Under Construction

Monday, June 27, 2011

Blog Tour: One-Question Interview with Teresa Frohock

 Hi, everyone! Today I have a very cool one question interview with Teresa Frohock to share with you! Make sure you leave her a comment to say hi!

Raised in a small town, Teresa Frohock learned to escape to other worlds through the fiction collection of her local library. She eventually moved away from Reidsville and lived in Virginia and South 

Carolina before returning to North Carolina, where she currently resides with her husband and daughter.

Teresa has long been accused of telling stories, which is a southern colloquialism for lying. Miserere: An Autumn Tale is her debut novel.

Teresa can be found most often at her blog and web site (www.teresafrohock.com). Every now and then, she heads over to Tumblr and sends out Dark Thoughts http://teresafrohock.tumblr.com, links to movies and reviews that catch her eye. You can also follow Teresa on Twitter (http://twitter.com/TeresaFrohock ) and join her author page on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Teresa-Frohock/134892453223242).

When writing MISERERE: AN AUTMN TALE did the story/characters surprise you in any way? Meaning, did they veer from the path you had originally intended for them?

Oh, absolutely, Arya. I think it happens to all of us at one time or another, don’t you? No matter how meticulously we plan our novels, we have those characters that get away from us.

For me it was Lindsay.

Lindsay is twelve years old in MISERERE, and she passes through the Crimson Veil from Earth into Woerld with her brother Peter. Lindsay is Lucian’s foundling, and it’s his job to teach Lindsay how to control her talents and become a Katharos.

I had originally written Lindsay as a brat and wanted a lot of twenty-first century references through her character. She was supposed to change from a little horror to a good kid through her interaction with Lucian. I also wanted her to be the catalyst that brought Lucian out of his self-absorption.

However, as the story progressed and shifted and changed (as stories tend to do as writers find their voices), Lindsay’s character changed. I really struggled with how to portray her. It was quickly apparent to me that Lindsay as brat wasn’t working. All the scenes I wrote with her fell flat and the twenty-first century references jerked the reader out of Woerld.

So I shifted gears and made her a good kid. Then she was boring. I kept trying to kill her, but my daughter reminded me that Lindsay had an important job later on. Hours of brainstorming went into this one character. In the end, I didn’t kill either Lindsay or my daughter.

I just kept writing and hoped that Lindsay would eventually show up and join the party. It wasn’t until one of my critique partners mentioned that I had Lindsay too trusting of Lucian during one scene. My partner said that as a child of an alcoholic, Lindsay would be highly sensitive to sudden mood shifts, and she would be wary of Lucian at that particular point.

I had to read her email twice, then I went back to the manuscript and, sure enough, I had planted the idea that Lindsay was the child of an alcoholic in her very first scene. It was a real ah-ha moment for me and I was able to go back and work more detail through the beginning. Weronika really helped me with Lindsay too, and I believe it was that last push by Weronika that made Lindsay’s character believable.

When I finally quit trying to ram Lindsay into being the kid I wanted her to be and just let her be herself, I was able to get into sync with her character, but it was work. I had to let go of some preconceived ideas of how she fit into the plot and I had to expand her role. [Here’s a scoop for you: While Lindsay has minor roles in both MISERERE and DOLOROSA, she will be the protagonist in BELLUM DEI.]

I think she’s a solid character now and can carry her own story, but it was not an easy road to bring her to that point. The trick I employed was to cut and paste every scene from Lindsay’s point of view into a separate document. Then I could read her actions and reactions to others around her more clearly. I went back to the main manuscript and filled in the blanks until I was satisfied with her growth.

That was how I did it.

What about you? Have you ever had a character get away from you and turn into someone completely different?

The next interview in the blog tour will be at Michele Corriel’s blog http://mcorriel.livejournal.com/ where I’ll be talking about the relevance of the magical world of MISERERE to contemporary society.

I hope you’ll join me there.

Miserere: An Autumn Tale (Night Shade Books www.nightshadebooks.com / July 1, 2011)

Exiled exorcist Lucian Negru deserted his lover in Hell in exchange for saving his sister Catarina's soul, but Catarina doesn't want salvation. She wants Lucian to help her fulfill her dark covenant with the Fallen Angels by using his power to open the Hell Gates. Catarina intends to lead the Fallen’s hordes out of Hell and into the parallel dimension of Woerld, Heaven’s frontline of defense between Earth and Hell.

When Lucian refuses to help his sister, she imprisons and cripples him, but Lucian learns that Rachael, the lover he betrayed and abandoned in Hell, is dying from a demonic possession. Determined to rescue Rachael from the demon he unleashed on her soul, Lucian flees his sister, but Catarina's wrath isn’t so easy to escape. In the end, she will force him once more to choose between losing Rachael or opening the Hell Gates so the Fallen's hordes may overrun Earth, their last obstacle before reaching Heaven's Gates.

Read the first four chapters of Miserere FREE here.

All Things Books
Layers of Thought
The Written Connection

Friday, June 24, 2011


I don't think I noticed how shallow publishers were until just recently. HarperTEEN, a long-time favorite of mine, has dropped the last book in one of my favorite series because of recent budget cuts. This just after they paid a TON for big tickets like Josephine Angelini's Starcrossed (the so-called Percy Jackson for girls). It seems they don't want to spend any time on books unless they are certain they will sell...

I might not be so vehement about the whole ordeal if it weren't for the fact that I have never seen where HarperTEEN did much to promote the Warrior Princess books that they have now dropped like a hot potato.

The Warrior Princess books, and indeed all of the books by Allan Frewin Jones, are amazingly written. He  has a knack for words and voices that often reminds me of our beloved J.R.R. Tolkien. This is especially true in the Warrior Princess books.

That said, I do understand the kind of stress the publishing market is under right now. My own theory is that all the trouble stems from the uprising of eReaders. Which is one of the many reasons why I avoid eBooks like the plague. It's sad that people can be reading more and the bookstores and publishing houses still be struggling to keep their doors open.

I would really like to get more people involved in the fan community surrounding Mr. Jones's books, and if you are a fan, I ask you to please contact HarperTEEN and express your disappointment in losing the tail-end of a wonderful trilogy.

I've included links below to help you better understand what's going on and what YOU can do about it!

Announcement and explanation on Mr. Jones's blog

More info and a chance to WIN many of Mr. Jones's books

Fan Community

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran

Madam Tussaud by Michelle Moran 5 of 5 stars.

When Marie Tussaud learns the exciting news that the royal family will be visiting her famed wax museum, the Salon de Cire, she never dreams that the king's sister will request her presence at Versailles as a royal tutor in wax sculpting. As Marie familiarizes herself with Princess Elisabeth and becomes acquainted with both Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI, she witnesses the glamorous life of the court. It's a much different world than her home on the Boulevard du Temple in Paris, where bread can only be had on the black market and men sell their teeth to put food on their tables.

The year is 1788, and men like Desmoulins, Marat, and Robespierre are meeting in the salons of Paris, speaking against the monarchy; there's whispered talk of revolution.

Spanning five years from budding revolution to the Reign of Terror, Madame Tussaud brings us into the world of an incredible heroine whose talent for wax modeling saved her life and preserved the faces of a vanished kingdom. (Book blurb from press release)

Madame Tussaud is a deftly written novel that portrays all of the important players of the French Revolution through the voice of a shrewd young woman who manages to straddle the worlds of both 'Royalists' and 'Patriots' to an amazing degree. During the day she may spend time with King Louis XVI's sister, Madame Elisabeth, in her beautiful Montreuil but at home in the evening she is listening to men set on destroying the royal family at all costs.

As violence grows steadily in Paris, the woman who will become Madame Tussaud is caught between loyalty to her friends on both sides and the simple need to survive this horrid time. She will do anything to ensure the safety of herself, her family, and, of course, her Salon even if it mean taking wax models of severed heads of people whose only crime was being in the wrong place in France at the worst time possible.

When I read the synopsis for this book I was overjoyed by the fact the Michelle Moran had written another historical novel. I expected it to be much like her others, but was pleasantly surprised. Instead of being completely immersed in the intrigue and grandeur of the French court the reader is simply given the chance to dip their toes in it from time to time, focusing more on what was happening in Paris during the most bloody time in this country's history.

Moran finds a way to perfectly straddle the closed world of Louis XVI and the harsh reality of the French people. She shows the royal family in a light that will make you sympathize with them. The naive love Louis had for his people was beyond my grasp of understanding, and indeed beyond that of those who were closest to him. We receive a rather horrid view of what the consequences of a "weak" king really are.

I once read a book about Marie Antoinette that made me feel I understood her to some extent, but since then I have watched one historical documentary after the other that pretty much condemned her as the doom of France and, eventually, the French monarchy. This is the first time in a while I have seen Antoinette from a different light, and I will admit that I cried when she was executed. (This is not technically a spoiler since everyone should already know she died.) Every time she tried to economize she was attacked by her courtiers. Historians can say what they wish, but in my mind I will always see Marie Antoinette as a prisoner in a rather gilded cage.

However, the most interesting character in the book has to be the wax artist Marie Tussaud. A shrewd business woman and an amazing artist, she helps immortalize the French Revolution in her own way. The things she was willing to do to ensure her survival and that of her family continue to astound me, and that makes the ending all the more surprising.

If you are a Moran fan, a history buff, or just an avid reader looking for a good story I would suggest you read Madame Tussaud. It is the best historical fiction novel I've read since Moran's last book Cleopatra's Daughter, and the great thing about this author's works is that they never really feel historical. They feel like they directly relate to our modern lives.

To order Madame Tussaud from Amazon.com, please click here.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Weekly Author Writing Prompt!

Hey, guys!

I'm not sure if you've noticed (hopefully you have!), but I've started a new meme called "Weekly Author Writing Prompt". That's pretty self-explanatory, don't you think?

In case I'm wrong, let me explain. Every week (though it hasn't really been weekly yet due to craziness) I will be hosting one of your favorite YA authors on the blog. They will be presenting you with a writing prompt to get your creative juices flowing. Its basically just a little activity to do or a snippet of something to read that will, hopefully, inspire you. You'll be able to comment on the post with your creation for everyone else and the author to see. Or you can just hoard your pretty words.

Anyway, the fun in this is to just get us all writing for a little while every week. Plus, you get inspiration from your favorite authors. I will also be hosting occasional giveaways and contests!

Below is a working list of the authors who have been featured. Please, please, please help spread the word about this on your blog/twitter/facebook and most importantly, participate!

C. Lee McKenzie
Fran Orenstein -Giveaway still OPEN!

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