I did an interview with J.A. George, a YA fantasy writer from the UK. J.A. George will be giving away 2 e-copies of her new book Gifted. To enter the giveaway just scroll to the bottom of the interview and click on the link. Good luck to everyone!
Interview with J. A. George
1. When and why did you begin writing?
I have always loved to write, but I didn’t begin writing with the intention to publish until late 2013. I began writing GIFTED because I wanted to read it. I wanted to read a contemporary YA fantasy novel that didn’t feature instant-love, ‘the chosen one’ or a young woman born in a dystopian society, and so I wrote one. I started off with a basic plot line and before long, I was immersed in my fictional world. I wanted to know what happened next, to characters, to relationships and to the story line. So I carried on writing.
2. Where are you from?
London, England, but I’m currently studying in Sheffield.
3. What inspired you to write your first book?
People. I’ve been asked this question many times before and I’ve never really known how to answer it until today. There wasn’t really a moment or catalyst that sparked the idea for the GIFTED series, so I always assumed it was just an idea that popped into my head one afternoon. GIFTED isn’t my first written novel, but it’s my first published one. People inspired it because GIFTED compressed into one line is: a story about ordinary young adults with extra-ordinary gifts. I believe each person has an extra-ordinary gift—it just might not be of the supernatural kind!
4. How did you come up with the title?
It just seemed to fit. My book is about gifted individuals. I thought about other titles, but nothing seemed to work as well for me. There are a few books out there with the same title, hence why I always add the series title when advertising or promoting. GIFTED – The Hayven Series.
5. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Find what makes you different and be it. Simple as that!
6. What books have most influenced your life most?
Believe it or not, Roald Dahl. I feel like I’m repeating myself, but Roald Dahl’s books are usually about ordinary people going through extra-ordinary events. It’s a message that seems to have stuck with me and fascinated me for years.
7. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Alive? Malorie Blackman. Dead? Roald Dahl.
8. What book are you reading now?
I’ve recently finished The Santa Klaus Murder by Mavis Doriel Hay and I loved it. I never thought I’d be interested in the murder mystery genre, but I really enjoyed this one!
9. Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Karen Joy Fowler. I’m not sure if she is new or not, but she is new to me. I read her novel We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves and can’t wait to read more from her. I just love the way she writes. I can’t describe it or compare it to anyone else I’ve read; it’s just different, and I really like different.
10. What are your current projects?
The second novel in the Gifted series. I’ve still got some work to do on it. Quite a bit actually!
11. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
It’s too soon to tell. GIFTED was published on the 13th of April so it all seems perfect to me now. Yet I know I’ll catch something when I read it in paperback format!
12. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
My teachers in school used to praise me for my creative writing and it was always nice to have something you’re naturally good at. I didn’t think of it as a career until a few years ago and now it’s all I can think about.
13. Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Sure! How about the first page?
Someone was watching me.
I turned the corner onto Dulscent Street, normally busy at five in the evening, but always deserted when it was raining. I looked back and caught the tail of a long black coat. Or it could have been a long black skirt. Trying to open my eyes wider was pointless because whatever I’d seen had already gone and I only saw what I’d squinted my eyes to avoid – flying strands of my brown hair and stray rain droplets.
A woman stepped out of the dental practice on the other side of the road, her heels clicking on the pavement as she ran to her car, climbed inside and drove off. Only a few other shops were open out of the many lining the street since most owners decided to close early on a Saturday. The dull, cloud-heavy sky drowned the entire town in grey, so I supposed shopping wasn’t what people had in mind.
That’s probably who was watching me, someone on their way home. Why were they staring at me? Well, I did the same thing when it was only me and another person and they couldn’t see me. I shook off the the call is coming from inside the house feeling and carried on up the hill. The wind blustered downwards, coercing my umbrella and me in opposite directions. My boyfriend jacket released itself from my one-handed grip, the zip scratching my palm as it did and flapped behind me. My fault for thinking a jacket one size down from my actual size would fit.
14. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
At first, I tried to please everyone. I wanted this book to do well and in order for it to do well, it has to sell. It took me two years to realise that pleasing everyone in one book is impossible. So I stopped writing for others and wrote for myself. I’m much happier because of that.
15. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Again, Roald Dahl. Being able to bring magic to life isn’t easy. Yet, he managed to do it for children and adults. But my favourite book is A Thousand Splendid Suns. I think Khaled Hosseini is a wonderful storyteller.
16. Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No, but it’s very early days, who knows what might happen. I hope so, though because I love to travel.
17. Who designed the cover(s)?
Alisha from Damonza.com. She’s amazing. I actually wrote a blog post about my book cover journey if you’d like to read more about it:
18. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Overcoming the reality that I couldn’t please everyone.
19. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learnt to write for myself and no-one else. That’s usually the first bit of advice, after ‘keep writing’, authors get given. I heard it, but never took it into account. Now I have. Better late than never! When you write for yourself, you care less about sales and more about how far you’ve come with the novel. Writing a novel isn’t easy, so it’s nice to sit down and tell yourself you’ve done well to just write one.
20. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Keep writing because if you want to be an author, you have no other choice. And write for yourself—trust me on that one.
21. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I hope you enjoy GIFTED. I really enjoyed writing it so I can only hope you enjoy reading it!
22. What inspires you?
Opportunities and possibilities.
23. What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Developing my characters. It’s so strange to say, but the more you write about them, the more real they become.
24. How do you find or make time to write?
It’s really bad, but I tend to push everything else aside because writing is always much more fun than anything else I need to do. I always try to write down an idea that pops into my head before it vanishes and sometimes that’s all I’ll write that day. Other days, I might write over two thousand words. However, I do prioritise, but writing does tend to take up most of my time!
Summary of Gifted by J. A. George:
There is no chosen one in this story.
She was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and happened to make a decision that altered her future forever. It happens to all of us every day.
Avery Gray is a size twelve university student with a penchant for dry humour, and she’s as normal as they come. Up until now, the biggest choice she’s had to make was glasses or contacts? At the moment, it’s stay and save, or leave and be saved.
Allow me to explain. One rainy afternoon, Avery had to make a choice: go through the alleyway or around it. Two possible options. One would have had her future continue on as planned, the other would ensure that her future never remained the same again. She unknowingly went with the latter.
But change is not always bad. Avery meets Theodore-James Connors, an enigmatic young man who takes her to Hayven, a city separated from the rest of the world, where only gifters – ordinary people with extra-ordinary gifts – can go. She soon finds herself in a close-knit group of friends she’d never have imagined herself in; friends who are diverse in every possible way, from their ethnic backgrounds, to their personalities, from their gifts, to their life stories. Friends who make her laugh, who make her cry, who make her think and who make her…her.
However, change is not always good. The beautiful, golden city of Hayven has its dark side – Cliders. Gifters turned rogue, aka, Cliders are determined to aid fallen Clider, Madrina, return to rule Hayven. They will stop at nothing to make that happen, including harming those Ava has grown to love. Again, Ava is faced with a choice: spend her days finding a way to inhibit Madrina’s return, or walk away. After all, she isn’t the chosen one. Yet, there exists a third option – rig the future itself and make it work for her.
J. A. George’s Links:
Twitter Handle : @JGeorgie_