This interview was originally posted at Books for Company as part of the 2012 Stitch Blog Tour.
Please describe Stitch in three words?
Oooh, this is hard! If there’s one thing I’m NOT, it’s succinct, haha. Okay, here goes: Surprising. Twisty. Different.
When did the idea for Stitch first arise and how long from having the idea till you finished the book?
I got the idea just a few weeks before I started writing it, and I was so excited about it that I started planning the book and writing it pretty much immediately. I finished the first draft about four and a half months after first thinking of the idea.
Who designed the cover for Stitch? (I love it btw!)
Thank you! All the credit goes to Damon at Damonza.com. I had some ideas about the general look and feel and some elements I wanted to incorporate, but he really brought everything to life. I’ve been getting SO many compliments about the cover, I can’t even tell you – Damon, you are amazing. (Read more about the cover design process in my September 3rd guest post at On Emily’s Bookshelf).
How did you choose the names for your main characters?
They honestly just came to me – I don’t know how else to describe it. I tried to think of names that were a little less common, but still familiar, and that just sounded right for the character I was picturing in my head, and these are the ones that popped into my head. Alessa, Isaac, Janie, and Joe were just how I thought of these people. I struggled with Joe a bit since I think that name is a little more boring compared to the others – I think we all know about a million Joes – but when I tried to call him something else, it just didn’t feel right, so I stuck with it.
Once I thought of those names, I did the online baby book thing to look up the names and see if the meanings had anything to do with the characters I was envisioning. Alessa turned out to mean “defender” which is perfect for her and really solidified that I’d picked the right one for my main character. Her last name, Khole, means “victory of the people” which is also awesome for a heroine, don’t you think?
The meanings associated with Isaac Mason were less spot-on. Isaac means “he who laughs” which is appropriate since he’s a bit of a jokester, but that’s not something I would say is a huge part of his personality or his defining trait in any way. And his last name, Mason, just means bricklayer, or more broadly “one who makes” which I guess is somewhat relevant but again not really so perfect (like it happened to be in Alessa’s case). So really I just picked Isaac’s name because I liked it. And that was how it went with most of the others in general!
Did you have the whole series planned out before starting the books or did you go along with the characters?
Planned, totally. I figured out the whole backstory, the timeline, the major plot points in each chapter – all before I wrote a word. I’m pretty much a compulsive planner when it comes to any area of my life, and my writing is no exception. If I made any mistake with Stitch, it was not planning enough! There were a couple areas of the book where I wasn’t sure what to do at first, so I thought I would try out the going-with-the-characters thing, and those ended up being the most boring spots or needing the most rewriting. From now on, I will plan every detail of every scene and make sure it’s awesome before I write it.
What's the main three things you need when you are writing?
1. To be in the right mood. If I’m distracted or just can’t lose myself in the story for whatever reason, it’s hard for me. I find it’s better to just put it aside and come back at another time when I’m feeling it. Usually, if I opt not to write one evening I’ll wake up the next morning raring to go, so that works pretty well for me.
2. Quiet, or at least no songs/TV with words. I’m most productive in silence, with no TV or music on, and my cat napping next to (or on) me, so that’s how I prefer to work. I’m pretty flexible, though, since I’m also pretty good at tuning things out. So if my fiancé is home and watching sports or something, I can generally still get a lot done. But if he starts playing music I know the words to or TV shows where people are talking to each other, it’s over. Which is why I usually write in the mornings when he’s still asleep! It’s hard to get any peace and quiet in a 600 square foot apartment (thank you, Manhattan)... I’m REALLY looking forward to having a dedicated office in the house we’re buying!
3. My laptop. I’m useless without this thing. I could never write so much by hand, and even on other people’s computers, I just can’t type quickly enough to keep up with words flowing out of my brain.
What is the main feeling you want readers to come away with after reading your book?
I want them excited for the next book! There’s nothing I love more than finishing a great book and knowing there’s more yet to come. As frustrating as it is to wait for the next installment, that’s my favorite way to end a book – just craving the next in the series. I also hope that readers come away from Stitch feeling like they’ve read something a little a different and feeling curious about the details of the world that Alessa lives in and her background and that of the other characters. There’s still so much more to reveal, so many different facets of these characters to explore – I just hope readers are as excited for the next one as I am. :-)
Huge thank you for hosting, Jodie!!
Tomorrow we’re going to Letters Inside Out for a review and 3 e-book giveaway!