Monday, January 26, 2015

The Revenge Artist by Philip Hoy

The Revenge Artist by Philip Hoy

A bullied teen embarks on a dark journey of revenge when she discovers the power to make bad things happen by drawing them.

Evelyn Hernandez is a high school junior who reads Shakespeare for fun, sews her own dresses, and keeps a sketch journal of her daily life. When varsity quarterback Garvey Valenzuela breaks her heart, she sends him to the emergency room with a busted hand.
Add black magic to her résumé.

The Revenge Artist is the story of a bullied teen who embarks on a dark journey of revenge when she discovers she has the power to make bad things happen by drawing them. The novel explores the emotional pain, isolation, and self-hatred caused by bullying and cyber-bullying in particular as it follows the self-destructive path taken by one teen attempting to defend herself from bullies.

Evelyn is temporarily empowered by her ability to hurt others, "Don't you know? I'm a witch... a real, honest to God, black-hearted, evil witch!" and this is what keeps her from seeing that her true power comes from her loyal and caring nature, the love and support of her friends and family, and most of all, her intelligence and creativity.

Philip Hoy, author of The Revenge Artist

Dana’s YA Book Pile Author Interview Questions:
1.   I write because…
I am a sponge. I soak up everything around me, from home, from my students, from the media, from books, until I reach a point of saturation and I must wring myself out onto the page. If I can’t find time to write…if I don’t make myself…then all of that input evaporates, and all those possible stories dry up and disappear. And wringing is really an appropriate image, because writing is difficult and almost never flows easily, but all of these influences are in the mix and what I think emerges is something I can call my voice, the same voice with which I speak, only far more polished.

2. If I were your favorite cookie, what would I be?
I would be the sugar cookies my wife makes during the holidays. I’m a light, crispy-crunch blonde with golden brown edges, filled with a buttery deliciousness that’s not overly sweet. You can keep a small pile of me nearby to nibble on while you are reading or writing, or you can put a handful of me in your coat pocket and take me with you to the movies, shopping, or wherever.

3. Plotter or pantster?
I imagine I’m a little bit of both. I work best with a rough outline, so I talk myself through the plot: first, next, later, finally, the next day, and so on, and then go back and write it. These are two very different things, though. The first is mostly planning, but the second is creating…and creating is the most difficult. You can plot and plot and plot some more, but sooner or later, you have to switch over from planning to constructing, and then submerge yourself in the world you are creating, and begin to write from the point of view of your characters. In other words, stop telling what your characters will do and start showing them do it. Once I begin writing, I guess I’m a pantster. I place the characters within the conflict and then see what happens. Even though I’m pretty sure I know what my character will do in a situation, I have to start writing in order to find out. Dialogue can be especially surprising. I may have certain lines in mind, things that must be said to develop the characters and the plot, but once two or more characters begin to speak, the conversation often takes on a natural, spontaneous rhythm that makes unexpected turns and arrives in unexplored territory. Writing can be as much an act of discovery as reading…sometimes maybe more.

4. What is your favorite type of character to write about and why?
I am attracted to characters that tend to drastically underestimate themselves. Characters who, for some reason or another, temporarily become their own worst enemies until they realize the strength they needed, or the answer they were looking for, was inside them all along.
Mostly, my high school students inspire my writing. My characters are teenagers. And like my students, they are just as much discovering themselves, as they are inventing themselves: still finding their voices, still realizing their powers, and still exploring their purpose in the world. In my novel, the high school dean complains, “You kids live in the extreme, in the moment, and why not when everything is happening to you for the first time?” I feel this is so true of young people; although, unlike the dean in my story, I believe this is exactly what makes teenagers so fascinating and so refreshing to be around.

5. Hamburgers or sushi?

6. Name three things on your desk.
Right now? My MacBook Pro, the hand-carved Maori wooden face my daughter brought back from New Zealand for me, and a bowl of oatmeal, my favorite late night snack. 

7. What books have influenced your writing style?
While I don’t think my style is necessarily similar to any of these writers, when I think of my choice to write for a young adult audience, these particular books come to mind: The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, The Afterlife by Gary Soto, The Dead Father’s Club by Matt Haig, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

8. Tell us a little about your book.
The book is called The Revenge Artist and it is the story of Evelyn Hernandez, a bullied teen who discovers she has the power to make bad things happen by drawing them. The novel explores the emotional pain, isolation, and self-hatred caused by bullying and cyber-bullying in particular as it follows the self-destructive path taken by one teen attempting to defend herself from bullies.
Although there is a bit of the supernatural, or paranormal, in my book, it is categorized as a contemporary young adult novel. There is definitely romance, but the plot is much more concerned with the protagonist finding her voice than finding her man.

9. What advice do you have for new and aspiring authors?
Once you’ve finished that first book, begin submitting it to as many publishers and agents as possible. While you are awaiting responses, start writing your next story (never stop writing). If you are lucky, out of all the “no thank you” replies, maybe, just maybe, a publisher will include some notes along with your rejection letter. And even though specific criticism of your book may hurt a lot more at first than a generic, “it’s just not what we’re looking for at this time,” do not destroy or delete this letter…it is extremely valuable and rare. Later, after you’ve had a good cry, take it out and read it again. Chances are, it’s advice you can use.  

10. What is next on your writerly horizon?
I’ve decided to write a sequel to The Revenge Artist and I’m already half finished. Also, I’ve begun an author’s blog on my website that I really enjoy.  

Top 5 favorite movies: (I know, I have six…but narrowing it down to five was hard enough.)
1.      Indiana Jones
2.      Monty Python and the Holy Grail
3.      The Thirteenth Warrior
4.      Oh Brother Where Art Thou
5.      Galaxy Quest
6.      Zoolander


Hi, I'm Garvey."
Evelyn looked up at him through her bangs. "Evelyn," she said without lifting her head. But his hand stayed outstretched between them for an unbearably long moment until Evelyn finally gave him hers.
"Nice to meet you, Evelyn," he said with two perfect dimples framing his smile.
She turned and smiled at the other two guys now sitting at the table. Garvey followed her gaze and greeted the two with a smooth lift of his chin and some kind of half audible guy-grunt which they returned in a similar manner. Tito and Erick. The two were inseparable. Must be nice to get to sit with your best friend, Evelyn thought as she twisted around in her chair to make eye contact with Denise who had ended up on the other side of the classroom. Evelyn gave her a please-kill-me look. Denise just smirked and rolled her eyes.
"Hey, I have a cousin named Evelyn," Garvey was saying. "We're not related are we?"
Evelyn turned back to face him. "No."
"Are you sure? She likes to wear dresses too, just like you. You know with tights or whatever." He made a motion with his eyes like he was looking through the table top at her pink stockings.
She instinctively pulled her knees together.
"Have you ever done that?" he went on, leaning a little forward. "You know, liked someone and then found out they were related, your cousin or something?"
Oh...My...God, she prayed silently, please stop talking to me. Schwartz made an exaggerated clearing of his throat to get everyone's attention. "Okay!" he said, "Now that you've all had time to get to know each other, when I call on you I would like you to tell me three things you've learned about the person across from you." The class became noisy again. "Evelyn," he announced loudly over the din, and everyone stopped talking and turned to look at her.
Perfect, she thought, how can this day possibly get any worse?
"Stand please," added Schwartz. "Nice and loud."
Evelyn stood, tugging down on the hem of her dress. "His name is Garvey," she said, and then in one monotone breath finished with, "he plays football, and even though sports and school keep him very busy, he still finds time to keep in touch with friends and exchange pictures on Facebook."
Garvey looked confused.
"Okay, that's two things," said Schwartz. "One more."
"His name doesn't count?" asked Evelyn.
"No, that's too easy," he answered, obviously enjoying himself. "One more...something most people probably don't know about Garvey."
Evelyn sent Schwartz daggers with her eyes. He knows I can't answer that, she thought, he knows I wasn't even speaking to him. But when she opened her mouth it just came out. "He once had a crush on a girl until he found out she was his cousin," she said and dropped into her seat.
Someone laughed abruptly, like the bleat of a sheep.
"Oh...kay..." said Schwartz. "Garvey, what did you learn about Evelyn?"
"Well, her name is—" He stopped himself, remembering to stand up.
Evelyn slipped lower in her seat.
"Her name is Evelyn," he went on, "she's an artist and..."
Now it was Evelyn's turn to look confused.
"And she's always drawing pictures in a notebook she carries around."
Schwartz was nodding his head slowly, counting to himself while Garvey spoke. He stopped now, looking at Garvey expectantly.
"And...she likes to wear pretty girl's dresses to school because she wants to be original and have her own style."
He sat down again, flashing Evelyn his trademark smile.
"Okay, thank you Evelyn and Garvey for setting the standard with those introductions," Schwartz continued. "Now let's hear from someone in the back of the room."

Author Bio:

Philip Hoy is a high school English teacher. When he is not creating lesson plans or grading essays, he is writing. He lives in Southern California with his wife Magdalena, also a teacher.  

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Vengeful by Chantel Fourie

1. I write because… Fictional worlds are more interesting than the real world.
2. If I were your favorite cookie, what would I be? An oreo! Yum!
3. Plotter or pantster? A bit of both. I’m not someone to sit and plan something. I’ll get an idea, think about it a bit (maybe write down a few important details), and then sit down and let the story create itself.
4. What is your favorite type of character to write about and why? Semi-villains! I just love a dark, mysterious kinda character that reveals a bit of good in the end.
5. Hamburgers or sushi? I’m more of a pizza person. I’ll settle for a pizza hamburger… If something like that exists.
6. Name three things on your desk. Computer, phone, tablet (now what about my cup of coffee?)
7. What books have influenced your writing style? Hmm… Good question.  If I have to choose, I’ll go with The Mediator by Meg Cabot, Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling and Alan Wake (more for the game than the book, but the book is just as awesome) by Rick Burroughs.
8. Tell us a little about your book. The Vengeful is the first novella in a YA paranormal series. It tells the story of Zack, a teenage guy, fighting his way through an alternative dimension full of reaper-like creatures to save his brother’s life. In this world of deceit, he must put his trust in the right person, or end up dooming the human race.
9. What advice do you have for new and aspiring authors? Don’t give up! Writing is a learning process. No matter how much your writing sucks, keep on trying and you’ll eventually achieve your goals.
10. What is next on your writerly horizon? I have about 3 half-written books that I want to finish this year. But for now I’m just focusing on The Vengeful’s sequel.

Top 5 Movies:
View from the Top
The Karate Kid
Bridge to Terabithia
The Covenant

In a world where vengeful creatures battle humans, knowing who to trust could be the difference between losing his brother and saving the human race.

When Zack ends up in an alternate dimension and loses his brother to the Vengeful, the last thing he expects is that one of the soul-seeking creatures would save his life.
Vale, a Vengeful with human capabilities, needs his help to retrieve an orb from the last remaining human settlement. In return, he promises to help Zack save his brother and take them back to their own world.
In the settlement, he learns the truth about the Vengeful and the orb’s power. But it is only when he meets Shiro, the human leader, that Zack begins to have doubts. Can he trust Vale to keep his promise, or should he believe Shiro instead?
The fate of the human race rests on his choice.

As soon as the engine shut off, silence crept in. It pressed down on Zack’s chest, almost suffocating him. He needed to get out of here before he went crazy. His hand went for the door, but Jake grabbed his arm. Zack shot him a glare, brushing off his hand, wondering what the issue could be this time. But then he saw it too. His stomach dropped as he looked at the figures of three more of the strange cloaked people. He noticed these were different. They were bigger and cloaked in a darker shade of gray. The hoods shadowed each of their faces and their hands and feet were invisible. Two carried weapons. One held a sword, engulfed in a dark purple energy, and the other a giant hammer, surrounded by the same substance.
“I don’t think you should have stopped, Jake.” Zack gulped.
“I didn’t,” Jake said as he turned the key in the ignition, but the car stayed quiet. There wasn’t even a click. “It’s dead!”
The people hovered closer. The giant hammer-wielding creature stopped at the side of the car. Zack’s side. Blood drained from Zack’s face as it lifted the hammer high above its shoulder.
“Drive, Jake! Drive!”
“I can’t. It won’t start!”
“Oh crap.” Zack ducked as the hammer swung down. He waited for the pain to sink in... For the car to explode... Anything. But when nothing happened, he sat up slowly. The car was still in one piece. He checked his body for any changes and relaxed. The hammer did no visible damage at all. “What’s going on?” a bewildered Zack asked.
“Whoa, it went right through! Did you see that?”
Zack didn’t answer, because first, he didn’t see, and second, one of the other people moved forward. This one held no weapon. It stopped in front of the car, standing with its face cast downward for what felt like forever, and then let loose a terrifying screech. The frequency was so high it nearly pierced his eardrums.
“Cover your ears!” Zack yelled as he covered his own with the palm of his hands, but it didn’t drive out the noise or stop the pain pulsing through his brain.
“It’s not working!” Jake said, looking right into the screamer’s face.
Instead of looking, Zack shut his eyes, thinking it would help if he didn’t see it.
“Can’t handle this, my... brain...” Jake groaned.
Zack jerked his head at the click of the car door, catching Jake stumbling out. “What the hell are you doing? Get back inside!” Zack yelled. “Are you crazy?”
Jake ignored him. He stumbled down the road a few feet before he stopped and looked back. His face was stripped of all emotion, his eyes still fixed on the screaming person who moved closer toward him. The other people followed. What’s so interesting about that thing’s face that Jake wasn’t running! Zack got out of the car to jerk him away, but he was too late.
The people were upon Jake before he could move. Let go of my brother, you freaks! Zack wanted to scream, but his voice refused. The two carrying weapons swung them down through his body with sheer force. As Jake yelled, a wave of cold rushed through Zack’s body, chilling him to the bone.
“No!” Shaking, he stepped forward. “Jake!” He forced a yell as he gasped for air. His heart pumped wildly in his chest. This couldn’t be happening. Not to Jake. Not his brother.

Author bio:

Chantel Fourie is a YA author, specializing in Fantasy and Paranormal fiction. She lives in Despatch, a quiet town in South Africa.
Since a young age, she has treasured books and spent many afternoons at the local library. Even after the librarians suggested the adult section, she kept loyal to the Young Adult shelves.
Her first novella, The Vengeful, is published with Lycaon Press. She is currently working on various short stories and novellas, including the sequel of The Vengeful. When she is not writing, she is most likely absorbed in a world of fiction or playing online computer games with her friends.
You can find her on Twitter @darkwrld1021