I show concerned parents who want to give their children the best start to life how to better understand their children.

26 Oct 2012

Indie author interview: Miranda Wheeler

It's indie author interview and book tour time again everyone. This time it's Miranda Wheeler.

Check out the rest of the tout at http://junipergrovebooksolutions.com/something-of-a-kind-by-miranda-wheeler/.

Title: Something Of A Kind
Author: Miranda Wheeler
Published: Self Published – August 30, 2012
Word Count: 66,000
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction

As a 17-year-old artist, Alyson Glass had her future mapped – she’d go to art school, study in Paris, and eventually make enough bank to support her single mother. The trouble is, things don’t always go as planned – especially a sneak attack of stage-four ovarian cancer.

Suddenly motherless and court-ordered to move in with her estranged father, Aly’s forced to leave behind her New York hometown for the oddities of Alaska. Ashland seems like cruel and unusual punishment – at least until her dad ditches her at a local restaurant and she crashes into a super-hot, guitar-playing diner-boy with a horrific home life.

Noah Locklear is used to waiting – waiting for his shift to end, waiting until his drunkard parents go to bed, and waiting for the day he can get his sister away from their dysfunctional family. The summer before senior year, the elusive researchers that ruthlessly pry into Ashland’s history shatter a final cord with Noah’s abusive father, one of the town’s elders. Unfortunately, as far as his parents are concerned, the new girl who’s changing everything belongs to the outsiders. With their relationship increasingly forbidden, the struggle of knowing who to trust reveals that nothing is what it seems.

As Aly encourages Noah to investigate the legends he’d always written off as stories, they uncover the one thing their fathers can agree on: there’s something in the woods.

About the Author:
A current high school student, 16-year-old author Miranda Wheeler lives with her loving family in her hometown of Torrington, Connecticut. An avid reader, she’s been whipping through books and producing novel-length projects (though none published prior to Something Of A Kind) from the early age of eleven. Having previously released short stories, some published in magazines such as TeenInk and others via “indie” mediums, she has many plans of continuing to write, as well as pursuing other passions and an eventual teaching career. While the official cover is a work in progress and the title won’t be released until the promotional media is obtained, several other projects are in the works: a YA steampunk novella, a YA paranormal romance, and a YA sci-fi-series, in addition to unofficial talks of a Something Of A Kind sequel.

1)  Your book touches on some very deep topics. From where do you get your inspiration? And why have you touched on these topics?

A - Though mostly research (and being the daughter of a parent who specialized a human service degree with sociology), much of my inspiration came from cancer scares with my own mother and being a frequent in-patient myself. Otherwise, I approached these subjects, mostly hot topics riddled with controversy, because I’ve always felt young adult literature silently craves more depth.
When one nearly shreds pages in the process of flying through each read, and everything one comes in contact with belittles or underestimates the reader, it’s blatantly annoying. I wanted to create something that included the benefits of YA (rare vulgarity, nonexistence of explicitly graphic sexual themes) without its major faults: excessive oversimplification, failure to justify, protagonists that are plagued with poorly selected flaws not unlike ageist stereotypes of the modern teen (examples include whining, unrealistic impulses, and dangerous levels of unjustifiable selfishness).
What I wove throughout the novel is the gritty and the tangible, issues that exist, if not cry out, in our society. Brady-Bunch parents aren’t going to allow a 16-year-old misfit throwing tantrums to run into the night with the motorcycling vampire because they’re unaddressed or “trust you” or are letting go to allow the fruition of independence. Child services wouldn’t ignore a 14-year-old orphan living alone in a rural mansion left by a grandmother in a secret will. It’s entirely possible, however, that your parents are on the verge of losing the family business or your biological father left your teenage mother.  I wanted the reader to taste this reality, however sour, and then fight for the protagonists to overcome.

2)  Have you ever fallen asleep while writing?

A - I have fallen asleep scrawling loopy notes in the dark for tomorrow night’s work, but I have never fallen asleep with fingers to keyboard or working on the crafting of a piece. I think when writing, I’m never more alert and engrossed. Writing demands so much of my consciousness.  Though exhaustion was many a time an unwelcome intruder that dragged me from the document and into bed, I very much think it impossible to fall asleep in the middle of such a tumultuous process.

3)  Wow, you seem to be quite a driven and motivated person. You are a part-time tutor, a part-time babysitter, and a student activist for finding a cure for Ulcerative Colitis, and adoption, as well as going to school and writing and a self-confessed bibliomaniac. Well done. Where do you find time to fit everything you do into your schedule? Can you share your secrets?

A - There’s really no secret – balance is a responsibility, a necessity one must learn to survive this life of constant motion. I want to pour myself into things that are extremely important to me, so I make time. As a victim of UC, a genetic anomaly triggered for the first time in my generation, I want to fight for a cure because I don’t want my decedents to fear that diagnosis. My adopted brother was abandoned in a drug house as an infant – the miracle of his survival is a story that inspires people to open their homes, minds, and outreach – and I couldn’t ignore that if I wanted to. The hunger to write and addiction to read are all-encompassing, a multi-generational passion, so I force feed that time into my schedule. Babysitting one or two days a week isn’t an unreasonable thing to cram. Tutoring is during the school day, and because I intend to teach, it is great practice for me and it helps my peers and underclassmen succeed, which is universally beneficial, and quite simply makes me smile. Somewhere in there I shove Ceramics Club and Key Club, indie marketing, and trying to corral my wild brothers. Busyness is fruitful, and I’d rather be delighted in working too hard than counting the ceiling tiles and tapping my fingernails. I’m all about balance, division, and learning to multitask. Plus, I’m from Connecticut, and the Nutmeg State is infamous for the go-go-go lifestyle.

4)  How does your family feel about you being a writer?

A - My family’s delighted. Both bookies in their odd, gruff male sort of way, my father’s a blue-collar worker into ghost stories and my oldest younger brother’s a skater-type obsessed with I Am Number Four. My mother’s a YA paranormal romance and women’s contemporary fiction author herself, long before I was writing Something of a Kind – back in the days when I was a book reviewer from Ricochet Reviews and an amateur designer from Simply Indie Productions. My grandfather writes children’s books and historical fiction based on the area he retired to with his wife, who co-authors some of his work and used to work for a publishing company based in Massachusetts. My littlest brother wrote and illustrated a children’s book titled The Dark Bigfoot (inspired by the weird documentaries I inflicted on the poor kid in research for Something Of A Kind. If the Romney crew doesn’t assassinate Big Bird, perhaps I should start sitting him down with PBS instead.) One of my maternal aunts is an aspiring adult paranormal romance author. Three of my paternal aunts and uncles are amazing songwriters and musicians – one also an impressive poet and another also a fantastic artist specializing in landscape painting. There is a huge section of my family that is deeply involved with the arts. I’m not much an irregularity, myself.

5)  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

A - Though I can throw myself into any independent project, I honestly have the attention span of a caffeinated squirrel – especially carrying on conversations. I always have music on in the background when I work, but when someone’s trying to talk to me… there’s usually something shiny around – or a flashing television, or a pet winding around my feet, or a project really want to get back to. It really kills my memory – which is photographic, so if I read it, I’ll be able to recite 80% of it for a few months after, but if it’s spoken, I absolutely cannot retain without note taking, which is frowned upon, apparently, in our society’s interpersonal rendezvouses. I’d love to be able to scratch that off my list of bizarre traits, which also includes apparently confusing humor and overdoing it when conciseness is preferred, which surprisingly doesn’t fly well with many of my teachers. Sometimes I forget I’m not the Queen of England, also, which could use some fixing. 

6)  Often great inspirational works of art come from strife and sadness. For example Ernest Hemmingway was an ambulance driver in WWI. Have there been any major stressors in your life, which are formed and shaped who you are, and thus your book?

A - I love Hemmingway! Of course, my multi-month-long hospital stays with UC greatly influence any reference of illness in my work, and inspired a memoir piece that was published a year ago this month in TeenInk Magazine. As I’ve mentioned, being a bio-kid to ex-foster parents was a huge influence, as well as my brother’s adoption, and other personal issues with my extended family, et cetera. In my adolescence, I’ve personally evolved into one of the most religious in my nuclear family, which influences some of my work with subtle themes, though Something of a Kind happened to be completely secular.  I’ve traveled from Florida to Canada, grazing the east coast of the US, which inspired much. I was raised as one of the few traditional families in the most liberal and second least religious state in the country, which offers some insight into being an outsider. All of these things add something elemental to my work – almost like a signature  

7)  When last did you dance in the rain?

A - Fortunately, my eccentric whimsies are purely mental and communicational. Dancing in the rain? Such an event would be catastrophic – more lethal than Juliette’s touch from Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, which I’m currently reading. It’s very good by the way. Conclusively, I don’t always dance, but when I do, it’s where no innocent bystanders are at risk of fatal injury. 

8)  You say you haven’t had any training in creative writing. Do you believe people need training to write creatively?

A - I definitely think creative writing can be taught to and adopted by anyone willing to put time and effort into reading and understanding the craft, but I don’t at all believe it is necessary for everyone to be trained in order to write creatively.

9)  Do you believe in big-foot?

A - I believe there is endless possibility for the existence of things we don’t understand, and my inner dreamer would very much like believe a species of sasquatch could exist, if only because I want them to. I’ve done a lot of research on the topic, and in no way deny that there is a legitimate and scientific position behind a mindset where the creature is conceivable. I think the future of their discovery is incredibly promising. That being said, I cannot say I believe in ‘bigfoot’. If biologists ever manage to properly record, capture, or discover remains the elusive creature, which one can presume would be nocturnal and clever much like the surprising variety of man-sized primates discovered just in the twentieth century, or even the yellow cheeked crested gibbon noted in Cambodia in 2008, then I would be entirely delighted. If it did exist, it would be an animal species, not a mystical entity. “Believing in bigfoot” would be like saying one believes in the platypus or the narwhale. I may have never seen those, but objective documentation, respected witnesses, and authenticated captivity all verify their actuality – which I suppose I would require to except that existence. If the sasquatch exists, it would have roots akin to a North American primate descended from the theorized Gigantopithecus migration over the land bridge that once existed across the Bering Strait between Asia and North America. I suppose the answer to the question is completely complex, but in a word, no – and in a few more, not yet.

Giveaway details
There is a tour wide giveaway for anyone who would like to include it in their tour posts. There are 5 eBook copies of Something Of A Kind up for grabs. Giveaway is International.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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