October 18, 2011
Interview: Laura Burks author of the book~Altered
1. How did you come up with the concept for this book?
The concept for my novel, Altered, almost found me. What I mean is, I was thinking about “time” and how we let things slip by. Anyway, as this thought kept haunting me, little by little, the finding of the cursed book writing on foggy nights and parts of the story started to come together. The idea of making a deal and not holding your end plays a big part in Altered as well.
Altered is a young adult paranormal romance with a mystery element. It’s not your typical paranormal with vampires and witches, but it will surprise you. The idea of a cursed book, cursed people and revealing hidden messages all play the part of the paranormal, mystery element. The romance in Altered is soft yet gripping. Each longing stare or hand held will have you remembering fond memories of your first love.
2. How did you come up with the names for the characters?
I’m not sure how it happens for other writers, but for me, as I was writing the names just flowed as if I had already chosen them. Certain characteristics fit certain names, which made sense once I saw it written down. The only name that I thought about changing was Blaze. Then, once I developed his character more, that name fit him perfectly.
3. How much are you and the characters alike?
Hmm … that’s and interesting question. Maybe I’m a little of each character. Well, except for being a criminal or cursed. As a writer, you have to dig down deep inside to find certain elements of yourself in order to write different personalities. We’re all familiar with good and evil. And we know, if not in ourselves, in others, personalities that draw us near or push us away. I’m not completely like my characters, but it was easy to relate.
4. Do you read a lot and what are you reading now?
I do enjoy reading, but I don’t have the luxury to spend a lot of time with a book. My favorite time to read is late at night when the house is quiet and I can curl up and read until I fall asleep. Right now, I’m reading a Sarah Dessen book “Along For The Ride.”
You learn so much from reading, but you can’t let yourself get caught up in fictional characters and forget to live. As a writer, inspiration is everywhere – books, movies, everyday life, strangers, music, etc. Basically, anything that catches your attention.
5. What made you decide to go paranormal?
With the idea of the cursed book, paranormal just fit. I know it’s not what’s out there the most in the paranormal genre, but I wanted something unique and different. Just like most paranormal fans, I am drawn to the vampire stories, but I was also looking beyond the normal.
Here’s something else I have to admit. I’m a fan of the paranormal reality shows on TV, but don’t like the set-up haunted houses on Halloween. I’ve been to a few actual haunted houses, and that doesn’t bother me, but not the ones where actual people jump out at you. That type of scary is not my thing.
6. How did the cover come about?
So glad you asked this question. When I was writing, I dreamed about the day my book would be published and what the cover would look like. And then, when the day came, what I imagined didn’t come close to how wonderful the actual turned out. With my publisher, Wings ePress, they believe that the author should have as much say as possible from start to finish. I was very fortunate to work with the cover artist and come up with the design.
The faint writing on the cover represents the mysterious writings in the book. The two roses at the bottom are not the actual symbol mentioned in the book, but they do represent two main characters.
7. So what is your next project and when is it due out?
As on now, it’s work in progress. I’ve had lots or request for a sequel to Altered, but I haven’t decided if that’s the direction I want to go. Altered does have closure, but with a sense of what if. A sequel is possible, and all I can say right now is that I’m very tempted. As far as what I’m working on now, both are young adult.
8. Do you have a daytime job or are you a full time writer?
I think I have many full time jobs. Funny, don’t we all? There are never enough hours in a day. I do work part-time teaching a “Get Real About Violence” course in our local elementary schools to grades K-2. And a few months out of the year, I work with middle school students in our Youth Legislature program. Between that, keeping up with my two teenagers, writing, marketing my new book, and whatever decides it needs my attention during the day, I stay very busy.
9. How did you get into writing novels and were you worried about people’s reactions to your books?
Altered was my first attempt at writing a novel, and fortunately my first to have published. I didn’t know it when I first began writing that most authors don’t have their first published. It’s a tough business being a writer, and when you’re new, it’s even harder. I’ve always enjoyed writing freelance articles, poetry and short stories, but never thought I’d attempt to write a book. It’s a totally different way of writing than what I was used to.
As far was being worried about people’s reactions to my book, well, I was at first. Then, I realized you can’t please everyone. All you can do is put out the best work possible and be happy with what you’ve done. In the end, if you’ve truly worked hard, most will give you their support, and the ones that don’t, you put it behind you and move on. So far, I’ve been very pleased with the acceptance and support of Altered. It’s such a dream come true to share my book with other readers, and have the opportunity to get to know them either personally, or through emails. I’m very inspired by their kind words and encouragement to continue writing.
10. One last thing do you collect anything personally?
I don’t collect any one particular thing. I do love antiques, though. Actually, I’m eclectic blend of things that I like. The things that I treasure the most are from my family and children.
Thanks for letting me spend time with you today. It’s been a lot of fun. For more information about me or my novel, please visit my website at www.lauraburks.com. I also have a blog and facebook fan page for Altered. Feel free to contact me. I’d love to hear from you.
~~ Laura Burks
All eighteen-year-old Jenna wants to do is have a slow paced and predictable summer in the small town of New Roads with her grandfather. But on Friday the thirteenth, the unpredictable occurs when she mysteriously hears a voice leading her to a buried book. Jenna is unaware that a secret curse lies within and she's just unleashed its hold.
As writings appear in the book strangely matching her vivid dreams, Jenna's curious nature takes over pulling her deeper into the mystery and the connection to her family. What she didn't expect to find was a forbidden love and a choice to save a life.
Will Jenna's choice remain a secret? Or did the secret choose her
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