Interview with Colleen Houck
What inspired you to write The Tiger Series?
I loved the story of Beauty and the Beast and knew I wanted to do a play on that. After I chose a white tiger for my beast, research led me to India and the tiger myths of that culture. I plotted out the entire series shortly after that.
Where did you get the character ideas from – did something fuel the idea for the characters, or was it pure imagination?
I put a lot of myself in my main character Kelsey though she has much more courage than I do. Mr. Kadam is half Mr. Spock and half Mr. Roark from Fantasy Island. I name secondary characters after my nieces and nephews and loaned Kelsey my grandmother. So I’d say that parts of my characters are based on real people and the other parts are imagination.
What made you want to start writing?
I was inspired to write after reading the Twilight Series. I loved the romance and the epic quality of the books and when I found out that Stephenie Meyer was a stay-at-home mom who just got up one day and started to write a book, I thought, “Why not me?” It was knowing her story and J.K. Rowling’s that gave me the courage to give writing a try.
Have you written any other book or are you thinking of writing any more books?
I’ve written a few children’s books featuring my poodle but I never tried to get them published. I’ve also written a few short stories that I think are fun but the Tiger Series is my first major attempt at writing. I have a long list of story ideas that I hope to turn into books someday.
Do you have a favorite type of genre of book which you like to read?
I’m a sucker for romance but I prefer it to be more on the mild side so YA is a perfect fit for me. I love Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Romance, and just added Steampunk to my list as well.
Are you currently reading anything, and if so what is it?
One of my favorite series is the FIRELIGHT series by Sophie Jordan and the book I am reading next is Amy Plum’s zombie romance (interesting isn’t it) called DIE FOR ME. I also like recommending Beth Revis. Her series is ACROSS THE UNIVERSE.
When you saw how popular your books were and the reviews that they were getting, what was your initial reaction?
Excitement! My favorite thing is talking to people about my books and seeing other people get just as excited as I am is incredible.
What is the hardest part about writing?
I really struggle with the battle scenes. Romance comes easily for me and I love writing it but I sometimes slog through battle and pick my brother’s brain to get everything set up just right.
What do you think helped get your book so popular (besides it being such a great story?)
I’m a good self promoter. I work really hard at marketing myself and try to stay open to the fans as much as possible. I want to give them a great experience with my books so I hold a lot of contests and respond to fans as much as possible. Also I think there are a lot of multi-cultural elements in my series that appeal to a worldwide audience.
Do you have any regrets or any things that you wish you could change about the books which you have published?
I feel very satisfied with how the books are coming out. If I would change anything it would be to add more. There are so many little side stories I’d like to tell and pieces of the world there that I’d like to explore but that will have to be saved for later books.
Out of the entire set of characters which you have created, who is your favorite (if you have one?)
My favorite character is Mr. Kadam. He is someone I really admire and wish was real. I’d love to be able to meet him and talk with him.
Do you own any pets and if so what are they?
I did own a little toy poodle. She passed away a year ago after living with us for fourteen long years. I haven’t felt ready yet to get a new pet.
If you could choose any animal to be your pet, what would it be?
Probably another poodle.
Do you ever wish you could be transported into your book, so you could live, experience, and see the world which Ren, Kishan, and Kelsey experienced?
When you are not writing, what could you be found doing?
Watching movies, reading, catching up with my family, and going shopping with friends.
What are your top 5 favorite books (not including your own?)
GONE WITH THE WIND, ECLIPSE, A WRINKLE IN TIME, OF MICE AND MEN, 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA. (These are just a few but I have many more)
If you were sent to a desert island, which five things would you take with you(you don’t have to be realistic)?
A net, a knife, seeds, rope, my husband
What is your writing ritual?
I write in the afternoons. I always light a scented candle and have a fridge full of drinks and snacks. I keep my plush tigers nearby for inspiration.
Interview with Amy Plum
1. What inspired you to become a writer? In this genre of writing?
I have always wanted to write, but didn’t have the confidence to really give it a try until I began blogging about my life in France. I got a large following really quickly, and many of my readers encouraged me to try to publish. I wrote a comedy memoir about living in the French countryside, and that’s how I got my agent!
Although that book got good feedback from publishers, no one bought it. So Stacey (agent) asked what else I had. And, by chance, I had just written DIE FOR ME, after having been inspired to write a paranormal romance by Twilight. (Actually, I think that most of the inspiration came from Robert Pattinson, but you know what I mean.)
2. Where did you get your characters, where they based off people in real life or were they just created from pure imagination?
Both Kate and Georgia have big parts of me included in their personalities. But the rest of my characters are completely fictional. It felt like they existed before I began writing the book, and it was up to me to discover what they were like. They all have very individual personalities, and I feel toward them like I do toward good friends. (And miss them when I’m not writing about them!)
3. What other books have you written and will there be other book series/books by you possibly coming out after you have finished the Revenants series?
My only other completed book was the memoir I mentioned, which had the provisional title A YEAR IN THE VINES. I doubt I will ever go back to that. It is said that you should write your first book, stick it in a drawer, forget about it, and keep writing. The first book’s just for practice.
I do have a contract with HarperTeen to write two more books after the DIE FOR ME trilogy. Provisionally titled after the main character’s name, JUNEAU, they will be completely unrelated to the world of the revenants, and take place in America this time. (Actually starting in Alaska…whence Juneau’s name!)
4. When you write, what are some things that you have to have with you (ex. A box of mints, and candle, your favorite pencil, etc.) and your routine?
My habits between first draft and following drafts are different. The first draft experience is a bit mystical to me. I’m completely in my imagination, and have to be alone, no music, no distractions. I take a lot of walks when I get stuck and have to work something out in my mind. (I’m a “pantser,” so don’t plan my stories ahead of time.)
For first draft, I try to write 2500-3000 words/day. I begin by reading what I wrote the day before, because I have the memory of a gnat. I make little changes to that, send it to my Beta reader, Claudia, and then write my new 2500 words. The next day I do the same, until I have finished.
For following drafts, I can be elsewhere, with music or without. Now that I just moved back to Paris, I like working in one of the beautiful historical libraries near my apartment. And all that I usually have with me is my laptop!
5. Did you ever think as a young child that you were going to be the author of an international best seller or even just an author?
I taught myself to read at age 4 and have been obsessed with books ever since. My beginnings weren’t exactly illustrious: My first published piece was a poem about a turkey who didn’t want to be eaten for Thanksgiving. I was six, and it was published in my school’s newsletter.
I kept writing poetry until university, at which point I submitted a few poems to the school’s literary journal. When they were turned down, I took that to be a sign that I was crap at writing and didn’t write again for years. When I began writing my blog, it was more for friends and family to know what I was doing far away in France. I couldn’t have been more surprised by all of the positive feedback I got. And when my first book was snapped up by a big agent right away, you could have knocked me over with a feather.
6. In your spare time where can you be found and what can you be doing?
I like to wander the streets of Paris, and also spend a lot of time coloring with my daughter. (She’s 5.) Hanging out in museums. But most often…reading.
7. What are your top 5 favorite books?
My favorite books are always changing. But some that I have gone back to recently are:
A WINTER’S TALE, by Mark Helprin
HISTORY OF LOVE, by Nicole Krauss
THE BOOK THIEF, by Markus Zusak.
EVERMORE, by Neil Gaiman
and everything by the southern authors Flannery O’Connor, Ellen Gilchrist and Eudora Welty.
8. What are your top 5 favorite movies?
Again, these change all the time, but I love Breakfast at Tiffany’s; Fargo; Monty Python’s Holy Grail; Princess Bride; and La Femme Nikita.
9. If you were stuck on a deserted island and you could have 5 things dropped off to you (not including transportation and food and shelter was not an issue) what would they be and why?
A reclining nude by Modigliani (for beauty). A copy of A WINTER’S TALE (for reading over and over). My best friend, Kim (for chatting). A cute boy (for intellectual conversations ). And mascara & lipstick (so I won’t look like a dead person for Kim and the cute boy).
10.What are 5 things which you cannot live without?
My kids (that’s 2). Books. Friends. Art.