Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Get to know April Lynn Newell | Author Interview

Readers, join me in welcoming April to the blog today! April, tell us a little bit about yourself…
I have been writing ever since I can remember. However, it was my fourth grade teacher who gave me the encouragement I needed to believe in myself as a writer. From that point on, I was a writer.

I am a proud resident of Texas and live in the burbs with my husband, John, and daughters, Emalyn and Olivia. I can't get enough of pizza and hummus. I like nature walks, reading and binge watching TV shows. I owe all to my Jesus and love serving Him through my passions and talents.

Um, YUM, now I want pizza and hummus. Haha. So let’s talk about how you got into writing… I have always loved writing and after the encouragement of my 4th grade teacher and family, I have continued on the literary path. God has blessed me with a passion for not just writing but sharing truth. Thus, I went to school for a journalism degree. I now publish my own magazine but more creatively I write for young adult fantasy fiction lovers! My novel (part 1 in a trilogy) illustrates my desire for all our talents to reflect the Father and the great things He has done for us. That's why I write. Not just to entertain but to challenge, to share hope, to highlight truth in the midst of life.

Oh wow! You publish your own magazine that’s great!
Journalism, poetry, fiction. I love it all and have done it all. I am excited to begin my career as a novelist with The Reconciling: Part I of the Overcome Trilogy.

Fantastic! Let’s talk more about your book then…
The Reconciling is about Chrissi Camden who finds herself on a mysterious and spontaneous journey to the ancient King Roi (raw-ee) who may be able to lift her life-long and deadly curse. Unfortunately, the king calls her on this journey with not just her best friend, the intelligent Phil, but her archenemy, Lesia, and the rebel of their school, Kesil. Together, the four make their way on a journey they never anticipated in a land much, much different than home, where a supernatural war takes place before their very eyes.

As they fight strange and terrifying creatures, pass through eerie places and over treacherous terrain this unique crew learns more than they bargained for.

Sounds thrilling! What sparked the idea for the book?
I began writing this book several years ago in an effort to add some light and hope to my favorite genre - Young Adult Fantasy. As I perused my favorite genre aisle at Barnes and Noble I noticed how much darkness was increasing there. Almost every book cover was black! I yearned for a story was honest but hopeful, tired of the gritty and over-dramatic tales that populate the teen fiction section. As I prayed about my passion of writing, God laid Chrissi's story on my heart and I've been on a journey of my own ever since.

I’ve noticed that too. That’s fantastic that you saw that and wanted to do something about it! So, what about these characters then? Do you have a favorite?
While my work began with Chrissi's story, my favorite character is actually Kesil Pike. He's a lonely rebel, an instigator, a deep-thinker, a wayward soul. I identify so much with Kesil's doubts and questions, I think we probably all do even if it isn't to the extent that he struggles. That's what I hope for each of my characters, that each one has a little bit of all of us. I can honestly identify with them all because I strive to show honest struggles of the Christian walk, trials we have or will probably come across along the way with Christ as the enemy tries to divide our hearts.

Amazing! That’s so great. I often ask authors if they have a verse that either impacted the book they wrote or was significant to them during the time they wrote. Do you have one you’d like to share?
Revelation 2:11 came up again and again as I worked on The Reconciling, "He who overcomes shall not be harmed by the second death." We can overcome through the blood of Christ and as the trials come and end draws near we will not be harmed! How hopeful and challenging a verse! Challenging to stick with the Spirit over the flesh and hopeful with the promise that we will not be harmed.

I hope readers take away that truth, that although we WILL suffer trials, there is always hope. My characters have trials that are intensified as they see the spiritual war take place before them and in them on a different plane BUT the fact is that war takes place around us everyday. As darkness clouds our entertainment industry, hope will prevail and always be available to overcome.

What a great take away! I love that :D So, let’s talk a little bit about writing. Do you have a piece of advice you’d give aspiring writers?
Read! If you want to be a writer, read. Read different genres. Read non-fiction and fiction. Reading will help hone your skills and decide what you like and don't like. As you read you will develop your own style and voice. Lots of authors also love to connect with their readers. Join their Facebook groups, e-mail them questions, connect with others who have gone before you and are successful at their craft.

Yes, I totally agree. So, when you sit down to write, what does that look like for you?
My writing process first involves prayer. I ask for inspiration. I give the project to God. Then I sit down and answer bio questions about my characters. I get to know them, what motivates them, what they like and don't like. Then I work on my plot and the ebb and flow of the big events. I write these into a chart of sorts. Then I write in all the details. After getting a rough draft done I read through it and add even more details. Then I read through it again (yep) and make some edits, maybe add more if it comes to me. Once I feel like I have a good first draft ready I send it to editors/proofreaders. Then I make those changes advised by them. Whew!

That’s so important – it’s easy to forget that God is in control of it all! Okay, down to the nitty-gritty—what’s your least favorite part of writing?
My least favorite part of the writing process is writing when I don't feel like it. I make my deadlines and try to stick to them (even with 2 kiddos at home). That means that sometimes I have to write when I feel uninspired and tired. But sometimes my best work comes in those moments! My favorite part of writing is when I do feel inspired and all these little connections in the plot come together. I often feel energized and excited after those writing sessions!

I’ve had to learn that with my ghostwriting as well. Writing when you don't “want” to is so challenging isn’t it? How long did it take you to become published?
I started writing The Reconciling about six years before I finally finished and published it! Fear not, book two will not take that long. Now that I know the plot for the whole series it's just a matter of writing it.

What are some things you do to grow as a writer?
I read. I write. I write when I don't want to and I read when I don't want to. That really stretches me. Reading a new genre or something I didn't think I would like also stretches me artistically!

How do you balance life and writing? Any tips you can share with us?
Ha! That balance changes daily with me. I have two kids under 2 years old right now so there are many days I don't get to write. Some days I can get a lot done. It just depends. But God and family come first. If I feel out of whack, negative, depressed or lonely I know something is up and out of balance. It's usually that I haven't spent time in the Word.

Are you able to listen to music when you write?
I love listening to adventure/action movie scores while I write. I also like listening to strong female artists.

Oh yeah I love listening to movie scores too! Care to share a playlist?
You can view my Spotify writing playlist here: https://open.spotify.com/user/1266381831/playlist/1FQBwYjAf0mUNceFMFoEy1

Love it! I use Spotify for playlists as well. Any final thoughts for those out there for aspiring writers?
Do your research and connect with other authors. There are plenty of groups on Facebook and blogs where you can connect with others who can give you learned advice and encouragement!

Thank you for those great suggestions! Now to the fun stuff – SNACKS! Do you have a favorite when you’re writing?
My favorite snack while writing is definitely chocolate. It's my favorite snack anytime. Is that a snack? Or dessert? I don't care! :-)

All right, then what is your favorite dessert then?
My favorite dessert happens to be a pie! It's chocolate cream/silk pie! Yum! I'm a chocolate fiend if you haven't noticed!

Lastly, care to share what you’re reading right now?
I am currently reading an advanced copy of Mandy Fender's Sparrow from her Defier series. It is a FANTASTIC series so far and I highly recommend it for any YA fans.

I’ve had Mandy here on the blog – how fun! And thank you so much for being my guest today. Love this fun interview with you :D

Readers, go connect with April:
Purchase: The Reconciling (*Note: The Reconciling eBook is on SALE for $0.99 for the month of August! Make sure you take advantage!)
Website: www.emboldenzine.com
Blog: newellnovels.wordpress.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14582511.April_Lynn_Newell
Facebook: www.facebook.com/newellnovels
Twitter: www.twitter.com/april_newell 
Shop: http://www.redbubble.com/people/newellnovels/works/21746949-the-reconciling-cover-swag?grid_pos=3&p=t-shirt

Don't forget to enter to win a copy of The Reconciling below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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