edition of Farsighted Book 1 with new chapters added to the end and a sneak peek of Open Heart.
That sounds fabulous, Emlyn! Let’s give readers a closer look at FARSIGHTED, a great deal at just 99 cents.
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.
Emlyn Chand is the president of Novel Publicity and a YA author. She loves to hear and tell stories and emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true story). Her first novel Farsighted released in late 2011 and is of the YA genre. Learn more about Emlyn at www.emlynchand.com or by connecting with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or GoodReads.
At Sweet Blossoms, Mom makes a huge fuss over my “becoming a ladies’ man, and with such pretty ladies too.” I keep my hands clasped on my cane to keep myself from strangling her. After making sure she’s thoroughly embarrassed me, Mom closes up shop early, swings by the pizza parlor, and delivers the three of us to an empty house.
“Dad’s out on another job interview,” Mom explains, laying out paper plates and napkins and extracting a two-liter bottle of orange pop from the fridge. “Let’s save him a couple of slices, okay?”
Shapri flips open the lid off the first pizza box. “Ick, ham and pineapple,” she says, moving on to the next box. “Now here’s what I’m talking about, pepperoni with extra cheese. Yum!”
“Pineapple and ham is Alex’s favorite,” Mom announces from the kitchen, as she pours pop into Dixie cups.
“Yes, it is,” I say, nudging Shapri out of the way, so I can plop a few slices onto my plate. I don’t care how early in the afternoon it is. I’m hungry. I shove a slice in my mouth and the grease drips down my chin.
Shapri crunches on a slice of the pepperoni and cheese.
“Are you eating the crust first?” I ask; the tip of the pizza goes in mushily, not crunchily.
“Of course,” Shapri says. Her voice is muffled since her mouth is completely full of food. “That’s how you’re supposed to eat it, save the best for last.”
“Weird,” I say, taking another huge chomp of my pizza from the intended end.
“Do they have pizza where you come from, Simmi?” Mom asks.
“Yes,” Simmi answers curtly.
“Well, why aren’t you eating anything? Don’t you like pizza?”
“Yes, I like pizza very much. But…”
I pause before tearing into my second slice. “What’s wrong?” I ask.
“Well, I don’t eat meat,” Simmi explains. “But it’s okay. I’ll just pick it off.”
“Oh no,” Mom groans. “I didn’t realize. I’m so sorry.” She comes over to the table and places a roll of paper towels in front of Simmi with a thud. “You can use this to blot at the pizza.” Mom comes up behind me and places her hands on my chair. “Okay, I’ll let you kids enjoy your party. I’m headed out to the garden to water the tomatoes. When Dad comes home, send him outside, okay?” Mom kisses me on the head and takes her leave.
Shapri and I continue eating our pizza like we’ve been starving our entire lives. Simmi blots politely at her slice, picking off the toppings and tearing it into small bits and placing them in her mouth. A few minutes later, Dad arrives through the front door.
“Hi, Alex,” he calls from the next room, while removing his shoes. “Hi, Alex’s friends.” He hangs up his jacket and makes his way over to the kitchen. “I hope you saved me a slice or two.” He stops walking all of a sudden, freezing as if he were a deer about to get hit by a semi-truck on a lonely country road.
“Hi, Dad,” I say. “Mom says she wants you to meet her outside in the garden.”
Dad clears his throat and walks back toward the front door. None of us say anything until he’s gone outside.
“That was weird,” Shapri says. “I wonder what his problem is.”
“Dad’s kind of been a bit unusual lately,” I say, hoping we can talk about something else.
“The way he was staring at me. Like I’m a ghost or something.”
From outside, Dad’s voice floats in and hangs above our conversation. I can’t quite make out the words, but I can tell he’s angry. Really angry.
“Um, I better be going,” Shapri says, shoving one last bite into her mouth and then brushing her hands off against each other, making a loud clapping noise.
“You don’t need to leave because of him,” I say. I guess Dad still ranks number one on the people I don’t like list. I don’t want him acting like this around my guests, whether I invited them of my own accord or not.
“No, I have to go,” Shapri says with tons of conviction, while throwing her paper plate away under the sink and then heading toward the door. “My dad’s here to walk me home. He told me he’d pick me up, and now here he is.” Shapri throws her coat on over her shoulders and shoves her feet into her slip-on shoes. “I’ll see you both at school tomorrow. Happy birthday again, Alex. Bye.” Only about thirty seconds pass between the time Shapri decides to leave and the time she has disappeared through the front door.
Simmi takes a sip of pop, slurping loudly. “I wonder what that was all about,” she says.
“No idea,” I whisper in case Dad is listening. “I wonder why her father didn’t even come in to say ‘hello.’ Strange.”
“Forget coming in. He didn’t come at all. No one was outside. Shapri just walked off by herself.”
You didn’t just skip to this part did you? Because I’m watching, you know . . . that’s how I know you’re dying to find out how you can win that $50 gift card to Amazon. *grin* If you’d like to qualify for Emlyn’s fabulous where-have-you-been-all-my-life grand prize, comment with a valid email addy. Want more chances to win? Follow Emlyn’s FARSIGHTED tour by clicking here to see tour dates. The more you follow her around and comment, the greater your chances to win! But wait! Before you leave, check out the Super Awesome Book Trailer for FARSIGHTED. Then comment, and then you can chase Emlyn around. Thank you all so much for being here. Emyln, it’s been an honor!