AUTHOR: Tess Grant
BOOK TITLE: Trajectories, Book One of the Kitty Irish Trilogy
PUBLISHER: Turquoise Morning Press
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/trajectories-tess-grant/1109692472
Turquoise Morning Press: http://www.turquoisemorningpressbookstore.com/products/trajectories
GIVEAWAY?: One E-copy of Trajectories (winner can choose PDF, MOBI, or EPUB)
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Tell me a little about your book.
Kitty Irish has a rough summer ahead of her. Her father just deployed to Iraq, her mother is back at work full-time, and Kitty is stuck picking up the slack at home with her little brother. Throw an octogenarian werewolf hunter/WWII veteran into the mix and Kitty’s life is about to start a new trajectory.
What gave you the idea for this particular story?
I have always had a soft spot for veterans—WWII veterans in particular—and I love YA. I wanted to explore what happens when the can-do attitude of the WWII generation meets that post-9/11 teenage feeling of “how can I make a difference?” I had been mulling over ideas for a while but nothing coalesced. My family was road tripping from Maine (my hubby’s home state) back to Michigan via Cape Cod. On the way to the Cape, we were listening to one of C.S. Lewis’ Narnia books on tape—the Prince Caspian one—when we hit the scene with the werewolf and the hag. Boom! A story idea was born. I also had the good luck that one of the streets along the way happened to be called Phinney's Lane, and I had a name along with my idea.
Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
I am a part-time writer with a part-time night job, and I struggle to be a full-time mom. The balance between the three has been hard to find. At my best, I try to write 1000 words/day, but this doesn’t happen as often as I would like it to. A week or more can go by without me writing a word. Some days the best I can manage is 100 words here and 100 words there, and I always count myself lucky at the end of the day to have more than I started out with.
When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I dabbled briefly with writing back in middle school and was absolutely horrible at it. I kid you not, my first attempt included a raisin-eating whale, a marine biologist, and her businessman boyfriend who (go figure!) also happened to be a whaler on the side. Based on this, I wisely decided to put writing aside for a time and concentrate on other things. After my first daughter was born and I was home with her, I decided to give writing another try. That was nearly fourteen years ago. At that point, I took coursework in writing for children and tried to crack the magazine market with short stories. Six years ago, I came to the realization short stories weren’t my forte and buckled down for a serious attempt at a novel.
What do you hope readers will take from your writing?
Teens sometimes feel powerless and I wanted to show that they have contributions to make. Sometimes, just stepping up to the plate can be the most daunting part of the task though. I also wanted readers to take away the thought that important life lessons can come from unexpected sources—in Kitty’s case, from the elderly.
Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?
I write YA suspense and adult mystery. It’s hard to say which I prefer. I feel less constrained by reality when I write YA (think teenager here!). However, there are some things that don’t belong in YA books, so writing for an adult audience frees up a wider range of emotions and possibilities. I think my favorite genre is whatever I’m working on at the moment, because I sink so deeply into it, it consumes me for that period of creation.
What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?
Making time to write is the hardest thing for me. When I do make time to write, other things get left undone—like laundry and dishes, which thankfully my long-suffering husband picks up. I’ve not found that balance yet, although I hope to do better in the New Year. If anyone has any suggestions, I want to hear them!
How much is your protagonist like you? How different?
Kitty and I are only alike in that we both can be smartasses. She is far stronger and confident than I am. In fact, after a particularly rough patch last winter, a friend of mine told me to “be Kitty.” It really was great advice, because the girl gets things done.
What kind of research did you do for this type of story?
Research for Trajectories varied. I spoke to an artist about how to melt silver down to make silver bullets. I researched which Army units were where during WWII. I did hands-on work with WWII-era Army weaponry to get the feel of it. Most of my Army knowledge came from my husband, who along with being a veteran himself is also a fount of trivia. Interestingly, most of this research boils down to no more than a sentence or a few words in the book—enough to give it authenticity without bogging it down.
Do writing violent scenes bother you? Why or why not?
I feel there is enough violence in the world without adding to it. However, based on my subject matter, some violence is required. I try to give the necessary violent scenes enough description to make them realistic without being too graphic. I try never to write violence that is senseless.
What about your book makes it special?
The relationship between Phinney, the WWII veteran, and Kitty, the 17-year-old heroine, makes Trajectories what it is. Sure, it’s a werewolf book but that’s just the underpinning. What makes this book work is the interplay between two very different—and yet alike—characters.
What is your marketing plan?
I find marketing to be the most difficult job of all. If only we could write and let the rest take care of itself. I think of it as a process. I blog (hopefully once a week). I twitter, but not usually about the book (I find myself “unfollowing” people who only tweet as a sales attempt). I make public appearances (libraries, craft shows, writing conferences). Very slowly, my twitter followers are increasing, my blog gets more hits, and I see sales. Jessica Faust of Bookends Literary Agency once said a writer shouldn’t try to measure the success of her career until a full five years out from the publication date of her first book, and I think that’s wise advice. Marketing takes time. I like to think of it as building an audience, rather than finding one ready-made.
Where can people learn more about you and your work?
I blog at tessgrant.wordpress.com and my twitter handle is @tessgrantwrites. If anyone is in Michigan, check the appearances page on my blog for local appearances. I would love to hear from you!
Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book?
Write and read! The more you write, the better you get. The more you read, the better you understand the market. By studying the market, I don’t mean try to imitate someone else either. There are a lot of writers out there, and competition is fierce. There are going to be days when it feels like this is a no-win situation unless you can write the next Twilight or Hunger Games. Just remember that the vision you have is yours and no one can pull it off quite like you. Believe in your vision.
What’s in the future for you?
I’m currently marketing the second in the Kitty Irish Trilogy, Gathering Speed, while the third and last volume, Flying in the Dark, will be releasing in e-book in March 2013 with paperback shortly after. In the meantime, I am working on finding my adult mystery, Second Chances, a publishing home as well as plotting another suspense/dystopian YA. I also plan on spending plenty of time with my two sweet children and fabulous hubby!
Book blurb: Kitty Irish has heard all the rumors swirling around Daniel Phinney. Most of them involve a gun, a flask, and a temper. One chance encounter with the WWII veteran over a grisly find in the woods pulls the cover off the dark secrets of their small town, and Kitty is drawn into an unlikely partnership. Armed with an antique rifle and a handful of homemade silver bullets, the two form an efficient team. Unfortunately, their game is werewolf hunting, and disaster is only a bite away.