Author Of The Week: Chat with Melissa Craven (Emerge: The Awakening), Plus Giveaway!!
Welcome to our weekly special feature post, Author Of The Week!!
Each week we will be interviewing a different YA author and highlighting their upcoming release!
We will also be hosting a giveaway of the book we are highlighting!!
Introducing Melissa Craven, YABC's Author of the Week!!
Melissa A. Craven (the "A" stands for Ann—in case you were wondering) was born near Atlanta, Georgia, but moved to Cleveland, Ohio at the age of seventeen. She still thinks of Cleveland as home, so it was only natural for Emerge to take place there.
Today, she is back in Atlanta—for some reason she can't seem to stay away from the ungodly heat that makes her long for things like "lake effect snow" and wind that will knock you flat.
Melissa decided a long time ago that the “life checklist” everyone else was clutching so tightly in their fists, just wasn’t for her. She does everything backwards because she is weird like that, but then, she is an artist and artists are notoriously "unique" and "quirky."
She is an avid student of art and design, and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of West Georgia in 2009. She worked as an interior designer for several years, but she's always thought she might like to be a writer when she grows up.
In her spare time, if she has any, she enjoys shopping for derelict furniture she refinishes to exercise the interior design part of her brain.
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write Emerge: The Awakening?
I started writing at a time when heroines in YA were just not measuring up. Every time I picked up a book, I was disappointed with the way young women were represented. There was no balance. Girls were either whiny and weak without their male counterparts to hold them up, or they were hard and jaded, leaving their love interests to trail along behind them as a liability. There was zero equality, and that's a subject I am passionate about. I was inspired to write a story that could fill that gap, something that could show young readers that it doesn't have to be one way or the other—that men and women can be equally strong together (and have their moments of weakness as well, because no one is strong 100% of the time). During the writing process, Emerge has gone through many different phases and it's light years away from my original draft, but those core elements that inspired me from the beginning have always remained the same.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of Emerge?
The vivid color. I knew I wanted the cover to be striking and eye catching. And I also knew I didn't want it to be the typical YA cover. I’m just thrilled with the way my designer always seems to capture exactly what I want.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
I feel like a book really happens during the revising and redrafting phase. The initial draft is like the lump of clay the sculptor begins with. It’s all there, but it hasn’t evolved into something amazing yet. It’s still just a blob. Once I have a draft to work with, that’s when the work truly begins for me. Combing through the pages, adding details, reorganizing chapters and honing characters and dialogue—that’s where it really happens. That’s when it becomes something special.
YABC: When you sit down to write a story, do you already have the end in mind? Or do you discover the plot as you work?
I always seem to have clear idea of the ending of my books before anything else. I do some general plotting and planning with outlines and notes (and voice memos of me talking to myself while I’m driving). I usually have a solid idea for all the highpoints of the book. But no matter how much planning I do, once I’m in the zone, the plan goes out the window. Every time. I don't like to commit to anything significant until I really get in there and see how it goes. My characters have a tendency to disagree with the plan so I have to be willing to deviate.
YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
In my current work in progress, it’s Darius. It’s always Darius. He was never supposed to be anything more than one of Aidan’s many older brothers, but no one ever told him that. He wants to be a star, so he has a way of nosing his way into the thick of things. Since he won’t behave himself, I’ve been working on a way to really bring him into the story more. (And I promise it will NOT be a love triangle.)
YABC: Tell us something quirky about the characters of Emerge that the reader might not grasp.
I have a ridiculously complicated method for giving supernatural gifts to my Immortal characters. I do not just hand them a supernatural ability to suit the situation. So much effort and research goes into deciding which gifts each character will possess. Aidan and his sister, Sasha are a great example of my process. Most of my characters are loosely based on historical figures and mythological characters. Aidan and Sasha are a reflection of the Greek twin gods, Apollo and Artemis.
Artemis was slightly older than Apollo (by a few hours). Sasha is about two weeks older than Aidan (both are adopted). Artemis was goddess of the hunt, protector of animals. Sasha has an affinity with nature and can talk to and heal animals. Artemis was armed with a bow and arrow and was known to never miss her target. She was also fast on her feet. Sasha never misses her target and is the fastest of all the Immortals on Kelleys Island.
Apollo was known as the sun god and the god of music. Aidan's "sun" gift eventually manifested as a gift with fire and heat. Aidan plays the violin and has a deep love for music. Apollo could heal injured mortals. Aidan is a healer of mortals. All the details are endless, so I could talk about this all day!
YABC: What’s on your desk right now?
(Snacks were involved in taking this photo)
Really, this is immaculate for me. On a normal day my desk manufactures junk. I clean it up and it reappears! There will always be an iced coffee sitting on my coaster and there are to-do lists everywhere—and there is usually a furry creature snoring under my desk (or sitting on it.)
Oh, and that’s the current Emerge book on the screen.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
I am currently working on the next full book in the Emerge series. In just a few short weeks I’ll be announcing the title and doing a cover reveal. The release date will be announced soon after. It’s been a while since I released a new Emerge book so I’m very excited to get rolling with this one.
Meet, Emerge: The Awakening!
Allie Carmichael has always believed life is simple.
You're born. You live. You die.
She has no cause to believe those rules don't apply to her.
All her life, Allie has suffered in silence as those around her shrink from her touch, too intimidated to take the time to get to know her. It's left her feeling like a pariah for fifteen years.
When an unexpected move to Kelleys Island brings Aidan McBrien crashing into her life, Allie is thrown by his reaction. He isn't affected by her touch. He doesn't stutter or make a quick exit. He smiles and welcomes her into his circle of friends.
For the first time ever, Allie knows what true friendship means. Finally, she has a real shot at normal--until "normal" crashes and burns when she wakes in agony on her sixteenth birthday. Aidan calls it her Awakening, a rite of passage he and their friends have all faced. Allie struggles in ignorance through the experience, uncertain of what is real and what isn't. When she emerges, she is different. She has always been different, but even among her extraordinary friends, she and Aidan are special.
As Allie struggles to maintain her tenuous grasp on the power that threatens to overwhelm her, she worries she will lose herself in this strange new world of ancient Immortal beings.
A dangerous world where she will have to fight tooth and nail to defend the power and freedom that is her birthright.
As Kol gets to know Lo, tensions between Mya and Lo escalate until violence erupts. Faced with shattering losses, Kol is forced to question every person he’s trusted. One thing is for sure: this was a war that Mya or Lo—Kol doesn’t know which—had been planning all along.
1 winner who will receive a copy of Emerge: The Awakening
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*
oh wow! the beginning of the book description is something that feels like what happened to me before! i totally love it!
I love how she is greeted normally and treated as an equal but everything falls apart. I hope that everything becomes better! The cover is beautiful.
I absolutely cannot wait to read this book. It's sounds so unique and nothing like I've ever read before. Looking forward to it!