Blogs by L.T. Suzuki
Genevieve P. Ching Interview
6/6/2011 9:28:05 PM
Author of YA paranormal series, Genevieve Ching discusses her debut novel and the writing life!
LTS: For today’s guest blog, I’d like to introduce you to the lovely and talented YA author, Genevieve P. Ching. I’d like to begin by having you share a little information about yourself with our readers, Genevieve. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
GPC: If I'm not writing these days, I'm spending time with my husband and two daughters. My kids play several sports and I love cheering them on and watching their games. I also read when I can and enjoy running and biking.
LTS: You have been writing stories since you were a child old enough to string words into sentences! What inspired this early love for writing and was becoming a published author a life long dream?
GPC: I can't remember a time when I didn't want to be an author. I'm not sure what inspired it. My mother was a florist and my father was a sheet metal worker. As Lady Gaga says, I was born this way.
LTS: Your debut novel, ‘The Soulkeepers’ has been receiving rave reviews. What was the inspiration behind this story and can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist, fifteen-year-old Jacob Lau?
GPC: Jacob Lau is a teen trying to come to terms with some really horrible stuff that has happened to him. His mom is missing and his father is dead. He's forced to move in with an uncle he never knew he had. Jacob is angry, frustrated, and ready to do something crazy to get his life back.
The story itself was inspired by a discussion I had with someone a few years ago about the Judeo-Christian creation story--you know, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden with the serpent and the apple. Anyway, it occurred to me during this conversation how odd the story was. There they were in the safest, most perfect place created by God. How did evil walk (or slither) right in? That thought grew into the fictional world of The Soulkeepers where evil is a very real thing that shows up in the most unexpected of places.
LTS: I’ve noticed a trend for female YA authors to feature a female protagonist, in your case, your mc is a male teenager! And if I’m right, based on his surname, Jacob is also of Asian ancestry. I find this to be a refreshing change! What made you decide on this type of character to feature in your YA novel?
GPC: I've read shelves of YA books and most are written from the same perspective. I really felt the market needed more books from a boy's perspective and that Asians were underrepresented. My husband is part Asian and part Caucasian and I live in a town with a wonderfully vibrant East Indian population. But I didn't try to write these characters in traditional culture. I wrote them in Americanized culture which I think is more of the norm today.
LTS: Without giving away too much, can you reveal what’s in store for the readers when they crack open ‘The Soulkeepers’?
GPC: Action, adventure, some nail-bitingly dark imaginings, and a feel good ending. I write happy endings.
LTS: The road to publication is difficult at the best of times. Do you have any advice you’d like to share with the author struggling to find representation with a literary agent?
GPC: Keep trying. I'm convinced it's 50% talent and 50% luck that lands an agent. I've been told I didn't try long enough, that I should have queried more before going indie. For me, the sirens call of entrepreneurship was something I couldn't deny.
LTS: How did you come to the decision to self-publish? Is it something you’d recommend to other authors?
GPC: I'd taken my manuscript to a writer's workshop. The editor who read it said it was the best writing he'd read at any conference he'd worked...ever. I knew it was good, maybe great, but I kept getting rejections - albeit often personalized and complimentary. Out of frustration I entered a contest where the agent swore that she would tell the truth about why a writer was being rejected. Well, it wasn't my writing or my story. This agent seemed to believe it was the marketplace and a perceived saturation of a certain paranormal element in my story. It explained why I would get complements on the manuscript but ultimately get rejected. Frankly, I felt like my work deserved a chance to be read, and so I self-published.
LTS: Can you share that moment you held your proof copy for the very first time?
GPC: I didn't have that "moment" some writers get when they see their proof. I was laser-focused on getting it to market and didn't stop to process the feelings of pride, relief and accomplishment most people experience. For me it was the first independent review that flooded me with those feelings.
LTS: I’m curious about your writing style. Are you one of those disciplined writers who must dedicate a certain time each day to producing so many words, or are you more relaxed and tend to write when it strikes your fancy?
GPC: I try to write a minimum of five days a week. Time of day varies based on the demands of my family life. I definitely edit more effectively in the morning and write more creatively in the evening, so I try to work within those realities.
LTS: Still on the subject of writing styles, are you a plotter or pantser? The readers would like to know if you tend to plot out your story line in great detail or if your writing is more organic with the characters and events unfolding as you write.
GPC: Both. When I get an idea for a book, a see scenes in my head. I write each scene in short hand on index cards. It could be as simple as "fight in the parking lot" or "doll's head baseball". In my mind, I work out the basic plot and subplot by ordering and reordering the cards. Once I have something I'm happy with, I start writing scenes. My characters decide what each scene means to the story as I go. That part is definitely pantsed.
LTS: Some authors meditate, others need to fuel up on coffee or listen to music. Do you have any rituals, ones that can be shared with the readers, that you must do before you hunker down for a writing session?
GPC: I have a fully developed coffee addiction. I can't remember ever writing without it. But the oddest habit I have is putting on a movie when I write. The weird thing is... I don't watch the movie. I'll get a random movie off of Netflix and let it play in the background while I write. When it's done, I won't know what happened in the movie. There's something about having the noise in the background that forces me to focus more on my writing. I use music sometimes too but it has to be a song that goes with the scene I'm writing and then I play it over and over again until that section is done.
LTS: I know what you mean. I can’t write in absolute silence either. Now, at one time or another, most writers hit the wall and their work stalls because of the dreaded writer’s block. What do you do to get around or over this mental wall to resume writing?
GPC: I've never had writer’s block. If I don't know what is going to happen next on a particular scene, I just write a different scene.
LTS: Who is your favourite author and how has he/she inspired you to write or influenced your writing style or choice of genre?
GPC: I love Sara Gruen, Diane Setterfield, Arthur Golden, and Audrey Niffenegger. These are more literary authors and, on the spectrum of young adult fiction, my writing hovers on the more literary end of the paranormal genre.
LTS: What is the most profound discovery you’ve made in terms of your writing and how it has touched the lives of others?
GPC: I've had readers write to me to say that the book changed the way they thought about death, faith, and forgiveness. Some of the emails have left me in happy tears. The interesting thing though is people interpret it based on their own system of beliefs. I've had people of vastly different religions read it and interpret it in vastly different ways.
LTS: What is the most important lesson you’ve learned on the road to publication?
GPC: Never give up.
LTS: What are you reading now, and how did this particular book make it onto your to-read list?
GPC: I just finished The Forrest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. My friend Megg Jensen is a huge Carrie Ryan fan and recommended it to me. It was brilliant, amazingly written, but utterly depressing. The ending made me want to scrub the memory of the story from my brain. Some people love that type of book and think that happy endings are for escapists. I admit it: I'm an escapist.
LTS: What do you foresee in your future over the next five years and do you hope to branch out from YA into other genres? Can your fans expect a sequel to ‘The Soulkeepers’ in the near future?
GPC: The Soulkeepers is a series. The second book titled Weaving Destiny will be out in the fall. Return to Eden, the third book, will be out soon after. I also have another YA book called Grounded on the back burner that is almost finished. Once I can take a break from the world of The Soulkeepers, I'll publish that one as well. I also have several romance novels in various degrees of completion. I think the next five years will be filled with new releases.
LTS: Thank you so much for taking time from your busy day to discuss your novel and to share in your writing experiences, Genevieve! I think my daughter is going to love this series!
For more information about Genevieve and her novel, check out:
Follow GPChing on Twitter: .gpching
Where to buy the book: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, & Smashwords
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