Saturday, February 18, 2012

Interview with Angela Fristoe (author of Songbird)

A few weeks ago I reviewed Angela Fristoe's Songbird on the blog. I am excited that Angela agreed to do an interview and tell us all a little more about the book, how it was written, and about her upcoming works. Thank you, Angela, for sharing with us. Read on to find out more about Angela and Songbird.

1. Songbird was a little different from your usual writing, which for those who haven't read any of your other work usually includes some magical realism and paranormal fantasy. What was the inspiration for Songbird? 

Songbird was all about Dani and where she needed to go as a character. I wanted her to have a very emotional journey and for the reader to see what she was going through in the present and how her past experiences were shaping her choices and her beliefs about what was happening to herself and those around her.

2. I've noticed that you have used music in several of your books. Do you share a love for music like your characters do? Do you play and instrument or sing? 

I played the cello in fourth grade, and that's about the extent to my musical abilities. Pretty sad considering the musical abilities of the rest of my family. I do love music though and wish I was musically talented. I don't listen to music as I write, but sometimes I'll hear a song on the radio that will bring something to mind and I'll use it for inspiration later on.

3. Dani's situation with alcoholic and abusive parents must have been difficult to write. Did you do any research for Songbird? What helped you to convey her emotions so well? 

The only research I did was into the cancer symptoms and treatments, as well as a bit into the legal system in Colorado. I've known a number of adults and children who have faced situations like Dani does with her parents and I really tried to put myself into their position and let myself react to them.

4. I know this was a NANO (National Novel Writing Month) project, are you willing to admit to how much of the story you had planned out at the beginning, or did pieces fall into place with the mystery side of the story as you wrote? 

Absolutely nothing planned. I didn't sign up for NANO until the day before and even then I almost chickened out. I rarely knew what I was going to write each evening until I sat down at my computer.

5. How many times have you participated in NANO? Did you finish Songbird in 30 days (which is the challenge of NANO for those not familiar with the project)? 

Songbird was my first NANO novel, and I've since won two more times. With Songbird I managed to eke out a chapter a day. Once NANO was done and I had my 50,000words, it took me another four months to finish the last 5 chapters, and then another year to get through the editing process. The second year was pretty much a wash and I have no intentions of ever revisiting that work again. This year I worked on Heal Me, the second book in the Graced Trilogy and it's really given me a boost of energy to finish Liar.

6. The mystery in Songbird sometimes feels secondary to the romance and Dani's personally difficulties, even though it still plays a very important part of the book. Was the mystery a planned part of the book from the beginning, or something the developed later as you wrote

It wasn't planned out to the last detail, but once I wrote the character of Colin I knew I wanted there to be something more to his life, deeper than just being a possible love interest, and how it affected Dani. The last few chapters of Songbird were the hardest to write because I didn't know where I wanted it to go. Right up until the end I kept changing my mind about what would happen.

7. Can you tell us a little about Raven's Mark and Liar: A Graced Trilogy? 

Raven's Mark is still under serious revisions while I try to work in a bit of Norse mythology. The story centers around Anya Lindgren who discovers that the town she's living in is not exactly normal, and that they're watching her, believing that her death will end the curse that they live under.

Liar (A Graced Trilogy, Book 1) is the first in a series about three sisters who have been graced with different abilities. Phoebe is supposed to be the Truth Teller in her family, able to know when someone is lying, and until now she's figured she's broken. Then a simple lie awakens her ability and she's left wondering how to deal with a best friend whose lies could end in tragedy.

8. Who are your favorite authors? 

I love Shakespeare. I'm not much of a historical reader, but I make an exception for him. Part of that is because I had the most amazing Shakespeare teach in ninth grade. Other than Shakespeare it's hard for me to pin down favorites. Sometimes a book will just click with me, but I don't like any of the author's other work. For me it's all about the story.

9. Who or what inspires you when you write? 

A lot of times I'll hear a song on the radio, and it'll get me thinking about a situation, and from there the characters start taking shape. Sometimes, such as with Songbird, I'll remember experiences I had and take it from there. The more emotional it is for me, the more likely I am to include it in my writing.  

10. Do you have any fun or interesting rituals when you write? 

I don't have any rituals, but I do the majority of my writing between 11pm - 2am. I work fulltime during the day, and have a four-year-old daughter, so it's difficult to fit in writing time during normal hours. I've tried listening to music, but it just distracts me since I'm one of those annoying sing along types. I do tend to be a bit ADD when I'm on the computer, so I try to plan my word count as I go. I'm obsessive about competition, so I try to beat my weekly goal by the middle of the week.

Check out more about Angela and here writing at: