STAR TOUCHED Author Interview & Giveaway!
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Here's the cover blurb: Eighteen-year-old Tatiana is running from her past and her star-touched powers. Her power to heal may be overshadowed by more destructive abilities. Fleeing the persecution of those like her, Tatiana seeks refuge in a small town she once visited. But this civil haven, in a world where society has broken down, is beginning to crumble. Will Tatiana flee or stay and fight for the new life she has built? Only by harnessing the very forces that haunt her can Tatiana save her friends and herself.
TAKE 10 with A.L. Kaplan:
1.) How did you get the idea for STAR TOUCHED? (I know this is a standard question, but I always enjoy reading the answer).
STAR TOUCHED was born from a series of nightmares. Huge waves of water, giant fireballs – I probably shouldn’t have had that spicy food before bedtime. Then again, it did create a great world for my story.
2.) This is a post disaster story with a bit of a twist. Can you talk about what happened and how it affected your world? Do you see this book as a science fiction story or fantasy?
The Cataclysm, or Day of Reckoning as the League of the Stars followers call it, began with a giant meteor crashing in the Atlantic. This not only created immense tsunamis, but triggered worldwide earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. If all the dust in the atmosphere hadn’t miraculously disappeared 10 months later, all life on earth would have died. As it was, very few survived and a lot of technology was lost, throwing civilization into chaos. Wow, that was a lot of technobabble. STAR TOUCHED is a dystopian science fiction with some fantasy elements. The star-touched powers are a bit magical, especially their ability to heal. Do I know how they got their powers? Of course I do, but I’m not going to tell you…yet.
3.) What do you find most interesting about Tatiana?
Tatiana is filled with guilt over things she really had no control over, but she hides her sadness and pain from everyone, even those closest to her. Despite everything that’s happened to her, she never loses her fundamental love of life and desire to preserve it. On a lighter note, she loves to read and remembers everything she’s ever read.
4.) I loved Fifi – the Teacup Poodle. What was the inspiration for her?
I’m not sure exactly where Fifi came from. I’ve had a fascination with wolves since a dream I had in high school. They’ve been the subject of many paintings, sculptures, and of course stories. I even made a couple of wolf costumes. It was important that Tatiana’s companion not feel threatening and a tiny little fluff ball is about as far from a wolf as you can get. Of course Fifi is anything but helpless. As for the name, it fit.
|A.L. Kaplan with Fifi ;)|
I have a wonderful and energetic dog named Laila. She’s definitely high energy and an amazing jumper. (Look up Laila’s Escape A. L. Kaplan on YouTube.) We love agility and have entered a few competitions. At our first one, I learned that yes, you can get a negative score out of a possible 200. She’s since earned an agility degree. I also love the outdoors and have been known to make a costume or two. There is a picture of my blue dragon spirit costume on my website.
6.) Did you have to do any special research for this book?
Research for STAR TOUCHED took me on an interesting tour. I needed to know just how big to make my meteor so that it wiped out most but not all of the human population, where it needed to hit to get the geological reaction I needed, and how long life could survive without sun. Clear Sky Day is precisely timed. I also needed to know the location all fault lines no matter how small, and active and inactive volcanoes. Those wonderful geysers in Yellowstone National Park are there because the park is on a super volcano. You don’t want to be visiting when it blows. I also researched places at risk for rising water levels and climate change. Then there was the issue of nuclear reactors, gun and ammunition factories… I’m pretty sure I’m on a few watch lists.
7.) How did you become a writer? Is this what you saw yourself growing up to be? Or did it take you by surprise?
Somewhere out there my old English teachers are laughing. I was the kid who couldn’t spell to save her life; the daydreamer who stared out the window. Ideas were never a problem. My mind created story after story, often keeping we awake at night. I would constantly rewrite scenes until I was satisfied with the result. Translating to the written word was entirely different, and I often felt frustrated and stifled. Art was my saving grace, particularly sculpture. My stories became the subjects for my art. It wasn’t until college that I gained the confidence to write. The images I saw in my mind finally gained a literary narrative and eventually dialogue.
8.) Do you have a writing routine? Talk process for a moment, how do the words get on the page?
Sometimes words just flow, but other times I end up staring at the screen. I find it helps to just start writing, even if most of it’s rubbish. That’s what delete is for. At times, the words come so fast I can barely type them. When I get one of those burst while I’m handwriting, the words often mush together. If I don’t type my scribbles within a day or so, it gets hard to remember what I was trying to write. I’ve had times where I really couldn’t read my handwriting.
9.) Office? Closet? Corner of the living room? Do you have a set place to write? A favorite?
Some people listen to music or write in coffee houses, but I work best in a quiet environment with no distractions. Right now my computer is in the bedroom, but soon I’ll be moving into the spare room. I need more space for all my sticky notes and I’d love to hang my maps on the wall. When I’m not at home my notepads travel with me. You never know when an idea will pop up. I just need to make sure I type things up in a timely fashion.
10.) What are you writing now? What's coming out next?
I have several short stories in the works and a sequel to STAR TOUCHED. There’s even a story about Fifi - Well, sort of.
Links to find more information about A.L. Kaplan and to get your own copy of STAR TOUCHED:
A.L. Kaplan Website
A.L. Kaplan's Facebook Page
A.L. Kaplan's Goodreads Page
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