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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Summer Teen Reading Party Guest Author Ardyth DeBruyn




Today I am happy to present another YA author, Ardyth DeBruyn, who is here to tell us all about herself and her books. We are switching blogs today, so please go over and check out my post on her blog. As usual during this Summer Teen Reading Party I am giving away a free copy of my YA novel, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor. Leave a comment to be in the drawing.



Ardyth DeBruyn Bio:


Ardyth DeBruyn is a native Oregonian with a restless nature and a degree in Anthropology. After hiking over 1500 miles across Europe and living on the Mexican border for a year, she settled back in the Pacific Northwest (for now) to write fantasy stories. She has decided she can type herself into adventures faster than walk.



Ardyth agreed to an interview and here are her answers to my questions:



1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I came to writing late. I always loved telling stories aloud to my brothers and sister, but my first choice when it came to putting them on paper was to draw.  I considered for a long time going into illustration for picture books, but found I didn’t have the patience in drawing to make the same characters over and over again until they looked like the same people each time I drew them.  I started writing fiction in high school, but it wasn’t until after college, when I’d decided to do something completely different with my life (anthropology) that I discovered I was an author.  I was doing volunteer work on the US-Mexican border and somehow found instead of learning Spanish properly, I had written two middle grade fantasy novels.  I realized then if I went to graduate school, I’d have to put off my writing another five to ten years and the thought was devastating.  So I decided to pursue writing as a career instead.
2. Did anyone influence you in your writing? Who was it and how did they influence you?
I was named after the Princess Irene (my middle name is Irene) from “The Princess and the Goblin.”  My parents had a special love for George McDonald’s writing, and so this naturally was the biggest influence on me and why I’m inclined towards fantasy.  It also set up a bit of an expectation for myself, comparing and thinking about him as an author.  I deeply admire the way McDonald also tackles basic moral issues in his fairy tales without shoving them in the reader’s face.  Never once is he preachy, and yet he discusses some deep issues. I would love to achieve this in my own writing.
3. What made you decide to write fantasy for young adults?
Mostly because it’s what I enjoy reading. I’ve always enjoyed reading fantasy, both middle grade and young adult, but when I was in junior high, I tried Lord of the Rings (after enjoying the hobbit) and failed to get into it.  The other “adult” fantasy novels I tried in high school were even worse (I learned LOTR is okay if you skip the prologue).  It wasn’t until my husband read a few Landover novels aloud to me that I ever ventured past young adult again, but even now I get bored quickly and find myself returning to young adult novels.  I like the themes and faster paced stories and find the younger characters more dynamic.
4. How did you first become published?
I was slow about sending out my first queries unsure my work was any good, one here and there, and after my first request, quite hopeful, but then got back a rejection.  Dejected, I looked over some small e-book publishers and got reading samples.  I thought reading one of them, hey, my book is similar to this, but I think it’s a lot better, so I sent it off to the publisher and was shocked three days later when they wanted to publish it.  Thrilled, it changed some of my self-critical attitude.  I’m still a perfectionist at times, but I’m working on opening up and sharing my stuff.
5. Please take us through a typical writing day for you.
This depends on what my focus for the day is.  I’m distractible and so I keep a rotating schedule.  Usually I have a project I am drafting, a project I am revising, and marketing/blogging projects.  Each day a certain item is marked as “most important.”  Sometimes that means I start with it, sometimes that means I procrastinate and do everything but that!  However, either during the month of November, or when the muse grips me with an iron hand, I will write like crazy and drop everything else.
6. Are you a “plotter” or a “pantser”?
I definitely plot. Most of my books sit around in my head a long while before I try writing them. I find if I’m too iffy on where the story is going I never finish it.  Even with plotting, I tend to have strong beginning and ending ideas, but undefined middles that need fleshing out.  Sometimes I will like an idea well enough I’ll just dive in and hope that the wimpy middle will get ironed out in the writing process.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
7. When you are not writing, what do you like to do?
I like to hike in nature, usually up mountains since I live in the Columbia River Gorge, and “hike” automatically means climbing cliffs.  I also collect Calico Critters or Sylvanians (depending on the UK or US name for them), which are small animal figures dressed in clothes, sort of like you might find in a Beatrix Potter book.  I like to make miniature accessories for them or to just sculpt my own creatures or characters out of sculpy as well.
8. What is your favorite color and why?
I always liked the combination of pink and blue together, enough that I could never pick between them. Now, that’s not a pale wimpy pink, but a strong, bright, darker pink, and a rich full sort of blue.  However, if you say pink everyone thinks of pale pink and that you’re girly, so over the years I’ve given up and just say blue.  It’s easier, and no one questions it, it being the most popular color.
9. Are you working on another book? If so, would you please tell us about it.
I’m taking a break from fantasy to dabble in historical fiction.  I love both history and epic poetry, and so I’ve decided to retell the story of Roland and Oliver, but with a twist, Oliver is actually a girl in disguise.  In the poems, Oliver had a sister, Aude, but in my novel they are the same person.  Aude runs away to King Charlemagne’s court, determined to become a paladin and leave her family, and her quarrels with them, behind.  However, the politics of court are far from simple, and when her family gets in trouble with the king, she has to face what’s really most important to her.
10. What have you done to market your books?
I call my technique the “flailing around” approach.  I blog, I repost lots of pretty pictures on google plus, get caught in writing discussions on forums and in writing groups, and occasionally retweet interesting articles.  Obviously I could stand to be more organized about it, but at least it’s fun.  I love meeting fellow authors, both virtually and in person, so I hope to do more of that.  I’m hoping this year my master plan for world domination, erm, marketing plan, will finally materialize into something coherent, but I think the most important thing in marketing is to connect with other people and enjoy yourself.  If you sound stressed about selling your books, you won’t generate any interest, and I find constant sale pitches annoying, so I’d never inflict them on others.  The experts I’ve heard talk say two things, really: 1) Be yourself and 2) give away free books  
So, speaking of which, I will give away a free e-copy of  A School for Villains to one person who comments on this blog.

Ardyth, I agree with you that marketing needs to be a non-stressful experience. No one likes to have a book shoved down their throats. I like your " flailing around" approach. LOL I have put my book on every YA website I could find. It's also important to have an author page, though I didn't make mine until my book was out for over six months! 


Everyone should know that many of the books discussed during the Summer Teen Reading Party are on sale at Amazon and The Muse Bookstore all during the month of May.


Here is some information about Ardyth's books:


Blurb:

A School for Villains

Thirteen-year-old Danny is astounded when his father decides to send him to Dark Lord Academy to learn to be a villain. Pa claims it will make him stand out and fulfill his own lost childhood dreams. Being evil doesn’t appeal to Danny, but he’s always been a good and obedient son, so he goes.

Dark Lord Academy’s not just unappealing, it’s downright terrible. His advisor dyes Danny’s blond hair black and changes his name to the unpronounceable Zxygrth. He can’t get the hang of maniacal laughter, his second-in-command servant is a puke-colored monkey, and the cafeteria lady enjoys serving stewed cockroaches or fried bat wings. A run in with a hero results in hate mail and he gets caught up in a rivalry with the school bully.  The only way for Danny to stay alive is to find his inner villain.

Excerpt:

The passageway dead-ended in a T, offering a choice of right or left. No one was in sight in either direction. Danny’s heartbeat thumped in his ears as he glanced first one way and then the other. Something sounding suspiciously like chains being dragged along the stone floor made him jump and whirl around. The passage behind him was empty, even the goblin guards were gone, although he wasn’t sure they’d have offered safe advice even if he dared ask. Safe? I’m in villain school, the last thing it’s going to be is safe. Danny took in several deep breaths. Don’t panic, it has to be one way or the other, just pick.

Something clattered distantly down the right passage and then followed the rhythm of thumps that might be footsteps. Taking a deep breath, Danny started down it.
 
“I wouldn’t go that way if I were you.”
The voice made Danny jump and let out a small cry. He whirled around first to the right, then to the left, not seeing the person who’d spoke until a boy emerged from yet another corridor off to the side. Danny almost screamed again. By height, the boy might be about his age or a year or two older, but his face was twisted and gruesome in appearance. His eyes were at a slant, his bulbous and misshapen nose torqued the other direction, and his large lips pulled down on the right side, making his whole face look scrunched. Worst of all, a huge scar ran down his forehead to his left ear. Danny tried not to stare and didn’t want to imagine what might have happened to him.
“W-what?”
The boy grinned, showing of a set of perfectly normal straight teeth, which glittered white and clean in the torchlight. It somehow made his strange face worse. “I said I’d not go that way if I were you. That heads down to the executions department.”
Danny took in a sharp breath. “Oh, uh, thanks. This way then?” He pointed back behind him towards the left passage.
The boy snorted in laughter. “No, no, that leads to Professor Streptococcus’s plague collection. Don’t want to mess with those really, they’re catching, you know.” He winked. “Past that is the secret passageway to the dungeons; again, probably not where you’re looking to go. You a brand new student? I’m Igor.” He held out a hand.
“Um, yeah. I’m Danny.” He didn’t want to touch the hand, speaking of catching…just in case whatever had happened to him might be contagious, but shook the hand anyway, not wanting to be rude.

“You want teacher offices. They’re back the way you came, then the third passage on the left. Here, I’ll show you real quick.” Igor stepped out farther into the torchlight, revealing a humped back, and pulled behind him a small cart that seemed to be full of stacked mummies, maybe four or five of them. Danny cringed back.

Oblivious, or perhaps just ignoring his discomfort, Igor headed around the corner. Danny didn’t have much choice but to follow. He counted the passages, but Igor seemed to go to the fourth, not the third one, before stopping to point. “There, head that way and you’ll hit teacher offices.” He gave Danny another ghastly grin.


Chosen Sister

Reina’s brother Austyn has been declared the Child Warrior, but he’s only six. What’s a big sister to do?

Allowed to accompany her brother, Reina discovers they’re in deeper trouble than she thought-the Gold Wizard isn’t shaping up to be the guide he’s supposed to be and the Red Wizard’s harpies and snakewolves are on their trail. If anyone’s going to find a way to track down the elusive Sword of Chivalry for Austyn and get him into the Red Wizard’s castle to fulfill whatever it is the obscure prophecy insists must be done, it’s got to be Reina.

Until the next time when my guest will be Jan Fischer-Wade, the organizer of this Summer Teen Reading Party on May 22nd. Please leave a comment for Ardyth so you can be part of the drawing for a free book!



9 comments:

  1. I've read both ASFV and Chosen Sister and can easily recommend both.

    I'm eager to see Paladin's Honor since I'm already an Ardyth fan. I like her so much, I even named a character after her in my own fantasy series.

    Ardyth, you just need an good synonym for pink (I'm not a girlie pink fan either). Visit your local department store's cosmetic area and read the names on lipstick. I'll bet you find something that strikes your fancy and says the kind of pink you like.

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  2. Thanks for doing this giveaway! :) If I win, my email is grigory99 at yahoo dot com

    *crosses fingers* ;)

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  3. Thank you for having me, Barbara! It's nice to know I'm not the only one with the flailing approach to marketing.

    I could call it rose, perhaps? But I'm not sure everyone thinks of rose as a bright/dark pink.

    And good luck, Grigory, looks like you're standing a good statistical chance so far! :D

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  4. Hi Marva! So glad you were able to visit. As you can see, I have changed my template to reflect my personality more and moved the Share button so everyone can see it. Thank you for the suggestions.

    I haven't read anything by Ardyth, but now I think all of her books are going on my TBR list.

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  5. Hi Grigory. Thank you for visiting and I hope you do win the free book!!

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  6. Ardyth, it is my pleasure to host you here. We still have a few more days, so let's tell everyone about your interview here.

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  7. Ardyth, that books sounds hysterical! I'm sure it'll take off and "Fly" (gotta be a broomstick nearby somewhere!) Barbara, your blog looks wonderful, honey, good job!

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  8. A School for Villians sounds like something my son would love. I just got a Kindle Fire and he's sort of "taken over" my other Kindle. I'm happy to let him use it as it is getting him to read more. I'll have to put this one on his TBR list...is it bad that his TBR list is as long as mine? lol!

    Great interview,
    Michelle

    www.michelle-pickett.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thank you, Gail!!! Sometimes we all need a little change in our environment!! Glad you came to visit, sweetie!!

    Michelle, I know what you mean about the TBR list. I don't even put some books on there anymore. I have such a backlog of books to read.:) Glad you enjoyed the interview too!!

    ReplyDelete

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