This is the second in my series of interviews with authors of young adult novels. Many thanks to Catharine Bramkamp for sharing her wisdom and her exciting novel, Future Girls, with us.
Tell us a little about your novel, Future Girls.
Future Girls is about the dystopic future in California, 2145.
On October 10, 2145: eighteen-year-old Charity Northquest’s whole future is ahead of her–and the future sucks.
On October 11, 2145: she unexpectedly has a chance to fix it.
When her best friend Mirabella is reported killed, but then re-appears the next day as an old woman, everything Charity has been taught is called into question. Even if she does not believe in time travel, she has little choice. So the ill-prepared Charity travels back to the mysterious and captivating 21st century where her single purpose of changing the future fades with the increasingly more urgent question of whether she can survive the past.
What things in your life do you think led to your success as a writer?
Unrepentant curiosity and a voracious reading habit. I channeled most of my curiosity into academics, which helps. Oh, and picking up two English degrees helped convince my parents that I wasn’t wasting my time reading. I have a broad sense of curiosity now which is helped by all the curious people I associate with. Curiosity can manifest as my husband dragging me a few more yards on a hike just to see what’s around the corner, to a friend quizzing our waitress about her career goals. Most writers are readers – certifiable, difficult readers, in that we don’t care if the house is on fire, we are still in our book. My husband plans to carve “Go Away, I’m almost finished with my book” into my tomb stone. I can’t blame him. My favorite thing to do is disappear for hours into the well crafted world of a novel. My second favorite thing to do is disappear into my own fictional world.
How do you get the characters out of your head and onto the page without losing what makes them so interesting in your imagination?
My characters talk to me. They sometimes appear fully formed, like the heroine of the Real Estate Diva Mysteries. That character, Allison Little, did not stop talking for five books. She had to be satisfied that her story was told, completely, and she would NOT shut up until the fifth book was written to her satisfaction. Charity, the heroine of Future Girls, didn’t talk so much as appear, and it wasn’t until I finished the second Future Girls book – Future Gold – that Charity returned and demanded the rest of her story be told. And I am obliging her. She appears in Future Run, the third Future Girls book. So there they are, my bossy characters. The trick, or technique to keeping true to your characters and your imagination is to not discuss the characters out loud. I don’t share ideas with my friends (who are busy quizzing waitresses) or family (who are busy making me hike farther than I want). I write every morning before the day can distract me. In that quiet, I write down what my characters have to say.
You also write beautiful poetry. Do you prefer writing one or the other?
Thank you for that!
The poetry and prose balance each other out. So when I’m burned out writing prose, I turn to poetry. When I have more to say than can fit into a poem, I turn back to prose.
My first publication successes were with poetry. And I continue to work on the form. I am a binge writer. I work on a new novel during NaNoWriMo and then I write poetry like a mad woman in April, National Poetry Month (I write a poem a day for 30 days, some poems are good, most are bad). It’s “easy” to write the first draft for both poetry and prose, then editing and scrutiny is applied. The second and third drafts are the most difficult.
Where can we find your novel and other writings?
Most of my work is on Amazon. The first book in Allison Little adventures is Death Revokes the Offer. The first Future Girls book is, yes, Future Girls. My poetry collection is Ammonia Sunrise.
The whole list of books can be found on my web site: http://www.YourBookStartsHere.com
And if you’re interested in writing and writing advice, listen to my podcast, Newbie Writers Podcast (iTunes)- we interview writers, poets and agents. My parter is a cranky Aussie, it’s quite fun.