Welcome to the next stop on the Dawn of Angels blog tour! Get to know the authors, Vivienne Malynn and Sean Kade, and make sure you enter the AMAZING giveaway for a $20 Amazon gift card, 15 of 2011’s must-read books, a Kindle, a paperback copy of Candlewax by C. Bailey Sims, 25 different signed bookmarks, a Vera Bradley Pink Cupcakes bag, a diamond candle, and secret prizes!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
We are the parents of five lively children, and live in a rural suburb surrounded by eagles and coyotes. We spend our free time reading, writing, and playing make-believe with our children. In our not so free time, we teach.
What do you do when you are not writing?
SEAN: Think about writing. Okay, maybe there is a little bit of time in there that I spend with my family. Then I write about it.
VIVIENNE: I home-school our five children and do a lot of public speaking.
When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
We started actually writing books nearly six years ago. The first book took two years, off and on, to complete. Needless to say the first book is the most difficult because you are still getting the process down and there is still a bit of trepidation. It’s hard to convince yourself that you should even be writing a book.
How did you choose the genre you write in?
SEAN: The story came first. It just happened to fit in the genre of YA Paranormal Romance. That is the beauty of independent publishing; you don’t have to stay in the artificial boundaries the publishers set. It allows for more genuine creativity. YA is also Vivienne’s favorite genre, which leads us to write more towards that audience.
Where do you get your ideas?
SEAN: Wikipedia, books on the paranormal, websites on conspiracy theories and the National Enquirer. The stranger the better. It’s hard not to read them and get some story ideas.
VIVIENNE: I get I ideas from reading other books, and people watching.
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
SEAN: All the time. But you push through it. If you want to live off your writing, you can’t afford writer’s block.
VIVIENNE: Absolutely. That’s when I look to Sean for answers.
Do you work with an outline, or just write?
SEAN: It depends on the book and the part of the book. I usually have a general outline of the story. I try not to make it too detailed, unless it is required. In some parts of a book I make it more detailed if there is need of a specific timeline. For instance, I wrote a book where there were multiple viewpoints of characters interacting at specific times. It required a more detailed outline to get it consistent.
VIVIENNE: This is where we differ. I like a well thought out and outlined story. It helps me know where I am going and leaves less room for writer’s block.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
Considering we published on Amazon Kindle, the biggest issue was getting the format right. It was quite the learning process and we are still working on it to make it the very best it can be. The cover is also difficult when you are doing everything yourself. We wanted all of the covers in the series to fit together but that takes a lot of planning. Plus, YA romance books usually have a cover with a young beautiful girl but without the perfect model, and the perfect camera in the perfect place, we had to go with an abstract cover instead.
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of Dawn of Angels or getting it published that you would change?
When it comes to the story and the book, we really put our best into writing it, so there is probably not anything we would change in that regard. The one thing we would have changed is we would have found the time to write it four years ago when we had the idea before angels were even popular.
How did you come up with your characters, Kyra, Ashur, and Ethan?
Kyra was probably the first character we looked at. We wanted a strong, no nonsense female lead. We were sick of the needy girls who just wait to be rescued that are often portrayed in teen romances. We wanted a girl with confidence and some degree of self-respect who played a major role in the resolution of the conflict. We also wanted her to be someone with depth, not your simple teenage girl whose only concern is which hunk she should date. We wanted real world problems. A person whose character is measured by how they face the challenges in their life.
Ashur was much more difficult. We didn’t want him to be too perfect because he would become too much of a cardboard cutout with no real depth. But he is an angel and is in a lot of respects completely innocent. So we stuck a lot of moral dilemmas to bring his character out. The very fact that he went against angelic law to fall for Kyra shows a deeper initiative than just following orders.
We did not want Ethan overshadowing the romance between Ashur and Kyra, at least not yet. We kept him mysterious. There is a hint of depth to him, thought it wasn’t explored in Dawn of Angels. Wait for the next book to uncover more of Ethan’s back-story. He’s an interesting character in his own right, but we don’t want to give away too much.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write in Dawn of Angels and why?
SEAN: I really liked writing the scenes with the shop keeper. I really liked the character. For those who have read the book and know who the shop keeper is, plan on seeing him pop up (if you know what I mean) throughout the entire series.
VIVIENNE: Being the hopeless romantic that I am, I loved the romance scenes. Ashur is such a great guy and the thought of him watching over Kyra her whole life and gradually falling in love with her as she overcomes one obstacle after another gives me goose bumps. He loved her way before he ever fell from heaven.
How did you come up with the title?
Four years ago when we came up with the story, we had planned on the name The Fallen. However, before we could get the book finished, the angel book market exploded and the title was taken, more than once. We struggled for awhile to figure out a name, but as we wrote the book we noticed the theme of dawn coming up over and over again. The back story talks a lot about the aeons or first generation angels and their history. It seemed to just fit that the title should be Dawn of Angels.
Who would be in your dream cast for Dawn of Angels?
SEAN: I’m not sure, but Johnny Depp would definitely have to be in there somewhere (major man crush).
VIVIENNE: He is not kidding about the man crush thing. But I have to say that I think Johnny Depp would be great as the shop keeper (wink wink). As for the other characters, I don’t think we have even thought that far. If this book proves to be a hit, we promise to have an answer to this question with the second book’s interview (if you will still have us).
Do you have a song picked out that you feel represents your book?
SEAN: Funny you should say that. When I start writing a book, I often pick out songs specifically to get the right mood for the book. For Dawn of Angels, it was definitely influenced by Florence and the Machine. I must have listened to Cosmic Love and Shake It Out a thousand times while writing the book.
What project are you working on next?
Along with writing the other books in the series, we will be writing a YA dystopia that we’re very excited about. It’s set in the future, where every person is implanted with a chip that allows them to augment reality. Of course, this also allows others to alter their reality.
Will you have a new book coming out soon?
Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
The title of the next book is The Vigilant. The title is a translation of the word grigori, which for those who aren’t up on Angel lore is the name of a group of angels who fell after falling in love with the daughter’s of Eve. As you can guess, there will be a lot more about them in the next book. And Hammond is not completely out of the picture yet. We can’t say much more than that without giving too much away. You can expect the next book to be released by May (fingers crossed).
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
SEAN: My main advice is to keep at it. Think about that old adage, if at first you don’t succeed try, try again—except with a lot more tries. In my opinion persistence is the thing that separates those who succeed and those that don’t. However, you can do the same thing that went wrong the first time as many times as you want and no matter how many times you try it, it will most likely fail. You have to also learn from your failures.
VIVIENNE: Writers have a difficult job. They put their whole heart and soul into a project and then willingly give it to others and then ask their opinions on it. The thing we have to remember as writers is that no matter what you write, there are going to be people who love it and people who hate it. Don’t let the negative remarks stop you from becoming the writer you want to be. Take the criticism and learn from it but don’t ever let it define you.
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Thanks, first off. Without your support we could not make it as independent authors. We hope to continue to bring you quality books. We are grateful to you because without you, we could not continue to do what it is we love. Weaving a story is as magical as reading it, and we hope that you will continue to be a part of our world.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
SEAN: I have to say that Les Misrables has influenced me significantly. It was the first fiction piece that expanded my world view. I have read others since, but Les Misrables holds a special place in my heart.
VIVIENNE: The Giver. I read this when I was a teenager, and it changed how I viewed everything. We may all want to live in a perfect world, but at what cost are we willing to make that happen? It was truly life changing for me.
What is the last book you read?
SEAN: The last book I read was Confessions by Tolstoy. I like to read philosophical books. I try in some way to incorporate the ideas in my books. I think it gives depth to the writing.
VIVIENNE: The Beyonders by Brandon Mull. My children and I read it together. It was a lot of fun and we look forward to reading the second book when it comes out later this month.
What is your favorite quote?
SEAN: “The great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
VIVIENNE: “A room without books is like a body without a soul.” –Gilbert K. Chesterton
Is there an author who you would love to meet?
SEAN: If it could be any author living or dead, I would choose either Emerson or Twain. They really speak my language and I think they would be a fun bunch to hang out with.
VIVIENNE: I would like to meet Dr. Seuss. I love reading his books to my children and more importantly, I love the lessons taught and his imaginative characters and made-up words.
Short Answer Questions
vanilla or chocolate
SEAN: Must I choose?
VIVIENNE: Chocolate, of course
SEAN: Midnight purple. I always wanted a Plymouth Prowler that was midnight purple.
VIVIENNE: Red. It’s a power thing.
dogs or cats
SEAN: I’m allergic to animals, but I did grow up with cats.
VIVIENNE: I’m allergic to animals too, but I grew up with dogs.
tea or coffee
SEAN: Neither. I hate hot drinks. Give me an ice cold Coke.
VIVIENNE: Hot chocolate
night owl or early bird
SEAN: Night owl all the way. Don’t wake me up before nine.
VIVIENNE: Night owl, but I wish I were a morning person. It would make mornings easier.
Coke or Pepsi
Facebook or Twitter
SEAN: I’m somewhat of a cave man when it comes to communication. I prefer face to face interactions. I can’t stand using phones or social networking sites.
shoes or sandals
SEAN: Sandals. I like my feet to breath.
VIVIENNE: Can I vote for no shoes? Sandals if I have to.