Monday, 1 October 2012

Interview with Liz DeJesus

Happy Monday, everyone! Today we're talking with author Liz DeJesus about her book FIRST FROST.

Welcome to We Do Write, Liz. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I'm an author as well as a stay at home mom to two beautiful little boys. I'm the author of Nina, The Jackets, and First Frost.

How long have you been writing?

I like to think I've been writing my whole life, but I try to imagine myself holding a pencil as a one year old and while adorable...not possible. LOL. I actually started taking it seriously when I was 12 years old. I wanted to be a novelist like my mom (who is still unpublished but hoping to change that soon) and I started writing short stories about rat pirates, brothers that turned into dragons, and a thief that stole a diamond (I actually bound it myself, designed the cover and my mom still has this somewhere...I think she's planning on blackmailing me with it in the future.) And then when I was 13 years old I got really into poetry because I wanted to impress my boyfriend, turned out I was actually pretty good at it so I stuck with it. When I was 18, I decided to go back to writing novels and short stories. Not saying my poetry days are over, but I'd rather write a novel.

Tell us about First Frost. What’s the story about?

Here's the official blurb:

For generations, the Frost family has run the Museum of Magical and Rare Artifacts, handing down guardianship from mother to daughter, always keeping their secrets to “family only.”

Gathered within museum’s walls is a collection dedicated to the Grimm fairy tales and to the rare items the family has acquired: Cinderella’s glass slipper, Snow White’s poisoned apple, the evil queen’s magic mirror, Sleeping Beauty’s enchanted spinning wheel…

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Frost wants none of it, dreaming instead of a career in art or photography or…well, anything except working in the family’s museum. She knows the items in the glass display cases are fakes because, of course, magic doesn’t really exist.

She’s about to find out how wrong she is

How did the idea of the story come to you?

I was watching a commercial for a local children’s museum while feeding my son his bottle and I remember thinking ‘Why don’t they have themed museums? Like a pirate museum or a fairy tale museum. Hmm, how would that work? I guess they could get fake items and get kids to think they’re real.’ And then it sort of took off from there. It was almost like being struck by lightning once I got to thinking about it. I was still holding my son in my arms and my notebook was on the other end of the couch. LOL I was so desperate to get to it but I didn’t want to interrupt my son’s feeding. Anyway, I managed to grab my notebook and I jotted down a few ideas. It sort of wrote itself once I had the pen in my hand.

Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?

I have a couple of beta readers but I don't use them that often. I tried a critique group in the past and it just didn't work out for me. My experience wasn't exactly the most positive one, I had a few people in that group criticized my work instead of offering helpful I quit the group. The only good thing that came out of that experience was that I met my best friend Shannon.

Anyway going back to the original question, most of the time I self edit.

Are you a planner or a pantser?

Pantser all the way. :-D My characters take over and I'm just along for the ride.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

Finding time. Right now, between raising my two boys, driving them to school, taking care of the house, picking up my nephews from school three days a week, and everything else, it's very hard for me to find a moment to myself. Trust me, it's a miracle I managed to write a novel in a year with everything going on in my life. But thankfully, I have a very supportive husband who lets me get out of the house every once in a while to write.

What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

My notebook and my pen. I take it with me EVERYWHERE. I'm also a huge fan of the Sharpie pens, especially the orange one. It's like putting Vitamin C into my story. :)

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

Super speed. That way I can get all the cleaning out of the way and just focus all of my attention on my projects.

What's the weirdest thing you've googled?

Girl made out of flowers. It's strange, isn't it? I had a dream a few months ago about a girl that was made out of rose petals, leaves and pollen. I did a little research and it turned out that her name is Blodeuwedd. What's funny is that I've never read any Welsh fairy tales and I've never even heard her name before. Safe to say that I will use her in my next book.

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: titanium, plastic, and groovy.

Jon used a plastic knife to pry his tool box open; he needed the titanium wrench that was inside. He liked to call his wrench was a long story.  

Finish this sentence: If I'm not writing, I'm probably ... 

playing Angry Birds with my son or reading on my Nook Color.

Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.

I want to thank my parents, my brothers, my best friend Shannon Connor Winward (amazing author check her out), Shonell Bacon (editor and writer extraoirdinaire), Dominique Eastwick, Meredith Macleod, Kathy Calore Teel, and Shelley Halima.

And finally, where can people find you and your books online?

First Frost

The Jackets


Night Gypsy: Journey Into Darkness (Anthology)


S.A. Larsenッ said...

It was great to meet you, Liz. I love the premise of your book. It sounds wonderful!

Liz DeJesus said...

@SA Larsen:

Hi! It's great to meet you as well. I enjoyed every moment of writing First Frost. Bianca is such an amazing character to write for that she makes it incredibly easy for me. I just finished the second book in the series and I already started working on the third book. Hoping it will be an ongoing series. :D

Sloane Taylor said...

Good interview, Liz. First Frost is an excellent book. I wish you much success.:)

Liz DeJesus said...

:D Thanks Sloane!

Lydia Sharp said...

Fabulous interview, Liz!

Liz DeJesus said...

:) Thanks Lydia! :D

Liz DeJesus said...

Also wanted to take a moment to thank Dorothy Dreyer for setting this up for me. I appreciate all the time she took to ask the questions and formatting the blog so everything looked just right. *hugs* Thanks Dorothy! :D