Greetings, Novel Publicity friends!
You’ve been taking my advice about book marketing and publishing for some time now, but it is only today that I can finally call myself a published author! And it feels GREAT.
My debut novel Farsighted is available as an eBook today. The print edition will release on November 24th (which is also my 27th birthday). Novel Publicity is running a tour from 10/24 – 11/25 with over 200 participating blogs, so get ready to see Farsighted everywhere.
To kick off the tour, we’d like to share a bit of info as well as a Q&A with me about my novel. We’re further celebrating by declaring this week Farsighted week on the Novel Publicity blog. Don’t worry, you’re not going to be hit with a sly version of BUY MY BOOK, BUY MY BOOK, BUY MY BOOK. Instead I’ll be sharing a number of posts about my writing journey, and they’re chock-full of advice. Here’s what we have ahead:
- Tuesday. Why being a self-published author is kind of like being a Salem witch
- Wednesday. Why I’m self-publishing Farsighted even though I have a literary agent
- Thursday. 10 things I wish I would’ve known BEFORE writing my first novel
- Friday. Why I write YA: 10 reasons why Young Adult is the genre for me
You can also tune in for a live twitterview with me at 4 PM EDT by following #emlyn on Twitter (the transcript will be posted on the site for those who have to miss it). What’s more, I’m getting interviewed on Page Readers Radio at 12 noon EDT, you won’t want to miss that either!
- Finally, a request before we move onto the Q&A and blog tour info: If you’re a fan of Novel Publicity and have ever enjoyed something you read on the blog or have benefited from a karmic initiative, please consider showing your support by purchasing a copy of Farsighted. Your help in making my debut novel a smashing hit will mean the world to me (and I would love to take out Sookie Stakhouse, the book that is currently #1 in my target category – quite fitting since my campaign slogan is “Vampires are out! Psychics are in!”).
That’s it! Now on with the fun…
ABOUT THE BOOK: Alex Kosmitoras’s life has never been easy. The only other student who will talk to him is the school bully, his parents are dead-broke and insanely overprotective, and to complicate matters even more, he’s blind. Just when he thinks he’ll never have a shot at a normal life, a new girl from India moves into town. Simmi is smart, nice, and actually wants to be friends with Alex. Plus she smells like an Almond Joy bar. Yes, sophomore year might not be so bad after all.
Unfortunately, Alex is in store for another new arrival—an unexpected and often embarrassing ability to “see” the future. Try as he may, Alex is unable to ignore his visions, especially when they begin to suggest that Simmi is in danger. With the help of the mysterious psychic next door and new friends who come bearing gifts of their own, Alex must embark on a journey to change his future.
Q: Why did you choose to incorporate psychic powers intoFarsighted?
A: Everything started with a single image—my face in these tacky oversized sunglasses reflecting out at me from the car’s side mirror. I was daydreaming while my husband drove us across Michigan for my sister’s wedding. Something about my image really struck me in an almost horrific way. I felt the glasses made me look blind but found it so weird that there was still a clear image within them; it seemed so contradictory. At the time, my book club was readingThe Odyssey, which features the blind Theban prophet, Tieresias. I started thinking about what it would be like to have non-visual visions of the future and began forming a modern Tieresias in my mind. Lo and behold, Alex Kosmitoras was born. I didn’t want him to be alone in his psychic subculture, so I found other characters with other powers to keep him company. Thank God for my poor fashion sense. J
Q: What was the research process like for Farsighted?
A: I spent about three months trying to talk myself out of writing Farsighted. It’s too ambitious, my inner critic pointed out. You’ll never get it done, not in the way it deserves to be done, it pressed. But there was another part of me that couldn’t resist; I knew I had to at least try before giving up. I started by reading tons and tons of books—I read about world folklore and superstitions, religions especially Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, and Sikhism, psychic powers, the occult, blindness, and even Nostradamus. I learned how to cast runes and perform a ten-card Celtic Cross Tarot reading. I had nightmares for several weeks, but then they eventually stopped, and I started writing.
Q: Which character do you identify with the most?
A: This is a really tough one for me to answer, because all the characters are so different than I am. I definitely identify with Alex and his desire to be accepted but to also remain independent. His battle between the two sides of himself is another thing I understand very well. In high school, I was also that person on the periphery. I was always different, which was both a challenge and a mark of pride. My favorite character would have to be Shapri; she’s kind of the person I wish I could have been like back then. She’s strong, always true to herself, and won’t let anyone disrespect her. Sure, she has fears, but we all do. Shapri is the kind of girl I would love to be friends with. You know she’ll always go to bat for you when you’re too tired to step up to the plate.
Q: Do you draw from any personal experiences for any of the incidents in the book?
A: Oh, gosh. The only thing I can think of is the multiculturalism. Grandon is based on my hometown; it’s small and kind of boring. I couldn’t wait to escape and move on to bigger and better things. My home town was mostly Caucasian, but somehow I ended up with a very diverse set of friends even though they made up less than 1% of the student body. Fast forward a few years, and I end up marrying a man from India. He’s from New Delhi, like Simmi. I’ve always been fascinated by other cultures; I even decided to pursue my Master’s in Sociology for this very reason. I credit two early life influences for this attraction: 1) My adoration of A.C. Slater in Saved by the Bell, 2) Disney’s Aladdin being the best movie ever.
Q: What part do different cultures play in Farsighted?
A: A huge part. I don’t see why my characters all need to belong to the same culture or ethnicity. What fun is that? Culture shapes our characters in a big way, so by diversifying my cast, I was able to hit on more types of personalities and situations. Simmi, for example, is very polite and reverent. Alex is shaped by his own way of looking at the world too—his blindness. This may not seem like a culture at first glance, but look again. How different would your world be if you couldn’t see it? Another important thing to remember is that Alex has always been blind; he’s always known the world to be a certain way. Not everyone understands that, and they have trouble talking about it with him. I gave Alex a tendency to overcompensate. He knows who he is and what he’s capable of, and he wants the world to know it too, so sometimes he overdoes things a bit.
Q: What motivated you to structure the book around the runes?
A: Remember how I said my Master’s degree is in Sociology? It’s actually Quantitative Sociology. I’m a numbers person as well as a word person. I love things to be organized just so. If you set a stack of papers in front of me; I’m going to fuss with them until they are lined up in a perfect stack. It’s just the way I am. Shaping each chapter around a rune gave the story order, which made me feel happy and comfortable. Whenever I got stuck and didn’t know what should happen next, I was able to learn more about that chapter’s rune and get the inspiration I needed to continue. The runes themselves tell a story, one that is successfully completed. I felt that boded well for Farsighted.
Q: What do you hope readers will take from the book?
A: First and foremost, I hope that readers will enjoy themselves. My primary goal is to tell an interesting story that people will find entertaining and be glad they read. Secondly, I’d like to infuse contemporary Young Adult fiction with a bit more diversity and teach readers about the beauty of other cultures and other ways of life. I also hope that Farsighted is a book that leads to introspection—what would I do if put in Alex’s place? Did Alex ever have a choice or was this path his destiny? What would it be like to see the world the way he sees the world?
Q: Who or what were your greatest influences in writing Farsighted?
A: India is my eternal muse for this and everything I write. Farsighted in particular was heavily influenced by the prophecies of Nostradamus (as you’ll see in the epigraph for part III). I also drew a good deal from Zoroastrianism and its core concept of dualism—all light contains dark, and all dark contains light. Oh, and coffee. I was influenced by the desire to go to the coffee shop and order a gigantic latte with extra chocolate sauce, all in the name of writing.
Q: What can readers expect from the next books in the series?
A: Readers can expect to not know what to expect until the book releases. I’d like to shroud the entire thing in mystery, which feels appropriate for this series. One thing I can tell you is this: a character other than Alex will be narrating book two.
THE BLOG TOUR
THE BOOK: Alex Kosmitoras may be blind, but he can still “see” things others can’t. When his unwanted visions of the future begin to suggest that the girl he likes could be in danger, he has no choice but to take on destiny and demand it reconsider. Get your copy today by visiting Amazon.com’s Kindle store or the eBook retailer of your choice. The paperback edition will be available on November 24 (for the author’s birthday).
THE CASH PRIZES: Guess what? You could win a $100 Amazon gift card as part of this special blog tour. That’s right! Just leave a comment below saying something about the post you just read, and you’ll be entered into the raffle. To increase your chances of winning, visit more blogs. One commenter on one tour blog post will be selected by random.org and win the cash prize!
THE GIVEAWAYS: Win 1 of 10 autographed copies of Farsighted before its paperback release by entering the giveaway on GoodReads. Perhaps you’d like an autographed postcard from the author; you can request one on her site.
THE AUTHOR: Emlyn Chand has always loved to hear and tell stories, having emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true story). When she’s not writing, she runs a large book club in Ann Arbor and is the president of author PR firm, Novel Publicity. Emlyn loves to connect with readers and is available throughout the social media interweb. Visitwww.emlynchand.com for more info. Don’t forget to say “hi” to her sun conure Ducky!