ERIN IRVIN-Interview and Giveaway with the Author
From Erin Irvin’s Blogsite As you probably know, I’m the author of the Lone March Series. I write all sorts of things, though much of it tends to be in the YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Paranormal Romance genres.
Besides writing books, I am a singer-songwriter/musician. My songs, which I generally refer to as quirky anti-folk, are accompanied by my guitar, affectionately known as Bertram, who’s been with me for ten years. I’ve also made one music video and if you look to the right of this page, you should see it around the middle of the right-hand column.
Some years ago, never mind how long precisely, I spent the most glorious year of my life to date in England, studying at the University of Leeds, as an exchange student from the University of North Texas, where I will soon graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in General Studies. My three areas of concentration are Music, Film/Theatre Arts, and Creative Writing. I am a complete nerd for all these subjects. I only mention England because if you’re paying attention, you’ll find out pretty fast that I’m a serious anglophile.
Also, if you care, I make very poor doodles and, for reasons I can’t fully explain, post them on Deviantart→
Let’s Get Started
TRC: Hi Erin and welcome to The Reading Café. Congratulations on your latest release in the Lone March series MOON-SWELL. We would like to start with some background information. Would you please tell us something about yourself?
Erin: Sure. Let’s see…Well, I’ve been writing since I was about four years old. My first “book” was called Sally’s Party. It was about a girl named Sally having a birthday party. As I’m sure you can guess it was very imaginative. I wrote about what presents she got and illustrated the whole thing. My mom drew the line at letting me staple the pages together though—she insisted on doing that part for me.
TRC: Many authors develop their love of writing at an early age. What was the catalyst that sparked your desire to write?
Erin: I don’t think there was a specific catalyst. I honestly can’t remember a time that I wasn’t telling stories in some way or another. I was singing delirious, make-it-up-as-you-go songs when I was probably two or three, I was creating whole worlds with my dolls, filling spirals with doodles and poems, and play-acting with my siblings or by myself. I don’t know how to live day-to-day without these creative outlets.
TRC: What difficulties have you faced as an author?
Erin: Growing up, I had a lot of trouble finding a story that had traction. I had ideas coming out my ears but I was sort of all over the place and my brain was still developing so I would get bored easily and want to move onto some other creative pursuit, or at least some other story. That’s why I loved poetry and songwriting so much because those forms allowed for my shorter attention span to flourish! I didn’t complete a story until I was thirteen (other than Sally’s Party, of course) and even after that it was a struggle. I wrote hundreds of pages of stories when I was in high school but couldn’t seem to finish them. After high school, I wrote a [very poor] one-act play, a couple of short stories, more poetry, and lots of songs. It wasn’t until I was 24 that I completed my first novel. But now that the finding traction issue has passed, I would say my biggest difficulty is being able to step back from a story and see it as a whole, to find its weak spots and flaws. If it’s a series, that gets harder the further on you get because there’s just more going on and there’s more at stake the further in you are. But I like a good challenge so it’s worked for me!
TRC: Your bio states that you are also a musician. Do you use music as a means to help you write and if so how?
Erin: I do actually. I’ve sometimes written songs to help me get inside the head of a character before I write a particularly difficult scene with that character. And I’ve also done the flipside of that, where I’ve been inspired to write songs based on scenes from my books, or at least based on the emotions of a character in that scene. “Ancient Glass” and “The Pure” are two songs that come to mind just off the top of my head, but the latest one is “Just Two” which is especially interesting—since I’ve never done this with either songwriting or novel writing—because I actually did them both simultaneously; I started the scene, then stopped to write a couple of lines that would end up being the first in the song, then wrote a little more in my chapter, then wrote some more of the song. It was strange but it worked on both ends.
TRC: Would you please tell us about your ‘addiction’ to Dr. Who? 😉
Erin: *Ahem* How did you know about that? How did this get out?? Oh, I guess I have talked about it in both of my blogs a couple of times… So you want me to tell you about my—did I use the word ‘addiction’ myself—did I actually admit to that, or is that your inference from my shamelessly nerdy blogging? Either way, I suppose it’s true. Well, do you have a few hours? Because I can hash this out right now, if you really want me to. I could get into all the specifics of why I love that show but I will no doubt bore 98% of your readers to death. If anyone wants to know—and if you are a sci-fi nerd, or a writer—or even just a lover of good story-telling then I advise you to watch it and find out for yourself. It may be my favorite show, second only to Twin Peaks.
TRC: Would you please tell us about the premise of the Young Adult LONE MARCH series?
Erin: The Lone March Series is about a girl named March Howe, who finds out she’s the last female were-wolf on earth. At first she’s scrawny, sickly, and very, very sheltered, so therefore, kind of immature. But as her were-wolf traits start coming out, she goes through a lot of physical changes, and by the end of her first Full Moon cycle, she’s sort of blossomed into a young woman. Her maturation is still slow but her position as the last female of her kind pretty much forces her to grow up (at least a little bit) with each book. There’s a lot of mystery about her past, a lot of things the wolves in her pack aren’t telling her, and, I have to say, there are some gritty things in this series, like some heavy issues she has to deal with, pertaining to the fact that she is the last she-wolf. But there is also humor and romance—though it’s always unsettled; March’s romantic life is uncertain and almost always in flux. I think that’s enough to get people going. If I say much more I’ll start giving too much away.
TRC: Your latest book in the series is MOON-SWELL. Would you please tell us about the premise?
Erin: Why don’t I give you the last paragraph of the official synopsis? This sums it up pretty well:
In Book Four of the Lone March Series, March Howe has to figure out who she can trust, and who’s pretending. In her evolving love triangle, she must decide who’s best for her. And when strange things reveal themselves, it’s time for her to finally come to terms with the fact that she’s different. Will these secrets earn her the trust and respect she deserves from her pack or will the last of the were-wolves go beyond protection…and lock her up once and for all?
So there you go. And I guess I should say this one has more…graphic content, shall we say? It definitely deals more with the romance aspect of March’s life. For those of you who are already readers of Lone March, just know: this book is different from the first three. I like to call Book #4 the beginning of “Act Two” in the Lone March series.
TRC: How many books do you have planned for the series?
Erin: At least eight. But I can’t say for sure because I never know exactly how long it’s going to take me to tell the story of any given installment. It could be nine. Oh, and there is also one novella planned for after the series ends.
TRC: March is a very angry young woman/werewolf and at times she risks the lives of everyone with whom she has contact, yet Avery Harper (her guardian) seems to take much of it in stride. Is there an Avery or March in your life that you have based these characters upon?
Erin: Not really. I guess it would be a more interesting answer if they were based on real people but no. I will admit March has a lot of me in her. Not the angry part—that’s all her and her were-wolf hormones—but definitely her awkwardness, her thought progressions, her general fear and doubt. Those things are all very much me. Avery was completely independent of real life. I’m going to sound crazy when I say this, but he created himself. In the beginning, I had a very clear idea of who Avery was going to be and what purpose he would serve in the story—he even had a different name back then—but over the course of writing the first few books, I would get these…what can I call them that won’t make me sound insane?…little whispers that would sneak up out of nowhere. (Yeah, that’s not crazy at all, is it?) But it’s true, as I wrote him, he would make these inferences on his own character and his actions and I felt very compelled to trust that and respect the character’s independence. I’m really not crazy, I promise (well, maybe a little). It’s hard to explain—even some other writers I’ve spoken with don’t get what I’m talking about. But for lack of better phrasing, I let my characters tell me who they are. And Avery’s not the only character to straight-up tell me no and demand his own way!
TRC: If you could virtual cast the Lone March series, which actors or models would best represent the major characters?
Erin: Ah! I’m always afraid of this question—and I have to answer it so many times! I should just come up with a finalized list and make it a rote recitation. But I can’t ever decide. It used to be Emma Roberts as March, but I guess she’s getting too old now. Maybe Chloё Grace Moretz would make a good March? She’s about the right age and has definitely demonstrated both a gentle, innocent side, and a darker, angsty side, in the movies I’ve seen. March needs both, for obvious reasons. She’s got to be able to pull off a major sense of weakness and fear, as well as strength and courage. It’s a hard mix. As for the others…I don’t know…Adrien Brody has a very raven-like quality so he would make a good Avery. I know one for sure—I have always pictured Quinn, from the moment of his conception, as Kris Kristofferson. Hands down, he would make the perfect—well, he IS Quinn. Funnily enough, Adam Brody (no relation to Adrien that I am aware of) is who I pictured for Deckard, albeit a younger version of him—more like when he played Dave Rygalski in Gilmore Girls. That’s all I know—I’m tapped out.
TRC: There are certain ‘unwritten’ guidelines for writing Young Adult storylines but sometimes the lines blur, especially knowing many of the readers are adults. Where do you think the lines should be drawn as it pertains to sex and violence (graphic or otherwise) in young adult storylines?
Erin: Oh, I don’t know. I mean I have a running debate with myself about where to draw the line; I think about it all the time. It’s a very blurry line—it’s a blurry subject. A large part of me says it’s my story and I have to tell it how I want to tell it without worrying about what everyone will think—because if you worry about other people’s opinions all the time you’ll drive yourself crazy and end up hitting a wall in your writing. But there is another part of me that does feel an obligation—or, more accurately, a responsibility to represent what I believe to be good morals and decision-making in my main characters. And if he/she screws up, then I feel a responsibility to make them pay for their mistakes or at least face them and learn from them. For Lone March, we’re talking about were-wolves, so there have to be some elements of the grotesque, the macabre, anger and violence, and overcharged hormones. It’s just in their nature. What fun is a were-wolf who never has the urge to thrash around and engage in some mild sexual activity? The answer is no fun at all.
TRC: What difficulties did you face getting this series to publication?
Erin: For Moon-Linked, I had more trouble than with subsequent books. I saved up a lot of money to get it in print by self-publishing and to pay for a professional cover. That was quite a hurdle for me, being, at the time, a broke, full-time college student with no job. And it took a while to find a cover artist, and then when I did, he was far away and I’d never met him in person, so it was difficult to communicate what I wanted in emails. The cover turned out great but after that, a friend volunteered to do the others, and he’s such a talented (Emmy-award-winning) genius that I never have to communicate anything twice; he just gets it and turns my simple idea into something way cooler than I could possibly imagine.
TRC: Many authors bounce ideas with other authors, family and friends. With whom do you bounce ideas?
Erin: First, my sister, Lauren, who is a writer too. (She’s working on a series that has a fairy princess as the main character—but she’s not what you think of when you think ‘fairy princess’ in the least. She’s a total badass. My mouth was hanging on the floor for nearly every page of reading that book because she was so arrestingly fearless and powerful and hardcore!) Anyway, we have major idea-bouncing sessions with each other. Second, my dear friend, with whom I share my first name, Erin. She’s also a writer. (And she’s working on an amazing graphic novel trilogy, of which she’s doing the artwork herself, and which is also very fantasy-based and has a really beautiful and inspiring message.) We bounce ideas every time we talk on the phone or see each other. And third, my fiancé, Travis. He gets the brunt of the idea-bouncing. All three of them are very helpful and encouraging. And they’re all smarter than I am so that helps!
TRC: On what are you currently working?
Erin: I am about 75% through the first draft of Lone March #6. I have another YA paranormal series—it’s actually a trilogy—and a middle grade four-book paranormal series, both of which I will be able to dive back into once I finish Lone March. I’m just too immersed in March’s world to focus on anything else at the same time.
TRC: Would you like to add anything else?
Erin: Yes—I want to thank all my amazing readers, who are coming along with me and March through her turbulent journey. You guys are awesome!
Favorite Food: Pizza
Favorite Dessert: Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Favorite TV Show: Twin Peaks
Favorite Movie: Matilda
Last Movie you Saw: In Theaters: The Master; At Home: Deathly Hallows Part 1.
Dark or Milk Chocolate: Dark!
Last Vacation Destination: San Diego, for Comic-Con 2011.
TRC: Thank you Erin for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the new release. We wish you all the best.
Erin is offering a paperback collection of books 1-4 in her Lone March series to one lucky member at The Reading Cafe.
1. You must be a member at The Reading Cafe to qualify for the giveaway. If you are not a member, please register using the log-in at the top of the page or by using one of the social log-ins.
2. If you are using a social log-in such as Twitter or Google, please post a comment along with your email address as Twitter etc does not allow for email information (if we have to contact you as the winner).
3. The giveaway is open to USA only.
4. Giveaway runs from November 28 to December 1, 2012