I recently had the privilege of interviewing Lisa M. Basso, author of A SHIMMER OF ANGELS. Here's what she had to say.
1. I really love how we get into Rayna's world. You don't just use the almost stereotypical it-must-be-schizophrenia angle. The scenes in SS Crazy felt very real. My question is what kind of research did you do in order to make this feel so real?
2. Also love her mention that she uses her 5 senses to detect if an angel was in fact 'real'. What made you decide to use that?
- I've read so many articles by authors and agents that recommend writers to use all five senses to help ground the reader and create a rich reading experience. So why not have Ray incorporate all her senses as well. I played around with it during the various stages of edits and rewrites and eventually found a happy medium.
3. Which angel was your favorite to write and why? Cam or Kade.
- Cam is the strong, mostly silent type, which made it fun to chip away at him, but Kade was just an experience to spend writing time with. First, he's unpredictable, second his motives are always questionable, and third, he's fun, in the worst kind of way. When you never know what a character is going to say or do, it keeps everyone (the characters, the readers, and me) on their toes. Kade was that for me and I can't wait for everyone to meet the troublemaker.
4. Do you have an author that influenced your writing?
- I've been influenced by a lot of authors. It all started with S.E. Hinton (The Outsiders). She made me decide to start writing back in high school. Years later, Keri Arthur (Full Moon Rising) helped me find the direction and genre I wanted to write in (Urban Fantasy/Paranormal). L.J. Smith (The Vampire Diaries and The Dark Visions trilogy to name a few of my favorites) pointed me toward YA. From there I read everything I could get my hands on, learning from each book and author individually.
5. Can you share what your own publication process was like?
- I shopped A SHIMMER OF ANGELS around to agents for more than a year before Month9Books contacted for the partial. I sent it and in a few days, I had a request for the full. Less than two weeks after that I discovered an offer for a three-book deal in my inbox! I cried and celebrated. Then the real hard work began. Rewrites. Several rounds of them. I haven't used my brain so much in my life--at least that's what it felt like. I got to work with some fantastic editors who helped push the book further than I could have taken it by myself. Currently, I'm getting ready to go through that process again, and handing in book two, A SLITHER OF HOPE, any day now.
6. Are you a plotter or a seat of the pants type of gal.
- I am what I like to call a reformed pantser. I used to hate even the idea of plotting. Writing the first draft, figuring out what was going to happen side-by-side with my characters, it felt so raw, so real, so thrilling. Then edit time came around. Each and every time I cursed myself for lacking that much-needed forethought that you get from pre-plotting a book.
A few years ago, I tried my hand at plotting. It wasn't easy by any stretch of the word, but after a few more plotted books, I learned what methods worked and which tricks helped me put my characters in the best and worst situations for their personalities. So I guess you can say I'm a plotter...now. :)
7. What kinds of books do you love to read in your spare time?
- YA and adult: sci-fi, fantasy, contemporary, paranormal, urban fantasy, steampunk, and dystopian. I love to mix it up, though in the last two years I've read way more YA than adult. I'm even getting into New Adult, now that the market for it is really taking off. There are so many great books (of all genres) out now and coming out this year I'm beyond excited about.
8. Do you have a writing ritual?
- I wake up early in the mornings, make a cup of tea (preferably chai), sit in my favorite chair, open Spartacus (my lovely and oh-so-reliable laptop) and start typing. If I end up with Kitty B (one of my two cats) in my lap, then I know I'm doing something right.
9. What kind of advice would you give to teens who want to be writers?
- Chase your dreams. Have fun with it. Write what you would want to read, not what you think other people would like or expect of you. If you're excited about the plot and characters while you're writing it, your enthusiasm will jump off the page and infect someone else. It's not all fun and games, but the hard work is so worth it. If you're on the fence, give it a try. See what you think. Oh, and read. A lot. Inside your genre, outside your genre, things you might not normally ever pick up. Every book has something to teach.
10. Do you have a playlist for A SHIMMER OF ANGELS? If not, what songs would be on it?
- I don't have an official playlist, but I'm working on one. Since I listen to music a lot while writing and editing to help me maintain the feel of the scene I was shooting for when writing or imagining it.
- Lights by Ellie Goulding. I can't tell you how many times I listened to this song on deathloop while working on the first half of the book. It really personifies Ray and the angels.
- We Are Broken by Paramore. When I did my first character interview, Ray told me Paramore was one of her favorite bands. I listened to a lot of Paramore when I was digging deeper into Ray's personality. This song stood out the most to me.
- Downfall by Trust Company. Each time Ray sees a set of wings and starts to lose it, I played this song to help me understand what she might have been feeling inside her head.
- This Year's Love by David Gray. Any scene with Ray and Cam. This song so embodies him.
- Eyes on Fire by Blue Foundation. This song belongs to Kade and Rayna. Every scene they have together.
- Cracks (Flux Pavilion Remix) by Freestylers. Anytime Ray was under the gun to cover up her thoughts or actions, this was my go-to song. It reminded me the consequences that were hanging right over her head.
- Brick by Boring Brick by Paramore. When Ray starts to come into her own a little more. She gets braver and bolder.
- How to be Eaten by a Woman by The Glitch Mob. To me, this song really solidifies Ray's slip back into madness.
- Cassie by Flyleaf. When you read the book, you'll know why.
- Falling Inside The Black by Skillet. The climax.
- I Had A Dream by Priscilla Ahn. The conclusion. I love the way this song wraps up the entire book and Rayna's journey.
Lisa Basso's website where you can find out more about her books/blog tour:
A Shimmer of Angels is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble