Saturday, November 26, 2011

Interview with Cory Putman Oakes

Tell us about you.
I grew up in Northern California, near San Francisco, in the same town where The Veil takes place. I attended a high school (which was very much like the school in The Veil) and after that I went on to get two degrees that have nothing to do with writing whatsoever: a B.A. in Psychology from UCLA and a J.D. from Cornell Law School. I live in Austin, Texas with my husband, Mark, and our daughter, Sophia. We have a dog named Abby and two cats that we adopted as kittens after we found them abandoned under an air conditioner (it’s kind of a long story).

The Veil is my first published book – it was released by Octane Press on November 1, 2011.

What genre do you write?
Young Adult Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

Tell us about your book.
The Veil is about a girl named Addy who can see an invisible world. The more she sees, the more she realizes that things in her “real” world are also more than what they seem. And then there’s this boy . . . he’s more than what he seems at first too.

What inspired you to write this particular story?
I had a hazy idea about a “sort-of” Guardian Angel. I put this together with another hazy idea, to set the story in my hometown of Novato, California (and the surrounding area of San Francisco). The Veil started as a writing exercise – no one but me was ever supposed to read it. I didn’t think I’d even make it through to the end without writing myself into a corner and having to stop. But I finished it, and by then I really liked it!

What can readers expect when they open your book?  Give us something that isn’t on the book blurb.
Mystery, romance, action, and a new race of paranormal creatures called The Annorasi. The Annorasi are sort of a mash-up of angels and witches.

How old were you when you started writing?
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t making up stories, but around sixth grade it occurred to me that I might want to do that for a living. That’s when I got serious about it.

Do you stick with one genre, or have you branched out to others?  Which ones?
I am pretty attached to fantasy. The Veil is YA, and it’s the first one I’ve gotten published. But I am also working on a Middle Grade fantasy series.

What are you reading right now?
I’m really into the George R.R. Martin books right now (A Song of Ice and Fire series). The direwolves hooked me. I’m on Book 5. I am also re-reading The Three Musketeers (Alexandre Dumas).

Who are your favorite authors?
Tamora Pierce, Robin McKinlet, Eoin Colfer, Stephanie Meyer, Madeleine L’Engle and J.K. Rowling

What is your current project?
Right now, I am writing a sequel to The Veil. I am also finishing the last book in my Middle Grade series.

What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment as a writer?
I am pretty psyched to finally be published J The Veil in particular is very special to me, so I’m thrilled that it’s also my debut.

Have you experienced any setbacks for your writing along the way?  If so, will you share with us.
I left my law career to become a writer, and it took me six years to finally get published. Not a huge amount of time in the grand scheme of things, but there were a lot of moments in those years where I wondered if it was ever really going to happen.

How did you overcome these setbacks?
A supportive husband and friends, long runs to clear my head, and cupcakes. Lots and lots of cupcakes J

Do you believe in writer’s block?
Absolutely. That’s what chocolate is for. The aforementioned cupcakes help too.

What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
The proverbial “show, don’t tell” is the advice I use most often. I used to be a lawyer, and legal writing is all about explaining your position (which makes for a very dull book). When I find myself slipping back into lawyer-mode, I repeat this phrase to myself until I snap out of it.

What is the best advice you have for other writers?
Write because you love it. And when it comes to getting published, Do Not Give Up!

What is more important to you, plot or character?
Character. My plots are always moved by what my characters want.

Are you a panster or a plotter?
Depends on the book for me. I wrote The Veil from start to finish with no idea where I was going to go next. But that was unusual for me – normally, I’m a plotter. Like, a crazy plotter. I have been known to make charts, graphs, and really badly drawn maps.

Preferred POV to write.
I really enjoyed writing The Veil in first person – I think it gave the book personality. But sometimes I prefer being in third person, so I can jump from character to character. 

Tell us 5 random things about you the person not the author.
1) I was born in Switzerland (but I moved to the US when I was a baby).
2) I have been a vegetarian since the age of 13.
3) I am a compulsive baker.
4) I’m a stay-at-home mom to my daughter, Sophia (who is 19 months old).
5) I hate fish. They are slimy, they smell bad, and their eyeballs creep me out.

Where can people connect with you online?

What format does your book(s) come in?
Paperback, also in eBook formats for Kindle, Nook and iBook

Where can people buy your book(s).