Persuasion by Martina Boone
Simon & Schuster/Pulse
Oct. 27, 2015
YA fiction, fantasy, Southern gothic
Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!
I am originally from Prague in the Czech Republic, but we escaped when it was still a communist country and settled here in the United States. Coming from a country where free speech wasn’t an option, it makes me really value our ability to write about all the issues and things that are important to us.
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
Compulsion and the world of Watson Island came from an adult short story that I wrote. I loved the characters and the setting so much that I couldn’t stop thinking about them. Then I had a dream about a ball of fire floating through the woods at midnight and setting a river on fire. I had to find out what that meant and why it was happening, and that’s the story question of the entire Heirs of Watson Island trilogy.
Compulsion is a romantic Southern Gothic, which basically means it has a romance, a mystery, a coming of age story about a girl trying to find herself and a new family, and some questions about social issues in the South framed within some paranormal elements.
How do you create your characters?
My books tend to be equally plot and character based, so the process of character creation is organic. I have a worksheet that I use for brainstorming, but the characters usually end up deviating from anything I’d planned. They develop their own voices and characteristics, and end up surprising me all the time. That makes plotting a bit of a challenge, but it’s a lot of fun trying to keep up. : )
What inspires and what got your started in writing?
My daughter has a learning disability that kept her from enjoying reading for fun, but that changed when she discovered YA paranormal and dystopian young adult novels. We went to the bookstore and came away with armloads of books that we read together, and by the time we had read them, she was a reader and I wanted to write a young adult novel myself.
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)
Honestly, I work such long hours that I do most of my writing on the couch. I have an office with a big desk and a comfy chair and all my bookshelves, etc., but I like being part of the family. Even when there’s no one else at home, it’s nice to feel like I’m in the heart of the house instead of locked away by myself.
How do you get your ideas for writing?
My problem is that I have too many ideas. I love to Google anything that makes me curious, and the next thing I know, I’ve followed a bunch of links and found even more questions I want to learn about. Any one of them could become an idea. I keep a running list, and I’ll eventually sort through and decide which one is the most exciting.
What do you like to read?
I read everything, but my favorite books are the ones that aren’t easily classified. Books like The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, and The Scorpio Races or The Raven Cycle books by Maggie Stiefvater have all the elements I adore: intricacy, beautiful writing, character and plot in equal measure, a bit of magic and mythology.
What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?
Write the stories that could only come from you, and write them in a way that makes you excited about writing and reading. Ultimately, you have to love your characters and your book enough to spend countless drafts with them, so take the time to learn your craft so you can do them justice.