Friday, May 31, 2013

Q&A with Author Kevin Emerson!

Today, I'm so honored to have Kevin Emerson (author of The Lost Code and The Dark Shore) on the blog today! I asked Kevin some questions, and he answered back!

Check it out!

1) Was it harder to write The Dark Shore compared to the first book, or easier?

The Dark Shore was easier, except when it was harder. :) It was easier because I knew most of what was going to happen plot-wise, because I’d been thinking about it while I wrote the first book. I had already finished The Dark Shore before The Lost Code even came out, so to me, they were sort of two parts of the same story all along. But Dark Shore was harder because it was more complex. Some of the plotting took a lot of careful thinking (don’t want to hint at any spoilers), and I was committed to certain things based on events in the first book. 

Owen and Lilly’s relationship, and the related characters and plot events took the most work. Owen is not so experienced and only beginning to understand himself, and Lilly is headstrong to a fault, and they’re in dangerous and deceptive situations, so they were bound to have trouble. Some readers might be mad that they have trouble in the second book, but I feel like that’s accurate. Honeymoons don’t last forever, and even the best couples argue over life’s challenges. When those challenges are drying up gills and death cults and the fate of the world, who’s going to handle that without some stress? And then there’s Leech and Seven complicating things. There will be times when the readers want to smack Owen for being kind of an idiot, but, I could have used a BUNCH of smacks when I was 15. So, getting all that right in The Dark Shore took a lot of work, especially since I’m STILL a boy and still kind of an idiot when it comes to matters of the heart. Luckily, I know some really smart women who read the draft and set me straight.

2) Where did you find your inspiration for the Atlanteans series? 

The Atlanteans came from a few places. I read a few really interesting books about Atlantis that made it sound pretty different than the classic mermaids-and-tritons thing. The idea I thought was coolest was that there may have been an advanced civilization that was so old that we’d forgotten it, buried deeper than the deepest things we’d already found. I also loved the stuff about how ancient sites all over the world share weird similarities of design and location. And finally, I read about how there was a big global warming event back around the time when Atlantis may have existed (also around the time of the Flood in the Bible), and that was when I thought about the parallels of a future society and an ancient one.

But I didn’t really know I was going to write the series until I wrote the first chapter, with Owen at summer camp. His experience, from cabin bullies to failing a swim test, is all related to my own experience at overnight camp as a kid. Some of those exact things happened. I felt like summer camp was an especially good testing ground for coming of age. You’re away from your parents, learning new social rules, having to compete in unfamiliar things. I wasn’t quite as awkward as Owen when I went to camp, but I was quiet, and I was inside my own head a lot, and that made it hard to make friends and succeed.  It seemed like such a mysterious and murky place, and so a good setting for sirens and temples and gill breathers and everything else.

This might sound weird, but I also thought of Lost Code as the book that’s sort of about getting out of your hometown/childhood identity (literally escaping from a bubble). And then Dark Shore is the going-to-college experience, where you arrive at this wild new place and all the rules and behaviors are like nothing you’ve experienced before, and there are charismatic professors and sparkly girls and such. And then, the third book will be about the time after that, when you’re out on your own with no more parents or teachers or professors or grades, and it’s all on you. I didn’t think about that too much, but a little.

3) Do you have any writing rituals?

I do fall into rituals when I’m in the middle of writing something. Same coffee mug, same tv show every night (currently Dr. Who), same album or artist or Pandora station. That said, I’m not one of those people who has a page-count goal every day, or even writes every day. I need time, and to do different things, to give my ideas time to form. I do outline for projects, but I often find that I only use some of the outline, because more interesting possibilities come out as I’m writing and feeling out how the characters feel. I start slow on a book, really get going and it will be all I do for a few weeks, then I’ll hit the wall and step away from it, regroup, and ramp up again. Unless I’m on a deadline. There was a time last winter where I had two books due and wrote every day for 46 days. My plan was to keep going, but I burned out so hard that our family took an impromptu trip to Disneyland for a couple days. After that, I was recharged. Similarly, if I get stuck on a plot problem, I get away from the desk. Usually I go to the movies, or go skiing or hiking, and try to talk through the problem to myself. 

4) Are you working on any new projects you can share with us?

I am in the middle of a new project that’s pretty different from all my prior stuff in that it is contemporary realistic YA. It’s a book called EXILE that comes out next spring. It’s about a girl who manages a rock band, and the lead singer boy who is on the trail of some lost songs. To me it touches on some favorite influences like Veronica Mars and Almost Famous, so I’ll be really curious to see what readers think. I am also just beginning a new science fiction project for middle grade readers (so a slightly younger audience than The Lost Code). I can’t say much about it yet, just that it’s loosely related to the book I put out this winter called THE FELLOWSHIP FOR ALIEN DETECTION. It’s kind of like Battlestar Galactica for kids, with a dose of Dr. Who. 

Thanks for having me on the blog, Brad!

Thanks so much for the Q&A, Kevin!

Check out Kevin Emerson's The Lost Code, the epic first book in the Atlanteans series! 

Purchase: AmazonB&N

In the year 2086, Camp Eden promises summer “the way things used to be,” back before the oceans rose, the sun became a daily enemy, and modern civilization sank into chaos. Located inside the EdenWest BioDome, the camp is an oasis of pine trees, cool water, and rustic charm.

But all at Camp Eden is not what it seems.

No one will know this better than 15-year-old Owen Parker. A strange underwater vision, even stranger wounds on Owen’s neck, and a cryptic warning from the enchanting lifeguard Lilly hint at a mystery that will take Owen deep beneath Lake Eden and even deeper into the past. What he discovers could give him the chance to save the tattered planet. But first, Owen will have to escape Camp Eden alive…

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Thank you so much for stopping by! I read every comment and truly appreciate them. I would love to hear your thoughts! If you leave a comment, I'll be sure to leave a comment back on your blog ASAP! -Brad