Friday, May 24, 2013

Feature Friday: Justina Ireland

Justina Ireland enjoys dark chocolate, dark humor, and is not too proud to admit that she’s still afraid of the dark. She lives with her husband, kid, and dog in Pennsylvania. Vengeance Bound is her first novel.

Interview:
A.L.:
What piece of advice would you give to a budding author?

Justina:
Stop reading the internet.  No, seriously. Twitter, message boards, Facebook, tumblr, these are all time sucks on your writing.  Not only that, but it’s really easy to get discouraged when a book that sounds eerily similar to what you’re working on gets picked up for a mega kajillion dollar deal.  So limit exposure to the pitfalls of the internet, and focus on honing your craft.

Write.  That’s it. Just write.

A.L.:
What's your favorite book and why?

Justina:
My favorite books are always in flux.  I read a lot, so I don’t really have a favorite book, plus I rarely re-read anything.  I have favorite authors, though.  On the adult side I love Ilona Andrews, and will read anything they put out.  I also like Jeaniene Frost, Nailini Singh, Max Barry, Gillian Flynn, and Richard Kadrey.  I like these authors because they can take very dark subject matter and give it a kind of wry twist that is just amazing.

On the Young Adult side I’ll read anything by Holly Black, Melissa Marr, Veronica Roth, and Courtney Summers.  Courtney Summers is probably my writer crush.  If I could steal anyone’s writing style it would be hers.

And my favorite kids author is hands down Mo Willems.  I just love the irreverent humor in his books.

A.L.:
Where did you get the idea for Vengeance Bound?

Justina:
I really, really wanted to write a YA version of Dexter, but I suck at writing contemporaries.  And the character in my first few drafts was kind of…terrifying.  So I fixed some of her flaws with Greek mythology, as one does.

A.L.:
Did you hit any snags while writing Vengeance Bound?  What were they and how did you fix them?

Justina:
Oh yeah.  Most of my snags are because of my sloppy plotting, and I usually fix them with MAGIC  *sparkle fingers*.  It’s a running joke I have, whenever I get stuck in the plot I just throw in some magic to help my characters out.  This is why I can’t write a contemporary to save my life.

In Vengeance Bound my only true snag came at the end.  The way the story needed to end and the way I wanted it to end were two vastly different things.  I tried to make the ending I wanted work, but it just didn’t.  So the story ends the way it had to.  Sometimes the story will demand something other than what you had planned, and that’s okay.  Just go with it.

A.L.:
Which one of the characters in Vengeance Bound is your favorite and why?

Justina:
Mindi.  She’s Amelie’s friend at her new school, and she’s this mouse of a girl who has gone through a real tragedy in her life.  Everyone feels sorry for her and kind of coddles her, but she’s really more ruthless than anyone else in the story.  I love characters that do the unexpected.

A.L.:
Can you tell us a little bit about your journey as an author?

Justina:
One day, while I was bored, I sat down and decided to write a book.  It didn’t go anywhere.  But then I sat down and tried to write a different book.  And that one didn’t go anywhere either.  But the third time? THAT one I finished.  It didn’t get me an agent, but the next book did.  And the book after that was Vengeance Bound.

The point? Sit down and write something.  Talking about writing has never gotten anyone published.  Only the actual writing part.

A.L.:
What are you working on now?  Sequel?  Something new?

Justina:
My second book is already finished and comes out next year.  It’s called Promise of Shadows and is about a harpy who is pretty bad at being a harpy, and how she comes to terms with failure and success of a different sort.

What I’m working on right now is still secret, but it features kissing and killing, two of my favorite things.  Oh, and MAGIC *sparkle fingers*

A.L.:
How did you come up with the idea to plant the Furies in a girl's head?

Justina:
Eh, why not? Exorcist meets Greek mythology meets everyone’s favorite serial killer?  Seemed like a good idea at the time.

And that gives you a disturbing look inside my brain.  It’s a terrifying place to be.

A.L.:
I have to ask, what's with the twitter handle?

Justina:
I always joked I was “teh awesomesauce.”  But as twitter handles go, it was already taken.  So what’s more awesome than awesomesauce? Awesomersauce.  But “teh awesomersauce” doesn’t fit, so I lost a space and a U, and ended up with tehawesomersace.

I’m a firm believer in being your own biggest fan.  Because if you don’t like yourself, why should anyone else?  My twitter handle is an extension of that.

A.L.:
What's your favorite food and why?

Justina:
Cupcakes.  Because…cupcakes!

The Giveaway:
Justina is giving away a copy of VENGEANCE BOUND to one lucky winner!


Vengeance Bound:  The Goddess Test meets Dexter in an edgy, compelling debut about one teen’s quest for revenge… no matter how far it takes her.

Cory Graff is not alone in her head. Bound to a deal of desperation made when she was a child, Cory’s mind houses the Furies—the hawk and the serpent—lingering always, waiting for her to satisfy their bloodlust. After escaping the asylum where she was trapped for years, Cory knows how to keep the Furies quiet. By day, she lives a normal life, but by night, she tracks down targets the Furies send her way. And she brings down Justice upon them.

Cory’s perfected her system of survival, but when she meets a mysterious boy named Niko at her new school, she can’t figure out how she feels about him. For the first time, the Furies are quiet in her head around a guy. But does this mean that Cory’s finally found someone who she can trust, or are there greater factors at work? As Cory’s mind becomes a battlefield, with the Furies fighting for control, Cory will have to put everything on the line to hold on to what she’s worked so hard to build.


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