Thursday, May 23, 2013

Author Thursday: Welcome Molly Cochran with Giveaway



It's Author Thursday hosted by the Never Too Old for Y.A. Books group on Goodreads!
Today we welcome author Molly Cochran to the group/blog for an interview.
Molly's books are awesome sauce. Have you had a chance to read them?

When her widowed father dumps 16-year-old Katy Jessevar in a boarding school in Whitfield, Massachusetts, she has no idea that fate has just opened the door to both her future and her past. Nearly everyone in Whitfield is a witch, as is Katy herself, although she has struggled all her life to hide her unusual talents. Stuck at a boarding school where her fellow students seem to despise her, Katy soon discovers that Whitfield is the place where her mother committed suicide under mysterious circumstances when Katy was just a small child. With dark forces converging on Whitfield, it's up to Katy to unravel her family's many secrets to save the boy she loves and the town itself from destruction.

Arthurian legend mixes with modern-day witchcraft in this haunting sequel to Legacy, which Publishers Weekly said “should please the legions of paranormal fans looking for a sophisticated supernatural thriller.” After the riveting—and romantic—events of Legacy, Katy has won Peter’s heart and is nowclaiming her place in the magical world. Though half the students at her boarding school come from witching lines, the use of magic is expressly forbidden at Ainsworth, so as to keep the witching world hidden from the blue-blooded preppies, aka Muffies, who also walk the halls.

     But the Muffies have at least a notion of magic, because Katy catches them staging a made-up ritual—and to her astonishment, the girls collapse at Katy’s feet and fall into comas. When Katy is blamed, she becomes desperate to clear her name and finds herself battling all odds to harness her growing magical powers in order to save the Muffies and dispel the Darkness once more


So, without further ado, let's hear from Molly!
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did you want to be something else? 
I always knew. I think most novelists begin writing young. I was nine, I think, when I wrote an adaptation of Cinderella in which the fairy godmother admonished Cinderella to be home by two o’clock midnight. Oh, for a time—in my twenties—I thought seriously about being a professional dancer, but I could never leave writing alone, and it’s a jealous lover. It takes a lot of time. So does dancing. Writing won.
How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish?
It varies. POISON and THE FOREVER KING each took a little more than a year, while LEGACY took six months for the first draft. That’s really fast for me, but I had to step on it because I’d lost all my money and had to pay my bills. Then there’s my long-term novel-in-progress, THE PAGAN TRAILER PARK, which I’ve been reworking for the better part of ten years. That’s just ridiculous.
How do you come up with themes for your stories?
Ideas are everywhere! The story for LEGACY is really a story about TALENT, and how talented people in any field are—at least for a time—treated like freaks. My character Katy has hidden her talent all her life in order to fit in (which she doesn’t, anyway) until she finds a place where she belongs. And POISON—well, that’s about how friends betray you. You never expect it, which is what makes it hurt so much, but it’s something we all have to go through in order to gain confidence in ourselves. Both ideas sprang from my own emotional experiences.
Do you have a schedule of when you write? 
I like to write in the morning, when my brain is working best. By afternoon I have obligations to my house and career, or get lured by Facebook, or have to answer the phone. But the early morning is mine: Me, my dog, black coffee, and a longhand notebook. That’s my favorite time in my whole day.
How are you able to balance other aspects of your life with your writing?
It’s not easy. What I try to remember, though, is that writing is the priority. Which is great, since it’s also what I like to do best. But because the writing is basically for ME – that is, nobody’s forcing me to do it—I can feel sometimes like I’m selfish for putting off other things in order to write. If a blogger wants a guest post or something, I feel that I have to do that right away, so that I won’t let them down.
What elements do you think make a great story line? 
There are many analyses of plot in fiction, but in my opinion, only one thing matters: Truth. I don’t mean reporting exactly something that’s happened to you, but rather having the courage to explore your inner truth. I think of it as lying naked on a table, and inviting everyone to look at you. Some people are going to laugh or make rude remarks, but others will see themselves, in all their frailty and glory. That’s the point of writing. Of all art, really.
What was the hardest thing about writing a book?
The middle. That’s where we all get stuck. That’s the point when I put down a book I’m reading and never pick it up again, and the point where, as a writer, I have to rely more on an outline than on blind inspiration. Everyone who wants to write a book has a beginning, and most have an ending. It’s in the middle where no grass grows.
How many books have you written so far? Do you have a favorite?
Readers who are only familiar with my YA books are going to be surprised that I’ve written thirty novels, and some nonfiction, too. Three have been bestsellers, and they’ve won a number of awards. I just think it’s important to always try something new, be a little uncomfortable.  Of my adult novels, my favorite is THE TEMPLE DOGS, a thriller about a Japanese gangster who lives as if he’s back in the 17th century. Of my new books, of course, the one I’m working on at the moment, whatever it is, is always my favorite.
Do you have a favorite character?
I have to say in all honesty that Katy Ainsworth of the LEGACY books is the most fun character I’ve ever written. I suppose this is because her voice is mine. Her insecurities are mine, her fears, her meddling, her sometimes foolhardy behavior…all me.
Where do you write? 
I have an office. But sometimes my computer scares me. That is, I get anxious about what I’m going to find – requests for this or that, reminders to play Words With Friends, my agent forwarding a rejection notice, my editor wanting another rewrite. So sometimes I sit in my favorite purple chair and play music while I write in longhand. And if I’m really insecure, I’ll write in bed. It has a canopy. 
When deciding on how to publish, what directed you to the route you took? 
I’m afraid I’m no pioneer on that count – I published the old-school way, by finding an agent (a number of them, actually, until I found the right one) and then experimenting with different publishers. What I did that was a little unusual, though, is that I started out as a ghostwriter. I wrote twelve men’s action/adventure novels, which was great training for me. A lot of women have trouble writing action, but because of my ghostwriting experience, action scenes are second nature for me.
What kinds of things do you like to do outside of writing?
I play the flute. Or did, when I had more time. I sing. I’m learning yoga. I walk in the park with my dog first thing every morning. I’m close to my son, even though he’s in his twenties and doesn’t live at home anymore. And I’m a baker. Actually, I went to pastry school a few years ago—that’s how in love with baking I am. For me, baking is transcendental. I’m completely in the moment when I have pate brisee in my hands.
What kinds of advice would you give to someone who wants to start writing? 
I’d say, number one, write the truth. Not what other people are writing. Not what’s cool. Not what you think you SHOULD write. Just the real, painful truth that you think no one else will understand. Because they will.
And then--numbers 2 through 5-- finish what you start! Here’s how:  2. Write every day. 3. Write fast. 4. Make an outline.  5. When stuck, write badly (It’s better than not writing at all).
What is your favorite book? favorite author? Do you have an author that inspired/inspires you to write? 
I’d have to say my favorite book of all time would be Vladimir Nabokov’s LOLITA. It’s just a masterpiece of writing. And English wasn’t even his first language! My favorite author at the moment is Jennifer Egan (A VISIT FROM THE GOOD SQUAD, LOOK AT ME). And there’s a fairly new YA novelist, Jennifer Murgia, who lives in my area of Pennsylvania. Her novels, (ANGEL STAR, LEMNISCATE) are riveting and flying off the shelves here.
But the one author who has inspired me more than anyone else is Anne Frank. I read her DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL (a real diary, not a fictional one, written by a Jewish teen hiding from Nazis in 1930’s Germany) when I was twelve years old. She wrote often that she wanted to be a writer “when she grew up”. She never did--she died in a concentration camp at 16. But her words rang so true with me that I decided that writing was what I wanted to do with my life, too. Even now, I often think that maybe I’m writing for her, living out her dream.
Do you have any go to people when writing a book that help you with your story lines as well as editing, beta reading and such? 
Yes! Weirdly, my BFF Michele is NOT a writer, but she’s a great plotter!  When I bring up my thorniest plot problems, she not only understands what I’m talking about, but has a way of separating everything into workable components. I don’t know how she does it – a special kind of brain, maybe. Anyway, I’m really grateful to have that mind working with me. For free.
Are you working on anything now? 
I have seven projects in various stages of development—one (another sequel to LEGACY and POISON) with my editor; one with my agent; an outline and partial manuscript almost ready to send out; POISON, of course, about which I’m trying to get word out; an untitled idea that isn’t even in outline form yet; the dreaded, aforementioned PAGAN TRAILER PARK which, although completed and rewritten several times, never seems to come out right (I’ve asked someone new to read it so that I can get a fresh viewpoint and maybe figure out what’s wrong with it); and a manuscript that I’m writing about Tokyo between 1912 and World War II. The research is daunting, but I’m obsessed with the story – it’s about a man whose life revolves around the various women in it, carrying him through some of the most tumultuous times in history.
Do I think that’s too much? No. I believe it’s a big mistake for writers to put all their eggs in one basket. I used to work for a big publishing company, so I know for a fact that most books get rejected for silly reasons—because your novel uses the same setting as one the company has just published, or because an editor’s budget has been used up. Some editors, I’m sorry to say, don’t even give a manuscript a decent read-through. So instead of being heartbroken over rejections, it’s a good idea to have other projects to work on when one of them is temporarily stymied. The important thing to remember is that you’re a WRITER, not an AUTHOR. “Author” sounds like an expert who rests on past performance. “Writer” is someone who works, fails often, occasionally succeeds, and works some more. I’m a writer, and hope I always will be.

Thanks so much for stopping by today Molly! It's been great having you here and learning more about you, your writing and your books!
Molly has generously offered to giveaway a copy of each of her books, Legacy and Poison, and a bookmark! Just fill out the Rafflecopter below!

Born in Tokyo, Japan, Molly Cochran lived in Europe and was educated at the University of Pittsburgh and the Sorbonne in France. She has written 26 books, including 12 ghosted novels, and the non-fiction bestseller, Dressing Thin, before her own first novel, Grandmaster, was a New York Times Bestseller.
Since then, she has written almost a dozen other suspense and fantasy thrillers, including the international best-seller, The Forever King.





a Rafflecopter giveaway

10 comments:

  1. Thanks for the interview and giveaway! Whoo-hoo! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Loved the interview and your books sound great! Sad that's it's US only though :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry Justine. The School Spirits one is International, tho. So you should enter that one!

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  3. Really great interview. I will definitely check out the books. Too bad I can't enter the contest as I am Canadian. :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry you can enter the School Spirits one, tho, it's international! As are the ebook ones!

      Delete
  4. Thanks for the giveaway! Loved the interview and I can't wait to read these books!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great give away and can't wait to read your books! :)

    ReplyDelete

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