Monday, April 18, 2011

INTERVIEW: AIMEE CARTER (The Goddess Test)


AIMEE CARTER

After reading The Goddess Test, I had the opportunity to interview with the books lovely author, Aimee Carter.
I also opened up the questions to our blog followers and we had some great questions. Thanks to all those who emailed or commented their questions. Unfortunately I couldnt include all of them...but I did choose a few.

I'd like to welcome to our blog........
AIMEE CARTER!

MARISSA      
  If you were to be a greek god (male or female) who would most represent your personality?

AIMEE
 Athena, definitely, though I have a hint of Artemis in me too. Among other things, Athena is the goddess of wisdom, strategy, justice, and crafts, and that's right up my alley. As for Artemis, I'm a bit of a daddy's girl. And I love animals.


MARISSA
Masked, your next trilogy, is possibly set for release in 2013, making it about 5 years after it was written.   How challenging was it to swap writing from The Goddess Test…to Masked and then back to Goddess Interrupted? With The Goddess Test and Masked sounding worlds apart. 

AIMEE
It was a challenge for sure! I'm used to switching worlds from one book to the next, especially since when I began Masked, it was under the impression that The Goddess Test wouldn't sell. However, lo and behold, it did, and by that time I was done with Masked. The hardest part about it was reentering Kate's world and continuing with the sequel - and it was even harder to do for the third book, since I'd written new material outside of that world in between as well. If I had to do it over, I would almost definitely want to write each one back to back, just to keep the flow going. But on the other hand, writing other stuff between gave me a chance to step back and really see the story with fresh eyes. I saw possibilities I hadn't noticed before, and it gave me an opportunity to work in myths that wouldn't have otherwise made it into the story.

But The Goddess Test and Masked are quite possibly two of the most different books I've ever written, and that definitely made things interesting. If anything, in the end, it forced me to learn and grow even more as a writer, and hopefully the subsequent books will be better for it.

MARISSA
Without giving anything away (!!), the ending to The Goddess Test left me running scenes and scenarios through my head for a while – I love it when a book does that!  I just love the fact that we could possibly be picking sides in Goddess Interrupted. So……..any slight chance you can give us a sneak peak/snippet/awesome quote from Goddess Interrupted? (my fingers are tightly crossed!)

AIMEE
Oh, thank you so much!! I'm so thrilled you enjoyed it. It always makes my day to hear that. :) I would LOVE to hear what you think is going to happen in the next book! As much as I'd like to give you a sneak peek into Goddess Interrupted, I think my publisher might string me up by my toes if I did so. However, I will say that the sequel, like the first book, starts with a prologue. There are three characters present - one familiar, two new, and it definitely sets up the rest of the series. In a lot of ways, the sequel differs from the first book, since Kate's struggle with the tests is resolved, and her goal throughout the second is different from the first.
 

MARISSA
For those that are heading into the world of writing and being published…….can you enlighten us as to the process you went through and how emotional (or not) the journey was for you to get to where you are today?

AIMEE
I've been working toward publication since I was fifteen, and it has definitely been a rocky journey. I attended several writing conferences and workshops when I was younger, meeting with agents and editors and attending sessions specifically designed to teach you about the business. Most of this information is available in writing books, for those who want to save on the cost, but there is nothing like attending a conference. The atmosphere, the people - it's fantastic, and I would highly recommend it.

When I was eighteen, I was lucky enough to be signed by an agent, but unfortunately something happened that was out of her control, and the deal fell through. At the time, given the circumstances, it was extremely scarring, and I wound up not querying agents for several years. Finally, however, in my early twenties, I wrote The Goddess Test and queried agents. Funny story there - I sent out two rounds of query letters with nothing changed between them except the title. The first had Persephone as the working title, while the second had The Goddess Test. The first batch, I received zero requests. The second, I had over seventy percent of the agents request additional material. So when someone tells you that the title doesn't matter, it might not always, but sometimes it makes a huge difference. Thankfully my agent, the magical Rosemary Stimola, was part of the second batch, and less than a month after I sent out the initial query letters, she offered representation.

After that, The Goddess Test was on submission for close to a year before Harlequin Teen bought it. Let me tell you, querying agents was hard, but submitting to editors was beyond emotional. At one point I was sure it would never sell and wrote Masked instead, intending on that being my debut novel, and I feel extremely fortunate that Harlequin Teen came across The Goddess Test and decided it was worth a try. I wound up rewriting a very large portion of it after it sold, and I think it's head and shoulders above where it was when I first began to query agents.

The publication process is different for everyone, and it really is so emotionally difficult. The rejection is hard, and you need a thick skin to get through it. It isn't personal for the agents and editors saying thanks but no thanks, but it feels personal, and that makes it tough to deal with no matter how experienced a writer you are.


With the great amount hype and interest in the blogging world surrounding The Goddess Test, I gave our followers the opportunity to contribute to this interview.  After answering the questions, I would love it if you could please pick the best fan question from below.  The winner receives a special handmade The Goddess Test bookmark by our dear friend Suzi (it will be absolutely gorgeous). 

So here goes………

Cass (Words on Paper) asks:
I'm always wondering with authors who have written series, especially with their debuts: Why did you decide to write a series?  

AIMEE
Strangely enough, The Goddess Test was originally supposed to be a standalone novel. And it works as one too, I think. But once I finished it, I realized there was more story to tell, so I outlined the next few books and discovered I wanted to write a trilogy. Out of two dozen stories I've written, this was only the second that lent itself to becoming a trilogy, so it's definitely not typical for me, despite Masked being the first in a trilogy as well. This was also one of the first non-contemporary stories I'd written, so I have a feeling that had a lot to do with it as well. Fantasy and paranormal, purely through the mechanisms of the genres, have a tendency to wind up as more than one book.

Siobhan Stratton asks: 
What gave you the inspiration to write The Goddess Test? -

AIMEE
I've always loved Greek mythology, especially the myth of Hades and Persephone. The basic idea of The Goddess Test has been rattling around my brain for many, many years, since I first began to write original stories, and I very much wanted to show Hades' side of the myth. It took a while before I realized that I wanted to do a sequel to the original myth as opposed to a retelling, which allowed me a lot more room creatively, and once I came up with the idea for Kate's character and the struggles she faced, I wanted to write it badly. It was the kind of book I wanted to read, and therefore part of me hoped that maybe someone else would want to read it too.

Dayse Dantas asks:
Lately, the internet has been on and on about the YA Mafia. What are your thoughts on THAT? -

AIMEE
I haven't really been keeping up with the chatter about it, so I'm only semi-informed about what's going on. I believe it's the idea that there are a group of YA writers out there who will break your career if you don't enjoy their work? Writers are so busy writing and promoting their books though that I can't imagine one having the time to follow a prospective writer's career because of a single negative review, let alone try to tear it down. I would never, ever do that no matter the circumstances, and I have flat-out never heard of another author doing that either. Besides, I have very little control over my own career (other than write the best books I can), let alone someone else's.



The Story Queen asks:
With all of the negativity surrounding Hades in general, did you intentionally create a more sympathetic character?

AIMEE
In traditional Greek mythology, Hades is actually not a villain, or even a negative character. He's very much neutral. If anything, Hera, Zeus' wife, is the villain in more myths than not, and it's a very modern idea, linking Hades to Satan. As it happens, Hades mostly kept out of the other gods' business, tending to his duties in the Underworld and not bothering with their affairs all too often. He was isolated and quite lonely, but he took his job very seriously and certainly wasn't evil at all. He gets a bad reputation for what happened with Persephone, though he is one of the few gods who remained mostly faithful (not including an incident or two with nymphs), and he did love his wife. It was a different time back then, when women didn't get to choose their husbands, and I'm sure the way we view that particular myth is very different from the way the ancient Greeks did.

In short, Hades was never a bad guy, and part of what I wanted to do when writing The Goddess Test was to show that. It's always bugged me that Hades has been depicted in pop culture as the equivalent of Satan when really, he just wound up with the short straw when he and his brother drew lots for which realm to rule.


The Story Queen also asks!:

I've read that you were writing consistently throughout high school. Do you have any advice for teen writers on how to balance school work and writing? 

AIMEE
School work first, then writing, as tempting as writing might be. School work is going to lead to the career that will support your writing habit, and most writers actually do have a day job. When I was in high school, school work came easily to me, so I wrote all the time - during meals, before bed, whenever I had a chance. It helped that I type very fast, but I also had to sacrifice a lot of social time to make it happen. It was definitely something I was willing to do, but you'll have the rest of your life to write. Give yourself a chance to live as well.

Mostly though, don't follow anyone else's rules. I wrote every day, but that doesn't mean you have to. Do what feels right. There is no secret formula except for hard work and a willingness to grow, and while there is no guaranteed path to success, if you stop trying, you are guaranteed to fail. Just keep trying, and you'll give yourself the best chance you possibly can to get there.


Thanks so much for having me! And as for the best question, I couldn't possibly pick, so a random number generator has chosen The Story Queen's.

CONGRATULATIONS THE STORY QUEEN. You have won a beautiful bookmark of The Goddess Test made by Suzi.  I will be in touch with you shortly.
 On behalf of Novels On The Run, I would like to thank Aimee for taking the time out of her busy schedule to answer our questions.  And I wish you all the best with the launch of The Goddess Test - I know it will be a big hit!  (I'll now go off and write down my suspicions for Goddess Interrupted!!!).

ENJOY!
MARISSA

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