Monday, October 28, 2013

Kaitlin Bevis, author of Persephone

Author Bio:
Kaitlin Bevis spent her childhood curled up with a book, and a pen. If the ending didn't agree with her, she rewrote it. She's always wanted to be a writer, and spent high school and college learning everything she could so that one day she could achieve that goal. She graduated college with my BFA in English with a concentration in Creative Writing, and is pursuing her masters at the University of Georgia.

Her young adult series "Daughters of Zeus" is available wherever ebooks are sold. She also writes for and Athens Parent Magazine.

Title: Persephone
Author: Kaitlin Bevis
ISBN: 978-1-61937-243-6
Page count: 203
Genre: Young adult Greek Mythology
Price: 4.99

Tell us about your book:         
It's a modern day retelling of the myth with a twist. Hades isn't the bad guy and the Underworld is an awesome place. It's a bit of a coming of age story with a dash of romance thrown in there. Ultimately it's about how sometimes things are completely different than how you'd expect them to be. And that's a good thing.

Here's the Blurb:
The "talk" was bad enough, but how many teens get told that they're a goddess? When her mom tells her, Persephone is sure her mother has lost her mind. It isn't until Boreas, the god of winter, tries to abduct her that she realizes her mother was telling the truth. Hades rescues her, and in order to safely bring Persephone to the Underworld he marks her as his bride. But Boreas will stop at nothing to get Persephone. Despite her growing feelings for Hades, Persephone wants to return to the living realm. Persephone must find a way to defeat Boreas and reclaim her life.

How long did it take to write the book?

I started writing Persephone summer of 2010, just about the time Clash of the Titans came out. That quote "damn the gods" just got in my head and wouldn't leave. Somehow I got to thinking about the Persephone myth, and how much more there may be to that story. I wrote an outline but wasn't able to devote much time to the story for another six months. In that six months I had a baby, graduated college, and moved to Athens where I joined a local writers group. With a lot of help from that group, I managed to write something worthy of publication in about a year.

What inspired you to write the book?

            I'm just very interested in where everything comes from. We tell the same stories over and over again. Persephone, phantom of the opera, beauty and the beast. There's something about the Greek myths, Persephone's in particular, that pull at us, inspire us to rewrite it. Maybe because it feels incomplete. Everyone wants to finish it. To put their own spin on it. I caught the bug and it still hasn't let go of me.
Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
The writing process for Persephone was complicated. I came up with the idea the summer Clash of the Titans came out, drafted the entire thing in my head during the movie (really, it was that bad), and went home and wrote a very rough first draft. 

I was six months pregnant at the time. Pregnancy affects everyone differently, but for me, at a certain point, it made me feel like an idiot. For the first time ever my college classes resembled the classes I'd seen on television, where the professor asked students and answers would fly out of their mouths over my head. My brain just couldn't keep up. Writing felt about the same way. I'd sit down to tinker with my rough draft and stare blankly at my computer screen before realizing all I really wanted to do was eat breadsticks from Olive Garden.

I was also finishing up my last semester of college, moving to Athens, and dealing with all the chaos that comes with pregnancy, graduation, and moving. So I shelved the idea for a few months, returning to it when my daughter was three months old. I fleshed out my rough draft, wrote a second draft from first person, and found a local writers group, and took the whole draft through writers group in five thousand word chunks every other week.

I can't even begin to explain how much of a difference a good writers group makes. My writers group, rocks. We have a content editor from a small publishing house, a copy editor from the same house, several published writers, lots of writers with academic credit, and an incredible amount of talent. There are two members of this group that could sit down, half asleep, and type out a book that could be published and hit bookshelves across the country tomorrow.

I'm not jealous or anything.

With their help, I whipped my book into shape. The pacing had to be improved, subplots had to be expanded on, character motivation had to be clearer. There were a few changes they suggested that I resisted, and kept the same.

And they were the first things my editor had me change, so lesson learned.

My next draft was practically unrecognizable from the first. I took it through again, then had several friends that hadn't spent the last year working on my story read through it. Finally it was ready for submission.

I sent my story to a few agents known to the group, and never heard back. I sent my book to TOR, and Belle Bridge. I never heard back from TOR but Belle Bridge rejected me because two popular young adult writers were apparently in the process of having books about Persephone published. Which is actually funny, because after I got my contract with Musa, I sent an arc to one of my favorite writers, and she said it was very similar to a book she and a group of well known young adult writers had worked on together, but ultimately decided not to publish.

My editor tells me that's very common. An idea gets in the air between writers that have never communicated, and suddenly everyone in the writing community is working on the same story.

Obviously my story was accepted by Musa publishing. It went through two rounds of content editing, and then a round of copy editing. Now it's out in the world and waiting for readers. 

It was a lot of time, and a lot of work, but I've enjoyed every step in the process. I hope you all enjoy reading my book as much as I enjoyed writing it.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

            I just hope that people enjoy reading Persephone because it's a fun twist on a well known myth. Plus, Persephone is dealing with all the big questions about life, death and the Gods, while trying to figure out who she is and what kind of person she's going to be. I think pretty much anyone can relate to that feeling of the world dropping away beneath you and everything changing at once. 

            I don't have an agenda and I'm not trying to pass on any pearls of wisdom, I just like good stories. i did a ton of research so if you're familiar with the myths, there's all kinds of fun references in there, but I'm not trying to teach anyone anything. I just want people to have fun reading my book.

Excerpt from book:

        The branch crashed in front of me, scraping my legs. I ran for the parking lot as fast as I could. The frost closed in, surrounding me. Id never been claustrophobic, but as the frost cut off my escape path with a solid white wall, I panicked.
          Fog rolled in, like cold death, cutting off my view of the park. It curled around me, brushing against my face, arms, and legs. I turned back to the tree and ran faster, my dress tangling between my legs as the fog and icy wind blew against my skin.
          The parking lot is the other way! my mind screamed. The other way was cut off by a mountain of ice. I felt as if I was being herded. By ice?
          I slipped on the icy ground, falling face first into the frost. Ice crept up my toes and along my legs. I thrashed and screamed. I felt the fog becoming a solid mass above me, pinning me to the ground. The ice piled around me. Am I going to be buried alive?
          I dug my nails into the frigid snow in front of me and tried to claw my way out of the frosted death trap. I was so panicked I didnt feel it when my nails broke against the impenetrable wall of ice, leaving red crescents of blood welling up on sensitive skin. An hysterical sob worked its way out of my throat as I gouged red lines into the ice. The ice was above my knees, snaking its way up my thighs. I shivered.
          Shiverings good, I reminded myself. It means your body hasnt given upyet. The cold was painful, like a thousand little knives pricking my skin. A violent tremor went up my spine, sending waves of pain through me.
          Help me! I screamed, knowing it was futile. I was going to die here.
          Except I couldnt die. Could I? Mom said I was immortal, but was that all-inclusive? Did I have a weakness? Was snow my Kryptonite? If I got hurt, would I heal or would I be trapped in an injured body in pain forever?
          I suddenly didnt know if immortality was a good thing or a bad thing. The cold hurt. I was kicking, screaming, and clawing my way out of the frost, but for every inch I gained a mountain piled around me. I thought I heard a mans laughter on the wind, the sound somehow colder than the ice freezing me into place.
          The ground before my outstretched hand trembled. The shaking increased. The earth lurched beneath me. The surface cracked and the sound was so loud that for a moment all I could hear was high-pitched ringing in my ears. The ground split into an impossibly deep crevice. My voice went hoarse from screaming as I peered into the endless abyss, trapped and unable to move away from the vertigo-inducing edge.

Where can we go to buy your book?

Any other links or info you'd like to share?

Goodreads Page:
Twitter: @kaitlinbevis
Romance Reviews:

Friday, October 25, 2013

Patti B. Jefferson, author of How Long Will You Love Me?

Author Bio: Patti Brassard Jefferson lives under a palm tree in sunny Florida with her husband Ken & her two rescued mutts, Mollie & Marley. She began writing stories and drawing pictures when she was a little girl and to this day she loves a sharp pencil & a new box of crayons. When she is not working on a book project, she can be found drawing on the sidewalk with chalk or breaking tiles for a mosaic. How Long Will you Love Me is the first children's book that Ms. Jefferson has written & illustrated.

Title: How Long Will You Love Me?
Author: Patti Brassard Jefferson
ISBN: 978-1-61244-165-8  
Page count: 28 
Genre: Children

Price: $16.95 hardcover. $12.95 paperback. $6.99 E-book.

Tell us about your book:
How Long Will You Love Me? is a book about all of the silly things you can think of to define the length of time that love will last. It's a question that children ask the adults in their lives all the time. Actually, its probably a question that we as adults ask each other more than we care to admit. This book answers the questions in funny improbabilities like " 'til baseballs grow on trees" or " 'til snakes wear boots". It's basically a reassuring look at endless love.

How long did it take to write the book?
Apparently 50 years! Seriously, I came up with the page about the freckles that play golf about 8 years ago as a Valentine's Day card and probably about a year later started creating a few of the others. I don't think I had totally committed to it becoming a book at all yet. In 2010, I got married and moved to Florida which is when I finally got serious about finishing the book. At that point, I added the final pages and it was finally a book! I think a lot of first time author fall into the same sort of long,drawn out time frame. The second book will be concept to completion in 6-7 months.

What inspired you to write the book?
I heard someone say "I promise I will love you until that freckle falls off" and I thought that was a sweet thought. I started thinking about other things that could never happen. Love is a fragile thing and everyone, especially kids, need some guarantees so I created each page in the book with the promise that love will last until something totally impossible happens.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
Since I write and illustrate my books, I have to work both sides of the process. My initial session with a new thought is to sit with a big drawing pad and as I write out the first draft of the text, I also scribble out what the page might look like. We are definitely talking stick figures at this point. I don't have a set schedule during the week that I write or illustrate but I do have deadlines that I impose on myself. I also leave everything ready to go on my drawing table so if I get an idea, the pencil is already sharpened and ready to go.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
I hope that this book makes the reader feel safe in the fact that love is everlasting. I'd also like for them to think "boy, that was a fun read". No one has read this book more often then I have and there are still parts that make me laugh. Bunnies wearing alligator shoes is still pretty funny!

Excerpt from book:

"I promise I will love you

'til the oceans turn to sand

and all the whales & dolphins

are laying out to tan."

Where can we go to buy your book?

The book is available in a variety of places on-line:

Any other links or info you'd like to share?