Emlyn Chand

Read more about Emlyn Chand.

Interview By: Tamazon

Date: October 31, 2011

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Farsighted | Paranormal YA | October 24, 2011 | Blue Crown Press

Alex Kosmitoras's life has never been easy. The only other student who will talk to him is the school bully, his parents are dead-broke and insanely overprotective, and to complicate matters even more, he's blind. Just when he thinks he'll never have a shot at a normal life, a new girl from India moves into town. Simmi is smart, nice, and actually wants to be friends with Alex. Plus she smells like an Almond Joy bar. Yes, sophomore year might not be so bad after all.

Unfortunately, Alex is in store for another new arrival--an unexpected and often embarrassing ability to "see" the future. Try as he may, Alex is unable to ignore his visions, especially when they begin to suggest that Simmi is in danger. With the help of the mysterious psychic next door and new friends who come bearing gifts of their own, Alex must embark on a journey to change his future.

*Winner of the Alternative Booker Award, 2011
*Winner of the WritersType First Chapter Competition, September 2011

What main genre do you write in?

Teen / Young Adult

Please tell us your latest news!

Everything started with a single image-my face in these tacky oversized sunglasses reflecting out at me from the car's side mirror. I was daydreaming while my husband drove us across Michigan for my sister's wedding. Something about my image really struck me in an almost horrific way. I felt the glasses made me look blind but found it so weird that there was still a clear image within them; it seemed so contradictory. At the time, my book club was reading The Odyssey, which features the blind Theban prophet, Tieresias. I started thinking about what it would be like to have non-visual visions of the future and began forming a modern Tieresias in my mind. Lo and behold, Alex Kosmitoras was born. I didn't want him to be alone in his psychic subculture, so I found other characters with other powers to keep him company. Thank God for my poor fashion sense. :-)

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

John Irving. His characters just feel so real. Upon finishing A Prayer for Owen Meany, I sat still and cried (you have to read the book to find out why). It had truly felt like I'd lost friends when I exited the worlds of Owen Meany and Cider House Rules. I read A LOT and only Irving and a few select others can elicit such a response.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I was born with a fountain pen grasped firmly in my left hand, at least that's what my Twitter bio says. But seriously, I do believe writers are born into the craft-we haven't got much choice, but it's a great calling to have. As a child, I always had a story to tell. I also loved illustrating my own books and comics. I first became a *writer* writer when I began doing a book review column for the local paper. That taught me the importance of deadlines and letting the words flow out even when I had no idea what direction they'd take me in.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

My advice is this: Have fun with your writing. Don't put pressure on yourself or your story and don't try to fit either into some type of mold. Not every work HAS to be published, but every work will teach you something, and it will make you a better writer. Find the joy in writing, and you won't go wrong.

Please describe your writing environment.

At any given time, I have two major writing spaces--one inside my home and one out. I find it's important to mix it up to keep the creativity flowing. It's not uncommon for me to "hold myself hostage" at a local coffee shop for long periods of time, forcing myself to be productive. I may write in my office, at the dining table, or at the kitchen table when at home. When out and about, I prefer Biggby or Panera. I used to write at Borders, and well, we know what happened there.

Who has been your best supporter? How have they been there for you?

My best friend, hands-down. She reads everything I write at least three times and offers feedback about what's working as well as what needs to be changed. Not only that, she listens to me drone on for hours about my story ideas. I don't know that I'd have ever finished Farsighted without her!

Do you like to mix genres?

The great thing about writing YA is it pretty much requires a genre mixing. Is your YA more romantic? More paranormal? More coming of age? This is one of the reasons I write YA. It has fewer expectations than other genres. It's more freeing. I also love writing characters who can shape and grow throughout the course of the story as YA's young protagonists so often do.

What book are you reading now? What are your thoughts on it?

I'm reading Matched by Ally Condie. I'm really enjoying it. I've read quite a bit of classic literature in my day and appreciate Condie's integration of themes from Huxley's Brave New World. I'm telling all my friends to read Matched and likening it to Hunger Games minus all the gory action scenes (still like Hunger Games better though)!

Do you have any cool promo tricks you can share with other writers?

Oh, man. I have two great loves: writing and book marketing. I'm the Presiden of Novel Publicity and have developed a whole arsenal of cool promo tricks. Marketing Farsighted has been a full-time job on top of a full-time job. I've definitely devoted more man power into my campaign, because I have no limits. I've spent an enormous amount of time and energy recruiting bloggers for my launch, and I have over 200, thank you :-) I'm also hiring 6 other blog tour companies to tour my book over the next couple months-getting buzz early on is crucial! I've had a good amount of luck with GoodReads pay-per-click advertising too (something I plan to blog in depth later for Novel Publicity). I've even taken it off the web and created some Farsighted-themed swag. I'm most proud of my postcards. Readers can request an autographed postcard by filling out a simple form on my website. It's a fun way to connect with readers that is memorable and only costs me about 50 cents.

Do you have any animals? Do they influence your writing?

I have a Golden Retriever, a Sun Conure, Cockatiel, and three Budgies (the last 5 are all birds). Yes, I'm a bit of a crazy bird lady, I'll confess! My Sun Conure Ducky has been a huge influence, mostly because he helped make me famous. On a whim, I made Ducky the mascot for my business Novel Publicity. Now that the business has really taken off, everyone knows who Ducky is, and he actually has a pretty big fan base. Yup, you can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and GoodReads.

Hey, thanks for taking the time to interview me. Getting Farsighted down on paper and out into the world has been a wild ride. I'm so happy I stepped on board. :-D