Sunday, December 1, 2013

Erin Bowman author of Taken (EXCLUSIVE AUTHOR INTERVIEW)

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to interview the lovely Erin Bowman, author of Taken (published by HarperTeen) and the upcoming sequel, Frozen (released 4/15/14). Ms.Bowman is a debut author with a stunning novel and I, along with tons of her readers, are happy that she has become a published author. She was kind enough to answer these questions for me, enjoy!



Where did the idea for Taken come from? Are parts of it influenced from your life?
The idea for Taken actually came to me when I was working on a different manuscript. Gray materialized almost out of nowhere. I knew he was living in an isolated town and dreading his eighteenth birthday, and his voice was so clear that I couldn’t ignore him. I started asking why—what happened at eighteen that Gray feared so much?—and the story took shape from there.

In what direction would you like Taken to go to, if not just mass publishing? Movie? Television?
While I would be ecstatic and grateful to see Taken go to any screen--big or small--I think it lends itself best to TV. The book has tons of twists and reveals, and a constantly unfolding mystery. The cliffhangers between episodes and seasons would be glorious. 

Can you give us any hints at what will happen in Frozen?
As in Taken, expect lots of action and plot twists, only this time in the snow. ;)

But for more substantial teasers, watch for the #frozen teaser tag on my tumblr! I'll be sharing select excerpts from Frozen every month leading up to the book's release on 4/15/14.

What do you think differentiates Taken from the other dystopian books being published lately?
Oh, man. What can I say without risking spoilers? How about... A complex male narrator. Gray is not the most virtuous person around. He sometimes makes bad decisions, does questionable things with even more questionable motives, but I think his flaws make him achingly human. He’s got a good heart. He values family and is loyal to them. He is a very muddy character, and his name reflects that.

Many dystopias in the current YA market feature female leads or dual narrations split between a guy and girl. In contrast to this, I really loved having the opportunity to write solely from the perspective of a strong but flawed male lead.

How do you outline/write your story?
I often have a rough roadmap for my manuscript before I sit down to draft. I know where the story beings, how it ends, and a few major milestones in the middle, but how I tie all those plot points together often arises when I'm in the process of drafting. I let my characters guide me (and sometimes surprise me). If a fork appears and my characters want to go right even though I was planning on left, I follow them and see where it leads me.
But before I even get to the writing, I typically go through a long brainstorming period. This includes scribbling ideas into a notebook (history of the world, character back-stories, milestone plot points, etc), listening to a ton of epic music, and pinning visual inspiration. More than anything, I'm learning that no two books are written the same way--they each demand their own methods, and I've tweaked my process accordingly for every story I write.

How did the publishing process for Taken go?
I drafted Taken during the first half of 2010 and revised it several times later that year. In December I started querying agents and in late January of 2011, I signed with my current agent, Sara Crowe. After another quick revision, we sent the book to editors in mid-February. Erica Sussman at HarperTeen bought the trilogy on April 1st of 2011. The book hit shelves just over two years later, on 4/16/13. (The time between purchase and on-sale was dedicated to revisions, marketing, and production, plus my initial work on the sequel.)

Have you always wanted to be a writer? What influenced you to become a writer?
I've always had an intense love for stories--especially fairy tales, quests, and epic adventures--and my mother is entirely responsible for this. She is a teacher and librarian, and she filled my childhood with books. At an early age I started writing my own stories. It became my hobby--the thing that followed me through every year of school, into college (my minor), and beyond. Taken was actually first drafted while I was still working as a full-time web designer in Boston, and it was only after the nudging of friends, family, and critique partners, that I decided to seek publication for the book. Signing a contract with HarperTeen was the moment I realized I had an opportunity to make my hobby a career.

Thank you SO much Erin! Your answers were wonderful :)


Erin Bowman is a YA writer, letterpress lover, and Harry Potter enthusiast living in New Hampshire. Her debut novel, TAKEN is now available from HarperTeen, and FROZEN releases 4/15/14. You can visit her blog (updated occasionally) or find her ontwitter (updated obsessively).

Have you guys read Taken yet? (If not, get onto it, it's the next big thing!) Did you enjoy the interview?

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