Friday, September 4, 2015

Blog Tour: The Deep Beneath (H.A.L.F) by Natalie Wright @NatalieWright_

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The Deep Beneath (H.A.L.F) by Natalie Wright
(H.A.L.F #1)
Publication date: January 7th 2015
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult

Synopsis:

H.A.L.F. 9 has taken his first breath of desert air and his first steps in the human world. Created to be a weapon, he proved too powerful for his makers and has lived a sedated life hidden from humans. But H.A.L.F. 9 has escaped the underground lab he called home, and the sedation has worn off. He has never been more alive. More powerful. Or more deadly.
Erika Holt longs to ride her motorcycle east until pavement meets shore. She bides her time until graduation when she’ll say adios to the trailer she shares with her alcoholic mother and memories of her dead father. But a typical night in the desert with friends thrusts Erika into a situation more dangerous than she ever imagined.
Circumstances push the two together, and each must make a fateful choice. Will Erika help H.A.L.F. 9 despite her “don’t get involved” rule? And will H.A.L.F. 9 let Erika live even though he was trained to kill?
The two may need to forget their rules and training and if either is to survive the dangers of the deep beneath them.

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/half-natalie-wright/1121019444?ean=9781505524727

Welcome Natalie for an interview!
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did you want to be something else? 
I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was a child. Then I forgot! ;-) I practiced law for close to twenty years. Throughout that time I wrote essays and some poetry. But when my daughter was born in 2002, I got back into creative endeavors and began writing consistently in 2007. I retired from the law practice in 2013 and now devote my working hours solely to writing and the business of being a writer.
I’m proof that it’s never too late to do what you’ve always wanted to do. J
How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish?
It varies, but generally it takes me about nine months to a year from concept to completion. I write fantasy and sci fi, so there is a lot of world building and research in addition to character development that happens before I begin writing. I can write a first draft in about six weeks, but my first drafts are piles of crap! I vomit everything up on the page and I end up cutting most (if not all) of the first draft. Writing, at least for me, is about rewriting, so it takes time.
How do you come up with themes for your stories?
Plot inspiration comes from various places: news stories, dreams, songs. Anything I encounter can be inspiration.
As far as themes go, I don’t set out to write about a particular theme. But I’m intensely interested in concepts of freedom and personal liberty and how societal norms, laws and rules impact our freedom. And I’m fascinated with science, particularly astronomy, physics and space exploration. Ideas, concepts and themes pulled from the juxtaposition of these two things – freedom and science – show up in my work again and again.
Do you have a schedule of when you write? 
Sort of. Once I’m to the point of plotting out the major scenes, I know that I can (generally) write one major scene (or chapter) a day. So I count my scene cards and I know how many days to complete first draft. Then I double it because I know that s*it happens so it will take longer than I plan. Once the first draft is done, it goes more smoothly and it’s then fairly easy to set a schedule for editing, etc.
How are you able to balance other aspects of your life with your writing?
What is this balance thing that you speak of? ;-)
What elements do you think make a great story line? 
Wow, there are many. But I’ll stick to the top three that for me are required in order for me to be hooked as a reader.
First, characters do things. There is consistent action that moves the story forward. Dialogue and insight into characters thoughts – yes. But I get bored and give up on a book it’s all navel gazing and never ever seems to happen.
Second, the characters need to be interesting. I love characters that aren’t perfect. Give me a character that is gritty and flawed but that will, in the end, do the right thing and I’m hooked. I try to write those kind of main characters. Hopefully I succeed.
Third, the storyline needs to hold surprises. I love unpredictability – twists and turns I didn’t see coming.
If a story contains these three elements, I’m likely to enjoy it regardless of genre.
What was the hardest thing about writing a book?
Everything! Really, there is not one single “easy” thing about writing a book.
But probably, for me, the single hardest part is starting. It takes incredible courage to put words onto that white screen. The writer has to battle fear demons – the voices inside your head that tell you you’re no good; the last one was a fluke; you’ve used up all your good ideas, etc. That’s why, for me, writing the first draft is at once incredibly fun – an outpouring of pure creativity – and yet agonizing. Each day it’s a battle to get to the computer and begin. Every. Single. Day.
How many books have you written so far? Do you have a favorite? 
I’ve written four books so far and am working on the fifth.
My favorite? In a way, Emily’s House (my first novel), is my favorite. It’s by no means my best writing, but the plot is, I think, pretty unique. Much of the story came to me in dreams. And I wrote the book for my daughter – for all girls really. I like the overall message and theme of the book – about the power, especially for girls, within them. The power to be the masters of our own reality. It’s about magic. Real magic.
Do you have a favorite character?
There are several that I enjoy quite a lot. My favorite probably depends on whom I’m working on at the time. Right now, I’m spending a lot of time thinking about H.A.L.F. 9, aka “Tex”, one of the main characters in the H.A.L.F. series. He’s half human and half alien. He lived his first 17 years underground in a lab, cut off from the human world. I enjoy thinking about him – about what it would be like to have been educated yet cut off from your peers and society. He knows only what he was allowed to know. He was not given love or intimacy. And as the series moves forward (I’m working on book 2 now), I enjoy thinking about what he’ll do – how he’ll react – to various things. Does he have the capacity for love, despite his past and training? Can he learn empathy? And whom will he side with – the humans or the aliens?
Where do you write?  
I sometimes write at a coffee shop or pub for a change of scenery. And on Tuesdays I often go to “Writer’s Room.” We meet at someone’s house and write for two hours. I usually get very good writing done at these brief sessions. All that creative energy in one place is amazing. But the vast majority of my writing is done in my home office. It’s cozy and quiet and I love the space.
When deciding on how to publish, what directed you to the route you took? 
I never submitted to agents or editors. I chose to self-publish my first book and I haven’t looked back. I continue to self-publish and am quite happy with the choice.
There were several things that moved me into the direction of self-publishing, but my conversations with published authors that I met at conferences and via writer organizations were the main consideration. I have never met a writer who spoke candidly with me that expressed happiness and satisfaction with their publishing house, agent and overall experience. I’m sure there are such authors out there –I’ve just never met one.
Listening to editors and agents talk on panels, it seemed to me that they were saying: “We don’t have the budget to edit your books, so you better send us your book already edited. Oh, and we don’t have a budget for marketing, so you better plan on marketing it yourself. In fact, we expect that you’ll already have an author platform and have readers who want to read your book before we even accept it for publication. And of course for the privilege of having our name on the book and printing a few thousand copies, we’ll take upwards of 94% of the list price.”
Yeah. Thanks for coming out.
Self-publishing allows me to maintain total control over my creative output. And at this point, I’ve worked to build my audience. Why sell it to someone else for next to nothing?
Have you gotten feedback from family about your book(s)? What do they think?
My family and close friends have been very supportive of my work. They are my biggest fans and I am very appreciative of all they do to help me get the word out about my books.
What kinds of things do you like to do outside of writing?
There are things outside of writing?! ;-)
I love to travel (when I can), snorkel in warm waters and walk in the desert or mountains around my home. I’m a happier woman if I get a daily dose of nature. I also play video games (Dragon Age and World of Warcraft are my favorites), go to movies, and binge watch shows on Netflix. My husband and I are currently burning through Lie to Me. And of course I read. Right now I’m reading, The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance (a little light reading, ha ha). It’s research for the H.A.L.F. series (hint ;-).
What kinds of advice would you give to someone who wants to start writing? 
Write! Write whatever comes to you whenever you can.
Read! Read in the genre you write in and read outside of it too. Read critically, meaning that you read to understand what makes it good or bad. Why did you enjoy it or not? Study what you read. The old adage is true: Good words in, good words out.
Study! Take classes and workshops on writing. Read books about writing. Do writing exercises. Get feedback. Write more.
Write! This one bears repeating. You can’t be a writer unless you write. I meet people at comic cons and book events and they say things like “I’ve got this great book idea I’ve been thinking about for ten years,” or “I’ve been working on this story for five years.” Ideas aren’t stories. Chapters aren’t books. My mantra for being a writer is simple: B.I.C. (butt in chair) J
What is your favorite book? favorite author? Do you have an author that inspired/inspires you to write? 
Like so many writers currently writing in the young adult genre, I am inspired by J.K. Rowling. Her world-building and character creations are simply beyond compare. It was reading the Harry Potter series that inspired me to give my own stories a go.
I have a lot of favorite authors, but probably my most favorite is George R.R. Martin. I like the grit and visceral quality of his writing. And talk about memorable characters! He has created an army of them. His command of his world and his characters is simply amazing.
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? 
Through much trial and error, I now have a team of “regulars” that help me craft my stories. I use Red Adept editing services for content editing. Once the story is complete, Pauline Nolet does my line editing. And I have a handful of writer friends and long-time readers that do beta reading. This team approach helps me craft a final product that, I hope, is virtually indistinguishable to readers from “traditionally published” books.
Are you working on anything now? 
Yes! I’m deep into the first draft of The Makers, book 2 of the H.A.L.F. series. It should be into the hands of readers in late spring of 2016. And I’m also working on some short stories here and there. When an idea comes to me, I write a scene or two. Who knows – one of them may become my next book.

Thanks so much for being here today Natalie. So great having you! 

Natalie1.jpgNatalie is the author of H.A.L.F., a young adult science fiction series, and The Akasha Chronicles, a young adult fantasy trilogy. She lives in the high desert of Tucson, Arizona with her husband, tween daughter, and two young cats.

Natalie spends her time writing, reading, gaming, geeking out over nerd culture and cool science, hanging out on social media, and meeting readers and fans at festivals and comic cons throughout the western United States. She likes to walk in the desert, snorkel in warm waters, travel, and share excellent food and conversation with awesome people. She was raised an Ohio farm girl, lives in the desert Southwest, and dreams of living in a big city high rise
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3 comments:

  1. That was such a fun interview and this book sounds thrilling. Been looking for something like this. Thanks for sharing. I love discovering new authors and books.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This sounds awesome! :D
    Mary G Loki

    ReplyDelete

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