Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Author Interview- C.J. Omololu

1) Transcendence is so different from your debut YA Dirty Little Secrets, not necessarily in terms of tone but mainly in genre. What prompted the switch? How did you get the idea for Transcendence?

The two books are REALLY different – the first one is a contemporary about a girl living with her mother who is a hoarder and the second is paranormalish about reincarnation and destiny. I tried really hard to stay in one genre for a few books and do another issue book after that, but once I was done with Dirty Little Secrets, I wanted to have some fun – Transcendence was that for me, not too many issues, just a fun ride, along with some making out. The idea for Transcendence came to me at the funeral for a friend’s thirteen year old son. It was probably the saddest day I’ve ever experienced – he died suddenly and I had a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that he was just gone. That’s when I started thinking how much better it would be if reincarnation were really true and that he could get another chance someday. So I guess, Transcendence was really a coping mechanism for such a sad event, even though it’s not a sad book. His name was Griffon, which is why I named my character after him and why the book is dedicated to him.

2) What are you working on currently? Can you tell us anything about it?

I’m just finishing up the copyedits for the sequel to Transcendence – it’s called Intuition and will be out in June of 2013. I feel like I wrapped up the story in Transcendence pretty well, but if you read the last couple of chapters carefully, you probably have a pretty good idea where Intuition will start. I really loved writing with characters who I already knew well, and throwing some new ones in the mix – the story ended up being much bigger than I intended and I really, really love this book. I’m also writing a standalone contemporary psychological thriller – I’d tell you more, but then I’d have to kill you, so that’s it for now.

3) You went to Scotland for a year in college and also somehow were in Rome as well. Can you tell us about these trips? Any funny anecdotes?

I did – I spent my senior year in Scotland and then traveled the next summer, which is how I ended up in Rome. I was the only American among my group of friends in Scotland and they were constantly making fun of me. They told me things like the signs for “Heavy Plant Crossing” were for a slow moving group of pine trees that only grew in Scotland. I actually believed them until I realized how hard they were all laughing (it really means that is the place where heavy machinery crosses the road – but what did I know). I was in Florence with friends and we all pooled our meager money to go and buy some groceries – jarred sauce and pasta at this tiny little shop. Somehow, we picked up the wrong bag at the cash register and when we got back to the hostel found we had a bag full of really expensive cheese, prosciutto, olives and wine. Being good kids, we sent someone back to the store, but the person who had our sad little bag never showed, so we had a fabulous dinner that night. If you ever get the chance to live abroad, take it! It is still one of the best experiences of my life.

4) What's your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor(s)? Or, if you're not into those, favorite snack?

Easy peasy – Caramel Corn Jelly Bellies. I have a 4lb jar of them from Costco on my desk right now, with most of the Caramel Corn ones already picked out.

5) What book(s) are you currently reading, or are about to start?

I’m about to start Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. I’m not super into high fantasy, but everyone says that you don’t need to be to love it. After that will probably be Every Day by David Levithan. The man is a genius and quite possibly a cyborg because of the amount of great and amazing things he does.

6) You wrote some bonus material for a free e-book sampler, which included a chapter from Griffon's point of view. How was it writing from his perspective?

So great! I LOVED writing from a boy POV and haven’t ruled out writing some kind of companion book or short story with him as the narrator. I have a ‘book of my heart’ about race and identity that I wrote from a boy POV that I hope gets picked up some day. It’s too bad that boy narrators are a harder sell in YA, because I love writing them.

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