Guest Post: Jimena Novaro and the release of Blue Rabbit

If you like books and use social media, you’ve probably come across Jimena Novaro. Today she joins me as part of her week-long blog launch of her novel, Blue Rabbit. Our conversation takes us from Star Wars rock fights to Malcolm Reynolds quotes with a splash of Lord of the Rings, but you’ll have to read the interview to find out how it all fits together.

Jimena Novaro author picHi, Eric! Thanks for hosting me on your blog!

Hello, Jimena. Tell the people who don’t know you a little about yourself.

I’m a bilingual, bicultural writer who lives with one foot in the United States and one foot in Argentina. I love science fiction and fantasy literature more than air. I also sing a lot and love chocolate.

I’d like to visit Argentina someday. I’ve seen some amazing photos of waterfalls I would love to see with my own eyes. And with any luck, I could take in a soccer game (or football, if you prefer) while I’m there.

How long have you been writing?

I started writing stories as soon as I could write complete sentences, but I started telling stories much earlier than that! Funnily enough, the same friend who did the cover art for Blue Rabbit also did the cover art for the first “novel” I wrote, at the age of nine.

Tell us about your current project.

Right now I’m putting the final touches on Blue Rabbit, a YA urban fantasy novel, before the release and continuing to write a chapter of my epic fantasy serial The Withering Sword every Sunday for my website.

How did writing Blue Rabbit differ from writing The Withering Sword?

I didn’t have anything resembling an outline for Blue Rabbit―I didn’t know what would happen past the first few scenes when I started writing it. With The Withering Sword, I’ve had the most important plot points planned from the start, since people are reading along as I write it. For Blue Rabbit I drew more directly from my past experiences as a teenager and with southern US culture. Also, no one else read a word or knew much about Blue Rabbit until I’d finished the first draft and revision, which is pretty much the opposite from what I’ve done with The Withering Sword―let a bunch of people in on a prettied-up first draft.

What’s next for you?

My next project is a YA/NA science fiction psychological thriller. I’ve put it on hold until Blue Rabbit is out and the madness recedes, but I already have over half the first draft written. I’m having a blast working on it.

The best advice I can give you is don’t put off the next project too long. I’m speaking from personal experience here when I say promoting the current project can turn into an inescapable vortex. Now I’m having trouble getting the rhythm reestablished on my next project. But I’ve got three books of which I want to finish at least the first draft before April.

Do you have a writing schedule? If so, what is it?

I occasionally stick to a schedule for a few days straight, which mark my most consistently productive periods, but most of the time I have to squeeze in time for writing between other life-y things. The time of day that works best for me is early in the morning.

I know you like symphonic metal and opera. Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what?

Oh, definitely! I couldn’t write without music. Much of Blue Rabbit was inspired by the music I listened to―in fact, all of the chapter titles except for one are either titles of songs or fragments of lyrics. The Factory of Dreams album Melotronical is one of the ones I associate the most with Blue Rabbit. I also listened to Xandria, Epica, Nightwish, After Forever, and Kamelot while writing it.

Where do you get your inspiration?

From everywhere. I listen to people talk about their lives and past experiences. I research history, current world events, science, and philosophy. I people-watch. I record particularly weird dreams for later adaptation and use.

What have you done to promote your writing?

I’m active on social media, blog semi-regularly, and have a series of videos on YouTube about my love of reading.

I’ve seen one of your YouTube videos, the one we’ve discussed about the mysterious destruction of books… or the physicality of books, if you will. I’ll have to check out the rest. I don’t use YouTube for much besides introducing my kids to the shows I watched as a kid. I’d take Voltron over Power Rangers any day.

You have some short stories on your website, and a story in The Adventure of Creation. Tell us a little about them.

The stories on my website are an odd little collection. You have Othello, a magic-realism piece I wrote as a sort of angry letter in response to argentine author Julio Cortázar’s story Circe, which I saw as a demonization of women. You have Burial Clothes, a short story about a young man struggling to cope with his father’s death, which was shortlisted for a national contest. And you have Half-Humans Anonymous, actually my favorite of the bunch, which addresses such themes as identity, adolescence, and loneliness through a sort of whacky contemporary fantasy world.

My story Worlds of Clay was selected for publication in The Adventure of Creation anthology, which came out earlier this year. Also magic realism, it combines my love for creating with my personal experiences about the loss of my grandfather.

These sound like a great way for people to sample your writing while they wait for Blue Rabbit’s release.

Where can people find you online?

You can find my blog here: http://www.jimenanovaro.com

My favorite place to connect with people is Twitter: http://twitter.com/JimenaNovaro

I also have a Facebook page: http://facebook.com/JimenaNovaroWriter

A Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7170198.Jimena_Novaro

And a YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCF0ENPPqpWet3lPryOpObzQ

Have you ever liked a movie better than the book? If so, which one and why?

I liked The Lord of the Rings trilogy by Peter Jackson about as much as the book. Excellent casting, gorgeous music and visuals, and about as faithful as an adaptation can be. Plus, hunky dudes!

Elvis or the Beatles?

The Beatles. J I grew up on them, and I still love them.

What’s your favorite quote?

Can I have two from vastly different sources?

“Man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains.” ― Jean Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract. It introduced me to the world of philosophy, and it still gives me tingles just thinking about it.

“You can learn all the math in the ‘verse… but you take a boat in the air that you don’t love… she’ll shake you off just as sure as the turn of the worlds. Love keeps her in the air when she ought to fall down… tells you she’s hurting before she keels. Makes her a home.” ― Malcolm Reynolds, Serenity.

I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of watching Firefly/Serenity. I’ve bought two copies for people who had never seen it. And it’s such a quotable show. I’m a big fan of Jayne, but most of the people I know can’t stand him.

Star Wars or Star Trek?

Star Wars―the original trilogy, of course. It was one of the obsessions of my childhood. I once got into a fight with my best friend over Luke Skywalker. The fight involved rocks!!! I’ve only seen a couple of seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation, though, so it seems like an unfair comparison.

How do you take your coffee (or tea)?

I take neither! I’ve only had coffee once, and I ended up sobbing uncontrollably… in public.

Thanks for joining me today and letting me be part of Blue Rabbit’s launch, Jimena. I wish you all the best.

Blue Rabbit final coverBlue Rabbit Blurb:

In Knoxville, Tennessee, there’s a bridge to another world.

When they first cross it, Erika and her friends feel like they’ve stumbled into a dream. Magical and mysterious, the other world becomes their little paradise, a place to explore and escape from their everyday lives. Until one night a boy from school, Mike, follows them to the other side―and he’s kidnapped by strange and powerful Creatures.

Back home, everyone thinks Erika and the gang are responsible for Mike’s disappearance. The dream has become a nightmare. How can they negotiate with these Creatures to rescue Mike and clear their names? And why are the Creatures fixated on Erika, who feels drawn to their world even as she senses the danger?

 

About the author:

Jimena Novaro always knew she would be a writer. It just took her a few years to realize that she wanted to do it full-time, and relegate things like going into outer space and being an opera prima donna to hobbies. She loves reading and writing science fiction, fantasy, and YA. A self-proclaimed geeky sort of nerd, she spends a lot of her time fangirling over her favorite shows, books, and bands and educating herself about super-important topics such as how to survive an arrow wound and whether or not you can shoot a gun in space. Sometimes she gets super serious and rants about some socio-political issue or other.

She’s a member of the awesome fantasy authors group Mystic Quills. You can find her free epic fantasy serial, The Withering Sword, on her website (a new chapter comes out every Sunday!) Her first book, Blue Rabbit, a YA urban fantasy, comes out this December!

 

 

 

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My Thoughts on Alan Moore’s Advice About Publishing

You don’t have to spend much time on social media sites frequented by authors, most notably Twitter, before you discover a rift between traditional publishing and self-publishing. A few months ago, I wrote a post called, “Can Self-Publishing Authors Destroy Literature?” It came in response to a blog post I read where the author tried to claim just that. His argument had some serious loopholes, but what really upset me was his accusation that everyone using social media to promote their book has written a piece of garbage (I’m generalizing here). In my retort, I tried not to minimalize the role of self-publishing while still stating that my personal goal, as an author, was to have a publishing company accept my work. Basically, anyone can self-publish a book, but I needed someone else to say my work was good enough they would publish it to achieve my goal of becoming a published book author (I had already published several short stories and articles).

This was the right decision for me, and I’ll never question the route I took. But the other day I came across a video of Alan Moore, an author I hold in the highest regard, addressing unpublished authors. His advice is to self-publish, and he lists sound reasons. He states that being published doesn’t mean anything. To prove his point, he lists some authors who have sold millions of copies of their books, but who, according to Mr. Moore, aren’t talented writers. I could put together my own list of talentless bestselling authors–but I lack the confidence in my own work to make my opinions public.

Knowing what I do about Alan Moore, I would say he has an aversion to most things mainstream. It’s an aversion I don’t share. Although I mentioned my list of bestselling authors lacking in the talent department, one of my favorite authors is about as mainstream as you can get: Stephen King. And he’s certainly no stranger to voicing his opinion of pop-culture he thinks fails to pop. But something Stephen King frequently does, and this practice I have tried to mimic in my young career, is praise his editors for their hard work in making his writing better.

I’m sure this four-minute video of Alan Moore is incomplete, and maybe he goes on to stress the importance of editors. He does tell writers to go over their work and make it better, then go over it again and make it better (I’ve seen some self-published work I suspect is a first draft). I think part of the reason (possibly even the main reason) self-publishing is receiving such a bad reputation is the frequent lack of editors. I’ll read this post three times before I hit the publish button, and I’m certain I will still miss errors. You cannot undervalue the worth of another set of eyes on something you wrote. So this is my public service announcement: If you’re going to self-publish your work, please hire an editor. And I’m not talking about your mom or your favorite uncle, I don’t care if they are high-school grammar teachers. I mean a professional editor, trained in writing styles and grammar, and willing to give you constructive criticism. And then take that criticism. Remember, the editor’s always right.