Sunday, October 13, 2013

Interview With Becca J. Campbell (Author of Empath)

 A few weeks ago I hosted a giveaway for Empath and now I am pleased to be a stop on Becca Campbell's Empath blog tour!  I even got to interview her.  Enjoy! (and don't forget to get a copy of Empath while it's on sale for $0.99!)

1.      When did you fall in love with writing?
When I was writing my first book (which happened to be Empath). For me, the falling-in-love process was two-fold. I had a love-at-first-sight moment when I began writing. In the beginning it was all a big experiment, an attempt to discover if I could write a novel (and, even though I didn't realize it at the time, if I would enjoy it). I came up with some characters and a plot-ish scenario (which wasn't fully developed at that point in time), and just started writing. I spewed out the first handful of chapters in a few days, completely infatuated by this shiny, new writing thing.

But true love doesn't blossom until it's put through the fire, and it was about two thirds of the way through the book that I got stumped and frustrated with my story. Hanging on past the halfway point is often the most difficult part for new writers, and I was no different. There were times I had no idea what was going to happen next, no idea what should happen next. Thankfully, I had a few great mentors who helped guide and encourage me when it came to the rough spots. I might have given up altogether if it hadn't been for those seasoned authors.

I made it past the midway hump; I finished the book, and when I had a complete (albeit unedited) manuscript in my hands, I realized that the whole "writing thing" had made it past crush, beyond infatuation, all the way to genuine, head-over-heels love. I haven't looked back since.

2.      If you could only have five books for the rest of your life, which ones would they be?
Oh man. I hate questions like this. I feel like it's a trick question, or one that has no right answer. I'd get sick of any book if I had to read it over and over! That aside, I'll do my best to pick five. They shouldn't be trendy... Hmm, okay, here it goes. #1 The Bible. #2 These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder. #3 Magnificent Obsession by Lloyd C. Douglas. #4 Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. #5 The Host by Stephenie Meyer. (Okay, that last one is pretty trendy, but I've already read it twice and I could see reading it again. Such a great love story!)
3.      What influenced you to write a book focused on empathy?
I actually didn't set out to write a book about empathy. I set out to write about people with superhuman flaws, and when I began sketching out the cast of characters, I quickly realized that I had to write this book in Jade's point of view. (Random piece of trivia: the book was untitled until well after the first draft was done, probably a year after I began.) With Jade's empathic ability being a secret, it would be nearly impossible to write about her from another point of view--at least until I had already developed her character. The other books in the Flawed series don't focus on Jade--in fact, she has no point-of-view scenes at all in books two and three.

Outsider (Flawed #2) focuses on Josh, and Protector (Flawed #3) is about Logan. Jade isn't in most of book two except for one scene, though she's a pretty integral part of book three. I also sprinkle new characters into the other books, and I'm excited for readers to get to meet them as well.

4.      I love the name Jade, how do you come up with your character's names?
The ones I like often come from unused baby names. I've always kept lists of names I like, and I have plenty that didn't get used on my kids, for one reason or another. Jade was one of those names (I think my husband vetoed it). Other names come from characters who inspired me. Logan was from X-Men, Henry was from The Time Traveler's Wife, and Jade's last name, Edwards, was actually inspired by Edward Cullen. For Ethan, I wanted a really trendy, handsome-guy type of name, because though Ethan is pretty horrible, not many people who meet him would suspect his dark intentions. He's attractive, charming, and everything about him--his name included--screams clean, wholesome guy you could take home to Mom and Dad. That tactic works well for him.

I also search baby name sites online when I have a character who's difficult to title, and the same goes for last names. Sometimes I even create my own names.

5.      What scene was the most fun to write?
You may think me creepy and/or demented, but the most fun ones to write were Ethan's scenes. Once I embraced getting into his psychopathic brain (which took a bit of getting over, at first), I really enjoyed writing his points of view. The scene where Ethan unveils his collection to Gabrielle sticks in my memory. I won't spoil it for those who haven't read it yet, but after I wrote what was in those glass jars, I was trembling with exhilaration regarding the evilness of this antagonist.

I added one short Jade scene in revision #11 (I'm not even joking about the number of drafts...) that hadn't been in the story previously, and I really enjoyed writing that, too. It's the one where she's trying to enter the hospital and she can't get past the vibe of the suicidal guy. That was a new angle on her empathy I hadn't played out yet, and I liked exploring that.

By the way, if you didn't know, we writers are evil. We take pleasure in torturing our characters, and writing bad-guy scenes is just plain fun. :)

6.      Are there any songs that spoke to you while you were writing this book, or ones that just seemed to fit the mood or theme of your story?
I love that you asked that. I have a playlist for the story and I actually haven't posted it yet. The song best conveying the theme of the book is "Crowded Head" by Collective Soul. Here's the full playlist:
·         “Better Now” – Collective Soul (Cam)
·         “Middle Man” – Jack Johnson (Jade)
·         “Think About Me” – Sister Hazel (Jade)
·         “Stranger Things Have Happened” – Foo Fighters (Jade’s & Logan)
·         “Fuzzy” – Collective Soul (Cam)
·         “Vent” – Collective Soul (Jade, Ethan)
·         “Crowded Head” – Collective Soul (Jade)
·         “Free Me” – Foo Fighters (Jade)
·         “You Are All That I Have” by Snow Patrol (Jade, Logan)
·         “Everything” by Lifehouse (Jade, Logan)

7.      What is your favorite snack or beverage to keep your energy up while writing?
I write a Starbucks a lot, and my beverage of choice is a Toffee Nut latte, salted, extra hot. If I'm at home, it's whatever I can find, but usually involves chocolate.

8.      Before I let you go, I have just one more question! If an aspiring novelist came up to you and asked you for one piece of advice on the craft, what would you say?  (I may or may not be the aspiring novelist referred to in my question...)
Write, and write a lot. Write because you love it. Write for yourself. Stick with your story(ies) and don't give up until you get to the end--don't you dare leave a book half-written! Beyond that, find a support group--preferably several peers and several who are seasoned authors--and lap up their wisdom. If you want a great place to find other writers, check out I'm the co-creator, and next June will be our third year with this event. A bunch of us all hang out online and write novels in June. It's a great way to make friends and form critique groups.

During the Empath Blog Tour (September 16th - October 20th), the first book in the Flawed series will be on sale for a discounted price of $0.99. Grab it for cheap while you can!
Amazon US | Amazon UK  | Amazon CA  | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

Empath (Flawed Book One)

Supernatural empathy isn’t a gift, it’s a curse. Anywhere she goes, Jade’s emotions are replaced by those of the people around her.
Jade grew up in a suburb of Colorado Springs, protected from other people by her parents. Now she faces college—and the world—with nothing to shield her from unwanted feelings.
When Cam, a classmate with a major crush on her, unintentionally hijacks her emotions, Jade struggles to keep from being carried away in feelings of attraction. When Ethan, a psychopath with a thirst for fear, fixates on her, the emotional impact could be lethal.
Caught in a deadly trap, Jade must untangle the emotions and find a way to use her empathic curse to overcome this killer or be overcome by him.

Author Bio

Becca J. Campbell is the author of the New Adult Romantic Science Fiction novels Foreign Identity and Gateway to Reality, New Adult Romantic Paranormal Thriller Empath (The Flawed Series #1), and  Sub-Normal, a series of Science Fiction short stories.
An avid lover of stories that tiptoe the line between fantasy and reality (even when they plunge off one side or the other), Becca looks for new angles on bridging the gap between the two. She holds a special place in her heart for any story that involves superpowers or time travel. Her passion is defying the limits of her own creativity. You can find her on her Author BlogFacebookTwitterGoodreads, Pinterest, and Amazon.

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