Very Inspiring Blogger Award

I’ve been nominated to do a Very Inspiring Blogger Award post by the awesome Emily Skrutskie, former literary team member and the Captain America to my Iron Man, whose debut novel THE ABYSS SURROUNDS US will be out in 2016! For the post, I’m supposed to list seven things about myself and then nominate others to take part. So let’s go!

1. I’m mixed-race, but don’t look it. My mother is Indian and immigrated to America when she was young, and met my American father in San Francisco. I’m the confusing result. TA-DA.

2. Actually, related to #1, I don’t look like either of my parents–I look the most like my late aunt on my father’s side. At a family reunion a few years ago, everyone told me how much I look exactly like her. Which is awesome, because I bonded with her a lot when I was little.

3. Before writing, singing was my first love. I dreamed of being a professional singer or going on Broadway all the time, but I am very bad at auditioning due to stage fright, which meant I never got good roles in high school. Strangely, I never got stage fright when I was actually performing. Just during auditions. But in college I had a lot of solos, got a scholarship for being accepted into a special choir, and even sang opera.

4. Between 2012 and 2013, I wrote 1,000,000 words. I’m not sure how that happened.

5. I got a tattoo on my back senior year of college with my writing symbol. It was the same day the seniors were going to the movies. I sat through Jane Eyre perched on the edge of my seat so that I didn’t disturb the new tattoo. Very uncomfortable. I also plan to get more tattoos of different book projects if I get them published (and not before going to the movies).

6. I have a sweet tooth with cravings that border on worrisome. Seriously, all I want right now is a big chocolate cake.

7. I always loved fantasy growing up, but it was reading The Lord of the Rings when I was twelve that changed my life forever. The books moved me in a way that was scary and euphoric and sad all at once. After I finished the trilogy I was in a depressed funk for about a month afterwards, and I refused to read anything for a long time. But then I started writing more. And more. And more. (See #4)

Now to nominate some awesome people! And they are:

Olivia Berrier – Bestie, critique partner, Hollins alum.

K Kazul Wolf – Online pal, fantasy writer, Pitch Wars alum.

Tabitha Martin – Twitter friend, Sims aficionado, literary agency alum.

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Pitch Wars: Why I Wrote My Book

As part of a fun Pitch Wars 2014 blog hop, a question was asked of all the mentors’ picks: Why did you write this book?

In the spring of 2010 I did something I thought I would be too terrified to do: I studied abroad for four months in London. And it was terrifying. It was one of the most memorable periods of my life peppered with great memories, but the chaos of public transport and the panic-inducing necessity of interacting with strangers ALL THE TIME took its toll.

But there are these little moments I have, snapshots in my memory, that transcend all the anxiety and confusion I felt. One of those moments is seeing Big Ben for the first time, and the handful of times I managed to see it after.

It is absolutely beautiful. Not quite as big as I thought it would be, but still pretty big, and the details in the tower are insane. I don’t know why, but whenever I spotted it in the distance, or stared at it across the Thames when I went to the Embankment, I felt calm. That clock tower centered me. It fascinated the hell out of me.

A few years later, jump to 2013. There was a contest going on at that time for unconventional love stories. So I thought, well, why not? As I was driving to work, I thought about the little golden keychain I have of Big Ben, which I bought when I was in London. And then I got the idea for a book.

What if the world relied on clock towers like Big Ben to run time? What if there are mechanics who have to maintain these towers? And what if one of these mechanics meets the physical embodiment of a clock tower? And–here it is–they fall in love?

Oh yeah, and they’re both boys. In Victorian England.

I couldn’t concentrate on work the entire day. I ran back home and started writing the first scene immediately. It’s a story that was bizarre to me, a category and genre I’ve never written before. But I really, really liked it. And then I loved it.

After some big revisions, I entered TIMEKEEPER into Pitch Wars without much hope. It’s a weird story, and maybe I’m so used to writing adult novels that my YA voice sucks. Then my mentor, Elizabeth Briggs, wrote me and said she loved it. I ended up becoming her alternate, but due to some good news received by her first mentee, I graduated to her mentee instead. Thanks to her, I’ve made some awesome revisions to the book that help make it more well-rounded and complete.

I’m ridiculously excited about this trilogy. My characters get to explore not only the well-trod yet always fascinating Victorian London, but also India during the rule of the British Raj. It’s a diverse YA book with a gay main character, but focusing more on his adventures rather than the fact that he’s gay. Book Three is (slowly) coming along, so while I continuously work on Book One, I’m still chipping out the sculpture of this story. Pitch Wars has been so helpful in that regard, and I’m really proud to be a part of it!

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