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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Author Interview with Yvonne Woon (Includes Contest)

Yvonne Woon's debut novel, Dead Beautiful, was a wonderful story that took me by surprise. Now the second book in the series, Life Eternal, is out and even though I haven't read it yet (no Kindle version available...at least to me) I am eagerly awaiting it appearing on Audible.de or somewhere else so I can snatch it up.

The author was kind enough to answer some questions about the series and the second book. I hope you enjoy getting to know a little bit about the books and the author.

Make sure you read till the end and enter the contest to win a copy of Dead Beautiful.


Amber - Amber - Welcome back to Amberkatze's Book Blog! How did you come up with the idea for the Dead Beautiful? Was it a long process or did it just come to you?

Yvonne – The initial idea came to me over the span of about three months. I was sitting in the library at my university, reading a text of Descartes for class when my mind started to drift, and I began to wonder what the world would be like if Descartes’s theories about the body and soul were true. I began to piece a loose story together in the months that followed, and then refined it over the next two years while writing.

Amber - Dead Beautiful could have been just a one off story. Was it hard to write a second book and keep things going?

Yvonne – It was difficult! I think the most challenging part of writing the sequel was making it different enough from Dead Beautiful to be an interesting story on its own. I hope I succeeded? It did take a lot of plotting and planning before I felt like I would be able to continue Renée and Dante’s story in a way that would make it feel like they were growing together.

Amber - How do you pick the names for your characters? Do they have any special meanings?

Yvonne – Renée and Dante have very purposeful names that hold significance in the plot. I won’t say exactly what they mean, so as not to spoil the end for readers, but I guess I partly named them after the writers who inspired this book.

Other than the two main characters, most of the names in Dead Beautiful are actually borrowed from my friends (I used either their first or last names). When you’re writing a school novel, there are just so many passing characters that I could have spent weeks just thinking up perfect names for all of them, so borrowing names was a lot easier. For Life Eternal, I chose all of the names, as it takes place in Montreal, in a different kind of school, so many of the names had to have a French origin. For those, I tried to choose words or portmanteaus that would somehow indicate the character’s innate personality.

Amber - What kind of research have you done for your books? Anything interesting or is the research boring?

Yvonne – Oh gosh, now I have to divulge my embarrassing secret… I don’t do a lot of research! That’s the beauty of fiction…if you know a little, you can make the rest up. I did do some research for Dead Beautiful. I reread a lot of philosophical texts by Descartes and Plato, and tried to teach myself a bit about Latin (which did not work) (I eventually ended up hiring a Latinist to help me with the language bits). For Life Eternal, my research was a lot more fun, as it mostly comprised going to Montreal and wandering around.

Amber - Did you always wanted to be an author? Why did you pick Young Adult & paranormal?

Yvonne – I’ve wanted to be a novelist since I was in elementary school, though I never thought I would write a young adult novel (or a paranormal one!). I ended up studying creative writing in college and grad school, though I focused on writing short stories and adult literary fiction. During one of my winter vacations, I started toying with the idea of Dead Beautiful, and decided to write it for fun in between classes. I didn’t think it would go very far, until suddenly I had a book deal and all of these deadlines. That was four years ago, and I’m still working on the series, and have plans to write other YA novels in the near future. So I guess I’m lucky. I turned down the right corner.

Amber - How much say do you have in the book publishing process? Eg. Do you get to pick the cover, title?

Yvonne – Good questions. I think it really varies from author to author, and from publisher to publisher. For Dead Beautiful, I had a lot of veto power over the cover (I think I rejected 2 before they showed me the cover on DB today), though I left the design itself to my editor and the designer at Hyperion. I chose the title of DB, and had control over final edits and the flap copy, though I would describe the entire process as a long conversation with my editor and the sales team. If we disagreed, we would both make an argument for why our way was better, and sometime I ended up agreeing with them, and sometimes they agreed with me.

For Life Eternal, Because it was a sequel, we had a lot more constraints. The cover and title had to echo those of Dead Beautiful, so I had almost no input in the cover other than approving it, and I ended up choosing the title with my editor.

Amber - I am sure that being an author has its ups and downs. What experiences have you had so far?

Yvonne – For me, the pros of being author are that I have control over the work I do every day. I get to do said work in your apartment, in my pajamas (Full disclosure: I am wearing pajamas at this very moment). I can work on any idea that tickles my fancy, as long as I can make it interesting to others, too.

The cons are that it can get a bit lonely. Even if I write in a café, the work itself is solitary, and requires sitting very quietly with my own thoughts for a long periods of time. For the most part I like that, though sometimes I miss having coworkers. It was also hard in the beginning to make myself stick to a schedule, especially when the writing was particularly hard. It’s also hard when you hear from a reader who doesn’t like your book. It just makes me feel awful to think that my story disappointed them. Though that can also a motivator to do better next time.

Amber - There has been quite a wait between the first and second books. Will there be more books in the series and will we have such a long wait again?

Yvonne – Sigh. This is where I hang my head in shame. There will be a third (and final) novel, though I’m currently working on it now, which means that it won’t be out in the US until summer/fall 2013…so yes…another long wait. I’m sorry. I’m a slow writer.

Amber - What are you listening and watching lately? Is there any music or other media that influences your writing?

Yvonne – I always listen to music when I write, though it changes depending on the mood of the scene. My default is Philip Glass, or any classical music. I’ve been getting really into Andrew Bird recently, and I always love listening to Adele when I’m writing a love scene. And—though I never really write to her—I listen to a lot of Taylor Swift.

I actually don’t have a TV so I don’t watch much other than what I can find online. Though I did just watch the Wire in a 2-week binge, and I LOVE it.

Amber - What books do you enjoy reading? Do you have any favourite authors/series?

Yvonne – Harry Potter! Those are by far my favorite books. I also love Jonathan Lethem, Sarah Waters, Kurt Vonnegut, Haruki Murakami, Kazuo Ishiguro. . . And for readers who really loved Dead Beautiful, I would highly recommended “The Secret History” by Donna Tartt.

Amber - If you could be any paranormal creature, what would you be and why?

Yvonne – Ooo. This is hard. I think I would be a witch. Preferably one who started off good, but then turned evil after a mysterious happening in her past.

Amber - Thank you so much for being on the blog! I hope you will stop by again sometime!

Dead Beautiful Series

#1 - Dead Beautiful
#2 - Life Eternal


Contest Time!

Win a copy of Dead Beautiful the first book in series and Yvonne's debut novel.

How To Enter

What are you watching and listening to lately?

No Answer = No Entry

'Please enter me' posts will NOT be counted as an entry

Earn more entries for each link you place about this contest on the net. You can post on Facebook, Twitter & MySpace but make sure you add links here for me to confirm your entries! However please do not make individual postings for each entry. Please post all your entries in one post.

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You can also earn extra entries by emailing your friends about the contest. Just make sure you send a copy of your email or receipt to me at Amberkatzes_book_blog at gmx dot net.

Make sure you post your links here so I can confirm your entries.

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The contest will stay open until 4pm on Sunday 25th March (Central European Time) and the winner will be picked by a randomizer. Entrants should check back to see if they have won. I do not hunt down winners and will pick new winners for any prizes not claimed within 7 days.


Dovile said...

I currently don't have the time to listen to anything, and I'm watching Terra Nova, Game of Thrones, Big Bang Theory, Desperate Housewives, True Blood, Life and starting today Vampire Diaries and Touch.
Seems a lot, but it's only one episode a week per series:)

Mary Preston said...

I'm not watching a lot lately. THE BIG BANG THEORY of course - brilliantly funny. I'm still waiting to watch the second season of DOWNTON ABBEY & I have not seen GAME OF THRONES yet.

Unknown said...

I am currently watching Alcatrez. I love the television series. It is really good. So is the Secret Circle. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read this series. Tore923@aol.com

Deirdre said...

My husband has a terrible addiction to bad TV so I'm listening to a lot of podcasts to ensure marital harmony. Just finished listening to a new podcast Fantasy Faction which shows promise, next up Fiber Beat, a knitting podcast.

sienny said...

since i always lost in the battle for remote, i rarely watch anything. but i'm listen to plenty of music, cause i usually work with music in my earphone. but if you mean audiobook.. well, i never listen to audiobook before. but i'm beginning to get to know audiobook and probably gonna try it soon.

Julie S said...

I'm watching a lot lately, but most recently watched the finale of Walking Dead and the most recent episode of Once Upon A Time.


Cindy McCune said...

I recently purchased the entire series of "Dead Like Me", so I'm kinda hooked on that...and I love listening to "Creedance Clearwater" while driving. The classics when I go to bed.

Victoria said...

I haven't been listening to anything really. This morning I heard Creedence Clearwater Revival.
I've been watching Grimm, Once Upon A Time and The Vampire Diaries :).


Audra said...


Stephanie said...

I'm watching Being Human and Lost Girl.


wade2121 said...

I've been rewatching Battlestar Gallactica and Doctor Who.

Evie said...

I'm watching The Big Bang Theory, Suburgatory, The Middle, Grey's Anatomy, 2 Broke Girls.
I've been listening to a lot of Korean Pop music lately because my sister loves it and she makes me watch all the performances :)
Thanks a lot for the giveaway!

parakiss25 said...

Watching: Golden Girls (every time I see it on) Star Trek: Voyager (every night at 11), Arctic Air (online to catch up on what I missed), Grimm & Once Upon A Time weekly And that's it.
Listening to: a lot! Right now I'm really into soundtrack stuff, lots of James Horner, Rachel Portman, and Thomas Newman this week

faefever25 at hotmail dot com

Aurian said...

I absolutely love those covers so I can understand you are happy with them. Thanks for the interview, I enjoyed reading it.

The only things I am watching lately is Numbers, and I started Buffy with my young stepdaughter. I don't really watch much, I prefer reading. And when I read, I listen to Sky Radio Lovesongs.

I am a follower, subscriber, twitter follower, and advertise your blog on my own :)

auriansbooks at gmail dot com

Mirela said...

I'm watching Game of Thrones And True Blood

books first love said...

I am watching Downton Abbey and rewatching the entire first season of Game of thrones because I can wait to see the second season who is about to stars yay :)
Plus Vampire diaries and who saw the last episode from season 2 on the Pretty Little Liars...was FABULOUS.
THnaks for the giveaway.
I liked your FB page: Andra Mary
I tweeted: https://twitter.com/#!/missandramary/status/182420237017288704

My email: just.andreeam@yahoo.com

Diane said...

I've been enjoying the latest shows of Being Human, american version; i also try not to miss NCIS, I'm a Gibbs fan.

NoraA said...

Watching? Last night we watched the DVD of Hugo.. Tonight I'll watch the DVD of Puss in Boots. It's too expensive to see them in the theater.

What am I listening to? I only listen to the radio in the car and it's usually the local Hebrew station which plays music from Israel, France, Spain, and Greece. I also get the Israeli news on the hour from "Reshet Bet".

Chris J. said...

I only listen to music in the car or when i am cleaning the house, mostly todays top hits stuff. As to watching the week keeps the dvr busy, lol. Army Wives, Once Upon a Time, The Voice, The River, Grimm, Vampire Diaries, The Secret Circle, Missing, Modern Family, American Idol, Being Human (the American version, Lost Girl and Jersey Shore (the kids love it, lol)and in a week the Big C will be back on. Just watched Jack and Jill on Dvd and it was really funny.
Please enter me in the contest, I love the covers and the story line grabs your attention, love to read it. :)

Cheryl said...

I listen to a wide variety of alternative music on my iPod when I run; Just Surrender, Meese, Gym Class Heroes, The Dangerous Summer and Go Radio are a few of the bands.

I've been watching Supernatural, Vampire Diaries, The Middle, Suburgatory, Happy Endings, Grimm and a lot of ice hockey (Go Pens!).

trichie said...

Watching Grey's, Grimm and Missing

Anonymous said...

I rediscovered Star Trek TNG for me :) And I am listening to the new album of The Cranberries. I love Dolores' voice.

clynsg said...

My listening is usually only done while I am driving, and the station is always the only classical music one in the area. As far as watching, that has been very limited recently--I make certain that I watch a few favorite shows, such as CSI and Alcatraz, but I haven't gotten anywhere near the list of movies I have saved on my DVR yet!

cgclynsg0 at gmail dot com

book fanatic said...

I really don't watch t.v. anymore I'd much rather read.I do listen to music,any type of rock(classic,heavy, etc..