Friday, June 5, 2015

Interview: Karen Akins, Author of LOOP and TWIST

I’m so excited to have Karen Akins with us today! Not only is she an amazing writer, but she’s also a really awesome person. Her debut, LOOP, is so much fun. I love her take on time travel and I’m usually pretty anti-time travel, so that’s saying a lot. I’m currently halfway through the sequel, TWIST, and loving it even more than LOOP. I just need more hours in the day so I can read until the wee hours of the morning and be mentally present at work the next day. ;)

Welcome, Karen!

How do you manage your writing time with two little ones to keep you busy?

Magical elves. Oh, WAIT. That's the fairy tale version of my life.

I started writing, period, soon after my older son (who is now six) was born. He was a great napper, and it wasn't too difficult to find two-hour (or more) chunks of time in which to write.

Then, the same week that I received my editorial letter for LOOP, I found out that I was pregnant with our second son. Having a second child threw my whole writing system out the window. That first year with revising LOOP, drafting and rewriting and revising TWIST, and then launching both of them into the world was rough.

I tend to snatch snippets of writing time where I can find it--ten minutes in car line, twenty minutes while my toddler is playing nicely with his cars, jotting down ideas as I'm ironing.

Do you have any unusual writing rituals?

I don't know that it's a ritual, per se, but I find that I'm most creative when I sit (or stand) somewhere other than my desk. So when I'm stuck on a scene, I'll take my laptop and curl up on the floor.

Do you prefer drafting or revising?

Basically, whichever I'm not doing at the moment. Just kidding. Sort of.

There are things I like about each. I like the unfettered possibility of a brand-spanking new story. I always hit around 25K, though, and go, "Blerg. What was I thinking?" My inner editor is a loudmouth.

With revisions, I love that it's like a logic problem. I know the raw material I have to work with. I know what I want it to look like by the time I'm done with it. To me, revising almost feels like piecing it together backward. Which is great when the pieces are fitting well but stinks when I have to rip the whole thing apart.

What is your favorite type of scene to write? And your least favorite?

I love writing action scenes and rapid-fire banter. Hmm...least favorite? Probably dense monologues. Not many of those in LOOP or TWIST. :)

What authors do you like to read? What book or books have had a strong influence on your writing?

Oh, goodness. I'm pretty eclectic in my tastes. I devour anything by Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, and Daphne du Maurier. And then, I love anyone who can make me laugh.

I'm a fan of Meg Cabot's Mediator series, and when I met her at RT, she mentioned she's releasing an adult installment next February. Yeah, I basically tackle-hugged her.

Right now, I'm reading TINY PRETTY THINGS by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton and really enjoy it. It follows three dancers competing for the top slot in a prestigious ballet school. It's one of those books that makes you cringe at all the self-destructive decisions that the main characters make, but at the same time, you're rooting for all of them, even the antagonist.

Is there a published book you wish you could have written?

I'm sure this will sound cliche, but Harry Potter. Not the worldwide phenomenon aspect of it. It's just that every time I re-read it, I catch new, minute details in the earlier books that she weaves into the later books. I'm in awe of her scope of vision. 

What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?

I can't remember who originally said this. I read it in a blog post years ago. (I want to say, maybe Aprilynne Pyke?) Basically, she (it was definitely a she) said: Write the best story you can. Revise it until you think it's perfect. Then put it away for six months and come back and revise it again. I think she even mentions trashing it and starting over. It was painful to read that at the time, but there was wisdom in it.

Oh, and get as MUCH feedback as you can. You won't have the opportunity to get as varied feedback once you're under contract and on deadlines. And you'll miss it.

Are you working on anything new? Any exciting news you want to share?

I am working on something new. Unfortunately, I can't talk about it on the internets yet. All I can say is that it's fun. No time travel, but I think the LOOP gang would fit in well in this world.

Just for fun:

Paper and pen or computer monitor and keyboard? Paper and pen for revising. Monitor and keyboard for drafting.

Paperback, hardcover, or ebook? Ebook. I like to fall asleep reading.

Favorite caffeinated beverage? Coke.

Chocolate or bacon? YOU CAN'T MAKE ME CHOOSE.

Favorite TV show? Sherlock

If you had a superpower, what would it be and why? Teleportation. Obviously, for the vacation possibilities. Plus, my hubby's family lives twelve hours away. I'd love to be able to see my nephews and in-laws whenever I wanted.

Anything else you want to share?

Thank you so much for having me on Operation Awesome today! I hope you and your readers enjoy LOOP and TWIST. <3

Thank you, Karen, for joining us!

LOOP Synopsis:

At a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels... at screwing up.

After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn't go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn't think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her.

Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tag-along uncover seemingly unconnected clues—a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium—that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.

But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future. 

Buy your copies of LOOP and TWIST here!


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