Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! It has been quite a year, and I definitely have a lot to be thankful for! My son is healthy and strong (and starting to walk again) after going through four surgeries this year. My middle son is FINALLY potty trained!! Woohoo. I never want to have three kids in diapers again. And my baby girl is showing her spunky personality everyday.
And, of course, I am so thankful that my book is coming out soon. It has always been one of my dreams to be an author. I remember telling my parents when I was probably around eight years old, that I wanted to be a singer, a writer, or an actress. Well, my singing is about average, I am waaay to shy to be an actor (maybe I'll blog about my short, humiliating foray into acting), so that left me with writing--which I love. I just finished my second book and it is out being critiqued right now.
While I'm waiting for the critiques on my next book, I've been trying to catch up on my to-be-read list. I stumbled across a book in my library by Angela Morrison called Taken by Storm that I read and loved.
I also had the opportunity to read Taken by Storm's sequel, Unbroken Connection and then interview the author. Unbroken Connection is a fabulous book. I got it in the mail one afternoon a few weeks ago, so I started to read, thinking that I'd get in a chapter or two while waiting for my son's bus to drop him off. I couldn't put it down!! I ended up reading the entire book in one afternoon. It is a touching love story that made my heart ache for Leesie and Micheal.
(And for all of you Kindle readers, Unbroken Connection is only $2.99 at Amazon--click on the link for a description of the book.)
I am excited to share my interview with Angela Morrison.
Kaylee: Unbroken Connection is the sequel to Taken by Storm. Did you always plan to write a sequel for Leesie and Michael? Where did you come up with the idea of their story?
Angela: Michael and Leesie's story was born in the back of a dive boat. We were tossing on the waves off the coast of Cozumel, shivering in the rain, when a fellow diver told us the weather wrecking our dive was left over from a hurricane that hit Belize the night before. He'd heard about a boat full of divers that got caught in it and drowned. At first, I found that hard to believe. But it was true. The story haunted me, and I began asking myself what if a guy on the boat survived when his parents and friends didn't? What would he do? Where would he go? And who would love him?
I didn't plan on writing a sequel, but when I finished writing TAKEN BY STORM, Michael and Leesie wouldn't leave each other alone. They wouldn't leave me alone, either. I scribbled down their conversations and it began to form into a story that I needed to tell. UNBROKEN CONNECTION was supposed to be the second book in my contract with Penguin, but they got nervous and asked me to write the story with different characters--in case TAKEN BY STORM didn't do well. I refused. Yikes. I had to come up with a whole new book, but that led to the amazing blessing writing SING ME TO SLEEP became. I wouldn't trade that book for anything, but I couldn't give up on UNBROKEN CONNECTION, either. When my editor left my imprint at Penguin, her boss rejected UNBROKEN CONNECTION. My readers threw a fit! So I released it independently, so they could read it.
Kaylee: I love the cover of Unbroken Connection. Did you design it?
Angela: My son designed it. We wanted to keep the feel of Penguin's paperback cover for TAKEN BY STORM. I think my son improved on it--tons! I love UNBROKEN CONNECTION's cover, too!
Kaylee: I've been following your Cayman Summer blog, where you are putting each chapter of the third book in this series online as you write it. How is this process going for you? Is it harder or more nerve wracking to post as you go? Or does it give you more motivation to write quickly for your waiting audience? (It makes me nervous to even think about it... but I'm glad you're doing it)
Angela: I have to admit I was incredibly nervous the first day I posted, but I have the most devoted band of readers an author could ever ask for. They encourage me and send me love every day. It's incredibly inspiring. I love getting instant feedback and will use that a lot when I revise. The motivation to post for them every day is fantastic, and it does give the writing teacher in me a chance to pontificate now and again.
Kaylee: Now, the impossible question... What is your all-time favorite book? (Okay, if you're like me and there is no way in the world to narrow it down to one, what are your most favorite books?)
Angela: Tolstoy's WAR AND PEACE. It's the most heartbreaking love story I know. Maybe that's why all of my books are tragic. I used to read it every year, but I'm so busy now writing, it's been a couple of years. I have the big, fat unabridged version, so it takes awhile to get through, but I love it again every time I read it.
Kaylee: Along this line, what books on writing have you found most valuable?
Angela: Hands down, Vogel's THE WRITER'S JOURNEY and Cameron's THE ARTIST'S WAY. I also love everything Katherine Paterson writes about writing. Check out THE INVISIBLE CHILD. The poetry writing book I use the most is Kowit's IN THE PALM OF YOUR HAND. But Paul Janecsko's HOW TO WRITE POETRY is fun if you want to write poetry for children.
Kaylee: What advice can you give to any aspiring authors?
Angela: Work hard on your craft. This is an art, and it takes years of practice to be able to hone your skills to the professional level. Don't give up. I can't say it will be worth the time and sacrifice in monetary terms. If that's why you write, choose another avenue. But if you write because you're miserable if you don't, welcome to the agony! Welcome to the joy.
Search for good mentors and opportunities to learn from professionals. If you write for teens or children, join SCBWI. My MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts--a high quality low residency program--changed my life. Check out my liv2writ blog on my website. I post my best writing advice there. Start at the bottom and work up!
And I'd also love to have you join the discussion at http://caymansummer.blogspot.com/. I hope the journey will be especially valuable for writers--and I'm giving away some free critiques as part of a big contest. Believe in yourself, in your story, in your art. It took me three and a half long years of rejection and revision to sell TAKEN BY STORM. Publishing is going through a painful revolution. There are lots of new opportunities there. Explore. Be creative. Share. Have fun. Love it.