Good Morning! My name is KC Sprayberry. Penny Estelle Brown of Penny's Tales has let me hijack her blog today. The purpose is to tease all of her very dedicated readers with information about my soon-to-be-released YA coming of age novel, Take Chances.
Today, we're interviewing KC Sprayberry, and she will tell us a few things about herself, even if they're embarassing!
Please tell us about your latest book:
My latest book is Take Chances. It's the story of a teenage girl, Julie Bond, about how her past affects how she reacts to her present. She also has a mom that makes just about every other mom look like a saint, and a deep desire to keep her friends close, no matter what their future plans are.
Take Chances is also about school violence, and the way it can happen to a person more than once. The characters in this book were with me long before I settled on their place. They sat patiently in the back of my head, occasionally hollering to ask when I'd find them a story. Once I did, not only did they settle well into place, but they grew and grew, arguing when the early renditions of this story didn't work out as planned.
What can we expect from you in the future:
I have several projects going on right now. (laughs) Anyone who knows me will be scratching their head and asking, "Only several? Girl, you're getting slow." However, these projects are huge – two trilogies and a series, so I'm scaling back to devote a lot of attention to them.
The first is Just Walk Away. This trilogy is like Softly Say Goodbye, Who Am I?, and Take Chances. The only difference will be the setting, from 1969 to 1970. Why jump away from contemporary teen fiction, to a time in our history that was extremely unsettled? I've seen a lot of elements that are very much the same between then and now. There are three big reasons I feel this trilogy will appeal.
a. 1969-1970 saw the Vietnam War escalating, just prior to our pull out. The same is going on with the actions we're involved with in the Middle East.
b. Racial division was very evident then and is reaching the same proportions now.
c. Teens are finishing high school and are wondering where they'll go next. 1969-1970 brought about a lot of change in the perception of what women could do, of what those not Anglo could do. Now, in the second decade of the twenty-first century, we're seeing many traditional careers disappearing, leaving teens uncertain what direction to go for their future, what course of study in college will give them the best career.
The second is another trilogy, Paradox Lost. This is fantasy with a time travel element. It begins with the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and a prediction that one person will rise at the time of mankind's greatest need. For two centuries, this savior hasn't appeared no matter what occurs. Then triplets are born, when twins were expected. Still, the chosen one doesn't appear, until they're ready to finish at Beaufort School for Visionary Studies, and then these three teens find themselves competing to be the best, to be noticed, to be accepted as individuals. This trilogy will appeal for a couple of reasons.
a. It's fantasy, written for the teen that loves reading, loves exploring new worlds. The element of saving the world, of traveling through time, of getting one up on a teacher no one likes, will definitely keep them turning the page.
b. Triplets are rare in fiction. Teen triplets even rarer. DJ, Matt, and Elisa are typical brothers and a sister, but they also have all these cool Talents, especially Elisa's newly discovered one to vanish from sight and become whatever is closest to her, or as she learns after a few practice sessions, anyone she knows well.
Finally, the third, a series, Canoples Investigations. This is ongoing, a series that saw the first book released in July, and the second due out in October. This is my fun project, the story of a group of teens living on a space station near Jupiter in the twenty-fourth century. Some might say a space station might be limiting, but with BD and his crew, there are no limitations as to what they'll do or where they'll go!
How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
A lot. I like to believe I leave a piece of myself in each of my characters. These fictional teens are much like my own children, with their anxieties and joyous happiness.
I have to say life experiences that mold us into the people we are make up a greater part of my writing. They have to. A life experience is about things that change, mold us. To ignore those moments is to deny a part of yourself.
When did you first think about writing and what prompted you to submit your first manuscript?
As far back as I can remember, writing has been my escape, with reading a close second. I don't know when I decided that this would be the one career choice I wanted to make, but I do know it wasn't with stars in my eyes for a huge advance, with massive royalties flowing in afterward. I believe my interest in youth detectives such as Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, and Trixie Belden piqued my interest, and I concentrated on improving my writing skills while in high school. I can remember always writing down stories, the early ones embarrassingly simple, while the ones I wrote from high school on developing more complexity.
The first manuscript I submitted was for a short story, and to my amazement, I had a contract in the mail not long after that. That was a fluke, but I did have some success with short stories. The natural progression from there to a book took a bit longer than I first planned, but I learned a lot along the way, and now am enjoying success with both short stories and books.
Generally, how long does it take you to write a book?
It all depends on the theme and characters. I've written a book, done the revisions and editing, in less than six months. While I participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), I could get a 50,000 word minimum book done in less than 30 days, once getting two done in that time. (wipes sweat from forehead) Phew! Looking back, I wonder how I ever thought that was great, but it was. Both Softly Say Goodbye and Take Chances were NaNoWriMo projects! It's not so much the writing process that takes time, but the editing, revising, and rewriting where I spend the most time. To me, that's non-creative. I'm not thinking up new scenes, developing good dialogue, or searching for the best setting – I'm taking what I've already put on paper and making it better.
Julie Bond grew up in Europe as a military brat. She found her very first permanent home in Landry, GA as a teen going into high school. Almost four years later, she's having pre-graduation jitters and flashing back to an incident of school violence she experienced in Europe. She attempts to convince herself that it can never happen again, but continually finds herself flashing back to that day no matter how hard she tries.
The people around her present any number of problems for Julie, and she's hard put to keep from drowning under all the issues. Then Michael--a cool guy she's had a crush on for the last three years—returns from traveling the US as a photographer, and Julie now has one more thing to distract her as she prepares to leave high school. One thing she firmly believes in: no one will ever invade her classroom with violence again.
Once again, the impossible happens. Once again, she's in a classroom with a madman holding a gun. Once again, she must survive.
My hands curl into fists, until my chewed fingernails cut into my palms. This woman belongs in the present, but the sight of her dredges up my past – a past I thought was firmly hidden.
The event, as I refer to that time, happened almost thirteen years ago at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. Terrorists determined to free one of their compatriots chose my kindergarten classroom for their hostages. They left scars I try very hard to bury, but they slip out at unguarded moments.
"Juliette?" Madame Bodine asks.
"Oui!" I snap out, sounding as if I want to strangle her – and I do.
KC Sprayberry started writing young, with a diary followed by an interest in English. Her first experience with publication came when she placed third in a Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge contest while in the Air Force, but her dedication to writing came after she had her youngest child, now a in his senior year of high school.
Her family lives in Northwest Georgia where she spends her days creating stories about life in the south, and far beyond. More than a dozen of her short stories have appeared in several magazines. Five anthologies feature other short stories, and her young adult novel Softly Say Goodbye, released in 2012. During 2013, more young adult stories have been released: The Ghost Catcher, Who Am I?, Family Curse … Times Two, and Amazon Best Seller, Canoples Investigations Tackles Space Pirates.
You can find her on the web here:
Stick around for the full tour. Why? On September 26 through September 29, 2013, you can pick up my other YA coming of age books, Softly Say Goodbye and Who Am I? free on Amazon:
Thank you Penny Estelle Brown of Penny's Tales for hosting me today. Tomorrow you will find the next Teaser Tour on S.D. Grimm's Naturally Grimm.