Today author Natasha Larry joins me to talk about her YA novel, Darwin’s Children.
Interview with Natasha Larry
Would you please tell us about your book? Why would readers want to read it?
Darwin’s Children is a character driven, coming of age story about a family of superheroes. If you like stories with real, relatable characters with a supernatural twist, you’d enjoy this series.
Who is your favorite character? Why?
For some reason, I can never really answer this question because I love them all so much. I find Jaycie annoying but at the same time, her strength of will is inspiring. I love John’s sense of humor. My favorite thing about Allison is that, even though she sometimes slips into the ‘friend’ zone with Jaycie, she has no trouble putting down the law when she thinks it’s really important. I love Mason’s quiet authority. I love Haylee’s bravery and her sarcasm. Matt is the one I’m surprised to have fallen so in love with. One doesn’t see much of him in the first book, but in the sequel he amazed me. As a comic book nerd, I was surprised the character without superpowers became my favorite to write.
Certain reviewers have mentioned the sensitive subject matter in Darwin’s Children. What is your response?
There is certainly sensitive subject matter in Darwin’s Children involving child abuse and rape. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever written. I wouldn’t be comfortable with readers under the age of fifteen reading it despite the fact that I am not graphic, as I’m disgusted by rape. However, I did not put it in the story lightly. What the characters can do is directly related to who they are. Who anyone is, is directly related to what they’ve experienced. I can’t think of anything more evil than child abuse and rape, which is why I chose Haylee to house the ability to burn evil.
As a writer, do you find book reviews helpful? Why or why not?
I have found a few of my reviews very helpful, so helpful, in fact, that I have applied this objective criticism in my sequel. Reviews are helpful- rants are not and often make me wonder why the reviewer bothered at all. When I am told I push the reader out of the story by adding intrusive narrative that added nothing to the plot, I find that very helpful and it’s something I can fix in the future. Absurd rants that state things like ‘it’s stupid that Jaycie’s mother left,’ and because of this, ‘Darwin’s Children sucks’ not so helpful =) Especially considering that this is mentioned in the blurb.
From a reader’s perspective, how do you feel about reviews?
I personally have never bought a fiction book based on reviews because I’ve found that it never reflects how good or bad the book really is. For example, I hated X-Men First Class because they didn’t even try to stay close to the true origin story of the X-Men. Was it a bad movie? Hell no- my ‘review’ is based on something personal, and thus, isn’t objective- nor is it really a review.
Has publishing your book and getting reviewed changed the way you review other books? Please explain.
No. I don’t like to play games. If I like a book I’ll rate it a four or five stars and talk about what I liked about it. That’s what I’ve always done and it will never change. I’ve had a few ‘writers’ threaten to give me bad ratings because I didn’t review their work because I simply do not post negative reviews. I’m not too worried about it.
Why did you choose to go indie with Darwin’s children?
I think I queried about thirty literary agents and one traditional publisher before I decided to look into a royalty paying ebook publisher. I did this mostly because I think what the kindle and other ereaders has done to take the stigma out of self-publishing is pretty cool. One day I looked at my fiance and said, ‘Hey, do you think it’s a good idea to go with an ebook publisher?’ Nodding his head he replied with, ‘Nope, it’s a good idea.’
Will you go indie with your next book or are you looking for an agent? What are your reasons?
My next book, Unnatural Law, will be published via Penumbra Publishing and I haven’t made any plans for my writing career past this point. At this point in my life, I just want to enjoy writing and I have a lot more learning to do.
What was the hardest aspect of publishing your book? The most fun? Why?
The hardest aspect of publishing is probably waiting. It’s hard to wait on that final proof when you’re so jazzed up about a project. The most fun is meeting readers and writers. I’ve met some pretty incredible people during this ride, and I am very grateful.
How did you feel the first time you a read report and knew people were buying your book?
It was mostly surprised because I have trouble having confidence in my writing. For some reason, I have more trouble giving away a good than selling it. Not complaining, I just thought it was interesting. I can’t wait to waste a little money from my first royalty check. =)
What have you learned in the process? What, if anything, would you do differently next time?
The only thing I plan on doing differently is being more confident. The first time around I didn’t really talk about Darwin’s Children. The most important thing I think I’ve learned is that I did create something special with this series, but that doesn’t mean that everyone will like it.
What is your favorite part of writing and publishing? Your least favorite? Why?
I’ve actually never enjoyed writing until I started this series. My favorite part of writing is the characters. I’ve always felt the most important part in any story, with our without paranormal elements, is to create a cast of memorable characters. I take it very seriously =) my least favorite part of writing and publishing is waiting.
What are you working on now and when can we expect to see it?
Right now I am working on revising the second installment in the Darwin’s Children Series. It is called Unnatural Law and it picks up where the first book ended. It is scheduled to be released sometime in September of 2011.
Anything else you’d like to tell us?
I suppose I can leave you with a book blurb =0
Life can get pretty complicated for any seventeen-year-old girl, but for a home-schooled telepathic black girl trying to survive in a prestigious private school in small-town Jonesborough, Tennessee, it can be maddening – especially when her telepathic father keeps eavesdropping on her thoughts!
Jaycie Lerner’s family isn’t the usual mom-dad-kid setup. Jaycie’s mom’s MIA, but Allison, her personal live-in ‘trainer,’ is more than a mom, with her own special abilities, like being able to lift cars and run incredibly fast. And Jaycie’s godfather John is more than persuasive – he can literally convince anyone to do anything.
As far as the rest of the world’s concerned, Jaycie’s on the outside looking in. The townsfolk love Jaycie’s pediatrician father, but she doesn’t fit in with ‘normal’ kids, and she doesn’t really want to. Most of her free time is spent training to keep her telekinetic and telepathic powers under control. But there’s one thing she can’t control – and that’s her feelings, especially when her best friend Matt is nearby. If only he knew what she was truly capable of…
Everything seems to be status quo for Jaycie until she receives a cryptic message from a stranger and meets a very unusual girl new to Jonesborough. Then all hell breaks loose!
About Natasha Larry
Natasha Larry resides in Huntsville, Alabama with her daughter and fiance. She graduated from Tusculum College with a B.A. in History and is currently working on getting her certificate in education. Apart from writing, she is a self-proclaimed comic book nerd and urban fantasy junkie. Her poetry and short fiction has appeared in publications such as Writing Edge magazine and Escaping Elsewhere. Darwin’s Children is her first work of novel length fiction.
Darwin’s Children is available now everywhere books are sold. See the publisher’s page for more details.
For more about Natasha, visit Natasha Larry Books.