Thursday, January 10, 2013

Interview: Emily’s Trial by Natalie Wright

I have Natalie Wright here with me today. Let's get to know her better.

Natalie, do you prefer... 

Milk chocolate or Dark?
Preferably both! And daily. I keep a stash of ‘medicinal’ dark chocolate in my desk drawer ;-)
Coke or Pepsi? 
            COKE! If a restaurant serves only Pepsi, I’ll drink water.
Almond Joy or Mounds?
Hmm, neither? I’m not big on coconut with my chocolate. So for a candy bar, I’m a Reese’s cup or a Snicker’s bar girl.

Romance or a Thriller? 
 Mystery or Horror?
Did you always want to be an author?
When I was a child, I wanted to be an artist and writer when I ‘grew up’. But then, I began to grow up! Around the time of middle school, I became interested in careers with more earning potential. While I continued to write and create art throughout high school and college, it was not something that I devoted much time to.
My interest in creativity zoomed when I had my daughter in 2002. And in 2007, I began to seriously pursue writing as more than just an every-now-and-then fancy. I’ve now written three novels (two are published, Emily’s House and Emily’s Trial), and I’m currently writing my fourth novel, Emily’s Heart.


What authors had an impact on you growing up and as an adult?

 Madeleine L’Engle. I carried her book, A Wrinkle in Time, around with me through 5th and 6th grade. I’ve always enjoyed books with elements of magic or the paranormal. But when I was a kid, there weren’t that many of those books (at least not in my small town school library).
 In high school, I read mostly ‘assigned reading’, but I enjoyed Dickens, Hawthorne and Shakespeare. I know – serious geek! Dickens, though, had the most lasting impact on me in terms of the message of his works – social justice.

Recently, I’ve been impacted by George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series. While I don’t intend to write high fantasy, I’m inspired by the complexity of his plots and characters, and by his amazing world building. When you read Game of Thrones, you’re immersed in George Martin’s world. I aspire to write books that leave my readers feeling the same way – like they knew the fictional world completely, and like the characters are real people.
Did anyone in your life influence you or encouraged you to be a writer?
Not really. I won some small awards for my writing, from first grade through high school. And while no one discouraged me, there also wasn’t anyone cheerleading me to choose writing as a career.
My intention to become a writer came from within. It was something that was there as early as I can recall, but I pushed it aside for a while as I pursued other things. But I’ve come back home to writing, and it feels great! It’s never too late to pursue a dream.

What is your writing atmosphere like?
I mainly write in my home office. Here is a picture of it.

It’s peaceful and quiet, except for when I crank up dance music and shake it loose! Sorry, no pictures of that. It’s a private thing ;-)

I also venture out into the world from time-to-time and write in cafes or coffee shops. I wear head phones to drown out conversations, but sometimes the energy of the people in the place is helpful to spur on my creative thinking.

What is your favorite aspect or writing? Your Least Favorite?

I truly enjoy all aspects of the writing process – even revision! But my favorite is probably creating the first draft. In the first draft, I’m exploring. Who are these characters? What do they want? What motivates them? And the setting – what does it look like? Feel like? Smell like? And what the heck is this book about?!

I create a plan for the book, and do a significant amount of work exploring all of these questions in the planning phase. But when I actually begin writing the draft, it changes. The characters become more fleshed out – more real. And they begin to lead the story here and there. A lot of what is vomited onto the page in the first draft will be cut. But the first draft process is about discovery, and it’s just plain fun.

Your current book your promoting is:

Emily’s Trial, Book 2 of the Akasha Chronicles. Here’s a teaser from the the first page:

“The Apocalypse didn’t start with four horsemen, harbingers of the horror to come. It didn’t start with a plague, or pestilence, or even zombies rising from the dead.

It came slowly and without warning. It crept up on people in the shadows, no more than a vague darkness that spread like an unseen cancer.

And it wasn’t set into action by a divine hand. A teenage girl was the catalyst for the End Times.

I should know. I’m the one that started it.”

How did you come up with the story line?

I had originally planned for Emily’s House to be just one book. I’d just finished writing the first draft of Emily’s House when I won a trip to Ireland! The serendipity of the prize was amazing, because much of Emily’s House is set in Ireland and I’d never been there. Less than two weeks after finishing the first draft, I was on a plane to Ireland!

On that plane ride, I had a vision for two more books, and all three titles popped into my head. Emily’s House, Emily’s Trial, and Emily’s Heart. It was on that plane ride, at 35,000 feet, that the story line for Emily’s Trial came to me. What if Emily and her friends ended up in a world where nightmares came true? That was the story question that came to me back in the fall of 2010.

When I sat down to write the first draft of Emily’s Trial during NaNoWriMo in 2011, I had a lot of questions to answer. How would they get into a world of nightmares? Who would be there with her? What is this world and how was it created? And will she get out?!

The idea of having my characters enter a terrifying world allowed me to explore fear – not a lot of fun in real life, but great fun for a writer!


How do you choose your characters names?

A lot of character names just come to me. In the Akasha Chronicles series, the name of the main character, Emily Adams, came to my while I was getting acupuncture! And the names of her friends, Fanny and Jake, and her parents, Bridget and Liam, were the same – they just came to me. When a character name pops into my head, I got with it.

But the names of the characters in the ancient Celtic backstory and the names of the mythical characters – those I research. For the Celtic names, I found a resource online that had ancient Celtic names with their meanings. I used that list to find names where the meaning matched a character trait of the character.

For modern names of characters, when something doesn’t just pop into my head, I’ll look at popular names from the year the character was born and see what resonates with me. In Book 3 of the Akasha Chronicles, Emily’s Heart, I have a new character that is a really strong, hot but super sweet guy. I kicked quite a few names around but when I saw the name Tristan, I knew it was the one. Tristan Fields. It suits him ;-)
~Emily’s Trial by Natalie Wright~

Two years ago, Emily’s journey began. She learned the ancient magic of her Celtic ancestors,and became a modern Celtic Priestess. The golden torc, forged by faerie hands, is still wound around her arm, fused to her soul. She was entrusted with powerful magic – secret knowledge.

But even a Priestess can feel desire – temptation – and the quest for love. Will passion entice?

Emily to use her sacred magic in a forbidden way? Can new love take root in a world of nightmares? And will her friendships survive Emily’s Trial?
The Journey Continues . . .
From Ch. 1:
The Apocalypse didn't start with four horsemen, harbingers of the horror to come. It didn't start with a plague, or pestilence, or even zombies rising from the dead.
It came slowly, and without warning. It crept up on people in the shadows, no more than a vague darkness that spread like an unseen cancer.
And it wasn't set into action by a divine hand. A teenage girl was the catalyst for the End Times.
I should know. I'm the one that started it.
I didn't plan to. I didn't want to start the End Times, and I'm not evil.
Madame Wong taught me to tell the truth, and so here it is. I'm the one responsible for the Apocalypse. And this is the story of how I unwittingly unlocked the door to the darkness; of how a Priestess of the Order of Brighid, entrusted with powerful magic that was supposed to be used for the benefit of all humankind, unleashed a force that would destroy it instead.
And it all began with desire.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Natalie is the author of The Akasha Chronicles, a young adult fantasy trilogy. When not writing, blogging, Facebooking, Tweeting, Wattpadding or eating chocolate, Natalie nurtures her young daughter, feeds her dog too many treats, and can’t resist watching Ancient Aliens, no matter how absurd the show becomes.
Natalie enjoys travel, good wine, and excellent food shared with family and friends. She was raised an Ohio farm girl, now lives in the desert Southwest, and dreams of living in a high rise in a big city.
“Books are my friends, ideas my passion.”
Natalie enjoys chatting with readers, so stop by and say hi:
Twitter: @NatalieWright_
Facebook: NatalieWright.Author

Natalie will award an autographed copy of "Emily's House", a handmade Celtic-inspired armlet, similar to one worn by Emily in the books and book swag to one randomly drawn commenter (US only -- an eBook of "Emily's House" will be substituted as the prize for an international winner).

For a chance to win please leave a comment with your email address. For more chances to win please follow the Tour.