Greetings, friends and followers. I expect I’ll be very busy on Saturday at Reversed Polarity, so I’m scheduling this post in advance on Thursday afternoon. I’d like to thank today’s author, A. T. O’Connor, for volunteering to be interviewed! You can find out more at her blog.
Tell me a little about your history with NaNoWriMo:
I have been participating in NaNo since 2005 on some level or another, under one name or the other, and have won all but twice. The first few years I was a very lonely writer both on and off the screen. It wasn’t until I met a wonderfully zany crew of writers in the Over 30’s forum that I truly felt comfortable with the term “writer” as profession. We pushed each other to the finish line with crazy dares and christened ourselves the Sexy Turkey Hatters after someone posted an obnoxious picture of a knit turkey hat to pass the time. Ironically, this turkey hat made the cut in my debut novel, WHISPERING MINDS, as did a few other dares.
What are you writing about this year?
I love writing gritty, thought provoking YA novels. This year, I plan to write a visceral story about the rights and responsibilities of society in the event that the rape gene becomes isolated.
Who’s the best character in your Nano novel?
Since I haven’t started writing it yet, I don’t know for sure. However, I believe my genetic rapist will become near and dear to my heart–and hopefully the hearts of YA readers in years to come.
What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
Do not edit as you write. If you hit a wall, insert a sentence or two about what you know goes there and keep writing. Rough drafts are not the time for perfection. They are a time to purge the story from the recesses of your mind so you have a solid basis for future revisions.
Sneaky Ninja question! What’s your pet peeve?
In a novel? Tons of irrelevant description. I have a good imagination and a pretty solid life experience pool to draw from. You say flower garden and my brain instantly fills the setting with flowers and fences and bugs and scents. You write about every petal and every color and every smell and I will file all this information away for later use. I get very disappointed when the cicadas and daffodils and sweet scented hibiscus mean absolutely nothing at the end of the story–especially when they show up more than once.
In real life, my pet peeve is prejudice. I despise rudely judgmental people who simply cannot engage in respectful conversation.
When I started writing, I recited the whole “I write as I breathe” trope. However, I have long since transformed that tired phrase into something more meaningful to me. “I write to make an impact.”
We are the sum of our experiences. We are raised with certain beliefs and expectations about ourselves–things that are reinforced daily by our peers, our parents and our communities. But when it comes right down to it, we still get to choose the paths we will take.
My mother taught me this when she broke the cycle of abuse and didn’t drink her way through my childhood or beat me for falling short or her expectations. She disproved the assumptions born of her upbringing. It is because of her that I can dig into the gritty side of life and find hope and love and happiness. It is because of her that I want my words to matter.
On November 1, my young adult psychological thriller, WHISPERING MINDS, will debut from Elephant’s Bookshelf Press. It was a NaNoWriMo novel that began as a cheeky tribute to my crew of cyber friends and ended as something so much more. It changed me as a writer. I hope it will change you as well.
WHISPERING MINDS: 67,000 word psychological thriller with a twist of romance, available November 1, 2013.
By day, a terrifying blackness eats at Gemini Baker’s memories. Her nights are filled with unsettling dreams.
After the death of her beloved granny, seventeen-year-old Gemi is left with parents more interested in gambling than paying the bills, a best guy friend who’s looking for love at a time when she has none to give and a dark childhood secret that just might be the key to her sucky life.
During her search for answers, Gemi turns to her cyber friends for support and quickly learns that nobody is who they seem. Not her granny, her friends or even herself. As her blackouts increase in frequency, a threat on her life has Gemi on the run…if only she can remember long enough to keep herself alive.