Interview with Author K.C. Sprayberry about her Novel THE LIE

Earlier I wrote a review about THE LIE novel by K.C. Sprayberry, here.

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Now, here is an interview with her about the novel.

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K.C. Sprayberry, welcome to my blog, I am glad to interview you.

 

1-Why did you write The Lie?

The Lie came about when two characters were born—Amy and Jane. Amy was an unsure teen whose Mom didn’t approve of her choice of friends. Jane was the troublemaking friend. As the story evolved, I realized Amy needed a champion, her younger brother, Bryce.

2- In your realistic life, have you met young adults that inspired you to write Jane, Bryce and Amy?

I’ve run into many teens that are exactly like or close to Amy, Jane, and Bryce. Maybe not to the degree these teens were in The Lie, but they did have many of the same elements in their lives that could have led to the decisions made in this book.

3- As you are not a young adult, do you think it was easy to think like young adults and teenagers?

I may not be a young adult, but I do have children and I did listen to them when they were teens. My youngest child graduated high school just a few years ago and I was more involved with him, mostly because I didn’t have any other children at home during his years as a teen.

4-In The Lie, we can see a lot of lessons to learn. Do you think novels should have lessons or wisdom for the reader?

Lessons and wisdom can become an integral part of any story for teens, or even adults. The world we live in is evolving but also growing smaller because of how we’re electronically connected. By presenting teens dealing with these situations, by having them figuring out how to deal with trouble or toxic relationships with guidance or support from those they love, a lesson is inevitable. Do we make those lessons and/or wisdom so blatant that it appears we’re lecturing teens? No. They must be subtle, presented in such a way that they appear simple to learn.

5- Amy appears to be weak and dependent on her family and brother. What do you think she should have done to escape all the stuff she got into?

The mother in me says she should have walked away from Jane immediately. But then I have to step back and see this situation from Amy’s point of view. She has a soft heart. Some people say that makes her weak, but it actually makes her stronger. She’s a good friend, until the friendship is betrayed. She’s a person willing to stand with someone she likes. Unfortunately, as was proven in this book, there are some people that use those with soft, loyal hearts and then dispose of them.

6- Jane appeared as an evil character from the beginning. Do you think someone’s character like hers and in her age can be fixed?

In some people, this type of aberration can be fixed, but that requires identifying the problem early on, long before they are high school, and dealing with the individual in a way that guides them away from the acts that bring them attention. Unfortunately, many of these types of children haven’t had the firm guidance necessary to understand that the whole world doesn’t revolve around them, nor do they have the right to do as they please and then blame the consequences of their actions on others.

7- Amy’s mother deals with her in a different way than Bryce, just because she is a female and Bryce is a male. Do you think this model is common in US community? If yes, why does it happen? And how to change it?

The way their mom deals with Amy and Bryce has nothing to do with being male and female. Mom’s reaction is typical of many Western mothers when they don’t want their child interacting with another child. Until the child acquiesces to the parent’s desire to stay away from what they view as a threat, the child will be treated in a different manner, as is evidenced by the change in the mother/daughter relationship later in the book.

I’ve seen mothers and fathers do the same to their son’s instead of their daughter’s. It’s a model common worldwide, not just in the United States. Parental expectations often don’t meet what a teen desires and there will inevitably be clashes while each side of the issue asserts their desire to control what is happening.

How do we change that? I don’t know if you can. The teen years are a time of massive change. The child is growing into adulthood at a rapid rate. They are like a baby bird leaving the nest, learning to fly. Yes, they’ll fall and crash occasionally, but it is natural for our young to want to strike out on their own and learn how to survive.

8- Do you believe Amy’s parents should have interfered from the beginning to end her friendship with Jane? Or should teenagers and young adults have complete freedom in their relationships and friendships with others?

A parent certainly does have the right to decide to order their child to stay away from an individual they feel isn’t good for this teen. However, as has been evidenced in many other situations, that type of heavy-handed behavior usually backfires, with the young adult in question sneaking around to be with what is considered forbidden fruit.

9- Do you think people should not lie whatever happens with them? Is that possible in realistic life?

I’m a firm believer in telling the truth. It’s how I live my personal life and what I showed to all of our children while they were growing up. Lies, no matter how big or small, will always come back to haunt you. Prevarications will cost you trust of those around you. Is it realistic to live a life of truthfulness? Yes, it is, if one understands that tempering your words when a person asks a question that will cause pain if answered with the unvarnished truth. In those situations, the best way to avoid lying is to decline to respond, or to tell the truth, but in a way where it doesn’t hurt.

10- How was your experience in writing a YA novel? How do you compare it to writing other genres?

I’ve been writing since I was very young. Most of those stories didn’t survive many moves around the world, but they’ve all stayed with me to one degree or another. As for writing for young adults, this is born of a lack of good teen novels while I was growing up. Teens were somewhat forgotten, except for certain book series, such as The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and Trixie Belden. We were considered too young for adult novels and eschewed books for younger children.

I think writing for teens has taught me a lot when writing other genres. Young adult books don’t rely on heavy description or long paragraphs of exposition. The focus is always on the plot and sub-plots. In this situation, writing for young adults can make an author a better person to write in other genres.

11- What are you working on currently?

I always have several projects in the works, but for teens, I’m working on another psychological thriller, A Lifetime of Goodbye. This one is about a military brat forced to uproot her life yet again, to what is promised as her last move ever… until she goes to college. That she’s been forced to say goodbye to many friends throughout her lifetime, to move at a moment’s notice without any consideration for her goals or desires, leaves her jaded and cynical. Then she discovers forever really doesn’t exist… or does it?

I’m also plotting out Canoples Investigations Exposes Space Dodger, which will be much different from the first two books and the short story in the recently released Project 9 Volume 2. Nothing to report there yet, except to say this book will change how readers see the team and we’ll soon be meeting the “next group” of intrepid investigators.

12- Would you like to add anything not mentioned in this interview?

Just that teens are wonderful people in their own right. They are smart and savvy, in a way teens even ten years ago weren’t. Today’s teens are connected to friends around the world in real time. Yet, they still suffer the same insecurities, the same afflictions, and the same desire to belong, to be part of the group as teens have all through history. To be able to write for this group of people is a great honor.

 

Thank you for accepting this interview. I wish you success with your novels.

Thank you for interviewing me. It was a wonderful experience.

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About the Author:

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Born and raised in Southern California’s Los Angeles basin, K.C. Sprayberry spent years traveling the United States and Europe while in the Air Force before settling in northwest Georgia. A new empty nester with her husband of more than twenty years, she spends her days figuring out new ways to torment her characters and coming up with innovative tales from the South and beyond.

 

She’s a multi-genre author who comes up with ideas from the strangest sources. Those who know her best will tell you that nothing is safe or sacred when she is observing real life. In fact, she considers any situation she witnesses as fair game when plotting a new story.

 

Social Media Links:

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/K.C.SprayberryAuthor/

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kcsowriter

 

Blog: http://outofcontrolcharacters.blogspot.com/

 

Website: www.kcsprayberry.com

 

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5011219.K_C_Sprayberry

 

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005DI1YOU

 

Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+KcSprayberry/posts

 

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/kcsprayberry/boards/

 

Manic Readers:

http://www.manicreaders.com/KCSprayberry/

 

AUTHORSdB:

http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/5230-k-c-sprayberry

 

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My review of THE LIE by K.C. Sprayberry

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THE LIE is a great YA thriller about the price of having bad friends.

Amy and her brother Bryce share the narration of the novel. Amy is a member of the music band of a high school. Her bad friend Jane convinces her to participate in a prank against the football team of the school. The prank turns into a disaster, as huge explosions happen and burn the school killing some people. Later, Amy knows that Jane has planned the explosions intentionally and tricked her. As the novel goes on, Amy goes to university. She has a relationship with Trey, whom she has always had feelings for. Her evil friend Jane keeps appearing in her life, although Amy does not want to see her anymore. Bryce exerts all of his efforts to protect his sister form Jane. Things evolve as crimes appear to the surface, which adds an amazing element of suspense to the novel.

There many great things about Sprayberry’s style.

Firstly, you can easily see the great writing experience she has. The novel tells you that Sprayberry went through extensive reading and writing through her career.

Secondly, although Sprayberry is not a young adult, you feel the realistic nature of narration by Amy and Bryce. The reader feels he is reading realistic feelings and thoughts of a teenager and a young adult.

Moreover, unlike most of novels, THE LIE criticizes the way Amy’s mother deals with her. I am used to parents criticizing their children, not the opposite.

In addition, I like the lessons included in the novel. Especially, the one about the result of having bad friends.

In conclusion, any reader who likes the YA genre SHOULD NOT miss reading THE LIE.

Aim at Writing not Rewriting, from the Beginning

2222222222       A lot of people who are preparing to write their first novel ever ask the question: Should I aim at writing the best possible version? Or should I write then rewrite again when I am finished?

Well, as a novelist who has one published novel and who is working on two unpublished ones, I will answer with the first choice, of course.

“Why?” you are asking.

Firstly, if you rewrite, you might write with a different style than the one you used in the first time. That will make the reader feel as if two people not one wrote the novel.

Moreover, when rewriting, you will be out of the original mood which you experienced the first time. That mood in which the development of the novel and characters takes place as events progress.

It will be very difficult to rewrite, and you will continue comparing the original draft with the new one. You will keep asking which paragraphs to use, the old ones or the new ones.

For all of that, you must aim at writing from the beginning as if you are writing the final version. Do not postpone anything  to do later. From the beginning, write descriptions, monologues, dialogues and most importantly all events.

You must be wondering – if all of that is correct – why publishing houses offer editing.

The answer is that editing is different  from rewriting. Editing aims at removing mistakes including those related to spelling, grammar, punctuation and facts. Although editing also aims at improving the style in the weak sites of the novel, it only does that for not more than 20% of the written novel. The editor will suggest improvements in certain sites. Whereas in rewriting, you are going to rewrite 100% of the novel.

So, now be ready to write your novel as well as you can from the first time, without aiming to rewrite it. Good luck 🙂

 

 

Mario Puzo’s THE SICILIAN: Deep Ideas Behind Crime Fiction

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I have just finished reading THE SICILIAN, a novel by Mario Puzo. He is the Italian-American author who wrote THE GODFATHER, the novel that was transformed to the best movie in history.

I’d like to say he is my favorite author ever. His novels have the best plots. And he has the best style I have ever read.

I believe I should compare THE SICILIAN to THE GODFATHER. Both of them have the great style of showing how those fearful gangsters and criminals feel and think. Those criminals, whom people think are made of stone, are at the end of the day human beings who have weaknesses and even might hide fragile personalities behind their outer appearances which frighten everybody. The reader feels as if he is inside the mind of each character and knows his ideas and feelings.

Also, both of the novels have a great feature which is explaining why and how events happen. Puzo does not only write events and describe places and characters; his style is characterized by showing why every character does an action.  A character won’t kill another one just for nothing, there must be a reason. It does not make a conspiracy for no reason. Puzo explains how each of his characters does a certain event. If a gangster assassinates an enemy, you don’t read the event only, you read how he has planned it, why he does each step in the plan, how he hides all evidences that show he has done it, how he overcomes obstacles and people that might prevent him from killing his enemy.

I believe both of the novels have a great well-knotted plot. But I still prefer the one of THE GODFATHER, as it is more complicated and full of more important and versatile events and characters. It also shows the great conflict inside Michael Corleone, who turns from a brave army soldier to the cruel boss of the biggest Mafia gang in USA. This does not mean THE SICILIAN is bad. It is very close to THE GODFATHER.

But what I believe THE SICILIAN is better at is the deep idea it has. When you read about gangsters and gangs, you might be looking for events, crimes and vengeance. But, THE SICILIAN is very deep. It tells that the destiny of Sicily is to live in chaos, crime and poverty. Any man who tries to change that will face a dreadful end.

It tells the story of Turi Guiliano, a young bandit in Sicily. But Sicily is full of bandits, what would make him different?!
Well, This man is the first bandit not looking for money, influence and personal interests. He is a bandit who wants to help people, who steals from the rich to give to the poor, and who assassinates people because they hurt other people. Although he is able to enjoy life, money and women, as he grows powerful, he refuses all of that just to help his fellow Sicilians. He changes the concept of Mafia. Other Mafia bandits try to show they are against the government, while they shake hands with it under the table. Whereas, Turi fights the government both in front of people and secretly, because he believes this corrupted government steals from and hurts people. He even starts to fight other Mafia bosses in the island because he wants to liberate Sicily from those monsters who control and humiliate Sicilians. At the end the Mafia and government unite just to fight this brave warrior.

As treachery runs in the blood of Sicilians, Turi fails eventually.

Most of Mafia and gangsters’ novels aim at showing the cruelty and intelligence of gangsters while whipping out their enemies. THE SICLIAN is different. It shows  a man pushed by destiny to be a bandit, just to do good things. It shows that destiny of some people is to live in injustice, regardless of how difficult they try to change their fate; an example is the destiny of Sicilians.

Why do we write? And what do you need to become a professional novelist?

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“Why do you write?” This question faces any novelist a lot of times during his career. I believe most of novelists find this question funny! You can’t ask a lion why it attacks its preys. You can’t ask an eagle why it flies. These are their nature. The same applies to writing for novelists. They just find themselves writing, and they can’t leave it. It is just like breathing. It is their main obsession that controls them.

Most of the times writing becomes the most important thing in any novelist’s life, even if it is not his main profession. A novelist keeps thinking about writing all the time, all day and night. He keeps looking for new ideas for his novels in everything, even in the tiniest details around him. When he is writing a novel, he keeps thinking about its events, how to write them, and what the best words to use are.

“How to become a professional novelist?” is another question that novelists might face. Well, if I have to answer this, I will say, “Each professional novelist has his own way!”

Nevertheless, I believe there are certain characteristics that distinguish a professional novelist from an amateur writer.

Firstly, to become a professional novelist, you must be ambitious. You must love writing and dream big about it. You must wish to prove that you are the best, or at least among the best. There are hundreds of novelists  in the world, and you have to be the sun among them.

Moreover, patience is so important. Writing is not an easy profession. If you think you will succeed in a couple of days, you have to reconsider it. In fact, you need a lot of months at least. Most likely you will need a lot of years, before you are among the well-known writers. Being a novelist is not just about being good in narration and language. It is not only about talent. Finishing a novel is only the first step. After that, you have to revise it and edit it many times, as it needs to be in the best shape possible. Next, you have to send well-written queries to a lot of agents and publishing houses. If you get accepted eventually, and this is very difficult, you will have to start to advertise your novel. This may take a lot of weeks and months.

In addition, you must have self-confidence. When you submit your work to agents and publishers, you have to be sure it will be rejected a lot of times. So, you must have confidence in yourself, and know that you are good. You should believe those rejection are merely of personal tastes of ones who read it. You must not become a captive of desperation and frustration. However, at the same time, you should be humble. If agents tell you your manuscript needs to be better, you should think seriously about that. If your manuscript is accepted, and lately an editor sends you some notes about it, you have to accept them, and try your best to improve your novel.  If after publication, you get bad reviews and harsh criticism from readers, do not look to them as enemies. In fact, they might be your best friends. They are your best way to improve as a writer, and to write next novels in a better way.

Finally, this profession needs sacrifice. It will affect your life. It might affect your family. It might take your time and even your money in advertisement. It also might affect your job if you are not a full-time writer. So, you must understand that before writing gives you, it takes from you.

I believe these are the main traits of professional writers. What do you think about them? Do you think there are other characteristics to add?

Conquer the World

 

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No, I am not talking about creating armies and invading countries. I am talking about something totally different. The world has become one country with the development of the internet and social media. Now, you can spread your ideas and philosophies in the whole world by pressing some buttons.

Throughout history, each era had its positive characteristics. I believe our era is the best, as the technology it has, is the best among history. We have to admit that we are luckier than people who lived in the past. Maybe the people of the future will be luckier than us, who knows!

I think the clever person is the one who uses the elements of his era. Whatever you do for living you can reach any one on Facebook. You can tweet any idea, even if it is odd or even unbelievable, and millions might read it. You can post a video of you playing with your pet, and you might get millions of views. Although that does not happen always, it still happens. Here comes the difference between a clever man and a regular man. Of course, luck plays a role, yet creativity is the most important factor.

Psy, a Korean pop singer made the unbelievable when he posted a song on Youtube that has been watched 2 billion times! And the number is still increasing. Maybe when he told others about his dream, they laughed at him. Nevertheless, he succeeded because he believed in himself. Hundreds of physician, engineers, and writers has made similar achievements, although on smaller scales.

I always imagine if someone like Shakespeare had the blessing of modern communication, what would he achieve? He is already a legend, but imagine he could communicate with fans from China to USA. That would have been amazing.

You should be positive. Everybody knows about social media, but not everybody uses it in an efficient way. If you are positive and do everything possible, you might become the next Psy.

So after finishing this article, start your professional journey with the social media. Come back and comment here, telling us about your experience.