Welcome to Owl Read It's stop on the Survival Blog Tour!
Hosted by Ashley at What's Your Story
You can click on the banner to your right to check out the other stops and dates :).
Survival is book #1 in the Guardians of Vesturon Series. It is written by the very lovely A.M Hargrove, pictured below.
If this isn't your first time on our blog then you probably already know I have much much love for this series! It is one of my favorites! You can find my review for Survival: here. And my review for the second book in the series, Resurrection: here. I was so very lucky to be able to do an Interview with A.M for my part in the tour. You can find that just below. In case you want to learn even more about Hargrove and the wonderful series she has created, you can find her and her info in the following places:
A.M Hargrove's Website: www.amhargrove.com
Hargrove's Blog: www.amhargrove.com/wordpress/blog/
Survival on Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/book/show/13077293-survival
Now, before we jump to the interview, you should know that at the bottom will be a giveaway for an e-book copy of Resurrection, the second book of Guardian Series! This is an amazing book, you don't want to miss out! Also, Survival is free everywhere! So go get your hands on a copy of that right now!
Without further ado, here is my interview with A.M Hargrove:
1.We'd love to know some more about the lady behind the story, tell us about yourself and where the readers could go to learn even more about you.
Well I’m not sure where they could go to find out more but I can fill in some of the blanks.
Married, two kids and a dog that’s quite old but still loveable!
I worked as a District Sales Manager for a large pharmaceutical firm for years before launching this career. The humorous bio that’s on my website (www.amhargrove.com) and other places has a grain of truth to it, but the whole story is that the company I worked for was taken over by a larger one that basically chewed up my division and left most people without jobs. I was in a unique situation where I could take advantage of it and pursue my dream career, which is what I am now doing. And, by the way, I’m loving it! What could be more fun than creating new worlds with characters to inhabit it?
Meghan- I really don't think I could think of anything more fun to do for a living! :) You're living the dream, plus, you're really great at it! Cheers to you :).
2.I really loved both your books, Survival & Resurrection, although I liked Resurrection more because I felt we got so much more character depth, and the characters we had come to love grew so much in the second book. Do you prefer one over the other? Which one and why?
Aw…thanks for the great compliment on the books! I absolutely preferred one and it’s Resurrection! Survival was like the birth and Resurrection was like watching your child grow up. I love the characters, but in Resurrection I had the opportunity to really bring them to life. In Survival, I was setting up the worlds and there was so much “stuff” for lack of a better word. It was fun, but nothing compared to Resurrection. I think it shows in my writing too. When I wrote Survival, I wasn’t sure if I would even publish it. I am still so new to all of this and it’s an intense learning project. I was trained as a journalist in my writing style so I have been “un-learning” and “re-learning” the creative part. As a journalist, you are trained to be clear, concise—who, what, where, when, why, etc. Creative writing is the opposite end of the spectrum and I constantly have to focus on showing vs. telling. That evil demon always raises its head and tries to take over. It’s a battle sometimes J
3.I can't be alone in anxiously awaiting book #3 in the Guardians of Vesturon Series, when can we expect it?
I’m currently writing it (it is still untitled) and my hopes are to have it out by June. I’m also working on a prequel to Survival called Beginnings. It will be a novella that centers on Rowan and Annalise—Rayn’s parents--and the good news is it will be FREE! I want to have that out soon, but a lot of it hinges on the editing process and then formatting.
Meghan- I hope you will keep me in mind when #3 comes out! I will be anxiously waiting! Also, Beginnings is now out, I already have my copy downloaded, can't wait to read it!
4. Will #3 be the last? Or can be expect more installments in this great series?
My plans are to have one book per Yarrister. Maddie and Rayn’s story took two because of setting up the worlds, but I would like to have one book per sibling. If you’ve read Resurrection, you know that #3 is about Rykerian. #4 will be Xarrid’s story. The rest I am undecided at this time. I have said that if the series becomes tedious and overworked, I will end it. I am a huge fan of series, but I’ve read some that get to the point of being overkill. If I get to that point, I will end it because the pleasure of writing it would be gone.
Meghan- I definitely like the idea of a book per Yarrister, I don't think I could ever get enough of this series ;).
5. Are you, or do you plan to work on anything new that isn't the Guardian series?
YES! I already have a basic plot set up for another series that may not be in the YA genre. That is still up for debate. I know that my characters are a bit over the usual YA age, but the stories are pure in that they are safe for any age to read. I recommend age 15 and older but I have had teens and preteens read them that enjoyed them (and so did their moms!). I think the moms like the fact that my books are clean without many curse words and descriptive sex.
Meghan- Again, I hope I'm in your thoughts when you are ready for this book to be read ;).
6. Do you have a certain author who gave you the inspiration to write? Or just a favorite author?
When I was in grammar school I used to steal my mom’s books and sneak away and read. She was always reading books by Rosemary Rogers and Kathleen Woodiwiss. They were the reigning romance authors at the time, I believe. (And not very appropriate for 12 year olds, but YA Romance didn’t really exist then.) Anyway, I always thought then how cool it would be to write novels such as those. In college, I majored in Public Relations/Marketing and minored in journalism, but I followed a different path in my career. I always wanted to write a book though and talked about it to friends, but never did it until I wrote Survival. I love to read just about everything from suspense to YA romance. So I don’t really have one favorite author but many and they all in some way, have inspired me to write.
7. At what point in your life did you decide that writing was what you wanted to do?
As I said earlier, when I lost my job, I decided to act upon that and use it as an opportunity to do something completely different, but something I would love. And here I sit writing away most days, and I wouldn’t want to do anything different.
Meghan- It definitely seems losing your previous job worked out for the better!
8. Do you see yourself in any of the female roles in your story, such as Maddie or Sharra? Is there anyone in the story who is based off someone you know personally?
Haha (Really LOL)! No, but I would just love to have two friends like Maddie and Sharra. There would never be a dull moment!
But, yes to your second question. Maddie is based on lots of people. First, my mother, who passed away six years ago, was named Madeline. She lost both of her parents as a young woman. She was four when her father died and twenty when her mother died. If it hadn’t been for my father’s family taking her in (they were dating but not yet engaged), I’m not sure what would have happened to her. My daughter’s personality shines through Maddie. My daughter played soccer during elementary, junior high and high school and she is very athletic. She is NOT clumsy (LOL) but she has a comic side to her that comes out in Maddie. One of my daughter’s friends is also reflected in Maddie’s personality. As for Sharra, when I was establishing my characters I thought about communicating with aliens and how odd it would be if they didn’t “get” our lingo so that’s how Sharra’s communication mishaps came into play.
Meghan- I love how you pulled so many people together to make Maddie, traits taken from very special people to create a wonderful character. Maddie must hold a special place in your heart. I always enjoyed Sharra's hilarious fumbles with catch phrases, they made me laugh :).
9. Aside from writing wonderful stories, what other things do you like to do?
I love the outdoors particularly camping, hiking, backpacking, and trail running. I also LOVE to snow ski. But if there were something I would love to do, it would be to hike the entire Appalachian Trail (all 2100+ miles of it). All the trail descriptions in the books, especially Survival, came from my own experiences in the Smokys. I’ve backpacked all over the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and have done most of the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina (well it actually straddles the NC/TN state line) and it’s awesome.
Meghan- So I guess Maddie has a little bit of you in her as well, with her love of hiking and the Smokey Mountain Park! 3 Generations of women in one character, seems pretty special :).
10. I know that your books are fantastic, but for those who have yet to read them, why should they read your books? Why would you recommend them?
Again, thanks for the awesome compliment! I am thrilled that you love them J But I would recommend them because even though they’re YA, everyone can enjoy them. There are some great messages in each but they contain something for everyone—mystery, suspense, comedy, love, drama, elements of sci-fi blended with paranormal and fantasy, and of course romance.
11.What is it like reading a review on your books? How do you to react to good or even bad reviews?
When I wrote Survival, I never expected everyone to love it. Naturally, they would be crazy if they didn’t but… just kidding! Seriously, I never expected everyone to like it. My goodness, there are people out there that don’t like Harry Potter! So I know it isn’t for everyone. However, I look at negative reviews in 3 ways. First, if it was written in a professional manner with solid reasons why they didn’t enjoy it, I use it as a solid learning experience (and they can be most helpful). But if it was written in a nasty, demeaning way, I discard it. I’m way past dealing with nasty people in my life. I discredit everything they say so their reviews mean nothing to me. Lastly, if a negative review is written poorly, using horrible grammar and disjointed sentence structure, I also discredit it. I figure if they can’t even write a proper sentence (beyond the normal typos) I can’t be bothered the read a review by someone like that. That may sound a bit harsh, but if they can critique my writing, I can critique theirs as well.
Some reviews are downright funny to me too. I received one that was a negative one and the writer claimed she felt the book was too unreal. She also mentioned something like, “What kind of person would go camping in the mountains by themselves anyway?” I laughed so hard at that because being a sci-fi/paranormal book, the only “real” thing about it was the camping part and I’ve been camping like that and have run across many campers (females) that were alone!
Getting good reviews are awesome. What I like best about them is discovering that I am able to entertain someone to that degree. It really makes me happy to know I have accomplished that. When you put yourself out there and actually publish your work, there is great trepidation that goes along with it—like getting naked in front of a group of strangers! (Not that I’ve ever done that—but you get the idea!) So great reviews are the most incredible payback.
12. If they were to make a movie about your books, who would you want to play Maddie and Rayn?
Jennifer Lawrence as Maddie and Henry Cavill (with long hair) as Rayn. I also love Chris Hemsworth (with long hair). Can you tell I like men with long hair? LOL! I’ve honestly not given this much thought though. I have an iterview with Rayn on my website and my friend Terri Thomas so kindly sent me a picture of someone who I think fits the Rayn bill. However, I would love to ask readers their opinion on who they would think would make a great Maddie and Rayn!
Meghan- I think you hit the nail on the head with the female role. Jennifer Lawrence would be perfect! As for Rayn I think Ric Mora would be a pretty good choice, here's a little picture so you can see.
That's pretty much exactly how I pictured Rayn throughout the story. Also, I totally have a thing for men with long hair as well ;).
13. Do you have an all-time favorite book, or a book that you think everyone should read?
YES… no matter your age, if you haven’t read the entire Harry Potter series, you are missing out on the best imaginative, ingeniously written books ever! When I finished reading the final page of the Deathly Hallows, I went through major withdrawals! I also chuckled at some of her later reviews. There was one in particular I remember saying something about her books being filled with dead metaphors and overused cliches! I guess that reviewer needs to take a close look at her bank account! LOL
Meghan- I could not agree with you more! Everyone, everywhere, of all ages, should read Harry Potter. Without a doubt!
14. What is your favorite genre of books?
Ouch… that’s a tough one. I love so many different ones but I will have to go with the paranormal/fantasy/sci-fi thing. What I love most about those is that you can read about worlds where immortality and beauty often reign. Who wouldn’t love to be stunningly gorgeous, not age or become ill and live forever? Not to mention being paired with an equally stunning man of your dreams! What’s not to love about that? Isn’t make-believe great?
Meghan- Again, I agree with you :). That is my favorite genre as well! I love immersing myself in a world where I can pretend all those things are real.
15. Are they any up coming book releases that you are looking forward to?
Anything by JR Ward and Jeaniene Frost. I’ve also recently discovered E.L. James and would love it if she released something new. HP Mallory just released her latest in the Jolie Wilkins series called “Witchful Thinking” that I want to read as well.
16.Where do you find your inspiration when writing?
I have a crazy mind! Things just pop into my head. I was telling my sister about my idea for my new series and she’s like, “Where do you come up with this stuff?” I don’t know…it’s just there. But I also get inspired and work out plot lines and conversations when I run. I just plug into my iPod, hit the trail, and ideas are swarming my mind. It’s wild sometimes!
17. If you could spend a day with any of the characters from your story, who would you pick?
Ha, that’s easy. Sharra for her humor, Rayn for his intensity and protectiveness and Rykerian because he is such a sensitive thing!
Meghan- Great choices! I would most be stuck between Rayn and Maddie. But since they are a couple maybe I could get away with choosing them both ;).
18. What is the most rewarding experience you've had since your work has been published?
Definitely the fan mail. I had one awesome message from a sixteen year old telling me how boys generally don’t like romance novels but that he just loved Survival. And then I have people contacting me begging for the third book. It makes me so happy to know they love the characters so much.
19. If you could live inside the world of any book, which one would it be?
I would love to live on Vesturon. Since it’s my creation, I know exactly how it looks and what it offers and it’s a place I want to live! J
20. Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring writers?Don’t do what I did. Write as much as you can, when you can. And read, read, and read some more. The more you write, the better you become. If it’s your passion, squeeze it in somehow. Work out a plan that allows you to write a little bit every week. Share what you write with people whose opinion you trust. If you let your family read it, tell them to be brutally honest. You need it from them first, because you will get it from your readers. Be prepared for the bad… but also the good! If you’re not sure about writing, try anyway. The real definition of failure is not having the gumption to even try.
Meghan- Thank you so much for your wonderful advice! And thank you as well for taking the time to answer my questions! It's obvious you took your time and answered honestly and it is much appreciated! I look forward to hearing about Book #3 in the future, as well as this new plot you are working on! Keep in touch!
And now ladies and gentlemen, it's time for the giveaway! Enter the copter below for your chance to win an e-copy of Resurrection, book #2 in the Guardians of Vesturon Series. And don't forget you can get yourself a e-copy of Survival for free everywhere!