Thursday 31 October 2013

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2013 YA UK Debut Interview: Cracked by Eliza Crewe

We all like supporting YA and New Adult debut authors, but this year, rather than just read their books, I'll be highlighting them on my blog too, so you can hear about these wonderful authors.

Today I'm interviewing YA UK author Eliza Crewe whose debut YA novel, Cracked, is being published by Strange Chemistry in the UK on 5th November 2013. Read on for more:

Cracked by Eliza CreweCracked by Eliza Crewe - Meet Meda. She eats people.

Well, technically, she eats their soul. But she totally promises to only go for people who deserve it. She’s special. It’s not her fault she enjoys it. She can’t help being a bad guy. Besides, what else can she do? Her mother was killed and it’s not like there are any other “soul-eaters” around to show her how to be different. That is, until the three men in suits show up.

They can do what she can do. They’re like her. Meda might finally have a chance to figure out what she is. The problem? They kind of want to kill her. Before they get the chance Meda is rescued by crusaders, members of an elite group dedicated to wiping out Meda’s kind. This is her chance! Play along with the “good guys” and she’ll finally figure out what, exactly, her ‘kind’ is.

Be careful what you wish for. Playing capture the flag with her mortal enemies, babysitting a teenage boy with a hero complex, and trying to keep one step ahead of a too-clever girl are bad enough. But the Hunger is gaining on her.

The more she learns, the worse it gets. And when Meda uncovers a shocking secret about her mother, her past, and her destiny… she may finally give into it.
from Goodreads.

Eliza Crewe
Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Oh lord, I better keep it short so I don’t bore anyone! I’m a 30-year-old librarian with a husband, a baby, and four hens. In my free time, I sing terribly off-key, play endless rounds of peek-a-boo, and write books about people a great deal more interesting than me!

Have you always wanted to be an author?

Yes, but in the same way I wanted to be a rock star, astronaut or princess--in the unattainable, day-dreamy kind of way. Fortunately I write better than I sing (really, I couldn’t do worse), do math, and marry royal princes (the literal kind, at least. My husband informs me I’m quite good at marrying the figurative kind).

How did you come up with the idea for Cracked?

Ha, good question.

I’m not sure exactly where it came from, but I do know the mood I was in. I had just finished revising another manuscript for the umpteenth time and the main character in that story is a timid little thing with very low self-esteem. After writing it, then re-writing, then revising, I had had enough of her apologetic sweetness. Don’t get me wrong, I still love that character, but after constantly being in her head I was ready for someone who is who--and what--she is with no apologies. And that’s how Meda was born.

If you could describe Cracked in three words, what would they be?

People-eating monster girl (or does that count as four?)

I'll let you off! Why will readers like your main character, Meda?

They really shouldn’t. She’s conniving and sneaky and manipulative. She lies and cheats and murders someone in the first chapter and plots her second homicide by chapter three. She is, literally, a monster. No, they really shouldn’t like her at all--but I really hope they do.

What research did you have to do for Cracked? Was there anything you found that surprised you?

I had to research the Knights Templar, since that’s the basis for the society of heroes in my book. I took a ton (ton, TON) of liberties with the mythology (creating descendants of a monastic order, for starters), but some parts are based in truth. For one, the Knights Templar took oaths of poverty and, in fact, the Templars’ seal was of two knights on one horse and they believe it’s because they were too broke to each have their own.

Templars' Seal
Source & Copyright: Irish Masonic Jewels.

Tell us about how you write; do you write in a particular place? Do you have any music playing? Do you have any must-haves with you while writing?

My favorite places to write are in my backyard while free-ranging the hens or in my bedroom in front of our big wall of windows. My best ideas, though, always come when I’m driving to and from work, windows down and music blasting. The violent scenes are from when I’m stuck in traffic!

What was most surprising to you during the writing process?

How uncontrollable it is! Sometimes the ideas just pour out of my head and onto the paper. Random times, day and night, it doesn’t matter. For this reason, I keep notebooks scattered in every room of my house.

Then at other times: crickets. I can have a whole morning free and have it go completely to waste--and trust me, with a new baby and a full-time job you don’t know how desperate I am to take advantage of those rare mornings of peace and solitude! And yet, nothing. Nada. I spin in my desk chair, fumble and fuss, write sentences just to delete them (and, of course, tell my editors how hard I’m working--shhhh!). Then two days later I’ll draft whole chapters in the margins of my shopping list as I wait to check out. It’s completely insane.

How does it feel to know your book will soon be in the hands of readers?

Unpossible (see here).

Anything else you would like to add?

Just thank you so much for interviewing me, and I really hope you enjoy Cracked!

Thank you, Eliza, for such a great interview! Oh my gosh, I am so intrigued by Cracked! For the synopsis alone, but including the Knights Templar? I am so fascinated by those guys! And how funny and awesome is Eliza? You can find Eliza on her website and on Twitter.


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