Hey, everyone! Today we have a special guest post up on our blog. This is one of our first-ever guest posts from a fellow author, and we are very excited to have her here to discuss her new YA novel, GIFTED, which came out this past May! The post below is written in an interview-style format. Without further ado, here’s JA George!
My name is J.A. George and I am the author of GIFTED – The Hayven Series. I’ve kindly been invited by Sarena and Sasha to do a guest post and I thought I’d use this opportunity to answer some questions that will help all of you readers out there get to know me and my novel. So without further ado…
Tell us about your novel!
My novel is a contemporary YA fantasy centred on a size twelve university student with a penchant for dry humour. One evening she had to make a quick decision and the one she made caused her to stumble across an old woman a little on the strange side before she met a young man, a little more on the strange side. These meetings led to the discovery of a hidden city – Hayven. I would love to explain further, but it would take a lot of time. You can download samples from the Amazon links below if you’d like to know more!
I chose to write Gifted because it was a book I wanted to read. I wanted to read about a normal, relatable female protagonist who doesn’t fight crime on a regular basis. Ava is just a regular girl; she’s strong-willed, funny and sarcastic, yet she’s also insecure about certain things but never admits them out loud and she worries about the small stuff. You know, like we all do sometimes. My male protagonist isn’t a drop-dead handsome bad-boy. He’s nice to look at, a little weird and his presence makes me miss him when he’s gone. My antagonist is a little harder to explain. Everything she does has a reason behind it and sometimes those reasons make sense when you really think about it. I wanted to write about characters that were different and made readers think. I hope I’ve managed to do that for at least some readers!
When did you decide to become a writer?
I’ve always loved to write, but I always saw writing as only a hobby because being an author isn’t a very financially secure job. One day, I was on the train back from university and it just hit me that I wasn’t happy. I was wasting another day of my life that I would never get back doing something that didn’t bring me joy. Then I asked myself, what makes you happy? And the answer was writing. So as soon as I got home I purchased a mini laptop (which was quite an expensive purchase for a student) and brought that laptop on my train journeys every day. I would spend ninety minutes in total just writing. When I realised that those ninety minutes were fast becoming the thing I looked forward to the most every day, I dropped the course I was studying at university and I’ve been writing ever since.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I’d like people to enjoy reading my novel. Maybe gasp or crack a smile at the end. I can’t really ask for much more than that.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
Ava is different from many female protagonists I’ve read because she isn’t skinny and extremely pretty. Guys aren’t falling at her feet and she’s subconsciously insecure about her size and image. She doesn’t kick butt on a daily basis and she’s interested in a guy who isn’t a smoking-hot and brooding. Her friends are eclectic and she isn’t the chosen one. She made a decision that changed the course of her future, which is something we all unknowingly do each day.
It depends how you read it. Theo and Ava are not in love because I think falling in love can sometimes take a bit longer than a book! However, some of my readers think they are in love. As soon as a book is published, it is open to interpretation so I would never tell a reader they were wrong. A book is what a reader makes it. If we all read a book the same way, it would get very boring very quickly!
What was the hardest thing about writing your book?
When I first started writing Gifted, it was because I wanted to read it. When the publication date drew closer, I started to panic. What if people don’t like it? What if it doesn’t sell? What if I fail at the one thing I love and altered my future for? Soon it became too much and I changed my novel completely. I added things like instant-love because that’s what I’ve seen YA readers enjoy many times before. I personally don’t believe in instant-love so when I had completed Gifted, I didn’t like it very much. It wouldn’t have interested me if I’d read the blurb and I most certainly would not have paid for it! Two years later, I was sat at my desk, editing my novel and something clicked. I hated re-reading my novel because I didn’t like the book and that just wasn’t right. An author who doesn’t even like her own book. How ridiculous is that? I made the decision to forget about whether it would sell or not and went back to writing a book I would read. Now, not only would the blurb catch my attention, but I’d pay for Gifted too. This edition of Gifted contains probably 5% of my first edition – that’s how much I’ve changed and re-drafted! And it is such a shock when readers tell me they like Gifted and it knocks me off my seat when they say they love it. I took such a gamble deciding to write like I would never be published, but it paid off!
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
Seeing my novel become a movie would be a dream come true so I would like to make the dream of a struggling actress come true. I would cast someone I’ve never heard of before and give them a chance to grow into something big.
Thank you for stopping by, JA! We completely understand the whole re-drafting scenario 🙂 Go check out GIFTED now if you haven’t already!
Until next time,