I've read the first chapter of Intrinsical, and really enjoyed it. Can you tell my readers a little about the book and also tell me where you got the inspiration to write the story?
The best way to tell you what my book is about is to share my blurb: Sixteen-year-old Yara Silva has always known that ghosts walk alongside the living. Her grandma, like the other females in her family, is a Waker, someone who can see and communicate with ghosts. Yara grew up watching her grandmother taunted and scorned for this unusual ability and doesn't want that to be her future. She has been dreading the day when she too would see ghosts, and is relieved that the usually dominant Waker gene seems to have skipped her, letting her live a normal teenage life. However, all that changes for Yara on her first day at her elite boarding school when she discovers the gene was only lying dormant. She witnesses a dark mist attack Brent, a handsome fellow student, and rushes to his rescue. Her act of heroism draws the mist's attention, and the dark spirit begins stalking her. Yara finds herself entrenched in a sixty-year-old curse that haunts the school, threatening not only her life, but the lives of her closest friends as well. Yara soon realizes that the past she was trying to put behind her isn't going to go quietly.
The whole idea for the book actually started during a visit to the Queen Mary, an old ocean-liner that has been turned into a hotel in Long Beach, California. My friend Melonie, my husband, and I went to visit the Queen Mary because an episode of our favorite TV show had been filmed there and we wanted to check out places from the show. I was taking a tour and I got a really creepy feeling in the first-class swimming pool. I imagined the show's characters there, and it totally inspired me to start writing a fan fiction set on the Queen Mary. I wrote a novel length fan fiction and after I was done, I wondered if I could actually morph it into a book. Many major revisions later, I have my novel.
Being a soon to be published author must be very exciting! Can you tell me about your path to publication?
My path to publication was paved with rejection, revision, tears, hope and ultimately a belief that Intrinsical was worth fighting for. I had been shopping Intrinsical around for about a year and a half. There was some interest, but mainly rejection. I took every bit of constructive criticism and really worked to improve the book. There were many times when I wanted to quit, but no matter how discouraged I got I couldn’t give up. All of those suggestions really helped mold my book into a much better story than it had started out being. When Kamilla from Pendrell Publishing told me she wanted to represent my book I was ecstatic and so grateful that I hadn’t given up.
How has your life changed since the book sold, and how did you celebrate when you heard you were going to be published?
I jumped around, screamed, did some really old-school dance moves and didn’t believe it was real until I signed my contract. It wasn’t until a few months had passed that I started telling people because I was afraid I might be dreaming. My life hasn’t changed; I’m still reading and writing as much as ever.
Intrinsical is set in a boarding school, which is a setting I love and it’s one that is very popular in Young Adult fiction at the moment. What do you think it is about boarding schools that is so appealing to readers?
I think what makes a boarding school location so appealing is it takes out the presence of parents and makes the characters have to face up to their problems alone or with their closest friends.
Since I featured Intrinsical on my blog lots of people have been talking about the gorgeous book cover, which I agree is pretty special. I also believe that you were the photographer on this project. How much fun was it to be involved in that whole process?
Thank you so much for the cover praise, I love my cover too. The process of creating it was amazing! It makes me feel that the whole book is really mine. When Kamilla (who is also a photographer) told me she was willing to let me shoot the cover, I was ecstatic. Shooting underwater was a new experience for both of us and it wasn’t the easiest thing to do. We actually had a practice shoot before the real one and lets just say it was a good thing we did. If I showed you the behind-the-scenes photos I think you’d be amazed at the finished product. We did the shoot in my friend’s pool and we had to weigh ourselves down so we wouldn’t keep floating to the top. The model on the cover is actually half Brazilian and exactly who I pictured when I described Yara. In my mind I had a vision of my cover and when we got back the images, Kamilla and I were overjoyed. They were exactly what we had discussed and hoped for.
Can you recommend a great book that you think everybody should read and also let me know what you're reading at the moment?
I just finished The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong and My Double Life by Janette Rallison. I really enjoyed both of them. Recommending one book… wow there are so many books I love. I’m something of a book addict. I would have to say the book everyone should read would be The Hunger Games. I loved that book!
Can you tell me what you are working on next? Is Intrinsical set to be part of a series, or will your next book be something completely different?
I wrote Intrinsical to be a stand-alone but the ending does leave it open for a sequel. I have some ideas for another book in the series if my publisher wants me to write it. My next project is deeply underway and I’m really excited about it. It is totally different than Intrinsical. It’s going to be a trilogy and I’m co-authoring it with my friend Melonie. Yes, it’s the same Melonie who was with me when I first got inspired to write Intrinsical.
Thanks so much to Lani for agreeing to do this interview. Make sure you check out Intrinsical when it's released on August 20th!