In honor of The Girl In Between blog tour, this week’s Indie Author Spotlight is with Callum McLaughlin, author of the YA thriller False Awakening.
When teenager Abi Watson wakes in a hospital bed with no memory of the incident that put her there, she must begin the long and difficult process of piecing her life back together, but unfortunately, her search for answers will merely give rise to further questions. Frayed relationships and haunting revelations soon come into play, leading Abi to discover that some things are best left forgotten.
With a past that is unwilling to let go, her only option is to delve into the depths of her own mind so that she can uncover the truth and finally awaken from her living nightmare.
Before either of her friends could speak, two police officers in full uniform filled the doorway.
“What are you two doing in here?” asked one of them. Male, tall and inherently intimidating; his ice-cold eyes moved from Dan to Luke as he swept into the room, bringing with him an atmosphere far cooler than any breeze. “We specifically told you not to speak with the victim until we had questioned her.
The word victim made Abi’s stomach squirm again.
“We’re sorry,” said Dan, looking more uncomfortable than ever as he sidled towards the door.
“We were worried. We had to make sure she was okay.” Luke did not budge from Abi’s bedside as he looked the officer directly in the eye.
“I’m afraid we’re going to have to ask you both to leave immediately,” said the second officer. A woman who appeared at least a few years younger than her partner, she held a notebook and pen in her hands that Abi suspected were intended to document her version of events; events she still scarcely remembered besides the deeply unsettling image that had invaded her mind a mere moment ago.
First of all, I’d love to hear about all of the projects you have in the works, where you’re at with them currently, and what your hopes are for each of them.
The project that’s occupying most of my thoughts and attention at the moment is actually something totally different to my previous books. I’ve been writing poetry for a while now and after some gentle persuasion have come around to the idea of putting together a compilation. My hope is to release this sometime in early 2015.
I know what the next piece of fiction I will work on will be and I have it planned out but I’m taking my time to focus on the aftermath of launching my newest book and working on poetry before diving into it fully.
The synopsis for your newest novel, False Awakening, really piqued my interest because it deals with the issues of identity and memory loss, similar to in my novel The Girl In Between. What inspired you to write the novel and what was it like following a character who was such a mystery, even to herself?
Not to sound too much like a typically whimsical writer but the idea really did just hit me one day. I was struck by the image of a girl waking up in a hospital bed with no idea of what had happened to put her there. This became my opening scene and everything else was built around that basic concept. I was so excited by the premise and just knew I had to write it.
As for the main character herself, it actually made for a really interesting dynamic in the writing process, as it was as though she and I were discovering who she was simultaneously.
Tell me a bit about your writing process. Do you set strict deadlines or do you just go with the flow? Do you outline or fly by the seat of your pants?
When I’m in the swing of a big project I try and write at least 1000 words per day if I can, to keep up the momentum, and while I definitely love an outline for the major plot points, I leave enough wiggle room to go with the flow when it comes to smaller subplots and character traits. Some writers have to stick to either a rigid plan or no plan at all but I strive for a healthy balance between the two.
Both of your current works are Thrillers and it’s a genre that is really underrepresented in YA. What draws you to the genre and what do you like about putting teenagers in these kinds of situations as opposed to adults?
I love that the genre is usually fast-paced, full of twists and really packs a punch. I also like the versatility it offers in terms of incorporating other sub-genres and ideas.
When it comes to the characters at the heart of my stories, they are the way they are primarily because that’s the way I have always envisioned them since they first came into my mind. I suppose in this genre in particular, readers need to be able to sympathise with and relate to the protagonists and our teenage years are often our most vulnerable and turbulent, so there’s a lot of room for high emotion and interesting development there; something we can all engage with.
Why did you decide to go indie?
Being new to the industry and a small fish in a big pond as it were, I was drawn to the idea of doing things in my own time and in my own way. The freedom of choice and creative control is every writer’s dream, really. It’s not to say I won’t ever try different routes, it’s just that this one felt right for these projects and I went with my gut.
What are your ultimate publishing goals?
I just want to keep writing stories and releasing books that I would want to read. Getting a collection of poetry out there will be a major tick on the bucket list and one day, I’d love to write a series. I’ve got ideas bubbling away for that already, but it will have to await its turn – So many ideas, so little time.
And here’s an even more intimidating question: What kind of writing legacy do you hope to leave behind?
That certainly is a big question! I once remember J.K. Rowling saying that she wanted to be remembered “as someone who did the best she could with the talent she had.”
I don’t claim to put myself in the same league as Rowling but I’m not one to disagree with the master either. If I know I’ve done my best and people out there have enjoyed reading what I have to say, then I will consider myself very happy.
***If you’re an indie author who wants to get in on the blog tour and gain some exposure this winter, email me at lzkbooks[@]gmail[.]com***