June celebration begins today! *the crowd goes wild* I thought i would keep these posts together because they are definitely connected. This is the second week that i’m going to include Incarnate for my WoW and also include the author interview that i promised everyone. Enjoy!
1) Let’s talk about your main character. How did you think her up and is there any of you in her?
My characters tend to appear in my head fully formed. Like ideas, I don’t always know where they come from. Of course, just because they’re fully formed when they appear doesn’t mean I know them well enough to write them. It can take time to learn their darkest secrets, get their voice right, and figure out what they’d do in any given situation. Ana is no exception.
She’s both a product of her unusual situation (being new in a world where everyone is perpetually reincarnated), and the type of character who’d be most useful and fun to read about in this story. I like to think she has sass and a strong proactive-ness bone.
We do share a few traits: both of us love music, like to do things right, and have a tendency to put our feet in our mouths. (I’m trying to overcome that one. I hope Ana never does.)
2) Since becoming a writer, what’s the most exciting thing to ever happen to you?
Every step along the way has been thrilling! I’ve loved every part of this, from getting my first peek at the cover comp, to seeing the font they chose for my book, to copyediting. Yes, I even loved copyediting!
3) Have you read the WSJ article on YA books? If so what is your opinion of it?
I did read it, but my opinion is pretty complicated. I don’t think, as a whole, YA is dark. There are dark books. There are fluffy fun books, too. And there’s everything in between. The great thing about the YA category is that there are so many options. Like paranormal romance but not all the angst and brooding? There’s a book for that! Like contemporary novels but want something grittier? There’s a book for that! Want books without kissing? Got it! With lots of kissing? We have that, too!
YA is a diverse category. Sweeping generalizations can’t cover it.
I do, however, think it’s good for parents to be aware of what their children are reading, even if they don’t have time to read it themselves. There are review sites aimed toward helping parents get a better idea if a book has a lot of swearing, sex, or violence.
One of the best book-related things my mom did for me was to be interested in my reading habits. She only occasionally asked me to wait a year or so on reading a book, and if a book had content she wasn’t certain of but I’d already read it, we discussed it. She made a point to read several of my books, even if they weren’t her preferred genre. It was important for her to know what kind of stories I was into, and we had lots of great talks about characters, parts of the story we thought were good or bad, and what we hoped to see happen next.
4) Which came first, the title or the novel?
Definitely the novel. The title came about halfway through the first draft. And then got cut to just INCARNATE after HarperCollins picked it up.
5) The concept of incarnations often lead to many controversial debates. Were you hesitant at first of your book becoming victim to such debates?
Nope! Perhaps this is shortsighted of me, but I like to think people will remember that my book is fiction. I set out to write a fun story based on a premise that intrigued me. It happened to be about reincarnation. I try to deal with potentially sensitive topics in the most respectful and thoughtful ways possible. That, and write the book to the best of my ability, is all I can do.
6) What authors or writings have influenced you?
Everything is an influence, which is why it’s so important to read widely and experience as many things as possible.
There are lots of books I love, but we’d be here all day if I tried to list them all. Some of my earliest influences were Robin McKinley’s Damar books, Tamora Pierce’s Tortall books, and Mary Downing Hahn’s ghost stories. I also devoured K.A. Applegate’s Animorphes series in my early teens. Oh, the thrill of discovering universes where magic and aliens were real!
7) What kind of research did you do for the book?
Some you’d expect from the story, like music. While I did a lot of music research on my own, and I played the flute for years and years, that certainly wasn’t enough to cover what I needed for the book; two serious musicians read the manuscript and did everything they could to keep me from making a fool of myself.
I also spent a lot of time researching Yellowstone National Park, which is the area Range is based on. I talked to people who’d vacationed there, read blog entries, looked at hundreds of photos, squinted at maps, and took lots of notes on what animals and plants hung out there.
Other areas of research are not so apparent, but just as important: I studied wedding ceremonies from dozens of cultures, the best way to keep from dying when jumping from a height, how to treat second-degree burns. One of the biggest favors an author can do for herself is to question everything. Just because you think you know something about the root systems of trees doesn’t mean you know enough. Or the right things. Always double check.
8) The cover for Incarnate is absolutely gorgeous! Tell us a little about it.
Thank you! I’m very pleased with it. (And don’t feel weird about saying that since I had absolutely nothing to do with it.)
I actually did an interview about the cover with Jen Bigheart here , and answered a few more questions about it on my blog here. The cover is absolutely amazing, and I couldn’t imagine anything more perfect for my book. I’m incredibly happy about the positive response it’s gotten so far!
9) If your real life adolescence was a YA book…What would you, the main character, be like?
I don’t think I’d be a very good main character. Adventure? Saving the world? Are you kidding? I could be reading instead.
10) What is your number #1 source of angst?
Oh, there are lots of things. But a big one is disappointing people. I think most authors feel like they have a lot of expectations to live up to — their agent’s, editor’s, potential readers’ — and one thing I really don’t want to do is disappoint people who’ve put time and effort into getting my book out there. I want to make them proud.
11) Finally, tell us a little something about the book. The Goodreads description does no good!
I’ve updated the Goodreads description with the official flap copy! I don’t want to say anything else this early, so this is all anyone is getting for the time being:
Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.
Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are suspicious and afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?
Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?
Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life.