Friday, January 18, 2013

Feature Friday: A.G. Howard

PLEASE NOTE: I've added a poll for you to take (see left). Please take a minute to fill it out!
A.G. Howard was inspired to write SPLINTERED while working at a school library. She always wondered what would've happened had the subtle creepiness of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland taken center stage, and she hopes her darker and funkier tribute to Carroll will inspire readers to seek out the stories that won her heart as a child.

When she's not writing, A.G.'s pastimes are reading, rollerblading, gardening, and family vacations which often include impromptu side trips to 18th century graveyards or condemned schoolhouses to appease her overactive muse.

Guest Blog Post:
Cooking up a Book

When I was first seeking an agent for SPLINTERED, I received more than one offer of representation. So to help me choose who to go with, I had each agent read not only my YA, but one of my adult novels too, so I could ensure they would be a good fit for both sides of my muse.

What came of it was interesting. Because although these were each very different people with varying likes and dislikes, they each commented on the same four details unique to my stories and prose:

    Very visual
    Sympathetic and emotionally nuanced characters
    Unquenchable longing
    Sense of fashion

As for the clothing styles in my books, they’re very carefully planned. I'm a very visual writer, so when I'm building my characters, that includes what their fashion slant would be. This decision not only has to fit the character as an individual, but also compliment the atmosphere of the book. For example, SPLINTERED, as a YA Alice in Wonderland spinoff, is funky, goth, and victorian, so this influenced Alyssa's (my MC's) wardrobe, which in turn, affected who she ended up being internally. I was inspired by the Gothic Lolita /Victorian Lolita fashion subcultures (pictured below--minus the hat). Both fashions fit Alyssa perfectly: underneath her quiet sweetness is a melancholy soul and a dark side she has yet to tap into.

The adult literary novel I had the agents read (think: JANE EYRE meets A CERTAIN SLANT OF LIGHT) is set in Victorian England. Juliet (my deaf MC) is pigeonholed by the fashion strictures of that era. Again, gothic tones darken this novel, but it's a heavier, old world atmospheric goth and there are two mysterious and handsome heroes vying for her affections.

Juliet's wardrobe was influenced by her rebellious and independent nature, fed by the fact that she's deaf and already feels constrained so she's not willing to let society constrain her further with crinoline cages or suffocating corsets. Juiet's also limited in her clothing choices because she's mourning her mother's death. So, she's most often seen in this sort of ensemble below. Another fashion side note about this book ... the living hero (the other hero is a ghost), is a gypsy viscount who wears bright flashy colors that don't match--kind of symbolic for what he brings into Juliet's life: vibrant chaos.

Every writer has something they weave into their books that is individual to them alone. It’s part of their voice. Once an author wins a readership, their fans latch onto those subtle ingredients, maybe not even sure exactly what they're drawn to. All they know is that when they see one of that author’s books on the shelf, they start to crave that flavor again--their mouths water, hungry to sample the new story--expecting that despite the different plot and setting, they'll be satisfied like they were in the past. And it’s the authors responsibility to assure they are, down to the last savory word.

So, what are your favorite recipes in books? What special ingredients are common in many of your favorite reads?

The Giveaway:
I am so jealous of you people right now! A.G. Is giving away an ARC of SPLINTERED as well as a secret key.  (See Below)
The goodies you're gonna get!
SplinteredThis stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.
When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.


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How to Enter:
Enter the giveaway using Rafflecopter. Hit the arrow buttons, follow the prompts, and hit the enter buttons when you're done. (You may have to log in using Facebook to do this). There will be one winner (selected by Rafflecopter). I will contact the winner via email. This contest is open to International Entrants.

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