Good day, readers! I am hosting fellow Clean Reads author Emily A. Steward today. And I am just as eager to hear from her about her release, her inspiration, and her writing process. So, without further ado, let’s jump right in:
“Penelope Gilbert and the Children of Azure” is the first book in a planned trilogy. The series takes place in our world, and also in the world of Azure which is hidden in the clouds above. Penny discovers the land of Azure quite accidentally as she searches for her kidnapped classmates. It is a treacherous place filled with mechanical beasts, floating islands, and air pirates. The series will follow Penny and her friends as they explore Azure and look for a way to destroy the evil that threatens their family and friends.
Amazing! I admire those authors who can build a fictional world. I’m a historical fiction author…pretty much stick with known worlds. But I enjoy reading in the speculative fiction genre. What was the inspiration for Penelope Gilbert and the Children of Azure?
I got inspired to write about floating islands because I was on a boat at the time I was working on the outline, and I just love going from port to port and exploring different towns. I thought a word in the sky where you could do the same thing with an airship would be pretty amazing! However, I only sat down and wrote an outline when I was several chapters into the book. When I first started I had no idea where I wanted the story to go. Only that I wanted something magical to happen to the boy named Bobby Brown. Needless to say, I had to do a lot of revision. I even ended up changing my main character to a girl named Penelope Gilbert.
That does sound interesting! No wonder you were inspired. So, did you always want to be a writer?
As soon as I learned what a writer was, I wanted to be one, and before I learned about writing books, I wanted to be a story teller. As early as the age of three, I was making up tales about bunnies, witches and (nice) evil stepsisters. At bedtime, I would make up my own bedtime stories and tell them to my mom and brother until they fell asleep, then I’d keep telling the story to myself until I eventually drifted off too.
When was it that you first realized you wanted to be a writer?
I was in kindergarten when I learned that books had these people called authors, and I instantly knew I wanted to be one. My teacher was a great encouragement to me, and really helped me to believe I could do it.
I know as authors there many things about the writing/publishing process we enjoy and parts we don’t like as much. Is there a piece of the process you dread?
I don’t particularly enjoy edits, but I know they are so important. Especially to someone like me who writes first and figures out the details later. Other than that, I have a hard time waiting during the query process. Especially when, in spite of yourself, every request from and agent or publisher gets your hopes up so high, only to be dashed over and over. It is a great exercise in learning patience and determination for sure.
That is the truth! And I tend to not be a very patient person. So, that’s hard for me. I always like to ask (for my own benefit)…do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer?
I don’t know if I have any advice you don’t already know, but I will mention some things that have helped me. Don’t give in to writers block. Just keep moving forward even if it means you will have to revise like crazy. Moving forward is the key. Just let your characters lead you. And if those characters stray too far from what you intend, don’t be afraid to knock them back in line and take control again.
Interesting take…I like it! What are you currently reading?
I’m reading “Lucid” by L.E. Fred and “Hanging with my Peeps” by Kathy Higgs-Coulthard. Both are excellent so far and I would definitely recommend them!
What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?
I wish I could listen to music when I write! Unfortunately it’s just too distracting for me. I do better with a little white noise like the sounds of a coffee shop. Though that can be distracting too when people have loud, amusing conversations.
I hear you there. I always wonder should I be frustrated or should I grab a pen and notepad and eavesdrop. Maybe good material for later 🙂
Do you have a favorite time of day to write? What about a favorite place?
I don’t really have a specific time. Just not morning because I am so not a morning person. As for where, I really like writing either outside, or at the library or local Starbucks. If I write at home, I just keep thinking about all the other things I need to get done around the house, or I end up playing referee between my two older girls. Apparently it is quite offensive and upsetting to my 5 year old when my 3 year old smirks and insists a pink bucket is actually the color boogiedooda.
I hear you about feeling dragged toward other things at home. Coffee shops are my favorite too. How long does it take you to write a book?
It’s difficult to say. My first book I worked on and off on for around 9 years. My second book went much quicker. I had the first few chapters written for a while, but once I decided to really get moving on it, I finished in 2-3 months.
Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.
That’s quite a challenge. Well, Penny’s best friend Crane is a tall lanky guy who gets swept up in the adventure. He thinks Penny’s ability is awesome, but much to his own disappointment, he does not have any special abilities like the others kids involved.
Do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?
I am currently working on book 2 in the Penelope Gilbert series. As usual I’ve jumped right in without a proper outline, so I’m excited to see where things go.
Thank you so much, Emily, for being on my blog today and answering my questions. Let’s dive in and get a peek at the book now…
Penelope Gilbert and the Children of Azure
When 13 year-old Penelope Gilbert accidentally transforms into a stapler during math class, she’s sure she’s going crazy. But she’s not imagining the men in black suits now patrolling the halls at school, nor is she imagining the new substitute teacher who orders the class to take a special new test. A test that requires blood. Hunted for her powers, and torn from the life she knows, Penny is swept up into a world in the clouds where magic meets machine and pirates rule the sky.
Enjoy an Excerpt
“Come on!” she yelled to Haldor who was wriggling out from under the spider corpse. She ran to the spot where she saw the creature enter as Haldor hurried to catch up. She scrambled through the brush until she came to a stream. There she saw the spider. He was across the water under a large tree.
Above him were several objects swinging in the breeze. It took her a moment to realize that they were rotting bodies strung up by their necks. Their unseeing eyes stared eerily into the darkness. Upon closer inspection, she saw that there were at least thirty of them. She wretched silently as she tried to think of a way for Crane to not become one of them. The spider was already trying to wrap a strand of webbing around his neck.
A thought occurred to her. An outrageous, outlandish thought. I can do this, she assured herself. She tried to picture every last detail of her slain foe—every creepy crawling, hairy, shiny detail. Penny could feel the energy pulsing through her. Her hands were no longer her own. Her teeth had become fangs, and her eyes were the eyes of a killer.
More About The Author
Emily Steward spent the better part of her childhood dressed as a ninja and trying to convince others to call her ‘Ace.’ When she wasn’t saving the world from evil samurai, she could usually be found in the branches of a tree reading a good book. She now lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three daughters, and dog Bentley. Though she seldom dresses as a ninja now, her adventurous spirit remains as does her love of tree climbing and reading good books.
Connect with Emily A. Steward