Today I am taking part in a blog tour for Elise Abram whose new book, The Revenant, came out on the tenth of July. Elise describes her story as a YA paranormal novel set in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Zulu is a revenant, killed and resurrected more than 100 years ago. His only companions are Morgan the Seer and Kat, a modern teen who can see auras. Together they work to save the people in danger in The Seer's dreams. But when Morgan, a powerful necromancer is raised from the dead, the trio realize the people most in need of saving are themselves.
Teacher of English and Computer Studies by day, wife and mother by night and author whenever she can steal some time, Elise Abram is the proud author of Phase Shift, The Mummy Wore Combat Boots, and Throwaway Child, available on Amazon and KoboBooks. She pens a blog about literature, popular culture and the human condition whenever the muse moves her at eliseabram.com.
And now, here's our interview.
Who are your influences?
Anne Rice, Cathy Reichs, and Margaret Atwood would have to be my biggest influences. Rice for her descriptive prose, Reichs for making science and technology accessible and Atwood for her skill at incorporating contemporary themes in her writing. And I can't forget Stephen King for modeling how to write about the gore.
When did you begin writing?
My first memory of writing was winning an award for my rendition of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves in grade 2. I also remember reading a book about kids who find a treasure map which sends them on a quest in grade school that sparked me to write a similar tale, but I can't for the life of me remember the name of the book. Then there was the novel I tried to write in high school, but never finished. There was a period of a decade or more when the only writing I did was technical, essays and archaeological reports and such. It's only been about 12 or so years I've seriously tried to make it into a second career of sorts.
Many of my stories come from the world around me. Throwaway Child comes from the travesty of native residential schools in Canada. The Mummy Wore Combat Boots comes from the growing number of youth obsessed with the realistic world of gaming fantasy over reality. Phase Shift was influenced by "Star Trek", "Stargate", "Sliders" and the like that offer up duplicate worlds, change one variable, and explore what happens. I usually name my characters based on personality traits. Malchus, the antagonist in The Revenant, for example, comes from "mal" which means bad or unpleasant.
If I think hard enough about a story, the point of view usually just comes to me. If ever a story isn't working, I might try on a different point of view to see if it flows better another way.
Do you work from an outline?
I work from a vague outline. I sometimes jot ideas down when I think of them so I don't lose them. Most of the time I know where I want to begin, where I want to end and major plot points in the middle. The transitions from point to point usually fill themselves in as I write.
Tell me about your favorite scene in your novel.
Since my favourite scene in The Revenant is the climax, I can't tell you too much about it because I don't want to reveal any spoilers. The climax is the archetypal battle between good and evil. I can tell you it involves a kidnapping, zombies, a sword fight, and someone dies, but that's about it. I still cry every time I read it.
Can you tell us a little about your writing philosophy?
If you subscribe to the "you're not a real writer if you don't write every day" school of thought, you're only going to tear away at your confidence. The truth is, life happens. Everyone has to deal with school or work or family responsibilities and days, weeks, even months may go by without ever writing a word. Even though you never sit to put proverbial pen to paper, it's okay as long as you don't abandon your story. I'm always writing in my head, trying to visualize scenes and listen for character dialogue. When I finally sit down to write, the story seems to write itself. Thanks to Nanowrimo, I've also trained myself not to worry about editing as I write. My goal is to finish the story and worry about the editing later.
Have you ever tried writing in any other genres?
Though I prefer writing science fiction and paranormal/supernatural, I've also written police procedurals. Palmer Richardson, one of my Phase Shift characters, is a forensic anthropologist, someone who figures out what happened to a person in life, from their bones after death. Because he freelances with the Metropolitan Toronto Police Department, it's really easy to take his skill-set and use them in real-life scenarios to solve murders. He usually teams up with Detective Constable Michael Crestwood, who pops up in my sci-fi archaeology stories as well.
Do you have any interesting writing-related anecdotes to share?
I often think back on my writing "career" and think about how much more difficult my accomplishments to date would have been without the use of the Internet. But more than the research, I want to talk about the connectivity of the digital age, and I don't mean the role it played in helping me find a publisher. People, other authors and bloggers, have been amazing in their support. I think this really speaks to community and the connectivity of the world. All you have to do is reach out; the worst that will happen is someone says "no." In planning my blog tour, the amount of bloggers--total strangers--who offered to open up their web pages to me, be it in an interview such as this one, a guest blog post, or a much needed review, the response has been nothing short of welcoming, warm, and supportive, and I am truly grateful to everyone who offered a hand, no matter how small, along the way.
The Revenant is available at the following online locations: Amazon, B&N, Black Rose Publishing. You can follow Elise and her writings through her page on Goodreads.Barb grunted a low grunt.Malchus heard something that sounded like cracking bone. He stood and walked slowly around to face Barb. She was working to frantically shove the remnants of whatever she had in her hands into her mouth. Blood covered the lower half of her face and her hands and dripped down her forearms, off her elbows, and had begun to pool on the floor. The sleeves of her sweater, rolled up her arms and above her elbows, were saturated.Having pushed the last of whatever it was she had been eating into her mouth, Barb set to licking the blood off her fingers and then from her forearms. She rolled down her sleeves until they covered her hands, and then placed the material into her mouth and sucked the blood from them as well.“Barb!” Malchus said, sickened in spite of himself.Barb looked up at him, eyes wide with fear, the cuff of one of her sleeves still between her lips.“What are you eating?” he said, sounding calmer than the thump of Hal’s heart would indicate.“Rat.” The sweater cuff fell from her mouth when she spoke. She licked her lips, and as if realizing there was still blood to be had on her face, wiped her cheeks with the back of her hand, looked at it, then pressed it against her mouth and sucked.