If you’re like us (and since you’re here reading, I think you more than likely are), you like to troll twitter and facebook for a glimpse of the next big thing. “Next big thing of what”, you might be wondering; well, we don’t have a pre-determined subject really. We just like to troll around for whatever strikes our fancy and figure out what the most hyped about thing within that genre is. Then we learn all about it, absorbing that information to use later at parties and what not. You know, to look cool. It’s an art form really.
So a few days ago I noticed that A LOT of book bloggers were talking about some new author. Nothing new there. New authors crop up all the time. But then, the buzz about her got bigger and bigger until all the 5+ star reviews of her book made me take interest. “Ah-ha!” I thought, here’s the most hyped about thing in YA fiction these days. “Yes! I am on the ball. Watch out party at the Powers’ house. You are in for a treat.” But then of course, I realized something: I had heard of this author before AND was even planning on interviewing her. That’s right, Frankie Rose, the sweet author who contacted me a month or so ago about her debut novel, Sovereign Hope, was the next big thing! And I was in on it!
Frankie was so delightful, just so open and candid in the Q&A we did with her that I can honestly say that if the book lives up to its creator then we have a force to be reckoned with on our hands.
Here’s the most recent blurb about the book:
Farley Hope was seventeen when her mother disappeared. In the last six months not much has changed, except that her eighteenth birthday came and went and still no sign of Moira. Her life is just as complicated as it always was: since her father died in a car crash before she was even born, she’s officially parentless, and to top it all off she’s still suffering from the hallucinations. Mind-splitting, vivid hallucinations- the kind prone to induce night terrors and leave you whimpering under your covers like a baby.
J: Ooh, cool synopsis! So Frankie, what inspired you to write this debut novel? What was the process you went through to get it published? What advice would you have for other aspiring debut writers? Any tricks of the trade you’ve learned the hard way?
F: Gosh, this is a big question! I guess what truly inspired me to write Sovereign Hope was the desire to do something different. There were so many books that I’d read and loved, but followed the same kind of pattern, and with the same kinds of protagonists and bad guys.
With the publishing, I was offered a traditional publishing contract with a small press publishing company but I decided that I wanted the freedom to publish Sovereign Hope when I was ready, not when they were. And I wanted to keep control of the project as I saw it, so that the end product would be entirely mine. My title, the cover that I wanted… that was really important to me. So, in order to do that I learned everything I needed to so I could self-publish, which was a big task, but it was remarkably rewarding. I’ve loved the route I’ve taken to get Sovereign Hope out into the world!
As for tricks of the trade, the one thing I would suggest to anyone wanting to self publish would be to get the advice of many instead of the few, and definitely not the advice of your friends! People naturally want to please other people, and that often leads to them saying lovely things which are all well and good, when sometimes an author needs to hear the painful truth!
J: Could you describe your writing process for us?
F: Initially, I like to mull over an idea for a couple of days and let it really take shape in my mind. Once I’ve thought about the topic of the book, the events and the characters, I’ll start putting it down on paper. Really rounding out who the main characters of the book are going to be. From there I’ll start thinking about the events of the story and the order in which they will occur and how they affect each other. The last stage is really plotting out each individual chapter with the specifics. The specifics are really important… If you don’t plot the chapters and stick to the outlines of what you need to accomplish for each stage, then you’re likely going to get sidetracked or veer off path.
J: Why should we read your book? What sets it apart from all the rest?
F:When I wrote Sovereign Hope, I wanted to create a world completely different to other YA paranormal books. I wanted to build something that would be memorable because there was nothing else like it out there. I’ve been told by many of my readers that I accomplished this, and I can only hope I have! Another important part of Sovereign Hope, for me, is the characters. I wanted Farley to be strong and independent, and to have an attitude all of her own. And with Daniel, I wanted him to possess many qualities, not just be super hot and ready to protect Farley at the drop of a hat. Don’t get me wrong, he is super hot and fiercely protective, but he has his own story and insecurities.
J: Has your family been supportive of you as you try to make your way as an author?
F: They really have. All of them have been lovely about it. I live just about as far away as I could possibly get from my family, so it’s really great to connect with them on facebook and things like that. My husband’s side of the family are really wonderful, too. I love them to bits, and they have been fantastically supportive of me and of Sovereign Hope.
J: What would you consider to be your personal mantra?
F: Don’t Give Up!!! Has to be… There were a hundred points along the road to where I am right now that I could have just stopped and said, “this is way too hard.” I really did have to pick myself up and really push myself to continue. It was hard because I had faith in what I was going- I think the sheer volume of information that you need to learn when doing everything for yourself can be a little daunting at times. But, truly, once you understand what needs to be done, it’s just a matter of organising yourself. So Don’t Give Up!!
J: What author and which fictional character would make you squeal like a fangirl if he/she sat down next to you at a restaurant?
F: Huh… I would go nuts if Neil Gaiman sat down next to me in a restaurant! He’s an amazing author, and I have a lot of respect for his work. The worlds he creates are phenomenally enjoyable. As for a character… I think at the moment it would have to be Cassel Sharpe. The way Holly Black wrote him in her Curse Workers series was so good. I loved that everything was from a guy’s perspective.
J: What are three things you cannot live without and why?
F: 1. I literally could not live without my phone. I must reply to at least thirty emails with it every day, especially when I actually manage to get five minutes away from my desk.
2. I would be lost without my husband. I’m sure he’d object to being called a ‘thing’, but I’m gonna have to stretch the boundaries of the word in order to include him! He takes care of things when I’m too busy to accomplish ridiculously easy things that would take all of two minutes.
3. Lastly, I would be lost without the internet. If I didn’t have the internet, researching for my work would be much, much harder, but also I would find it difficult to connect with my family and friends, who have been immensely supportive during the process of me writing and publishing this book.
J: Who has influenced you the most in your life?
F: Hard question. I would have to say it’s a collective group of people. My friends have been really influential in that they’ve encouraged and pushed me, and helped pick me up when I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed by everything. The same goes for my husband and my family, of course.
J: Last but not least, the burning question I always must know: window or aisle and why?
F: I’m gonna say aisle. I hate being trapped and not being able to get up so I can move around. Also, I always remember that scene from Fight Club where Brad Pitt debates whether to give Ed Norton ‘the ass or the crotch’,- I don’t like having the ask myself the same question whenever I’m trying to shimmy past strangers in order to get to the bathroom! I’m pretty tall, too, so being able to stick your legs out is always nice.
Haha. There you have it! Girlfriend loves Neil Gaiman (so do I!) and she knows how to insert a good ass or crotch into her interview. Good times.
Be sure to check out Frankie Rose’s book, Sovereign Hope today to see what all this hoopla is about. If you’re still on the fence, even after those fun responses, our own review will be out shortly to help tip the balance in her favor.