Today we have our own Angie Frazier on deck to answer all my questions about writing and about her debut fantasy novel, Everlasting.
Hi, Angie! Thanks for joining us today on the Enchanted Inkpot. Of course, as a member, you’re here with us all the time, but today is special. Today, it’s all about you and Everlasting, your (appropriately) enchanting debut novel.
First things first: I loved Everlasting! I'm a long-time fan of historical romance and I felt right at home in this story. In additional to the beautiful writing, I thought there was also just the right touch of adventure. Camille and Oscar's story was also so wonderfully romantic! (Did I mention that Everlasting is a deeply romantic romance and that I love a good romance? lol)
Everlasting is also a richly historical novel with a great sense of place and time. I'm curious, did it start out its life as a fantasy or did those elements come later?
Angie: It did not begin as a fantasy, actually. It began as straight historical fiction, and while it involved generally the same cast of characters, the plot was completely different. It involved a coveted box of diaries filled with the answers to secrets Camille was searching for about her birth and her biological father. Unfortunately, while I loved the characters, I thought the plot was boring! I couldn’t figure out how to take it further. And then one day I stopped and asked myself a question I never had: “What does Camille want most?” Well, any girl who’d just lost a father she loved deeply would answer: “I want my father back.” And then it hit me—the plot needed that fantastical possibility. From there, everything fell into place.
Which fantasy elements arose from your research into Egyptian mythology and which are your own invention?
Angie: There are so many mythologies and stories out there regarding the immortals, the Underworld, and resurrections. Objects like the Holy Grail and the Fountain of Youth, stories from the Bible, Greek mythology, even contemporary series like The Highlander all helped me shape the mythology for Everlasting. I wanted to be sure I had elements people could identify with, so that it wouldn’t be completely out there. I’m excited for the second Everlasting book, releasing in June 2011, because it delves more into the legend of the stone. I feel it has a more dangerous, serious tone—and I just saw the cover for the first time and I think it reflects the tone very well!
[Ah, yes, the cover art for the sequel. The cover art you announced on Twitter. The one you have yet to reveal. Such a tease! lol]
Since we're all about Fantasy here on the Inkpot, can you speak about what drew you to the fantasy genre?
Angie: For me, the appeal of fantasy is the endless possibilities it opens up for a story. I can allow my imagination to stretch far and wide without boundaries, but I also know it’s not a free ticket—I have to solidify and back up my fantastical elements, and the challenge of that is also a draw. I live my life believing anything is possible, so I like bringing that into my stories as well.
I've read some great reviews of Everlasting online and seen some enthusiastic comments from teen readers. These days, authors are increasingly available to their readers through e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, and author blogs. (Does anyone still use snail mail to send a card or letter, I wonder?) Do you have any fun stories about readers interacting with you or any favorite quotes from fan mail to share?
Angie: I love—LOVE—getting emails from people who have read the book and enjoyed it! Yes, I do have some favorite lines, like a girl named Lydia who thanked me for “publishing a work of art”—I had never before considered my book a work of art. It was amazing to hear from someone who did! Another email came from a mom named Emily, who thanked me for creating Camille, a “brave and exciting leading character.” She then said she would be giving the book to her daughter and it felt great to know that in one mom’s mind, I’d made the cut!
I read that it took about seven years to write Everlasting. (Takes a moment to present Angie with a Perseverance Award!) I get the feeling writing this story was a labor of love. Did you ever feel like giving up? What kept you going?
Angie: Yes, I started writing the first draft in the winter of 2000-2001, continued to tinker, revise, research and query for a few years, let it sit and percolate, queried and revised some more…it went on and on like that for six years. Then the fantasy plot epiphany hit, I re-wrote more than ¾ of the book, and the queries I sent to agents finally started generating interest. It was a huge labor of love. I couldn’t have continued on if I hadn’t loved my characters so much. They were, and still are, a huge part of me.
So... after it all came together, was the road to publication a smooth uninterrupted journey through fields of daisies, liberally sprinkled with sparkly fairy dust?
Angie: Oh yes, and the daisies were made of candy, the fairy dust was powdered sugar, and there were unicorns flying through the clouds. :) Ha! No. Hardly. But the day I came home to find a box of ARCs waiting for me made me realize all of the madness had been worth it!
[Ooooh, unicorns! Nice touch. ;)]
As a winner of Lena's Perseverance Award, do you have any advice to share with any aspiring writers out there?
Angie: I will take that Perseverance Award and display it proudly! I honestly believe it is one of the most valuable attributes a writer can have. Writers are filled with doubt— from the moment our fingers start typing, to when we send out a query, to when a rejection comes in. My best advice is to let all of the “will I or won’t I get published one day” worries go—concentrate on your writing first and foremost. Write for the love of writing.
What do you have in the works these days?
Angie: A bunch of fun things are on the horizon! First off, my middle grade mystery series is kicking off March 1, 2011 with the release of THE MIDNIGHT TUNNEL: A SUZANNA SNOW MYSTERY, a historical mystery set at a grand hotel in New Brunswick, Canada. Very excited for Suzanna’s story! Next, the sequel to EVERLASTING is going to published in June 2011, and it picks up where the first book leaves off. A cover and title reveal is coming up later in the fall! Other than that, I’m writing more Suzanna Snow books and some more YA projects, too. I need more hours in the day...or the ability to function on a few hours sleep. :)
Sounds like you'll be busy for quite some time! I'm looking forward to the cover reveal for the sequel(hint, hint ;)). Thanks so much for chatting with me today!
For more information about Angie and her books, visit her website at: www.AngieFrazier.com.