Books Etc. - There's a significant plot twist about halfway through Here. How did you keep from revealing too much of the plot?
Denise Grover Swank - Lots of playing around with the plot. I found at first that I didn't reveal enough. There weren't enough clues so I kept going back and layering more and more until I thought that there were enough to pique the reader’s attention and not have the reader taken completely by surprise when the twist came, yet not give it away either. It’s a delicate balance sometimes and even though all of my books have a mystery/mysterious element, I found Here the most difficult to get just right.
BE - How did you come up with the idea for Here?
DGS - I wrote Here because I had written several adult novels and my then thirteen-year-old daughter wanted me to write something she and her friends could read. (She actually read all of Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes with the exception of one chapter.) But I wasn't really sure what to write. Paranormal was out for me. I love it but the market is saturated with it. I could have gone lite paranormal like I did with Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes but decided I wanted to try something different. So there I was, back as square one. What was I going to write?
I started thinking about what *I* love to read, television shows I love to watch, movies that make me excited and I narrowed it down to the TV show that has made the biggest impact on my writing: LOST. I thought about what I loved about LOST and then started spinning tangents off from there. And of course, since I wrote it for my daughter, there was a romance involved. 3. Did you always plan on making it part of a series or did you decide partway through writing the novel that you wanted to spend more time with this story?I planned a series from the beginning. Most YAs sell as a series so I kept that in mind as I wrote the story.
BE - You've written other types of novels before. Why did you decide to try your hand at Young Adult?
DGS - As I mentioned above, I wrote it for my daughter. That being said, the market had really swung toward the young adult market. It seemed like a good time to try it.
BE - In your research of other YA novels, were there any books or authors that influenced you?
DGS - I read a slew of YA before I started. My critique partner Trisha Leigh writes YA and stuffed book after book in my hand. I’m not sure any influenced me but I really loved The Hunger Game series and the Hex Hall series. (The two couldn’t be more opposite. LOL)
BE - What is your least favourite thing about being an author?
DGS - My least favorite part of being an author so far is the amount of time I spend on business. I heard that it was time consuming and I thought I was prepared but it sucks much more time than I anticipated. Of course, I released four books very close together which was took a ton of time, but I’ve struggled to find a balance between the business aspect and making sure I’m still writing. I think, perhaps, I’ve found it now.
BE - Favourite thing?
DGS - My favorite thing about being an author is that I daydream - and get paid for it. I tell my kids that when I was little, I was a huge daydreamer creating elaborate stories in my head. That's exactly what books are: giant daydreams authors create and put down in words. I've got the coolest job in the world.
BE - Do you find yourself giving your characters qualities that you or people who are close to you have?
DGS - LOL No. If anything, I find myself making sure that my characters don’t resemble people close to me. Still, most of the time, I don’t think about it at all. The characters come to life in my head and become their own people. I rarely find myself attributing characteristics to them.
I do give my characters names of people around me, but I purposely know from the start that they are unlike the real person. For example, in The Chosen series, there’s a character whose sense of ethics and right vs wrong is questionable. I named the character Scott Kramer, after my friend Scot Kraemer who is a youth pastor. (Scot was a tremendous resource when I wrote Chosen and I jokingly offered to name a character after him. And then I did.)
BE - Are there any places where you find you get your best ideas or writing done?
DGS - There are two places I tend to have time to brainstorm and work through plot details: driving and in the shower. Could I be anymore clichéd? Yet it’s true. I’m performing a mindless task (although I’m not too mindless when I drive LOL) with nothing for my brain to do but sort through the mess I’m dealing with.
As for writing, I’m either at my desk (which honestly surprises me) or lately, in an overstuffed chair in my bedroom with my new laptop Scarlett. And of course, with headphones and iTunes.
BE - Now to end with something fun - where would you like to go on your dream vacation?
DGS - Wow, this is surprisingly hard. I love to travel and have a lengthy list of places I’d like to travel. Still, I really want to go to Italy. There’s so much history and it’s a beautiful.