Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Talking with Natasha House

I'm happy to have Natasha House with us today. She's here to tell us a little about herself and talk about her children's book, Superhero Princess and the Curse of the Rainbow Fairy. First, a little about the book:
Zara is your typical fairy tale princess, blonde, gorgeous and awaiting her prince charming. Except for one thing, she's been cursed with super powers. You'd think flying fast, being strong, and the ability to attract small, fuzzy creatures would be awesome right? Wrong! Join Zara as she fights zombie carrots, evil mermaids, and dragons with attitudes.

Everything changes when a new boy named Gunner enrolls in her school. He accepts her for who she is, which Zara has never encountered. Suddenly, magical eggs from various monsters around the kingdom start to go missing. It's up to Zara to discover who is stealing these monster eggs and why.

How long have you been writing, and how did you start?
I have been writing for eighteen years. I started writing when I was twelve years old. We had a school assignment for class, and I wrote my entire book in one setting. My teacher was astounded!  That book earned me a ticket to the young authors.

What do you like best about writing?
I love the thrill of where the story will go. I’m not a planner, so the story just goes its own crazy path!  I love the characters too. In Superhero Princess I love her sense of humor.

What’s your least favorite thing?
My least favorite thing is the rereading and editing. I think I read my book, Citizen one hundred times!

How did you come up with the title of your book?

Superhero Princess and the Curse of the Rainbow Fairy was easy because Zara is a superhero and she was cursed as a baby by the Rainbow Fairy.

Do you have another job outside of writing? 
Yes!  Though I wish I didn’t. I’m a department manager in a retail store. It can be really tiring and stressful, but my writing gives me hope that perhaps one day I can do something else I love.

How would you describe your book in a tweet? (140 characters or less.)
Zara is a superhero princess. When monster eggs go missing in her kingdom it's up to her to find out who is stealing them and why. 

Good job--you did it with eight to spare! How did you create the plot for this book?
My plots always develop as I write. I think I wanted to put Zara through some pretty tough situations and surprise people with how things turned out for her.

You said you’re not a planner, so you must write by the seat of your pants. Do you let your characters tell you what to write? 
I do write by the seat of my pants, which can be horrible and fun at the same time. I’ve had people tell me ideas, and I suddenly lose interest in my story and stop writing. I learned to just let it do what it wants!

Great job! What books have you read more than once or want to read again? 

I love The Oath by Frank Peretti. I think I’ve read it over a dozen times. I think it’s because he grabs my attention right in the beginning and keeps me interested the whole way through. 

What’s your favorite line from a book?"No one smells like wet grass; get a grip Alex," from The Awakening.

Oh! That's so cool--I know the author of The Awakening, Apryl Baker! Tell us a book you’re an evangelist for. 
I found a fellow Indie author, Krystal George, who sent me a free copy of her book The Willows. I boast about it all the time. It’s excellent!

Have you ever bought any books just for the cover? 
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff. I loved that book! It was so unique from any book I’ve ever read. 

What do you do to market your book? 
I’m on Facebook, Book Blogs, Twitter, a local bookstore, and word of mouth.

Do you have imaginary friends?
I don’t actually have any, which is a horrible tragedy for me.  I do have things that I “hear” like a phrase someone says and it gives me ideas for books.  So maybe I do…

How do you get to know your characters? 

I think about what they might be like or say and write it. Zara is very sarcastic, and I guess I enjoy a good sense of humor. I would be Zara’s friend even if she broke my couch.

Do you have a favorite of your characters?

In Superhero Princess I would say either Zara or her dad. It’s hard to decide. Zara is sarcastic, and her dad is just a big goofball. He reminds me of my own dad.

When you start a new book, do you know what the entire cast will be?
No. I just sort of add them as they come. Some of my characters are really off the wall.

Which character did you most enjoy writing?
I love Zara. She’s so much fun, and her outtake on life is pretty positive, despite how she’s been an outcast because of her super powers.

I’m constantly on the lookout for new names. How do you name your characters? 
Honestly, some of them just come to me. I thought I made Zara up. Other ones I look up in baby name websites like Gunner.

What would Zara say about you?
I think she would say I’m fun, personable, and also like my quiet time. I love being around people, but I need space to think. 

Are any of your characters inspired by real people?
I think Zara’s dad, King Ben, is a lot like my own dad. He’s got a great relationship with his daughter and loves to be silly with her. 

Are you like any of your characters?

I think I’m like Zara in some ways.
How so? 
Because I always had a hard time making many friends.  I had a few growing up, but because I’m not super outgoing it was harder for me. I also love to be goofy with people and sarcastic in the right moments. 

I like writing characters who do and say things I never would, as well as characters who do and say things I wish I could. Do you have characters who fit into one of those categories?
In a series I wrote when I was sixteen, I based a character off myself who was bold, daring, and completely outgoing. She was what I wished I could be in every way.  

Did you have any say in your cover art? I made the cover (blush). After several attempts at drawing Cupcake, Zara’s pet unicorn, I got a decent looking one. I really like it actually! Cupcake is one of my favorite characters.

Great job! If you could be one of your characters, which one would you choose? 

Cupcake, Zara’s pet unicorn, because eating cotton candy for dinner would be epic. Plus, she farts rainbows, who wouldn’t want that?

I think I might actually pass on that! With which of your characters would you most like to be stuck on a deserted island?
Zara!  She could fly us out of there!

Tell us about your favorite scene in the book.
I think my favorite scene is with Prince Ellie. He’s so extremely weird. For one with a name like Prince Ellie, who wouldn’t be weird?  Princess Zara gets set up by her mother to visit him at his house. He suddenly becomes some crazy plant dude who tries to squeeze the life out of her. 

What song would you pick to go with your book?
The hamster song.  

What are your favorite books or favorite authors?
a) as a child: I really liked Nancy Drew and Babysitter club books. I read like all the babysitter books and had most of them. 

b) as a teenager: I enjoyed the Narnia books, the Uglies series. 

c) as an adult: My favorites are the Death and Life of Superman, the replacement, and lots of other books.

Which author would you most like to invite to dinner, and what would you fix me? I mean, him. Or her.
You of course! I also would probably invite Ted Dekker. He has a crazy imagination. I would fix him and you a pesto chicken pizza. Mostly because I just learned how to make it!

What book are you currently reading and in what format (ebook/paperback/hardcover)?
I am reading two, currently.  Conduit and Tales of Aradia.  I’m reading them on my Kindle. I love that thing!

How do you handle criticism of your work?
I think I handle it okay, but I tend to take things to heart. I can be a little bit sensitive about my writing. I haven’t had too much negative input though.

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
I write at a bookstore on my lunch break.  I seem to focus the best for that hour. Plus I love my millionaire mocha! 

Where’s home for you?
Traverse city, Michigan

Tell us one weird thing, one nice thing, and one fact about where you live.
A weird thing is an old state hospital closed down over thirty ago and they just released the crazy people into the streets. The state hospital now has shops, apartments and restaurants built in it. It’s pretty creepy and cool. 

A nice thing about where I live is the beaches.  I have always loved our lakes. 

A fact would be that we are the cherry capital of the world.

Do you ever get writer’s block?
Yes!  It’s so frustrating when that happens.

What do you do when it happens?I usually just talk with my writer friends and set the story aside for a bit. I’ve found if I force myself to write it usually turns out like crap.

Is there anything in particular that you do to help the writing flow? Music? Acting out the scene? Long showers? 
As goofy as it is, a good action movie. As a teenager I would run upstairs after watching Batman or Spiderman. I don’t know why that helped, but it did!

What’s one of your favorite quotes?
“The brave don’t live forever, but the cautious don’t live at all.”

Is that from The Princess Diaries? I think it is. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Hanging out with friends, crafting, and singing.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Here!  I love where I live.  The only thing I’d change is the snow.  I don’t care for that too much.

If you could take a trip anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Ireland.  I’d love to see castles.

Me too! What are you working on now?
Superhero Princess and the Well of Madness. It’s almost finished! I also have a fantasy novel I’m currently working on.

I hope you'll come back and tell us about them when they're published. Thank you so much for being here, Natasha!

Goodreads author page