Monday, November 27, 2017

Interview with novelist Justine Avery

Novelist Justine Avery joins me today to chat about her new urban fantasy, suspense, paranormal novel, The One Apart.

During her virtual book tour, Justine will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

Justine Avery is an award-winning author of stories large and small for all. Born in the American Midwest and raised all over the world, she is inherently an explorer, duly fascinated by everything around her and excitedly noting the stories that abound all around. As an avid reader of all genres, she weaves her own stories among them all. She has a predilection for writing speculative fiction and story twists and surprises she can’t even predict herself.

Avery has either lived in or explored all 50 states of the union, over 36 countries, and all but one continent; she lost count after moving 30-some times before the age of 20. She’s intentionally jumped out of airplanes and off the highest bungee jump in New Zealand, scuba dived unintentionally with sharks, designed websites, intranets, and technical manuals, bartered with indigenous Panamanians, welded automobile frames, observed at the Bujinkan Hombu Dojo in Noba, Japan, and masterminded prosperous internet businesses—to name a few adventures. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree that life has never required, and at age 28, she sold everything she owned and quit corporate life—and her final “job”—to freelance and travel the world as she always dreamed of. And she’s never looked back.

Aside from her native English, Avery speaks a bit of Japanese and a bit more Spanish, her accent is an ever-evolving mixture of Midwestern American with notes of the Deep South and indiscriminate British vocabulary and rhythm, and she says “eh”—like the Kiwis, not the Canadians. She currently lives near Los Angeles with her husband, British film director Devon Avery, and their three adopted children: Becks, Sam, and Lia. She writes from wherever her curiosity takes her.

Avery loves to connect with fellow readers and creatives, explorers and imaginers, and cordially invites you to say “hello”—or konnichiwa.

Welcome, Justine. Please share a little bit about your current release.
The One Apart is the epic tale of one life of a man who’s lived countless lives. The story begins with his beginning: Tres realizes he’s about to be born, again, and with the conflicting memories of all his former lives. His struggle, as he impatiently waits for his body to grow to match his adult awareness, is to find his place in this life, at this time, while uncovering the reason for his singular situation and the strange entities who appear to him that no one else can see.

What inspired you to write this book?
For The One Apart, I woke up one morning with just one interesting sentence in mind as an idea for a brand-new story: “he remembered everything.” It felt really impactful, like the fact that this person remembered “everything” was a big deal, that it wasn’t supposed to happen, something went wrong, or maybe, someone would be really upset to discover this person did remember everything. That was it. And that’s my favorite part of writing. I love having no idea what the story is and just writing to uncover it. I wrote two scenes from that idea and set it aside because I was hoping to write a short story and I knew this idea was “a long one.” And two years later, when I sat down to start writing my first novel, I picked up this story idea again. I knew this one was the idea to run with.

Excerpt from The One Apart:
“He needs a name,” Maria said, pouring scrambled eggs onto the plate decorated with a face of bacon strips.
Sancha stared at her plate. “He has one,” she said.
The hot iron skillet slipped from Maria’s hand; she sighed her relief as it landing safely on the stove burner. “What... did you decide?”
“I didn’t.” Sancha prodded at her eggs, recovering her bacon art one eye at a time.
“I thought you—”
“He has one already. I just don’t know what it is.”
Maria’s subconscious almost recognized the truth in the statement before it was buried by her conscious again. “Don’t be silly. Did you choose a name? If not, I will have—”
“No, you will not,” Sancha ended the conversation.

* * *

In the fenced back yard Maria referred to as “the garden,” sat a rusting swing set for two: Sancha’s favorite spot in the whole world. Swinging there—in and out of the shade of the broad-reaching maple tree—seemed to slow time and shoo away all teenage troubles.
“I have to name you,” she called out to her bright-eyed baby resting in a basket nestled in the grass below her. She swung her pale legs to propel herself higher into the morning sunlight, her glittering hair swirling around her. “But you won’t tell me what yours is,” she pouted.
Her polka-dotted summer dress fluttered in the breeze as her legs scooped up another pocket of air. “I guess you can’t,” she concluded on a downswing. “Yet,” she shouted into the air.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I have a few short stories that belong in a collection full of tales of those moments in life when everything changes, when a new path is chosen, when we’re jerked right out of our old ways—all with twists and surprises, of course!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Like most, I fell in love with the idea of being a writer because I loved to read. When I was eleven or so, I started my first novel. It was essentially a retelling of the Cinderella story with a main character named Ella that—SURPRISE!—would be revealed as a secret Cinderella. It’s a good thing I never finished it! After that, I believed the folks that told me that writing is more of a dream and not really a career, so I only wrote sporadically when I was really moved to live my biggest dream, only for life and that “real career” to get in the way. There were so many detours—for decades—but now I realize they’re all really valuable experiences for the life of a writer. Finally, the urge to write, the feeling that you’re supposed to write, took over, and I finally gave my writing “dream” the priority it deserves.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
It depends on your definition… With my experience in technical writing, desktop publishing, and design, self-publishing, taking my writing career into my own hands like the many businesses I’ve distracted myself with over the years, was the natural route for me. And, with only myself in charge, that means a lot of time spent on the non-writing tasks of a writing/publishing career. But I still carve out my mornings, first-thing, for writing—just creating, not editing, not plotting. I found I’m most creative and able to “let go” to really get into the lives of others, my characters, when my mind is fresh from sleep, and I haven’t yet been exposed to the news of the day or any other distractions. If I get two hours of writing time in, I’m really happy, and then it’s time to move around again after sitting so long and let the world and all the other work in.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I don’t know that I have any quirky writing habits. I’m a minimalist when it comes to my writing environment: desk, comfy chair, tea, maybe a piece of chocolate, my laptop, a window with a view. I try to keep out all distractions, so I can focus solely on the story and imagine myself there. There aren’t even any cute desktop decorations or anything; those are on the “business desk.” I have to keep out all distracting noise too, so I wear noise-cancelling headphones and play a loop of beach sounds: crashing waves and the occasional seagull going by. It’s the only thing I can write with: something without words or music that would pull me out of the story but sound that helps drown out outside noises. Is that quirky?

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be so many things. I grew up traveling the world, playing alone, self-creating adventures, and loving the outdoors. I wanted to be an ecologist, just playing in nature all day, or a travel agent, or a detective, or a flight attendant, or a secret agent, or a paranormal psychologist hunting ghosts.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I write to explore ideas and satiate my own curiosity. I publish to share the story with others for your own enjoyment. When it’s in your hands, it belongs to you. There’s no intended lesson or meaning or ulterior motive; The One Apart is for you to interpret, for you to explore and discover. So, I hope you enjoy the heck out of the adventure of reading it!

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

Thank you for being a guest on my blog!
Thank you for the fun questions and opportunity to share with your readers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Victoria Alexander said...

Happy Monday! Thanks for sharing the interview :)

Rita Wray said...

Sounds like a good read.

DanieX said...

sounds like a good read, thanks for sharing!

Justine Avery said...

Thank you, Lisa, for hosting The One Apart and a fun interview! And thank you all for reading!

Cali W. said...

Thanks for the giveaway; I like the excerpt. :)

Dale Wilken said...

Sounds like a great read thank you.

Unknown said...

congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win :)

Ally Swanson said...

Congrats on the new book and good luck on the book tour!