I'd like to welcome Leah Petersen today to the blog. I'm happy to have her here. She's talking about her book, Fighting Gravity and the questions I came up with. Be sure to comment on the blog to get entered into the giveaway. What's up for grabs? The author will be giving away a prize pack containing these items hand knit by the author: a hat, a replica of the symbol of an important institution referenced in Fighting Gravity to TWO randomly drawn commenters during the tour. Here's the link to keep following the tour!
What was your favorite scene to write in Fighting Gravity?
Well I can't tell you too many details about it because it's part of the climax of the story. But without spilling too much, it's a confrontation scene, heavy on both the emotion and the testosterone. It's fueled by heartbreak, feelings of betrayal, love, loss, longing, and good old fashioned pride. I loved it so much that I wrote four different versions of it in the first draft.
What was the inspiration behind Fighting Gravity?
The idea came out of a dream I had of a boy being taken from his home by a totalitarian government who had identified his genius for physics and wanted to use him for their own ends. Everything developed from that point, following this boy who had been taken completely out of his element and away from everyone and everything he knew.
What is the most interesting thing you've done in the name of research?
Read m/m erotica? Maybe that's not the most original, but certainly the most fun.
What do you consider as the most frustrating side of becoming a published author and what has been the most rewarding?
Frustrating has been all the other stuff besides writing. I'm not big on organization or lists of things to do. So learning about the industry, staying informed, making connections, doing industry research, sending in submissions, querying agents and publishers, and then all the marketing that comes into play once you've finally got a deal was pretty overwhelming to me. Still is, actually.
The most rewarding is when someone tells me they loved my book. Not because it's mine, but because when I finish a great book I just want to tell everyone about it, to talk and talk and talk about it. I couldn't do that when I finished Fighting Gravity because no one else had read it and unless I was emailing out the Word doc, they couldn't. So now that it's out there, when I hear someone say “OMG, I loved it when Jake…” I just want to squeal and say “I know, right? I loved that too!”
What accent inspires you to do naughty things?
A good British accent gets to me. Boring, but true.
Name something readers would be surprised to learn about you?
In real life I'm had to distinguish from the next WASP with 2.5 kids and a mortgage.
If you could ask the readers one question what would it be?
Did it make you cry? That's the ultimate measure of writing success to me, and the part of any book I always want to talk about. The saddest or most wonderful scene that was so intense it moved you to tears.
What's your writing process like?
It involves a punching words into a laptop and beer. How much of the former depends on the later.
What can readers expect next from you?
Right now, the sequel to FIGHTING GRAVITY. After that, I have a sneaky feeling I'm going to write fantasy. But we'll see.
What is the best thing about being a writer? The worst?
Best: The finished product. Worst: The business side of it. It takes so much time away from actually writing, which was originally the whole point.
What is your method of breaking through writer's block?
I go for a drive. A long, boring road will fix most plot problems.
What fuels you as an author to continue to write?
Seeing how what I've written affects other people. There's no better drug than knowing you were able to give someone else the same sort of experience that other writers gave to you. Don't ever underestimate the power of telling an author you appreciated their book.
Can you tell us a bit about what book(s) you have coming out next and what you're working on now?
The next book's the sequel to FIGHTING GRAVITY, currently titled IMPACT VELOCITY. I can't really tell you what it's about without spoilers for the first book. I've got a good draft of it, though, and am now working on the third in the trilogy.
When you get a chance to read, what books do you love to read?
Fantasy is the first thing I go for, then sci-fi. I discovered erotic m/m romance when researching FIGHTING GRAVITY (that's my story and I'm sticking to it) and I'm likely to throw in one of those when I just want to read for the pure emotional jolt.
What bores you as a reader?
I can handle pretty much anything if the author has made me feel strongly enough about the character. Along the same lines, the most amazing prose or intricate plot or hot bodies will eventually lose me if I don't care enough about the character.
What is your favorite feature on a person?
Depends on the person. I like a nice butt, though. Probably because I don't have one.
What is your favorite time of day?
Evening. When the whole family's home, work's over, and it's socially acceptable to drink.
What music gets you dancing?
Dance music. ;) I don't know what the genre is but I always start dancing to the stuff they played in clubs when I was a teen (
Aliens have landed on the planet. What are the three things you would tell them that are great about this planet?
I'd tell them to stay away from the people. Find somewhere quiet, outdoors, in the woods or on the beach, in the spring, and listen to the sounds the world makes, the birds and the waves and the wind in the trees.
So that wasn't exactly three things, or even one for that matter. Huh. I guess I'm a bit anti-social.
You have been locked in a mall and told you can get anything you want and when they open in the morning you won't have to pay a single cent. What stores would you hit? Better question how would you haul away all your loot?
I'd probably take a whole lot of shoes and clothes, not because I like them, but because I hate shopping, so knowing I wouldn't be out the money for anything that didn't fit, I'd just grab everything I liked the look of and make off with it.
So long as we're fantasizing, I'd make my getaway on the back of a telepathic dragon.
If you could share one major writing tip, to help other writers in their quest for publication, what would it be?
SHOW! Anyone who's tried writing has heard “show don't tell” and honestly, everything goes back to that. Put me inside the experience with the character well enough and I'll believe anything you tell me and I'll care too much to walk away.
If you could write in any other genre what would it be, and why?
I'd love to be able to write the sort of prose that beautiful in and of itself. I write well enough to craft the story I want, but some people can produce prose that sounds like poetry. I'd like to be able to do that.
Here's the blurb for Fighting Gravity!
When Jacob Dawes is Selected for the Imperial Intellectual Complex as a child, he’s catapulted from the poverty-stricken slums of his birth into a world where his status as an unclass is something no one can forget, or forgive. His growing scientific renown draws the attention of the emperor, a young man Jacob’s own age, and they find themselves drawn to each other in an unlikely, and ill-advised relationship. Jacob may have won the emperor’s heart, but it’s no protection when he’s accused of treason. And fighting his own execution would mean betraying the man he loves.
Leah Petersen lives in North Carolina. She does the day-job, wife, and mother thing, much like everyone else. She prides herself on being able to hold a book with her feet so she can knit while reading. She’s still working on knitting while writing.
FIGHTING GRAVITY is her first novel.
Thanks for having me today, Wendi!
Thank you for hosting Leah today.
How sad to think of a young boy taken from his family. I hope it ends well. It has to.
You're welcome. Yesterday was a crazy day, so I didn't get a chance to come by and comment, but I am now. :-) Great interview.
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