Hi peeps! So today I'm doing something I've never done before (but thoroughly enjoyed and plan to do again): an interview!
I'm happy to announce that fellow blogger and writer Chanelle Gray landed a book deal recently, and agreed to stop by and chat about it. Without further ado, here's the lowdown on Chanelle and her book!
Congrats on your upcoming debut novel, MY HEART BE DAMNED! Tell us a little bit about it, how you were inspired to write it, and most importantly, when we can get it!
My Heart Be Damned is an urban fantasy that I started at the end of 2009 and finished early 2010. It's about a girl who is part of a blood line of females who hunt Damned - evil souls from Hell who possess the living. Amerie, still stung from losing her mother to the job, is thrust back into a world she wanted so badly to leave behind when she is caught up in a long lasting grudge between her dead mother and one very powerful Damned. And of course, there's Marshall. The guy who she may or may not be able to trust with her life, but will help her seek revenge for her mother's murder.
I've always loved reading stories where a girl can kick some serious butt, and I wanted to write one where the heroine is actually pretty flawed and messed up, but overcomes her issues to do what she must in order to protect the ones she loves. And, if all goes to plan, it should be in stores around October 2012!
How long have you been writing, and what types of stories are you drawn to?
I've been writing for forever. Actually, I'm not one of those people who can pinpoint the exact moment I started writing at the age of, like, six or something. I've always liked to read, and I used to write little stories every now and then. I think I was maybe thirteen or so when I first completed a full sized novel. It was about the Olsen twins, who I adored back then, and they were trapped in a haunted house. Very cringe worthy, but I'm quite proud that I managed to complete it. And then I found a new addiction in my life: The Sims. The Sims isn't just about the game itself, there's a whole other side to it where you can use the camera option to tell a story. And that was it; I was hooked to story telling. I'd think of a story, get the Sims to act out scenes from the story and then upload the album online with the writing beneath the picture.
My love in writing has always come from Urban Fantasy and Paranormal, mostly. I'm a plot driven novel kinda gal. I like when things blow up. When there's action and violence and gore! I love horror films, so I massively enjoy horror novels, just to see how they play out in words. I do enjoy contemporary books too. But again, I like plot driven ones as opposed to the character ones. I've found that, although I try, I'm not much of a fan of books where it spends the whole time about a character getting over some kind of tragedy. I like for there to be something keeping me on the edge of my seat. Recently, the books I've enjoyed have been The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Ashes, The Near Witch, The Body Finder, Anna and the French Kiss, Unearthly, Stolen and He's So Not Into You.
*Since Chanelle mentioned Unearthly and The Body Finder series, two of my faves, I'd just like to mention that you can click here and here for my disturbingly fangirlish reviews to see why we love them! Ok, why I love them.*
Tell us about your road to publication, and how you hooked up with your agent, Victoria Marini.
My road to publication was a long, emotional one!! It goes back to my Sims experience. As much as there are a lot of Twilight haters out there, there is one thing we cannot deny, and that is how successful it was in getting more teenage girls to read novels. I'm not saying they didn't read before, but everyone wanted to know what the fuss was about, and therefore picked up the book. It made paranormal fiction more popular.
So when my idea for a Sims story came to me, I'd managed to upload it online during a time where everyone was looking for their next addiction after Twilight. HAUNTED was the story of a girl who could see ghosts and joined a supernatural fighting organisation, only to fall in love with a guy who happened to be the vampire she'd been hunting all along.
It was a success with the Sims community and a lot of people encouraged me to get it published. So I thought, heck, why not? I researched into the business with another writer pal of mine, and together we set out to get published. I'll admit, I made a lot of errors at the beginning. I won't even begin to elaborate. I had some successes with HAUNTED, but I got a lot of the same results. Vampires are out. Write something else and submit to me.
So I did and then that wasn't what they wanted, so I wrote something else, which happened to be MY HEART BE DAMNED. I queried it slowly this time. I picked out agents who were specifically looking for that kind of thing. I actually really researched. And it paid off. In January of this year, Victoria offered representation. She wasn't the only one, but she was the one I really meshed with. I haven't regretted my decision once. And ultimately, she led me to kNight Romance, who are pretty new on the scene but watch out! They're going to be big.
What do you think is the most important advice for aspiring writers?
Read loads of the books in the genre you're writing for. A lot of rejection comes from books not standing out in an oversaturated market. So you're going to need to know what competition you're facing and how you can better differentiate your novel from the others. You'll need to know what you're up against! With that comes perseverance and patience. I was guilty of being impatient at the beginning of my querying stage. Don't finish a novel and get one opinion before querying. You want it to be as good as it can be. Because if you send it out to an agent and then realise 'crap, I could have changed this', or you get some more beta feedback that all highlights the same thing, you've pretty much ruined your chance with that agent who already read and rejected your previous version. They might take a look again. But don't risk it.
Where can we go to stalk -er -follow you on the web?
Haha! Well, I'm pretty much everywhere!!
I don't have a Facebook fan page set up yet. But I will closer to the release date of my book. Until then you can find me here:
Oh, and a bit of a plug (cheeky, I know!) but if you could add MY HEART BE DAMNED to your shelves on Goodreads and also vote for it on the lists its been nominated in, I would be FOREVER grateful.
Tell us 3 random facts about yourself
Okay, here is where you learn how uninteresting I am...
- I HATE cheese. Like, if you ask me to hold it, I won't go near the stuff. But, I like cheese flavoured things, like snacks and pasta sauces. Oh and I love pizza, but only if there are other toppings.
- Sometimes I prefer animals to people. I'm hugely into animal rights. I'll debate and argue with anyone about the unfairness of animal cruelty and hunting and aimless killing. You don't want to get me started on that!
- I don't really like to snack. I much prefer meals to chocolate or cookies or something. If you offered me a bowl of my favourite pasta or a bowl of my favourite ice cream, the pasta would win out every time!
Thanks so much for your honest and inspiring answers Chanelle! I can't wait to add MY HEART BE DAMNED to my TBR pile. Best of luck in the next steps of your journey : )