How would you describe Emily’s Heart to those who haven’t read it yet?
Emily’s Heart, Book 3 of The Akasha Chronicles, is a dystopian love story. The story is set in our modern world but the planet is gripped by the influence of the dark god, Ciardha, who has escaped his shadow prison. Emily’s Heart has a dark edge to it. In a world filled with chaos and darkness, can Emily find love in her heart? That’s the main theme. Emily’s friendships, which she relied on most of her life, are falling apart. She’s more alone than ever at a time when the world is moving inexorably toward total darkness. She has to unite with an old enemy, try to reunite her old friendships and find new friends to help her fight the darkness.
Emily’s Heart is different from my prior books and not quite like most books that readers may see for young adult audiences. It is told in the dual first person of main character Emily and of her friend and love interest, Jake. But there are also short vignettes told in the third person that are “Apocalyptic World” chapters. These short chapters set the scene for the reader of what’s going on in the wider world. The book is more character oriented than the prior two books in the series, but there is plenty of action too.
How did the idea for Emily’s Heart come about?
I had the original idea for the first book, Emily’s House, while in a hypnotherapy session! I had a vision of a torc arm bracelet and I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I began researching Celtic history and myth and the next thing I knew, a story began to emerge.
I had not originally planned for it to be three books. But on the plane ride back from Ireland (yes, I won a trip to Ireland where I was able to go to all of the places mentioned inEmily’s House!), I had the idea for three books and all three titles came to me. At that time, I knew only the title for book three and that I wanted Emily to connect with her true love. It was only after writing Book 2, Emily’s Trial, that I knew that Emily’s Heart would be a dark, dystopian sort of love story.
Emily’s Heart is the third and final book of The Akasha Chronicles trilogy (Emily’s House is book 1 and Emily’s Trial is book 2). So no, there won’t be any more Emily. I’m currently working on a new young adult science fiction series titled H.A.L.F. It will appeal to fans of T.V. shows like The X-Files and Roswell. Alien-human hybrids, government conspiracy, and lots of action. The first book will be out in the Spring of 2015.
When did you first realize that writing was something you wanted to do?
I always wanted to be a writer. However, I got sidetracked for a while with a career as a lawyer. It feels good to now be doing full-time what I wanted to do all along.
Who are some of your writerly crushes?
Are you speaking of writer’s that I crush on? Or characters?
If it’s writers you speak of, I have lots of writer crushes. Gillian Flynn (“Gone Girl”) and Erin Morgenstern (“The Night Circus”) both come to mind. But right now I’m writer crushing on on the writing genius of both Richard Peck and George R.R. Martin. Richard’s writing is short and each word is perfectly chosen. His stories are tight and poetic and I think he’s the best young adult writer of the past century. George is very different. His stories are long and more wordy but they are visceral and you feel like you’ve lived the story. I’d love to pick the brains of these guys!
If it’s characters of which you speak, I have a thing for manly men! I have a mega crush on Thor – both the character and the man who plays him, Chris Hemsworth. I’m not a very having-crushes-on-guys sort of girl and I’m generally not the swoony type. But if Chris Hemsworth walked into my house without his shirt on, I’d probably faint like a pubescent girl.
Another fictional character that I’m hot for is Jon Snow from Game of Thrones. Not so much the T.V. show (though he is super hot), but the character I’ve imagined from reading the books. I love strong underdogs that rise to the top. I’d like to curl up in Jon Snow’s furs with him.
What’s you’re usual writer’s schedule like? Are you an Outliner, or do you let the characters lead you where they may?
I generally spend a month or more researching and planning a new novel. I don’t outline the whole book, but I do what’s called the “snowflake” method. I know the major plot points and spend a lot of time on character motivation and world building. When I’m ready to write, I write for 2-3 hours every day until I’ve got a first draft. That takes about a month to a month and a half (I type pretty fast 😉 After the first draft is written, I let the novel sit for a while and percolate. When I go back to it, I revise and rewrite many times. The first draft, at least for me, is just a beginning. Much of what I write in the first draft will go by the wayside.
I do plan a bit, but I let the characters lead the way. I am often surprised at the turns the story takes. And I think readers are surprised too because I get that comment a lot – “I didn’t see that coming,” they say. That is my absolute favorite part of writing – the excitement of the story unfolding before my eyes. But because I let my characters wander where they will, I think that’s why I have to spend more time than some in revision. I have to clean up messes that my characters make! 😉
Movie time! Who would you want cast for Emily’s Heart movie?
Ah, movie time! Well if I could cast anyone as Emily, it would be Ashley Phillips, the cover model for the covers of books 2 and 3.
We chose Ashley for the cover of book 2 but shot the cover for book 3 at the same time. So while writing Emily’s Heart, I pictured Ashley as Emily.
For Greta Hoffman, I pictured Anna Sophia Robb. She’s the great combination of blonde beauty but she looks strong. And Greta is no shrinking violet! She can hold her own, against both Emily and the shadow people.
Jake is a bit tougher for me. He began the series as a too-short-for-his age nerdy kid with thick glasses and a tousled mop of sandy blond hair. But by Emily’s Heart, he’s seventeen and has grown up and filled out. He wears contacts now and his hair is darker than when he was a kid. He’s thin but strong. Jake Cooper, at least in this photo, is close to what I pictured for Jake Stevens. My character Jake is a bit older than this in Emily’s Heart, but you get the idea. Cutey nerd 🙂
In Emily’s Heart, Fanny Katz is lost in the Umbra Perdita (most of the time). But before Fanny was taken by the darkness, she looked a lot like Allisyn Ashley Arm.
And then there’s Tristan. Yummy, hot Tristan! I’m not sure who this hotty is, but I pinned him from somewhere to my Emily’s Heart pinboard and he was the inspiration behind my character Tristan Fields.
I had a lot of fun searching for Ciardha and Draicha. Stuart Townsend is perfect to play Ciardha in his adult, human form.
And Dorcha? Rooney Mara would be perfect. Longer hair with a bright pink streak in it and it’s Dorcha in her human form!
And I hope this doesn’t scare the bejeezus out of people, but this photo captures the eyes of the people in Emily’s Heart who have “turned”.
And check out the trailer to Emily’s Heart right here