Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Operation Awesome #20Questions in #2020 of #NewBook Debut Author Rue Sparks

Operation Awesome #20Questions in #2020 of #NewBook Debut Author posted by @JLenniDorner of @OpAwesome6

Daylight Chasers by Rue Sparks

1- You asked a great question on Twitter, so let me toss it back to you: As a writer, how do you handle the guilt and frustration when you can't be as active as you feel you ought to be on social media?

I suppose turnabout is fair play!
I’m reminded of what I used to say when I had to turn down design jobs when I freelanced because I was overbooked. “It’s not an opportunity if I can’t do it.” Meaning, opportunities are only opportunities when you have the time and resources to do them. Otherwise, you simply can’t count them or you’ll drive yourself mad.
It would help to consider social media the same way. You can’t consider what you’re missing when you’re not there to miss it. We simply cannot be in two places at once. We need to make value decisions on what is most important in our lives and stick to those decisions. Easier said than done though!

2- Would you please, in 160 characters or less, give a #WriteTip ?

Don’t write something you’re dispassionate about thinking it’s what people want. We can tell you’re not invested. Write what you love. The audience will follow.

3- What is the best piece of writing advice you've received?

“Originality is overrated.” This goes not just for writing, but any creative pursuit.

A lot of writers second guess their ideas or even don’t pursue them because they’re afraid they’re too cliche, that they’re not innovative enough. That fear misses the point. There’s truth to the adage that it’s all been said and done before. So if it’s all been said, all that’s left is to tell our stories in our own way. That is the only true originality any of us has to offer—our unique voices as individual as our fingerprints.

4- Do any of your characters in Daylight Chasers use they/them pronouns, and could you offer tips on incorporating gender-neutral pronouns in fiction?

Daylight Chaser does not use gender-neutral pronouns for any of the characters, but the protagonist in the novel I’m currently querying to agents is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns.

The biggest challenge when including non-binary characters is that you can’t assume that all readers are going to understand the nuances of what that means. Personally I want non-binary characters to be more prevelant in a wider variety of fiction, which means being presented to audiences that may not understand what non-binary means. I like to think we’ve come a long way as a society when it comes to gender acceptance, but we’re not all there yet.

So depending on your intended audience, you may need to include a moment where your character ‘comes out’ to the reader as non-binary to clarify. It doesn’t have to be involved—simply referring to their pronouns to another character can be enough. This is not necessary in all fiction, but consider the breadth of your audience and genre when approaching the subject.

5- Would you share a picture with us of some incredible artwork related to your book?

Picture from Daylight Chasers of Isabella with the Passenger Pigeons.
Operation Awesome #20Questions in #2020 of #NewBook Debut Author Rue Sparks - Picture from Daylight Chasers of Isabella with the Passenger Pigeons.

6- Would you please tell us more about what it means to be a Spoonie Author?

“Spoonie” references Christine Miserandino’s The Spoon Theory, which talks about the additional challenge of limited energy faced by people with disabilities.

Being a Spoonie Author means I’m an author with a disability. I personally have several auto-immune disorders that primarily manifest with chronic pain and brain fog. There are times where writing is just not possible for me because of pain, or because my verbal recall isn’t what it needs to be. It’s heartbreaking and frustrating to experience having my body betray me that way. It means I have to be very purposeful in my actions, and take advantage of the times I am capable of creating because I never know when I might have my next opportunity.

7- What's your Twitter handle, and do you have two or three writer friends on there to shout-out to for #WriterWednesday ?

My twitter handle is @sparks_writes . Here are a few people I’ve had the honor of interacting with quite a bit on twitter: @lw_writes @scinerd28 @KevinEmmons4

8- Do you have a favorite #bookstagram image or account/ profile?

I love the #bookstagram of @neverthelessshereads She takes such great photos and always has interesting picks.

9- What most motivates you to read a new book?

Admittedly I have a hard time getting motivated to read sometimes! I know that may sound strange from an author, but I think part of it is having worked in such a fast-paced job for so long it’s hard for me to give myself the permission to focus my attention onto something fun for any length of time.

Once I do start reading though, I go through books quite quickly! I love books that have a strange or quirky part to their premise—either a ‘remix’ to an old trope, or a redux of a tried and true genre, or even just an interesting character. The weirder the better.

10- It's our tenth anniversary! How far has your writing come in the past ten years and where do you see your writing career ten years from now?

I have only been actively considering myself a writer over the past two years. Before that, I wrote comics in script format, along with the occasional poem or flash fiction story. A few years ago, I never would have thought I’d be able to finish a novella, let alone a novel. I’m proud of myself for my progress, while recognizing I have a long way to go.

I want to work on my technical abilities over the next decade, but also just get much, much more practice in. Having been a professional artist, I know that practice is one of the best teachers, and I simply haven’t had as many years and I’d like under my belt. Ten years from now, I’d like to be able to write faster, with greater ease, and with greater confidence. Career wise, the usual I think! I’d like to have more published books under my belt.

11- What is your favorite book by someone else, what's the author's Twitter handle, and what do you love most about that book? #FridayReads book recommendation time!

Author name: Erin Morgenstern @erinmorgenstern
Title: The Starless Sea
Love because: Most people know Erin Morgenstern for The Night Circus, but if you haven’t read it, The Starless Sea is a beautifully written book with diverse characters, a unique premise, impeccable worldbuilding, and loveable characters. The prose reads like a dream, and the format is so unusual that it really stands out. I read it this past year, and it bolted up to my favorite book of all time.

12- What emotions do you hope your book will evoke for the reader?

Daylight Chasers is an emotional novella under the guise of a fun, sci-fi influenced road trip through the heart of the United States.

I approached it as a fable, where each guide Isabella meets has something to teach her. Some of it may be hard to hear. The lessons may hit close to home for some readers. But ultimately they’re lessons we all learn at some point in our lives, whether we’re ready to listen or not.

The final reveal in Daylight Chasers is something very personal, that is a little bit of me opening up my ribcage to reveal my own heart. My hope is that readers can begin to understand that pain and sadness are not the enemy, and that sometimes both need to be experienced before we can move forward in our lives.

13- What kind of impact do you hope your book will have?

Because I approached Daylight Chasers as a fable, there are some specific things I want readers to consider about their own approach to life. But the ending has its own question as well, one that I don’t necessarily give the reader an answer to.

Ultimately I hope that my readers come away from the book with a renewed sense of hope for a new day grounded not in foundless positivity, but in the belief that they are stronger than they ever believed they could be.

14- What is the best writing tool, program, or reference book you've ever bought?

It’s not a reference book per se, but Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert is an amazingly inspirational treatise on creativity, and has gotten me through some rough times when it’s come to my self-confidence in my writing. I highly recommend it to anyone who creates… well, anything! Her advice toes the line of practical and fantastical, all presented in a way that’s so down to Earth. I often listen to the audiobook while I drive or do menial tasks when I need an extra pick me up before I work on something challenging.

15- In what ways are the main characters in your book diverse? #WeNeedDiverseBooks

The biggest diversity I focused on in Daylight Chasers is racial diversity. It takes place in America in a few different areas of the country, so I wanted to make sure I was representing the breadth of characters you might find in a country made up of mostly immigrants.

Of the three ‘road trippers’ who we follow through the majority of the book, one is African American (Keenan, our protagonist), one is Hispanic (Isabella), and lastly Billy is Caucasian. There is also an Indigenous character that’s a ‘guide’ at one of the activities. Another one of the guides is a Hispanic woman who raises passenger pigeons.

16- Who is your favorite book review blogger?

I actually get most of my book recommendations through the grapevine on Twitter, Book Review groups on Facebook, or through friends recommendations on Goodreads. I have somewhat specific tastes when it comes to books so I tend to find specific people I know personally and cling to their every recommendation!

17- What was the deciding factor in your publication route?

For me, self-publication made the most sense for Daylight Chasers because of its length. It was short for a novella, which are already hard sells to publishers. I didn’t want to pad it with extraneous words just for publication, so self-publishing or a small press was my best bet.

I also wanted to get hand-on experience in all aspects of the publication process right off the bat, so I decided to try self-publishing. Having experience in design and marketing, I wasn’t as intimidated by those aspects as I would have been otherwise, and I liked the idea of having full control. I’m glad for the experience, even though I’m going the traditional publishing route for my next novel.

18- Which author, past or present, do you feel most resembles your work?

I haven’t reached his level, but an author I aspire to be like is TJ Klune. He’s written in a variety of genres, styles and moods, but every book he writes keeps this innate quirkiness. His characters are all well-rounded and loveable, his worldbuilding flawless, and I love his range of themes. He seems to write what he wants, not sticking to any one mold. It’s that flexibility that I admire and strive for.

19- Would you please ask our audience a question to answer in the comments?

I got this from the Big Magic book by Elizabeth Gilbert, but it’s a good question to ask ourselves to understand what’s important in our lives. Instead of asking yourself, ‘what would you do if you could not fail’, consider this:
What is worth it to you to do, even knowing failure is likely? In other words, what is that thing that’s so important to you to do, that whether it fails or succeeds is irrelevant?

20- Anything else you would care to share about your book and yourself?

About Daylight Chasers:

"I wish this day would never end" - One heart's desire leads to a tumultuous journey for an unlikely pair.

Keenan, a guide at Daylight Chasers, is hired to lead Isabella through a day that "nearly" never ends. As the top agent, he excels at calming the excitable and inspiring the timid, as they journey across the globe one time zone at a time. Despite his years of experience, Keenan soon realizes that he is going to need a lot more than his familiar script when it comes to Isabella's expedition.

When the planned activities all start going south, Keenan finds himself struggling to respond to Isabella's mercurial moods. With each adventure sending them further from the planned path, Keenan begins to wonder how can he be the guide when even he is feeling lost?

About Me:

Artist, animator, writer, designer, professor—I've worn a lot of labels, but the one thing I’ve always aspired to be is simply a storyteller. I cross genres and formats, mixing together metaphor and expressive characters to teach the viewer something they didn’t know they already knew.

Where to Find Me:

Twitter: @sparks_writes
IG: @rue_sparks_makes

Daylight Chasers by Rue Sparks

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