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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Author Interview with Rachel Ward (Includes Contest)

Last month I listened to a book that took by surprise. Numbers by Rachel Ward was different, unique and exciting. So I decided to ask the author on to the blog so you could all get to know her and the series better.

I have only read the first book in the series, Numbers, but I can't wait to get a copy of the other two books about being able to see people's death dates. It may sound a little morbid but it does make you think. I was impressed with the story and hope you will all give it a try too!

Enjoy the interview and keep reading to the end and enter the contest!


Amber - Welcome to Amberkatze's Book Blog! It is great to have you here as a guest! Could you start things off by telling us a little about your Numbers series?

Rachel Ward - The 'Numbers' books explore the idea of people being able to see other people's death dates. The first book is very contemporary, and the second and third books take the idea into the next generation and explore different aspects of this gift (or curse).

Amber - How did you come up with the idea for the Numbers series? Was
it a long process or did it just come to you?

Rachel – The idea just came to me early one morning when I was walking my dog in the fields overlooking Bath, where I live. In a few minutes, I had my main idea – being able to see death dates in people’s eyes – and also my main character, Jem, who is burdened with this gift.

Amber - I have only read the first book but I know there are three books altogether. Was it hard making the first book into a series or was it the plan all along?

Rachel – I always thought that there was potential for a series, and tried to pitch this to my publisher. However, I put everything that was going to be in the second book into the final chapter of the first book, to give it a twist at the end, so then I had to completely rethink my ideas.

Amber - What kind of research did you have to do for the Numbers series? Anything interesting or is the research boring?

Rachel – The only research I did was to take a tour of Bath Abbey, including the bell tower and behind the clock. It was fascinating. Apart from that, I made it all up.

Amber - What I really enjoyed about Numbers is the fact that it is based in the UK. There aren't many British authors in the genre and being British myself it is nice to get a taste of home. Did you find it hard to keep the book British? I know the audio book for instance uses the American date format.

Rachel – Well, being British I don’t think I could write anything other than a British book! I love living here and I like writing about real places (London, Wiltshire, Bath, Weston-super-Mare). In fact the first draft read like a tourist brochure for Bath and I had to rewrite it so I was looking at the city through Jem’s eyes instead of mine. The audio book is a bit of a strange one, because they used an English actress but reading from the US version of the book which had been ‘translated’ into American, so some of the language sounds strange to British ears.

Amber - Will there be more books in the series or do things end with the third book?

Rachel – I think the third book is the last one, although ‘never say never.’ There are lots of things I could still do with the idea of seeing death dates and I’ve toyed with the idea of a prequel, but having written and thought about death dates for five years, it’s nice to be writing something else at the moment. Also, I think I managed to do something different with each of the three books and they are strong in their own right. I wouldn’t want to just churn out ‘Numbers’ books and dilute the series.

Amber - How long on average does it take you to write a book? Do you have a process you follow? or do you just start at page one and see what happens?

Rachel – It takes between a year and 18 months to write one of my books. In the past I’ve taken a very unstructured approach. I’ve had my basic idea and a notion of how a book starts and ends and then I’ve set out hopefully, making things up as I’ve gone along. I’ve ended up having to rewrite over and over, so with my current book I’ve tried planning things out a little more. I don’t know if it will be better in the end, but it’s worth a try!

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

Rachel – Names are so tricky. I tend to pick fairly neutral names which don’t have particular significance to me or my family for my main characters, but I often choose names which mean something to me for my subsidiary characters. For example, in my second book, quite a few of the minor characters’ names link to people I used to work with. (I don’t think they spotted this!)

Amber - Why Fantasy and why Young Adult? Were these the genres you always wanted to write?

Rachel – It’s actually quite difficult to pick a genre that the ‘Numbers’ books belong to. I didn’t think about this at all when I wrote the first book – I just wrote the story that I had inside me. When I’d finished it, I read it through and thought, ‘Oh, I’ve written a love story.’ My publisher told me I’d written a thriller. You could say it was a fantasy because of the seeing death dates aspect, but the second and third books could also be science fiction because they’re set in the future. One thing I do know is that I like writing books for teenagers and young adults. I love visiting schools and meeting my readers and hearing feedback from them, and I also love getting feedback via my website (rachelwardbooks.com).

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

Rachel – There are way more ups than downs. The only downs relate to writing itself, which is sometimes very slow and frustrating. Sometimes you feel like you’re taking one step forward and two steps back. But those are the bad days – most days are interesting, challenging and surprising. I love the ideas stage, when something new and exciting is going round and round my head. I love working away steadily on a book, seeing it grow a little bit day by day. There’s also nothing to beat the feeling of holding your published book in your hands for the first time.

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

Rachel – I can’t listen to music when I’m writing, but I always have the radio or a CD on when I’m cooking or driving. I tend to like quite current, poppy stuff. At the moment I love Rebecca Ferguson and Dionne Bromfield. I tend to have a theme tune for a book in my mind. For ‘Numbers’ it was ‘Love is a Losing Game’ by Amy Winehouse. I saw her sing live twice in Bristol and she was wonderful. I’ll watch pretty much anything on TV. I enjoy US dramas like ‘The Good Wife’ and I’m also happy to watch talent shows like ‘The Voice’ and ‘The X Factor.’ I’m starting to go to the cinema a bit more, too. The last film I saw was ‘Hugo’ which I thought was completely enchanting. Loved it.

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

Rachel – I read a mixture of young adult and adult books. I always enjoy books by Kevin Brooks and Neil Gaiman, also Anne Tyler and Donna Leon’s detective series, set in Venice.

Amber - What's next? Are you working on any other projects you would like to tell us about?

Rachel – I’m very lucky this year, and I’m taking some time off from my day job to write full-time. I’m working on a sort of very modern ghost story. I’ve done the first draft, but it needs a lot of work! I need to make it scarier! It’s due out in the UK next year sometime.

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

Rachel – That’s so difficult. Can I be a unicorn, please? I think unicorns are beautiful, mysterious and a little bit vulnerable.

Amber - Thank you for visiting Amberkatze's Book Blog! I hope you will stop by again sometime!

Rachel – Thanks so much, Amber. Great questions – they really made me think!


Numbers Series :

#1 - Numbers
#2 - Chaos
#3 - Infinity


Contest Time

I am giving away a copy of the first books in the Numbers series. If you would like to read Numbers then enter now ;)

How To Enter

Do you have a favourite number? Is there a date that is special for you?

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.

Advertise Amberkatze's Book Blog on your site and get an extra entry for this and every other contest!

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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.

Keep the contests going by using the Bookdepository.com and Amazon.com links/Banners below and around the site.

10% Discount / APMA12 Coupon Code / Book Depository

The contest will stay open until 4pm on Sunday 20th May (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.


molly.frenzel said...

My favorite number is 13. I know, it's supposed to be bad luck, but in Italy its lucky and I was raised to be a good Italian.

Tweet: https://twitter.com/#!/dg_molly/status/201698448909668353

Birgit said...

Please don't enter me as I already own the book! It's funny how Rachel was unsure about the genre the book fits into, because after I read it and wrote a mini-review on my blog I had to think long and hard about where to put it (when all else fails "speculative fiction" always does the trick, ha). Needless to say, I totally loved it!!

Good luck to everyone entering the contest :-)!

Diane said...

The number I love is 13. Everyone seems to think it is bad luck yet I had my first 4 cars with license plates ending with 13 and never had an accident. When I moved to another province and had to change my plate, I didn't get a 13 and wouldn't you know it, some guy rear ended me.
My favorite date? My wedding day, July 14th.

Dovile said...

13 is my favorite number too:) It's the day of my birthday, so I don't believe it's unlucky.

Mary Preston said...

I don't have a favorite number.

I suppose my special date would be my birthday. I had not thought about that before.

debbie said...

I don't have a favorite number- but I have a time that keeps coming up, it is 4:44.
My favorite date is my son's birthday.

Aurian said...

Thanks for the very interesting interview, and of course my first thought was to the tv show Numbers, which is one of the very few I do watch on occasion. Amber, I hope you will be reading and reviewing more British books! It is a nice change from all the American ones.

My favourite number is 8. No idea why, it just is. I don't have a favourite date.

I am a follower, and I advertise your blog on mine.

Julie S said...

Well my birthdate is the 13th so that number is pretty special :) Seeing some of the other comments I think it is pretty neat how many of us agree on the number 13 :)


Gale Nelson said...

My favorite number is 2. And my favorite date would be May 20th because that is the day I married my wonderful husband. Thanks for the giveaway. Gale

tetewa said...

My favorite number as always been 4! tWarner419@aol.com

Tore923 said...

My favorite date is March 15, 2000 the day my son was born. Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com

Martha Lawson said...

My lucky number is 4! I don't have a number that is associated with a special date!! The book sounds really great and I'd love to read it. Thanks for the contest.

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

sienny said...

I don't have a favorite number or date, so i guess all numbers are fine by me


koddabear said...

I don't have any favorite number or dates. Maybe that's why I haven't won the lotto yet? Anyway thank you for another great interview and contest

books first love said...

My favorite number is 7. I don't know why, is something strange really but this number, since... I can't remember when?! I am like obsessed with it. It's not a lucky number or something special, it's just in my head :) Creepy.

Thanks for the contest.


Anonymous said...

My favourite number would be 13. I can't think of a special date right now. So I think I don't have one.

clynsg said...

I don't have either a special number or date. I have never put any stock into thinking that any particular number/name/date, etc. is any better than any other.

cgclynsg0 @ gmail dot com

Evie said...

I don't have a favorite number but I like the #12 (my birthday)
Thanks a lot for the giveaway! I'm really looking forward to read this book :)

Danielle D said...

I'd say that my lucky number is 12

https://www.facebook.com/#!/dduffield75 posted on my fb page

https://twitter.com/#!/dduffield75/status/203149741930987522 tweet

hippo said...

Special numbers would be two: 24 and 25, the one is the date we got married, the other the date we got engaged. And it's also both of our birthdays... To keep it to numbers, we got married just in between our both birthdays ;)

Thanks a lot for the interview and the giveaway!

Cheryl said...

No special or lucky numbers or dates at all.

Thanks for the giveaway.