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Thursday, 19 November 2015

ℚ♫ The Awakening: Emerge [1] - Melissa A. Craven

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about Emerge: The Awakening (, Midnight Hour Studio, 440 pages) a Young Adult Paranormal Urban Fantasy book one of the Emerge series.

"Originality is the distinguishing characteristic of this story! Young Adult Fantasy has been pumped out like never before, but Melissa A. Craven has skillfully developed an Urban Fantasy set in a real life, believable context. I can almost believe this ancient race of Immortals actually lives among us." ~ Hub Pages Reviewer

"Melissa A. Craven is fantastic at world building and creating strong origin stories for her characters. This is one Indie book that should be on every YA shelf." ~ Joanne Mumley for YABooksCentral.com


Author Q&A | Synopsis | Teaser | The Series | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops


Hello Melissa, welcome to BooksChatter!

we love music, and first of all I would like to share your playlist for Emerge, which contains classical pieces, a lot of violin performances and renditions of modern songs, as well as a few songs from Fall Out Boy, amongst others ;-) - enjoy!



What was the inspiration for Emerge: The Awakening?

"I made the decision to write a book before I actually had the idea.  I'd just come off a very disappointing reading stint where heroines in YA were just not measuring up.  Every time I picked up a book, I was disappointed with the way young women were represented.  There was no balance.  Girls were either whiny and weak without their male counterparts to hold them up, or they were hard and jaded, leaving their love interests to trail along behind them as a liability.  There was zero equality, and that's a subject I am passionate about.

I was inspired to write a story that could fill that gap, something that could show young readers that it doesn't have to be one way or the other—that men and women can be equally strong together (and have their moments of weakness as well).  Once I started thinking about what I wanted my story to be, I decided early on that my characters would be young Immortals with cool powers and that their parents would have interesting histories.

Over the years, Emerge has gone through many different phases and it's light years away from my original draft, but those core elements that inspired me from the beginning have always remained the same."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"Ohhhh, my gift of snark and sarcasm is most definitely reflected in the humor throughout the series, especially Allie's little barbs.

Much of Allie's experiences are rooted in my own.  I moved around and changed schools often when I was growing up and starting over was never an easy thing for me, but those experiences gave me strength.

My education in art and architecture has also helped me tremendously in ways I never anticipated.  I was an interior designer for several years and I draw on that experience when describing locations and settings.  Having that knowledge is a huge advantage in descriptive writing"
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover. Can you tell us about your cover for Emerge: The Awakening - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"I'm also drawn to shiny, pretty covers so I knew I needed something amazing.  I had some ideas and a killer graphic, but I needed someone to put it together for me.  I found Zoe Shtorm on 99Designs.com and she really ran with my ideas.

As an interior designer, I know color and I know color trends.  When I found the intense teal and red image we used as the background for Emerge, I knew it would be amazing because the contemporary colors would appeal to my target audience in particular.

Zoe did an amazing job with the cover art and choosing an Allie that represented strength.  I'm continuously blown away by the compliments I receive for her hard work. (She did an equally amazing job on the cover for Emerge: The Edge too!)

What makes Allie's story different is at sixteen, when her world turns upside down, she chooses to be with Vince, the mortal boy who makes her feel normal again.  She knows she won't be with him forever, but it's a realistic choice for her.  With Aidan, the boy who is comfortable with her in a way no one else has ever been, she chooses to put him in the "friend" box because she knows she isn't ready for what he's offering.

Bottom line, Emerge is not just a story about an extraordinary girl and the boy who loves her. It is about showing young readers what equality and strength looks like."
Why should we read Emerge; what sets it apart from the rest?
"In recent years, YA has been really bad about the way young women are portrayed (and their love interests as well), but they've also been bad about setting a standard for unrealistic and sometimes unhealthy relationships at an incredibly young age.

With Emerge, there is an element of exciting supernatural themes, but at the core of Allie's story, she's just a regular girl struggling to maintain her identity when everyone around her expects her to do things their way.  She's a real girl, with flaws and insecurities, and Aidan is her equal in every way.  They aren't perfect.  They are going to get it wrong.  She is going to have her moments of drama and he is going to be a total douche from time to time.

With Emerge, you get an incredible supernatural story, but you also get realistic characters in a world that is so much like our own, you could almost expect to run into an Immortal in your daily life."
Can you tell us something quirky about Emerge: The Awakening, its story and characters?
"This is a great question!  I have a ridiculously complicated method for giving supernatural gifts to my Immortal characters.  I do not just hand them a supernatural ability to suit the situation. So much effort and research goes into deciding which gifts a character will possess. Aidan and his sister, Sasha are a great example of my process.  Most of my characters are loosely based on historical figures and mythological characters.  Aidan and Sasha are a reflection of the Greek gods, Apollo and Artemis, who were twins.

Artemis was slightly older than Apollo (by a few hours).  Sasha is about two weeks older than Aidan.  Artemis was goddess of the hunt, protector of animals.  Sasha has an affinity with nature and can talk to and heal animals.  Artemis was armed with a bow and arrow and was known to never miss her target.  She was also fast on her feet.  Sasha never misses her target and is the fastest runner of all the Immortals on Kelleys Island.

Apollo was known as the sun god and the god of music.  Aidan's "sun" gift eventually manifested as a gift with fire and heat.  Aidan plays the violin and has a deep love for music.  Apollo could heal injured mortals and animals.  Aidan is a healer of mortals, while Sasha is a healer of animals.

Allie is also based on the god, Apollo and the mortal, Daphne whom Apollo was desperately in love with in Ovid's, Metamorphosis.  These little details are endless, so I could talk about this all day!"
Who would you recommend Emerge: The Awakening to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"Emerge is not your typical YA series.  It has the kind of elements we love about the genre, but there is a greater depth to the story and characters.  If you are a reader who loves to learn all the little things that make a character tick (see the last question) then you will love Emerge.  The series will appeal to anyone who loves YA, especially those who are a little more A than Y."
If you could / wished the Emerge series into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"I would love to see Emerge as a movie, set in Cleveland of course!

I have a few favorite picks for some of the older characters, but I've never found my perfect Allie or Aidan. But for Greggory McBrien, I see Gerard Butler or Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

For his brother, Liam McBrien, True Blood's Eric Northman all the way with Alexander Skarsgård.

For Naeemah, I see Padma Lakshmi from Top Chef (not an actress but that's who I see! Cool scar and all.)

For Daniel Loukas, (Quinn and Graham's father), I see Michael Rady (Kostas from Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.)

For Jin Jing, (Chloe's father) I see Daniel Dae Kim from Lost.

And for Navid, I have seen Naveen Andrews from Lost since the very first moment I thought of the character.

And for Greyson Hauser, who won't be a major character until the second full book in the series, I see Dustin Clare (Gannicus from Spartacus).

And because music is my biggest inspiration, I would absolutely die to have David Garrett do the musical score. (Google him and you'll know why Aidan plays the violin.)"
Ah, David Garrett features heavily in your playlist - you can't really miss him! ;-)

What do you like to write and read about? Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?

"I have dabbled with writing romance and epic style fantasy, but I really enjoy Urban Fantasy and never seem to run out of ideas.  I keep a notebook with all my ideas for Emerge as well as concepts for future projects.

I adore reading YA, but I tend to avoid popular titles to keep my own ideas fresh and unique.  I also read a lot of indie books because I enjoy the author's unrestrained creativity.  Currently, I am dying to finish The Outlander series!  Jamie Fraser is high on my list of favorites."
What is your writing process?
"I don't know if I have a specific process, but there must be music and there must be a burning desire to write whatever has my interest at the moment.  I also find my comfort zone with a dialogue driven writing style.  I let my characters tell the story because I feel dialogue is more engaging.  When I begin a new chapter or scene, I just dive right into the conversation and let it take me there.  Whenever I get caught up in too much narrative, it just doesn’t feel real enough for an Urban Fantasy that takes place in our world."
What is in store next?
"I’ve just released Emerge: The Edge in September!  In The Edge is a prequel so we get to go back to the beginning, before the events of The Awakening, to learn new things about Allie and Aidan as individuals.

The story is told largely from Aidan’s perspective and shows a very different side of him than we got to see in The Awakening.  I wrote this part of the story years ago, but it just didn’t fit well within the timeline of book one.  After much contemplation, I felt The Edge would mean more to the reader as a follow up to book one and a bridge to book two.

BUT, this is not a prequel you can skip.  The series definitely moves forward in this book.  You should note that I hate prequels, so I was very skeptical about writing one.  There is some overlap between the two books, but there is also a great deal of new material as well.

The next book is well underway and I'm hoping to finish the draft as part of NaNoWriMo this month!  But I'm a stickler for drafting and redrafting and editing, so I will not be rushing to publish until it is truly ready."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"I'm camera shy (translation: I'm wearing yoga pants and no makeup).  So here is a view into my world.  The furry mound on the corner of my desk is my assistant, Bailee. (Snacks were involved in capturing this photo.)"

"The ever present Dunkin Doughnuts Iced Coffee always has a place of honor.  The Diet Dr. Pepper might indicate I have an issue with caffeine.  (The tape dispenser in the background proves that my mother has an interesting sense of humor.)   The sticky note on the computer is a constant reminder of my current word count for my next book (47, 586).  (NaNoWriMo will see that number hits closer to 80k.)

On the screen is my scrivener file showing notecards for the first nine chapters of my current work in progress.  And what you can't really see are the massive to do lists and schedules under my keyboard and beside the mouse.  I'm a list person.  I would get nothing accomplished without a list.

So this is where I spend most of my time (and it's rarely this clean!)"
Aww!  Bailee is like a little teddy bear :-)
Thank you again for joining us today and sharing so much with us, Melissa :-)

Emerge: The Awakening
Available NOW!

UK: purchase from Amazon.co.ukUS: purchase from Amazon.com purchase from Barnes & Noble find on Goodreads

1 comment:

  1. Great interview! I love the pics too. Thank you so much for brining all things Emerge to one great location!

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