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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Author Interview with Yvonne Woon (Includes Contest!)

My author guest this week is the lovely Yvonne Woon!

Her debut book 'Dead Beautiful' left me captivated and I am extremely eager to read the sequel, 'Life Eternal'.

I hope you all enjoy getting to know the author and her books via this interview.

Make sure you check out the contest at the end and you could win a copy of Dead Beautiful


Amber - Welcome back 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 second book, Life Eternal?

Yvonne – Life Eternal takes Renée and Dante’s story and twists it. Renée has changed—she looks differently, she feels differently, and she has strange visions of people just before they die. Dante has changed, too, though she barely gets a chance to see him before she is sent to a boarding school in Montreal, Canada. There she learns of an ancient sisterhood, and the century-old secret they were trying to protect. She follows the trail, trying to unearth the past, but ends up finding a lot more buried there than she imagined . . .

Amber - 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 – I came up with it while I was in grad school. I was in the library, reading a book by Descartes for class when my mind started to drift, and I began to wonder what the world might be like if the theories I was reading about were actually true. What would happen if the body and soul were separate? If the soul lived forever? Dante and Renée came naturally from that, and I slowly filled in the rest.

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 hard. I had always planned on writing a second book, so I had the plot in mind, but even though I knew what was going to happen, it was still difficult to make Life Eternal read like a fresh story. I didn’t want the sequel to just pick up where Dead Beautiful left off; I wanted the sequel to have it’s own unique tone and feeling. That was the hardest part—making the characters and the world feel new. I hope I succeeded.

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

Yvonne – They do! Well, some do. Renée, Dante—they were both named for very specific reasons, which readers of Dead Beautiful will know. For the others, I tried to choose names that would somehow evoke their characteristics. Clementine LaGuerre was one of those, as was Noah Fontaine. Though I have to admit that many of the passing characters I named after my friends!

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

Yvonne – I’m actually quite lazy when it comes to research; I think that’s why I like fiction—because I can use a bit of fact, and make the rest up. For Dead Beautiful, I read a decent amount of philosophy: Descartes, Plato. I also tried to teach myself Latin, though that lasted about one week before I gave up. For Life Eternal, I went to Montreal and traveled around the city (which is the best kind of research!), and did some *very* light reading on 19th and 20th century French history.

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

Yvonne – I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a child, though I never imagined I would write Young Adult books. I always grew up wanting to write comedy or science fiction—all for adults. It wasn’t until I was graduate school for fiction that the idea even crossed my mind to write YA. It was over winter vacation, and I was bored with my short stories for school, and decided to write a horror-romance, just for fun. A few weeks later, I had the first few chapters of a book that would later become Dead Beautiful. I sent it to my friend, who was working at literary agency at the time, and by the time I was back in school, he had sold it. So I sort of just fell into it, and have been writing for YA ever since.

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

Yvonne – I have the last say on everything, and I suppose I could give more input if I wanted to, though so far, I haven’t been very involved. I vetoed a few covers before Hyperion designed the final Dead Beautiful cover. I wasn’t involved at all in designing the Life Eternal cover, other than approving it at the end. I don’t know much about art and design, so I try to leave that to the art directors, who have done a great job so far. As for the titles, I brainstormed with my agent to come up with Dead Beautiful, and then with my editor to come up with Life Eternal. Everything else I try not to micromanage, as the thing I’m best at is putting words together.

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

Yvonne – For me, there are far more ups than downs. Most days, I feel so lucky that I can just roll out of bed, go to my desk with a cup of tea, and start working. And the work is to make up stories, which is (I think) the best job in the world. The hardest part about it is being alone all day. It’s a very solitary profession.

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 – I know . . . I’m sorry! I’m a slow writer. It takes me a long time to piece the plots together, and then an equally long time to write the novel. I’ve always envied writers who can get words on the page quickly, without feeling too much anxiety. Speaking of which, I’m in the middle of writing the third and final book of the series now. I don’t have a working title yet, or a release date but I’m guessing it will be released in fall/winter of 2013. This is all to say that I apologize in advance for another long wait, though I think the final book will not disappoint.

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

Yvonne – I think the main media influence on my writing is music. I always listen to classical music while I write. It helps me set the mood. Lately, I’ve been playing a lot of Stravinsky and Philip Glass, though I also have Tchaikovsky, Liszt, and Bach on rotation. I also love watching dramatic television series—I think they’re really good lessons in how to plot and how to build characters and a storyline. Some of my all time favorites are The Wire and Friday Night Lights.

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

Yvonne – Oh gosh. I think I’m going to have to be boring and admit that Harry Potter is probably my favorite series of all time. I also love the Secret History by Donna Tartt, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Murakami, Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem, and anything by Junot Diaz or Kurt Vonnegut.

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

Yvonne – I wish I could say I’d be a fierce lady centaur or something, but I think I’m a lot closer to a witch, especially one that’s a bit crafty and evil. The thing about writing is that it isn’t that different from witchcraft. You always have to have tricks up your sleeve. Casting spells, spinning plots of deception, cursing people into tragedy and trying to control the future—these are things I spend a lot of time doing (in my books!) already.

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


Contest Details!

Would you like to win a copy of Dead Beautiful?

How To Enter

There are loads of YA series out there at the moment. Which ones can you recommend?

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.

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

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository

The contest will stay open until 4pm on Sunday 24th June (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.


SandyG265 said...

I'd recommend the Wolves of Mercy Falls series and The Iron Fey series.

sgiden at verizon.net

Sullivan McPig said...

I would recommend The Darkest Powers Trilogy by Kelley Armstrong.

Victoria said...

I'd suggest Demon Lexicon series and Night Runner series.
Thank you for the excellent giveaway.


Diane said...

I haven't read many YA books; in fact the only series so far I have read is Twilight. So that's why I would love to try another YA series.

dsadler53 at yahoo dot ca

Cindy McCune said...

I am so in love with this series by Michelle Rowen about a girl who finally gets a chance to meet her father, he's a king who guards the entry of demons in our realm. Which makes our girl half human and half demon, and a Princess to boot.
Demon Princess
1. Reign or Shine
2. Reign Check
3. Reign Fall

Love the interview! Thanks!

off2europe2005 said...

I still have to say The Chronicles of Narnia is the best series out there for Young Adults. Great read and great issues.

Mary Preston said...

The only one I would recommend absolutely is BORN WICKED by Jessica Spotswood. It is brilliant. I can't wait for the next in the series.

Dovile said...

I can recommend Anna series by Kendare Blake, especially if you are a fan of Supernatural TV series.

Kathy said...

I would recommend The Daughter of Smoke & Bone series by Laini Taylor. The first book was outstanding and I can't wait to read the second!

Anonymous said...

I would recommend the Wolves of Mercy Falls, Fallen, Hush Hush.

Unknown said...

I'd love to win a copy, thank you.
For YA, I'd strongly recommend: Francesca Lia Block's Weetzie Bat book
Lili St. Crow's Strange Angels
Sarah Rees Breenan The Demon's Lexicon; and
Libba Bray Gemma Doyle trilogy and Going Bovine
As my favourites.

Amethyst said...

My recommendation: The Forbidden Game trilogy and Night World series by L.J. Smith

Christa said...

Definitely the Iron Fey Series. Also Midnighters by Scott Westerfeld, and the Unearthly series by Cynthia Hand.
Thanks for the giveaway! : )
ambience.of.rain {at} gmail.com

Aurian said...

Thanks for the lovely interview. I don't read many YA but I do recommend the Mythos academy series by Jennifer Estep, and After Midnight by Lynn Viehl.

Alicia0385 said...

I would recommend The Goddess Test series by Aimee Carter. I love the Fallen series by Lauren Kate as well.

Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

Beth Ravis's Million Suns trilogy

Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...




Advertised Amberkatze's Book Blog on my site-
right hand side of

'Liked' Amberkatze's Book Blog on Facebook-Lisa Ann Richards


alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com


books first love said...

I liked you FB page: Andra Mary


Honestly are lots of great series out there, but what I recommend dearly is The Vampire Academy series. Is not so current but is the best.
Also Cassandra Clare's- The mortal instruments, I am sure you heard of it.


Anonymous said...

I would recommend the Mortal Instruments series, the Across the Universe series and the Matched series. They are all guaranteed page turners!



Evie said...

I'd recommend the Gone series by Michael Grant.
Thanks a lot for the giveaway! This book looks so good :)

Gale Nelson said...

I would have to recommend the Iron Fey Series. It was awesome! Thanks for the giveaway! Gale Nelson gfc

NoraA said...

I'm recommending Jennifer Estep's Mythos Academy Series.

Touch of Frost
Kiss of Frost
Dark Frost
It's an intriguing series with great characters.

I follow you all over the place.


Anonymous said...

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White was really nice.

Unknown said...

I don't like YA, so when I say these series are amazing you can really trust me, because I love them despite them being YA :-)

I can only recommend: Richelle Mead's Vampire Acadmeny series, Jennifer Estep's Mythos Academy series, Kait Nolan's Red and Rachel Vincent's Soul Screamers series.

They are really the best!

Thank you!

stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com