1. I am sure you have answered this question several times before but how ever did you conceive the idea for Ghost Planet? Was there something that inspired you? Some particular moment or a “what if?” question?
Thanks so much for having me here today!
GHOST PLANET started with the title. I don’t even remember where it came from — I was thinking I might like to write a romantic sci-fi story (had mostly written fantasy before), and it popped into my head. Then I asked myself, “What would a world called GHOST PLANET be like? Are they really ghosts?” And so on.
I thought about a new arrival to the planet, and her reality getting flipped upside-down by the discovery that she was symbiotically bound to an alien. And then I thought, “No – SHE’S the alien.” It took off from there.
My stories actually almost always start with a title combined with an idea for a first scene.
2. What is one thing essential to you when you are writing?
Focus. That probably sounds obvious, but wow is it harder than ever these days. Especially when you have a book releasing, it’s part of your job to spend time on social media. It takes tremendous discipline to just do what you need to do and go back to the writing. And really, you can’t completely do that. Because who wants to interact with someone who ONLY talks about their book, right?
And then there’s the fact that hitting refresh on Goodreads and Amazon is the author equivalent of hitting the crack pipe.
3. Do you have an absolute favourite book that you recommend to everyone?
For me that would totally vary depending on the person. My favorite books are in all different genres. But if I had to pick one, Jane Eyre, for a whole bunch of reasons — writing, setting, characters, romance. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys classics, or is *hoping* to enjoy classics. It was a gateway book for me. But someone who already loved classics and was looking for something outside of Austen and the Brontes? Anything by Anthony Trollope. Complete classics geeks? Samuel Richardson.
And that’s just classic English literature. But you get the idea. :)
As far as the book that influenced me the most as a writer, I think Watership Down, by Richard Adams. I read it seven or eight times when I was an adolescent.
4. What is your favourite portion of Ghost Planet? What do you most want readers to look forward to?
I think my favorite section is from the point Elizabeth learns she’s died and been reincarnated as a ghost, to the point she sees her own body. I think these are the most emotionally gripping scenes. I also really enjoy the scenes where Murphy begins to break down and interact with her.
As for the second part of the question, I especially love reading comments from a reader who has strongly identified with Elizabeth — when they’ve been both moved by her calamity, and felt admiration for her response.
5. What is the hardest part about writing a novel?
Writing a novel is hard, period. The blank page is terrifying. Just about anything easier (which is most everything) becomes very attractive when you are writing a first draft. Revision (at least for me) is much more straightforward. Very orderly, left-brain sort of activity. Dorothy Parker has been quoted as saying, “I hate writing. I love having written.” Amen, sister.
6. What should we look forward to after Ghost Planet?
I’m currently working on a second book for Tor — a post-apocalyptic, biopunk romance. A twisty tale with lots of color and texture, science, politics, and adventure.
A Tor Mass Market
On Sale: October 30, 2012