Sunday, July 22, 2012

Q&A with Imogen Rose

Questions and answers from the Facebook group “Imogen Rose Fanatics,” hosted by Alli Potter

Ruthi Knight: My question to Imogen would be... How has your life changed since being published? Is it everything you thought it would be? Or one of the many misconceptions about being a published author? I'm thinking about going the self-publishing route for my own work and I would love a real view on what it's like to be published. :) Btw, HUGE FAN!!! Just finished Integration and absolutely loved it!! Can't wait to see more of Cordelia and Jagger!!
Imogen: Hi, Ruthie! This one made me stop and think a bit. I guess the way publishing my books has most changed me is that I’ve turned into a businesswoman, which is something I never aimed to be. Indie publishing (for me) is 10% writing and 90% marketing. It's been quite a challenge, but a fun one. I have met so many amazing people along the way. So although writing itself is a lonely endeavor, the rest of the publishing business has allowed me to meet, experience, and appreciate the people who help me make it all happen. All the best with your book. Let me know when you publish it!
Ruthi: Thank you so much for your answer! I am now scared, but determined, lol. I am not a businesswoman either so that part is so very scary! But you're right about meeting so many amazing people! I've gotten to know a lot of Indie authors lately and I must say, they have all been so nice and helpful and just all around awesome!
Imogen I couldn't have done it without help and inspiration from the authors on Kindleboards.
Ruthi: When you write, do you listen to music? If so, what group/artist has been your biggest inspiration?
Imogen: I tend not to listen to music while I write, but I do get inspired to write while I am listening to music. I will be posting my Integration playlist soon.

Carmel Beaudry: What do you do when you get writer's block?
Imogen: The only time I experienced writers block was when I sat down to try to plan my latest book (Integration). It lasted a few minutes and was a frightening experience. It was as if all my characters suddenly went into hiding. I generally find it easy to just let them take over, which they always do, except for that one time.
Carmel: What do you hope readers get out of your Bonfire Academy series?
Imogen: I don't write stories with messages. There are no morals or other lessons to be had from them. I write to entertain.

Anne-Marie Monlezun: Which book is your favorite and why?
Imogen: My latest book is always my favorite because I always stop at a point where I am desperate to start again. The characters are so strong in my imagination that I live and breathe them. Just a few days ago, I was shocked by what happens next for Cordelia and can’t wait to find out more. Having said that, I have a very special place in my heart for the Portal Chronicles, as that story is very close to me and who I am.
Anne-Marie : What are you usually doing (as in daily activity) when you come up with the most story plots and twists? I mean, is there usually a situation or activity that stimulates your imagination more than others?
Imogen: Yes... it’s either when I am in a semi-sleep, just about to get up in the mornings, or when I am in the shower.
Anne-Marie: I know that your daughter Lauren is your greatest inspiration in your writing. Are there others that peak your creative juices?
Imogen: I always giggle a little when I write the bit on my copyright page that claims that all resemblance to living characters is purely coincidental. Of course the resemblances are coincidental, but my characters are also HUGELY inspired by people around me who touch my imagination.
Anne-Marie: So that one cartoon that says “Caution! Writer at work, anything you say or do may be written into my story” is really true?
Imogen: Absolutely :D
Anne-Marie: How much of your real life do you draw into when you write your stories?
Imogen: Less and less with each story that I write. My first book has a lot of "me" in it. :)

Linda McKinney: So are you saying Olivia is you? (Character in the Portal Chronicles)
Imogen: Huge bits of her are, as are pieces of Arizona, but just in book one. Olivia  is who I was after my mother died. It was a life-changing moment for me, one that made me yearn for a portal.
Linda: I completely understand that!
Imogen: After my mom's death, I constantly dreamed about people and situations in my past. And it all morphed into odd dreams that really only started to make sense when I wrote them down.
Linda: Thank you for sharing this, Imogen. I know this must be a personal memory for you. :)
Imogen: In a way, writing Portal was my personal therapy. It allowed me to analyze my life through a character, and it helped me make some hard but necessary real life decisions.
Linda: Are you done with Fusion yet? (Portal Chronicles Book 5)
Imogen: I’m working on it now. Cordelia is being a monkey and is still very dominant in my imagination, wanting me to get on and continue with her story. So I am occasionally forced to type little bits of Faustine 2 just so she'll leave me alone so I can get back into Arizona world. I am on schedule and will have it done this Christmas.

Allirea Hartless Brumley: Name your favorite minor character in Integration. :)
Imogen: I can't remember any minor characters from Integration. They are all major in my head.
Allirea: Fine, then who is the most annoying character??? Rea is excluded!!!!
Imogen: The most annoying? Hmm… I’d have to say Frau Smelt. And that’s because she is so very mysterious and has not revealed herself to me yet. I find some of her actions hard to understand, but I’m sure there are reasons behind them. There must be. I don’t like waiting to find out, though. :D

Christina Baker Irelan: I was recently introduced to your work through blog tours. I have read Initiation and will be reading Integration this week! I am also working on my own novel. What advice do you have to offer about publishing?
Imogen: A few years ago when Amazon made indie publishing available to everyone, a marketing revolution occurred within the publishing arena. It’s made the market fluid and in a state of constant flux. The changes are so frequent that what worked in terms of marketing an indie book a year ago may not work today. So my advice is to be completely flexible, try everything, and don’t burn any bridges. Keep up with what’s happening within the publishing industry by reading Publishers Weekly and the Passive Guy blog. Sometimes acting on information from these and similar sites will give you a leg-up as to what your next move should be. Treat it like a game of chess. Be prepared that perhaps only 10% of what you try will give you results, but when you see results, celebrate! As far as the book itself goes, I consider editing and a professional-looking cover as must-dos. Good luck with your book!
Christina: Thank you!

Alli Potter: What has been your most challenging book to write?
Imogen: So far, it’s been Integration. As you know, I don’t plan my stories, but I knew that I had to bridge the gap between Initiation and Faustine in this story. For the first time, I sat down to try to plan it, but gave up after a couple of minutes of my mind being totally blank. Then, I just started typing, not knowing if it was going to be at all doable. It basically wrote itself after that. I was hugely relieved!

Samantha Gray Elliott: how long does it take for a character to appear on a page? Like do you think/dream and immediately write about them or do they kinda hang out in your head until they are needed in a story? —Sorry that's kind of a weird question.
Imogen : They simmer, I guess somewhat unconsciously, and then suddenly appear as I’m typing. It’s difficult to describe. I really just don’t know what happens from page to page, or who will appear.

Al Kunz: What kind of tree would you be?
Imogen Rose: A broccoli tree.

Friday, July 6, 2012

An Interview with Professor Kunz

Professor Kunz, the head of the Integration program, agreed to let me interview him while he was in New York to attend a conference. I spotted him as soon as I walked into the lobby of the Times Square Hilton in Manhattan. It wasn’t hard; he’d sent me several of his books, all of them displaying his picture on the back cover. He looked even more impressive in real life—a distinguished, but slightly otherworldly, professor. After I introduced myself, we found a quiet corner in the Pinnacle Bar for our interview.

How long have you been at Bonfire Academy?
This is my tenth year on the staff at the academy.

Where did you train?
It isn’t something many people know, but I attended Bonfire Academy years ago. Many staff members were originally students. Most people are aware of the recent Academy graduates who come back as staff members or act as mentors during their enrichment year, but some of us old timers got our education there, too. Frau Schmelder and I were actually part of the same graduating class.

Are you a full warlock or a hybrid?
You realize it’s considered bad form to ask these kinds of questions of Bonfire Academy staff. I hope this is just between us. Everyone knows I’m a warlock, but I’ve kept it quiet that I’m a hybrid of warlock and Sigma-Wanderer

I do know, but I thought I’d ask anyway :D I hope you will be okay with me sharing with your fans. Sigma-Wanderers are at Spencer’s beck and call. Are you called away often to carry out duties outside the Academy?
He doesn’t call on me to travel much anymore. There are several younger Sigmas he uses, but he’ll call me out for situations that he’s worried they can’t handle, and we talk often. I probably wander over for dinner at least once every week or two at the Darleys’ home.

Very few Wanderers attend the Academy. Why do you think it was felt necessary to place you here?
We have plenty of demons and witches on staff, and more trolls than we know what to do with. Although there have been very few Wanderers who have attended the academy previously, we’re expecting several Wanderers and Wanderer hybrids in the next several years. Spencer felt having someone who truly understood what it was to be a Wanderer on staff was a necessity.  He discussed it with Frau Schmelder, I wanted to return to “my roots,” and everything worked out.

How do your powers compare to Dr. Bern’s powers?
Based on the powers we’re allowed to demonstrate at school, Dr. Bern is more powerful. I’m forbidden from using my Wanderer powers in such a way that they’ll be discovered by anyone here, and my warlock powers are slightly diluted by virtue of being a hybrid. Were that not the case, our powers would be close to equal, as we’re cousins. That’s something that very few at the academy know. In fact, both of us were born in Switzerland, in a little town called Diemtigen, around 150 kilometers west of here, near Berne, the capital of Switzerland. Her last name uses the German spelling of the city. Bern-with-an-e is the French spelling, also used by most English-speaking nations. I believe her paternal ancestors took their surname from the city name.

You approach Integration without taking emotions and natural instincts into consideration. In fact, you seemed slightly disparaging when suggesting that anyone in need of Dr. Phil-type support seek out Dr. Amour. Why is that?
Dr. Amour and I have a history that, to be completely honest, has made me prone to showing my frustration with her when maybe I shouldn’t. I’ve never been entirely sure of the reason, but she attended the Academy for several years; I think four “enrichment” years, and multiple years of Initiation and Integration. She joined the staff immediately after she finally graduated. I’ve heard rumors that her paranormal powers are hard to control. What the truth is, I’m not sure. It was during her final enrichment year that we became involved. In my defense, she was much older than the typical student. I probably shouldn’t go into any details other than to say that Dr Amour’s “emotions and natural instincts” can be great—I sure thought so for a while—but they can get out of control. She sometimes encourages students under her care to do just the opposite of what we’re trying to overcome in their training.

Rumor has it that you may harbor special “feelings” for her. Is that true?
Have you ever been attracted to someone you knew was bad for you? You try to resist, but the attraction is too much. I’ve done well recently, but I’m not sure how much longer I can last.

Integration was particularly challenging for two of your students—Faustine and Mason—this year. How do you think they will fare outside the Academy?
I think Faustine is headed for big things. She’s still learning because she’s so young, but some day, I expect her to be an important leader in the paranormal community. In many ways, she’s mature well beyond her age. Mason is another story. Although a leader among the paranormals, his father has always been a bit of a loose cannon. Mason is a “chip off the old block.” I’m concerned he’s going to require some intervention or reining in, in the future.

What are your plans for the future?
I hope to stay  at the Academy and settle down.

I’d like to thank Al Kunz for getting into character and responding to my questions as his paranormal alter ego, Professor Kunz.