Tuesday, November 2, 2010

[Interview] Jessica Shirvington with new YA paranormal series, EMBRACE!


I slowly opened my eyes. The sun speared its first bright rays of golden orange into the sky and I leapt from the cliff, with the sorrowful knowledge that no matter what the outcome, at least part of me would die that day...

Violet Eden is dreading her seventeenth birthday dinner. After all, it’s hard to get too excited about the day that marks the anniversary of your mother’s death. The one bright spot is that Lincoln will be there. Sexy, mature and aloof, he is Violet’s idea of perfection. But why does he seem so reluctant to be anything more than a friend?

After he gives her the world’s most incredible kiss – and then abandons her on her front doorstep – Violet is determined to get some answers. But nothing could have prepared her for Lincoln’s explanation: he is Grigori – part angel and part human – and Violet is his eternal partner.

Without warning, Violet’s world is turned upside down. She never believed in God, let alone angels. But there’s no denying the strange changes in her body ... and her feelings for Lincoln. Suddenly, she can’t stand to be around him. Luckily, Phoenix, an exiled angel, has come into her life. He’s intense and enigmatic, but at least he never lied to her.

As Violet gets caught up in an ancient battle between dark and light, she must choose her path. The wrong choice could cost not only her life, but her eternity...


CC: Hi Jessica Shirvington; thanks for being here. In my review of Embrace, I used a plethora of adjectives in my attempt to express how deeply I enjoyed the book. If you could choose only three words to describe Embrace, what would they be?

JS: Trials, destiny & heartache.

CC: In Embrace, we are met with many attractive guys: Lincoln, the high school sweetie; Phoenix, the mysterious guy from the bar, and Griffin, who is something of a father figure for Violet, the main character. How did you come up with these unique names, and who was your favourite guy to write scenes for?
JS: The name Phoenix came from the mythological creature that most people first became aware of due to the Harry Potter books. The idea of a creature that could burst into flames and be reborn sounded so magical and so sad at the same time. A conundrum - which is what Phoenix is to me. Also, the name Phoenix is thought to be in some folklore the name for an angel so it worked perfectly.
Lincoln - well, I've always loved the name. It's regal and strong, like Lincoln in Embrace. It was an easy pick.
Griffin, again came from wanting a strong name with a long history. Mythology would have us believe that the Griffin is a type of guardian of the divine. I thought that was well suited to his character.

CC: How long did it take from writing the first draft, to publishing Embrace? As a new Aussie author, do you believe the "journey towards publication" differs a lot from other countries, from the stories you've heard or read about from international authors?
JS: From starting to write the book to publication date was just over a year. In terms of the 'journey', I think mine has been a little unique for any country. Most of the time the process will take a minimum of one year once you have signed with a publisher, sometimes more. It just so happened that the pairing with Hachette came at the right time. Although when I started writing Embrace there weren't really any other angel books in YA, as I'm sure you've noticed, it is quickly becoming popular. I was lucky enough to have a publisher that was keen to get it into the market place as soon as possible.

CC: One year is a pretty short amount of time! Congratulations on that achievement - there are amazing authors out there, who are now published, who were getting rejected for years before they got their first big break! Okay, what kind of writer are you: planner or pantser?
JS: Both. For Embrace I started writing with absolutely no plan, just the name Violet. But when I realised how many layers this story would have I started to map some of it out. I did a rough chapter breakdown. I think the first one was about 17 chapters. It took me about 2 hours to do it and from there I was a 'pantser'. I used the breakdown as a guide but clearly, I added. Embrace finished at 36 chapters!

CC: The cover is gorgeous, as I expressed, perhaps a little too thoroughly, in my review. Did you have any say on what the cover would look like?
JS: I am so glad you liked it! I wish I could take the credit but the cover really falls into the domain of the publishers so all kudos needs to go to them. But certainly my feedback was welcomed.

CC: Finally, what are your all-time favourite YA novels? What about classics?
JS: My favourite YA classic would have to be: Lord of the Flies
In terms of current favourites, it changes almost daily:
- The Study Collection by Maria V. Snyder was a great series.
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins has set a new bench mark.
- Whatever authors like Holly Black and Melissa Marr touch usually turn to gold.
I'm currently reading Delirium, like you. So far, I'm really enjoying it - Lauren Oliver writes beautifully. 

CC: Indeed, she does! I raced through the end, and now I'm sad that I'm back to waiting for more from Lauren. Anyway, thank you for taking the time out to answer my questions, and good luck with the rest of the Violet Chronicles! I can't wait to read more!!

JS: Thank you. I take it as a huge compliment that you enjoyed Embrace considering that you are not normally a lover of paranormal YA. Words On Paper is a great blog - keep it up.

Jessica Shirvington lives in Sydney with her husband of nine years, television presenter and former Olympic sprinter Matt Shirvington, and their two young daughters. She is currently a full-time mum and co-director for MPS investments Pty Ltd.

She previously founded and ran a coffee distribution company, Stella Imports, in London, and been involved in managing the restuarants Fuel Bistro, Tow Bar and MG Garage in Sydney. Embrace is her first book.

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