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Hello! I have loads of stuff for you today. I shall start off with a description about the upcoming YA SciFi romance novel, When the World was flat and we were in love (adorable title, right?). Then on to an author bio and interview with the lovely Ingrid Jonach herself! I know, but please, try to contain your enthusiasm. Then, we shall conclude this post with a contest. That's right, people. You will have the chance to win prizes following the theme of the book as well as a signed finished copy! :D Be still my heart! I am about 1/3 of the way through an ARC of this book and it is pretty awesome so far. Try and come back later for the review. ;)
Now, RELEASE THE KRACKEN!
When the World was Flat
and we Were in Love
will release from Strange Chemistry
September 3rd, 2013
Looking back, I wonder if I had an inkling that my life was about to go from ordinary to extraordinary.
When sixteen-year-old Lillie Hart meets the gorgeous and mysterious Tom Windsor-Smith for the first time, it’s like fireworks — for her, anyway. Tom looks as if he would be more interested in watching paint dry; as if he is bored by her and by her small Nebraskan town in general.
But as Lillie begins to break down the walls of his seemingly impenetrable exterior, she starts to suspect that he holds the answers to her reoccurring nightmares and to the impossible memories which keep bubbling to the surface of her mind — memories of the two of them, together and in love.
When she at last learns the truth about their connection, Lillie discovers that Tom has been hiding an earth-shattering secret; a secret that is bigger — and much more terrifying and beautiful — than the both of them. She also discovers that once you finally understand that the world is round, there is no way to make it flat again.
An epic and deeply original sci-fi romance, taking inspiration from Albert Einstein’s theories and the world-bending wonder of true love itself.
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Ingrid Jonach writes books for children and young adults, including the chapter books The Frank Frankie and Frankie goes to France published by Pan Macmillan, and When the World was Flat (and we were in love) published by Strange Chemistry.
Since graduating from university with a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing (Hons) in 2005, Ingrid has worked as a journalist and in public relations, as well as for the Australian Government.
Ingrid loves to promote reading and writing, and has been a guest speaker at a number of schools and literary festivals across Australia, where she lives with her husband Craig and their pug dog Mooshi.
Despite her best efforts, neither Craig nor Mooshi read fiction.
When Tom Windsor-Smith arrives in her small town, sixteen-year-old Lillie Hart discovers a secret about herself that will unlock other worlds and unleash a powerful enemy upon them both.
Is your newest book going to be a stand- alone novel, or are you planning to make it into a series? If you are planning to make it into a series, how many books do you plan to have in the series?
It works well as a stand-alone novel, but would also work as part of a series. I have played around with synopses for a trilogy and have started pulling together a draft of the second novel. My priority at the moment though is another stand-alone with loose connections to When the World was Flat (and we were in love).
Who was your favorite character to write about in When the World was Flat (and We Were in Love)? Why?
Lillie's mother Deb. I just love her eccentricities and how she dives into new hobbies with gusto, even if there is no follow through.
I grew up in an artistic household (both my mother and my step-father were visual artists) and was encouraged to explore the arts (I spent most of my childhood reading, writing and drawing). My mother never put witch hazel underneath my pillow to boost my creativity like Deb did with Lillie, but I do feel like I drew on my childhood when creating Deb. The endless stream of visitors to their house also mimics the broad range of family friends that would visit while I was growing up, including a poet who used to walk around town bare foot and who would critique my poetry when I was around nine- or ten-years-old.
Do you get extremely attached to your characters? If so, how do you react when you have to write a scene that is going to be particularly hard on them?
I did get really attached to my characters in When the World was Flat (and we were in love), particularly Jo. There is a sensitive and insecure little girl underneath her tough teen exterior, which is encased by sarcasm and a higher than average IQ.
I felt bad about what I put Jo through, starting with giving both of her parents cancer (her mother passed away when she was very young). My step-father passed away from cancer a few years ago and my husband is a cancer survivor, so I knew the pressure I was putting on Jo. It was all designed to break through that exterior.
This break-through begins when Jo experiences a shift in character overnight (which is connected to the science fiction elements of the book), including a change in her behavior and in her appearance. This leads her to act out (and I am not going to say how because it would be a spoiler) which shocks her friends and gets tongue wagging at their school. The reason I feel bad about this is because it is completely against her character. If it had been her friend Sylv, it would have been taken in her stride. Sylv is a strong character through and through, who makes absolutely no apologies for her behaviour, despite the disapproval of others.
It had to be Jo though, because it was a plot device to show there was something strange happening in their quiet town of Green Grove.
Did you have any say in the cover, and do you think it accurately portrays what’s in the book?
I had minimal say in the cover, which is typical with traditionally published books. I was so pleased to see that it was minimalistic and I really love the contrasting colors.
The cover features a key that appears late in the story and I recognized the background immediately as the flagstone path from the main character's reoccurring nightmares.
The cover definitely highlights the romance genre of the book, rather than the science fiction. I think that is apt though, because it is a love story first and foremost (just look at that title!).
Did you have to do any research while writing your novel?
Absolutely. Even though it is a work of fiction, the science fiction elements are based on the works of Albert Einstein, as well as String Theory. This involved reading a lot of non-fiction books, trawling a lot of websites and watching a ton of documentaries.
My favorite book during this time was actually a fictionalized biography about Einstein and the dreams he was having while he was working on his Theory of Relativity. The book, Einstein's Dreams by physicist Alan Lightman , contains the most beautiful short stories of worlds where time and space defy logic, nestled amongst vignettes about Einstein’s life.
Were you nervous when you decided to venture outside of your children’s series and write a Sci Fi book targeted at a more mature audience?
A little. I was less nervous about the story itself than about the time it was going to take to write 80 000 words instead of 20 000 words. I work in a relatively demanding day job and finding the hours (and energy) to write is a constant challenge. I ended up taking time off work to finish When the World was Flat (and we were in love). I think I would still be writing it otherwise!
Your title is impossibly adorable and I love how it is explained in the book summary. If you were writing a book about your own life and past experiences, what would you title it?
Thank you! And good question! Let me put on my thinking cap!
As a tribute to the structure of my current title, I would probably call it How to Walk Uphill Backwards (and Make It Look Easy).
I am such a work-a-holic (with both my day job and my writing job). If I could choose a superpower it would be to be able to freeze time, so that I could get more work done (so nerdy!). I am constantly feeling guilty about sacrificing time with family and friends (and my poor husband!) and feel like I am tripped at every hurdle. And although nothing (and I mean NOTHING) has landed in my lap, I think there is a perception that it is easy, even when I tell people how I might have to give up sleeping for the next week in order to get through my workload.
And that concludes my therapy session for the day!
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The revisions, which were also the most rewarding (I think that always goes hand-in-hand).
I love editing, but structural edits (as in removing characters from the story or changing parts of the storyline) can break my brain. I have a can-do attitude though, which means I will give everything and anything a go. There were two significant characters (my darlings) that were removed (killed) from When the World was Flat (and we were in love) during revisions with my agent, including Lillie's brother Zed. I was originally not convinced I could cut him out, but it ended up being surprisingly easy and gave way to more couch-surfers staying with the family.
What was your favorite part of writing the book?
Writing Chapter Twenty One.
That scene was written in one afternoon during the second draft and barely changed during the revisions, except to reorder it. I think that was the moment the book became a science fiction novel, in addition to a romance novel. It contains too many spoilers to keep talking about it though!
What has been your most positive experience as an author?
One day I received an envelope full of letters from a class of primary school students telling me how much they loved my children's books. It was really touching and I will always treasure it. I am really grateful to their teacher too for encouraging his students to write the letters and then for posting them to me.
It means so much to hear that someone somewhere loved your book.
I read your bio on your website and came across an interesting fact. You are apparently obsessed with Elvis Presley. What is your favorite Elvis song and, if you watched his movies, what is your favorite Elvis movie?
I certainly am! I even own a bunch of Elvis paraphernalia, including an Elvis pocket watch!
My favorite Elvis song is If I Can Dream (followed closely by his first song That’s Alright). I just love the aspirational lyrics in If I Can Dream and how the song crescendos.
My favorite movie is definitely his first — Love Me Tender. He was determined to be taken seriously as an actor and (spoiler!) even dies at the end. He was unhappy about being forced to sing in the movie by the powers-that-be (i.e. his manager Colonel Tom Parker).
I would like to end the interview with something fun. Can you tell me something fun/random/wonky/crazy about yourself or your writing habits?
The night that Michael Jackson died I stayed up until 2am trying to teach myself how to moonwalk despite having to go to work the next day.
And I complain about not having enough time...
Give it away, Give it away, Give it away, now!
Enter below for your chance to win one of two awesome prize packages as part of the Around the World in 80 Days Blog Tour for When the World was Flat (and we were in love) by Ingrid Jonach.
There will be two winners worldwide. Each prize package includes:
• a signed copy of When the World was Flat (and we were in love)
• a pair of silver plated key-shaped earrings in a When the World was Flat (and we were in love) gift box
• a When the World was Flat (and we were in love) bookmark.
The competition will run until 21 October 2013 and the winners will be announced on this page and via www.ingridjonach.com