Friday, July 15, 2011

The TORN Giveaway!

I am very excited to welcome Erica O'Rourke to YA Fresh, to talk about her writing and her debut novel, and to offer up a copy of the book (plus other TORN goodies) to one lucky commenter!

As a little backstory, a summer ago, while I was attending the Romance Writers of America conference in Orlando, Florida, I had the pleasure of meeting Erica, whose manuscript, TORN was a finalist for the YA Golden Heart award. Not only did Erica go on to win (and to deliver a delightful and poised speech) but she also sold the book...well, I'll let HER tell you that part!

Hello, Erica, thanks for visiting with us! Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

Erica: I’ve always been a huge fan of young adult literature -- when I taught junior high and high school, I always had a classroom library of books available for my students to read. I tended to go for fantasy and science fiction, but I tried to stock a variety of genres. When I started writing seriously, it seemed like a natural fit.

My first sale was fairly atypical. I was lucky enough to be named a Golden Heart finalist, and one of the final round judges asked to see my full manuscript. A month later, she called and made an offer, and I quickly followed up with an agent who had my partial. She read the full over the weekend, offered representation, and handled everything from there. One year later (363 days, to be exact) Kensington published my first book as part of their new KTeen imprint. I’m still a little dazed, honestly.

Readers and writers often like to get a behind the scenes peek of an author's writing routine. It would be great if you could please share your typical writing day schedule.

Erica: It’s summer vacation right now, which has thrown a wrench into things. But my typical schedule involves sending my kids off to school, including the baby. (At almost-three, she’s not actually a baby anymore, but she will always be MY baby.) Once they’ve all been dropped off, I sit down with the first of many cups of coffee and check email and twitter and my favorite blogs. The internet is a hugely addictive timesuck for me, so I try to limit myself to half an hour. Then I turn on MacFreedom, which blocks my internet access, and get down to the day’s writing or revising. There’s a lot of pacing and talking to myself and reciting dialogue out loud. It’s much easier to do this when no one else is home, I’ve found.

At some point, I take a shower, grab something easy for lunch, and get back online to check email. I’ll also return phone calls and make a half-hearted attempt to clean the house or do laundry. I drink more coffee, panic that the kids will be home so soon, and try to eke out another page or two.

Once my kids are home, there’s no point in trying to get work done, so I do mom stuff until the oldest one is in bed. My husband and I will watch The Daily Show and try to have a bit of grownup conversation, and then I go back to work, usually until about 1 am. I read for a little bit, think of a brilliant line for my story, tell myself it’s so brilliant, I will definitely remember it in the morning, and fall asleep.

Please tell us about your novel, TORN, and what we can expect from your characters.

Erica: TORN is the first of a trilogy about Mo Fitzgerald, who wants to avenge her best friend’s murder. Mo’s family is rumored to be connected to the Chicago Mob, and that her friend’s death is related. But she discovers her friend was fated to fulfill a magical prophecy, and in order to get justice, she’ll have to take over her friend’s destiny, despite having no powers of her own. At the same time, she inadvertently becomes a pawn in a Mob war.

Both worlds are dangerous, and both have cute boys -- Luc is a mysterious Southerner who knows more about the magical world than he’s telling, and Colin is the bodyguard Mo’s uncle hires to keep her safe. And ultimately, Mo has to choose which life she wants -- the one she’s fated for or the one she’s always wanted.

What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.

Erica: I just turned in the edits on TORN’s sequel, TANGLED, and now I’m working on the last book of the trilogy, BOUND, which will be released sometime in the fall of next year. Mo continues her dealings with both the magical world and the Mob, and copes with the fallout of her actions in TORN. There’s this notion that the truth will set you free, but in Mo’s case, the truth has a tendency to complicate things.

Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Erica: Revise. Revise, revise, revise. I firmly believe the best books are the product of a critical eye and a willingness to dig deeper. And I also think how you go about revising is entirely a matter of personal preference -- there are many roads to Oz, after all.

I know a lot of immensely successful writers who write a scene and then revise it before moving to the next one, and by the time they type “The End,” they’ve got a polished manuscript. And I know a lot of immensely successful writers who lay down an entire draft, start to finish, and then go back and take another pass. Both styles work -- neither one is superior to the other.

The one type of immensely successful writer I’ve NEVER met is the one who says, “I never revise. My books are so good I don’t need to.” Maybe that’s just coincidence, but I kind of doubt it.

LOL, well said, Erica!

And now on to our readers. In order to be entered in our random giveaway of a copy of TORN (plus swag, including a link to hidden content on her website!), all you need to do is leave a comment below, telling us either WHY you want to read it...or your favorite place to read. Or both!

Thanks again to Erica for joining us!

28 fresh comments:

Bee said...

Mob wars and magic? Wow. That's all that I would need to get me to read it.

Favourite place to read? On the bed.

April X said...

I've heard good things about this book and want to read it for myself :) My favorite place to read is in my closet or on my bed lol

Llehn said...

My fav place to read is in bed :D


TinaFerraro said...

I can't wait to read this one, too, and want to add that while I love reading in my bed, my favorite place to read is on our old couch that we've moved out to our family room. The cats have been known to use the bottom as a scratching post, but it is still super-comfy and I love how the light streams in the window onto the pages!

Kelly (Lynn) Parra said...

TORN sounds awesome Erica!! Thanks so much for visiting with us on YAF and for the excellent giveaway!!

1110cg said...

It sounds amazing and unique, my fav place to read is anywhere private

Yan said...

I can read pretty much any where I can sit down. but I love reading in bed.


Sydney said...

Magic and the Mob? I am intrigued. Maybe it will help fill my reading void. I haven't found a book that interests me in a while.

My favorite place to read is usually my bed, but if I can find a small hideaway (like the corner in the Victorian literature on my school's campus) I will sit there to read.

Katie W said...

I love fantasy, Chicago, & ordinary people having do to the extraordinary, Torn seems to hit all of those categories. As for a favorite place to read, on my couch just before I go to sleep.

Janie Emaus said...

This sounds like a great book. I'd like to read it sitting the sand at the beach, listening to the seagulls and the waves.

Aydrea said...

I want to read TORN because I don't think I have read a book about the mob, so I am definitely interested. I don't really have a favorite place to read, as long as no one bothers me I am all good!

Thanks for the giveaway!

Jennifer McAndrews said...

hmm...can I say that my favorite place to read is on a beach with an umbrella drink close by? Even if I've only ever been able to do that once? oh, well. okay then. My favorite place to read is anywhere quiet -- bubble bath is excellent for this.
Best of luck with TORN, Erica!!!

Lee723 said...

I've read some early reviews that were really encouraging. I'm excited to read!

Fav place to read would be my bed. lol. Or in the car.


Vanessa Barneveld said...

Waving madly at Erica and Tina!

Erica, I'm reading TORN right now. I'm absolutely in love with your work!

My internet habit is costing me dearly in so many ways, so I'm taking a stand and downloading MacFreedom as we speak. :)

Sara M said...

My favorite place to read is our comfy couch in the living room.

Sara M
sara_UFblog [at] yahoo [dot] com

MD said...

My favorite place to read is on a lounge chair at my neighborhood pool!

Ginger said...

I'm in the second half of TORN and its wonderful. Love Mo's voice and can't wait for the next two.

I will read anywhere but probably my favorite is on a deck looking out on a lake. I can stay there for hours if my kids will let me. :-)


Shelley Koon said...

Torn sounds like a refreshing departure from the more mainstream story lines these days, so I am definitely intrigued and looking forward tor reading it. I am also making a point to read a many debut authors as possible right no - so much going on int the world of YA - I don't want to miss any of it!

I work full time, freelance and write so my usual place to read is snuggled under the covers where i can sneak away form the work and get lost in the worlds created by others!

Anonymous said...

Hey, guys! First, a huge thank you to Tina and Kelly for having me here today -- it was a treat!

If I had to choose, my favorite place to read would be in bed, with the A/C cranked and lots of blankets. Sadly, my husband does not approve of keeping the house that cold, so I don't get to do it as often as I'd like.

Thank you all for your kind words about TORN, too. It's incredibly gratifying. The winner of the drawing, by the way, is MD! If you can send me your address at erica AT ericaorourke DOT com, I will pop your book and swag into the mail ASAP.

And now I'm going to go back and work on book three a little bit more. Thanks again for such an amazing welcome, everyone!

Mrs. Obie said...

This looks so good! My favorite place to read is in my classroom with my middle school students.

brendajean said...

I'd love to read a book about the mob! (I think.)
My fave place in the world is the hammock:)

nat said...

I would love to read it because its got magic, cute guys and even the mob!!! It sounds so good. My favorite place to read is my squishy chair in my room! I shut the door and try to read. I have 4 boys so it is hard!!


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