Me: In the spirit of Twitter, tell us about Renegade in 140 characters or less.
J.A.: It's BioShock meets the Bourne Identity for teens. Features assassins, brainwashing, and homicidal mothers.
Me: How did you come up with the idea for Renegade?
J.A.: I’ve always wanted to live in an underwater city. I went to school to become a marine biologist and even joined the Navy in the hopes of either starting or living in one. But, well, I never did find that key to Atlantis, so I decided to make one a better way. I’d make it up and write a story around it. After years of scrubbing a ton of manuscripts that just weren’t right because an underwater city would be my version of a utopian society, it finally hit me. I was half watching my son play the video game BIOSHOCK and half watching a documentary on the world’s fascination with perfection. It all meshed in my head and the story was born.
Me: Why do you write fantasy novels for and how did you get started?
J.A.: I've always loved the outrageousness of fantasy. Almost anything can and usually does happen.
Me: Where did you get the inspiration for the characters?
J.A.: There really wasn't any inspiration behind them. They were just there, telling me there story, but for looks I used Taylor Swift for Evie and Matt Lanter for Gavin.
Me: Which character from the book is your favorite?
J.A.: Gavin. He's the perfect guy in my mind. He's strong and stoic, enough of an alpha male to be interesting, but smart enough to let a girl take the lead when she obviously knows more about the situation and how to get out of it then him.
Me: Can you tell us a little about your road to publication?
J.A.: My road was fairly simple and fast, and I’m so grateful for it, but it still seems like it’s all a dream. Basically, I wrote a book (a really crappy book) and queried it just knowing it was the next best-seller. Not surprisingly it was rejected. A lot. So I wrote another. This is when I found my first crit partner. She helped me make it shine and taught me so much about writing. I queried it, got a few bites, then decided it just wasn’t what I wanted to debut with. Then I wrote yet another story. Shined it to perfection and queried it. I found Natalie through Absolute Write and got a little buzz, so I sent her a query. About a month later, she asked for a full, and after a short “beauty contest” she became my agent. Unfortunately, that book hasn’t found a home yet, but Natalie didn’t give up on me and I kept writing. I wrote a second book, but the market was too glutted with angel stories for it to sell. Finally, my third book sold to Mel Frain at Tor Teen after about five weeks on sub.
Me: Do you read the same genre as you write? What are you currently reading?
J.A.: I'm fairly eclectic when it comes to reading, so yes. I do read in the same genre. I'm currently not reading anything, but I just finished. Like an hour ago. The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa.
Me: What other projects are you working on at this time?
J.A.: I'm working on the 3rd book in the series and a super sekrit project that I'm really excited about. :)
Me: Thank you, J.A.!
About the book:
Publisher: Tor Teen
Pages: 364 pages
Buy: Amazon, B&N, The Book Depository
Contact the author: Website, Twitter, Pinterest
Goodreads Summary: Since the age of three, sixteen-year-old Evelyn Winters has been trained to be Daughter of the People in the underwater utopia known as Elysium. Selected from hundreds of children for her ideal genes, all her life she’s thought that everything was perfect; her world. Her people. The Law.
But when Gavin Hunter, a Surface Dweller, accidentally stumbles into their secluded little world, she’s forced to come to a startling realization: everything she knows is a lie.
Her memories have been altered.
Her mind and body aren’t under her own control.
And the person she knows as Mother is a monster.
Together with Gavin she plans her escape, only to learn that her own mind is a ticking time bomb... and Mother has one last secret that will destroy them all
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