Sunday, July 19, 2015

Interview with Erica Cameron (author of Deadly Sweet Lies) + Giveaway!

Today I'll be interviewing Erica Cameron! She's the author of Sing Sweet Nightingale as well as Deadly Sweet Lies, coming out this August! Look below for the interview and scroll down for the giveaway! But first, here's some info about the book:

Deadly Sweet Lies (The Dream War Saga, #2)
Nadette Lawson knows when you’re lying.
 Every night for the past two years, the Balasura have visited her dreams, enticing her to enter their world. And every night she’s seen through their lies. Now, they’re tired of playing in the shadows and they begin to stalk her in the waking world. It’s no longer just an invitation; if Nadette doesn’t join them, they’ll take her family. Forever. She needs help, and the haven she’s seeking may be just out of reach.
 Julian Teagan is a master of deception.
 To survive, he has to convince the world his mother isn’t useless, that everything’s fine, otherwise he’ll lose what little he has left in this life. He knows the lying won’t be enough to keep him and his mother in the shadows, but it’s all he knows. The only light of truth is Orane, a Balasura who sees past Julian’s facade and challenges him to face the darkness.
Then Orane is killed, and Julian learns his mentor was far from innocent. The Balasura have hunted children like him for centuries, and their next target, Nadette is his one chance at finally being a part of something real. If Julian can just convince her to trust him…

Describe your book 5 words.
Truth, secrets, fear, trust, and family.

I know you get this question a lot, but how were you inspired to write this series?
A few years ago my friend Lani Woodland called me to ask if I had a paranormal short story I wanted to submit to a young adult anthology. I didn’t because short isn’t my thing at all, but I promised her I’d think about it and see what I could come up with. I was working at Border’s at the time and one morning two songs played back to back while I was opening the store one morning. First it was “Mariella” by Kate Nash, a song that talks about a girl who has decided to stop speaking and was inordinately pleased with her own silence. I wrote myself a note--”Why would a girl be happy about not speaking?”--and then I moved on. At least until the next song: “Creation Lake” by Silversun Pickups. There’s a line in that song that says “There are 24 parts in a day that divide me from you.” The first questions my not-quite-awake brain comes up with is “Well, what about the twenty-fifth part of the day? What happens then?” Suddenly I had a character and a concept and the entire Dream War Saga universe built from those two starting points. Mariella was, obviously, named after the song that inspired her existence.

What was your favorite scene to write?
There’s a moment in the book where Julian has a personal epiphany about his asexuality and it thrilled me to be able to put that moment in the book. It’s especially important because it was literally the last major moment added to the book and because I was going through a similar epiphany while I was writing this. It took that long both to add it to Julian’s story and my own because I hadn’t ever heard of asexuality in the context of human orientations until last year. That scene and the discussion he has with one of the other characters is most definitely the moment in the book that I have the strongest tie to.

Do you have any odd writing habits?
Possibly my lack of actual “habits”? How, where, and when I write changes constantly depending on what else is going on in my life. As long as I manage to get something done in a day, I consider that day a success. The “how” isn’t that important.

What character(s) did you have the most fun writing about?
The cast list of my series expands exponentially in Deadly Sweet Lies and it was so much fun getting to play with the diverse set of people and personalities that now exist! In the group we meet through Nadette and Julian Lexi is sweet and fun, Kelsey is wise beyond her years, Clarke is an enforcer, Vasha is the technician, Anya is the artist, Tanner is the caretaker, Beth is the scholar, and Johanna is the leader. They all have their roles in the community they’ve built and the interactions of their personalities were amazingly fun to write!

Are are you are Plotter or Pantser?
Somewhere in between the two! Every book is a different process for me in terms of how I meet and develop the characters, how I figure out the plot, and how I actually write the book. However, what I have figured out is that detailed plotting is impossible for me to accomplish until I have written a fair amount (usually somewhere between ten to twenty thousand words) of a book. Until I get to know a character, there’s no way that I can predict how and why they’ll react in certain situations. Even after that, though, I still find outlining or summarizing difficult. I prefer editing!

What book(s) defined your childhood? Or got you into reading?
I do not remember a time when books weren’t a part of my life. My mom always read to me and my sisters and my dad read The Hobbit to us twice.Movies were big in my house too and my father is probably one of the reasons I am perfectly capable of rewatching with pleasure a movie I’ve already seen a hundred times. That being said, the first author I remember developing a particular passion for is Tamora Pierce and her Tortall books. To this day there’s nothing I don’t love about her books and her universes.

What was the strangest thing you had to research for this book?
I spent a lot of time looking up train schedules and train station layouts, stalking Google Images to find interior shots so I could describe the station. Also, bad neighborhoods in Vegas. I spent a fair amount of time looking for really seedy apartments near the touristy section of Las Vegas and, luckily, found exactly what I was looking for behind the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino.

What made you want to become an author?
I’ve always loved hearing/reading/watching stories, but it wasn’t until I discovered I wasn’t that bad at creating them myself that I began to see it as a viable career choice. Fanfiction taught me that I was indeed capable of stringing together enough sentences to form a book and my first finished attempt at a novel (an angel book called Fallen that will never see the light of day) showed me that all my years of reading hadn’t been wasted because I really did know things about plot and tension and characters. Honestly even with all the stressful bits of writing and the publishing industry, I can’t think of anything else I want to do.

Random Questions:
Cats or dogs?
Both! I am a bad pet owner (the dogs I’ve owned are always so poorly trained!), but I love playing with other people’s fur babies.

Unicorns or zombies?

Favorite color?
Blue. All of the blues!

Favorite movie/TV show?
So many. Love stories, disaster scenarios, action/adventure, sci-fi, fantasy, period pieces--I really just love stories. I’m a notoriously non-critical viewer. Just entertain me and I’m happy!

If you had one superpower, what would it be?

Almost all of the superpowers have pretty massive drawbacks, but I’ve always been fascinated by the ability to have complete control over your own body and brain--enhance your own senses, control your perception of time, permanently record or delete memories. It seems like it’d be the most useful power to have in day to day life.

Erica Cameron
After a lifelong obsession with books, Erica Cameron spent her college years getting credit for reading and learning how to make stories of her own. Erica graduated with a double major in psychology and creative writing from Florida State University and began pursuing a career as an author.
Erica is many things but most notably the following: writer, reader, editor, dance fan, choreographer, singer, lover of musical theater, movie obsessed, sucker for romance, ex-Florida resident, and quasi-recluse. She loves the beach but hates the heat, has equal passion for the art of Salvador Dali and Venetian Carnival masks, has a penchant for unique jewelry and sun/moon d├ęcor pieces, and a desire to travel the entire world on a cruise ship. Or a private yacht. You know, whatever works.
Her debut novel Sing Sweet Nightingale released March 4, 2014 from Spencer Hill Press. It is the first book in The Dream War Saga, a four-book young adult series.


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