Thursday, January 5, 2012

Erin Irvin - Two Book Review & Author Interview

Lone March, #1
by Erin Irvin

Fifteen-year-old March Howe is going through some bizarre bodily changes - the last thing she needs when most people at school already think she's a freak. Little does she know that those changes are leading her into a supernatural world of strange mysteries and terrible danger. March is a werewolf - but not just a were-wolf. She's the last known female of the species, and that makes her a rare commodity.

Just when the guy of her dreams asks her out, a pack of werewolves invade her house to take her back to their den, where she must be heralded through her first change or risk certain death. Along the way, she meets the dark and handsome Greyson, her only peer in the pack, and is caught up in the dark intrigue surrounding her new "family" and the strange truth behind her existence. Will she fit in this new, magical world better than she does at school? Will she even survive her first change? Or will the power that's growing inside her destroy her and the entire werewolf bloodline?

In Book One of the Lone March Series, March Howe must choose between mundane and magical, the familiar and the unknown, freedom and responsibility. Will she decide her fate before the last of the werewolves decide it for her?

Lone March, #2
by Erin Irvin

"I looked up into the looming, baleful faces of eight were-ravens. They stood around me, hunched over, with watchful, probing eyes. I tried to scream, but I was too weak to make noise."

Her name is March Greeley Howe. And she’s a were-wolf. After escaping her captor’s den, and being rescued by an unlikely ally, March finds out what’s been happening in Glenbrook since she’s been gone. Life will never be the same since Elliot’s take-over, and the last she-wolf in the world has some tough decisions to make.

In the midst of being forced to master her Lupine form, she is thrown back into her old life, with all the fear and uncertainty that went with it. Besides being torn between Ethyn and Greyson, March fails to make sense of her hesitation in trusting Avery. With both home and school upside-down, she tries to find solace in her friends, but soon learns she stands apart, and the divide only grows with each day of her double life.

In Book Two of the Lone March Series, March Howe meets some new faces and sees old ones in new ways. She grows up fast when she has to make decisions no one else can, and embarks on a mission that will redefine her place in the pack. Will she balance her were and human lives before the last of the were-wolves throw everything into chaos?

My Reviews:

Moon Link

The beginning was not off to a great start. The beginning of the story, along with a few other elements I found to be unrealistic. Such as a 15 year old girl not knowing what a "period" is. However, I did enjoy the how the story increased and became more interesting. It will leave you with the feeling the next book is worth the read. I enjoyed the were-creatures, and the love triangle. Overall I think this is a great read for a young girl. 

Rating 3 stars!

Moon Ache

Even better then the 1st! The characters draw you in and are completely relatable. The plot and the pace webbed me into the story, with unpredictable twist and turns. I found the writing style to be better then the 1st book. I am happy to say I can not wait for the 2nd book.  

My rating 5 stars!

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m Texan by birth, but an anglophile at heart, both of which, I think, greatly inform my work. I’ve been writing since before I knew how to read; I had all these stories in my head as a child and, besides drawing pictures or acting them out with my dolls, I used to write pages and pages of loop-de-loops, thinking I was writing cursive. I also write songs and sing them with the help of my trusty ol’ workhorse guitar.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I honestly don’t remember a time that I didn’t love to tell stories in one form or another. Since I was old enough to grasp the concept of ‘story’ I’ve been dreaming up my own, whether through books or songs, poems or drawings. I always tell people that it’s not just a hobby or a passion for me, but a byproduct of living. As fanciful and flowery as it sounds, I just don’t know how to live without creating!

What surprised you the most about the writing/publishing process?

The publishing side of things has really been what opened my eyes about being a ‘career writer’. If you’re an indie/self-published author, doing everything for yourself, who really wants to publicize your work and get it out there, you truly do have to spend more time grooming your book and marketing yourself than you do writing. It’s scary and exhausting and not easy (and not nearly as much fun as creating worlds and characters), but you’ve got to play by the rules if you want to stay in the game.

How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?

No set formula. Formulas tend to build themselves based on character and setting. But I’ve developed plots/characters in several ways. Sometimes I have nothing but a name, from which a whole world develops, sometimes I only have a few rules of a fantasy/sci-fi world or one scene in my head, then everything else falls into place around those rules or that scene. Sometimes I make it up as I go, and other times I have every detail mapped out before I start. It just depends. The bottom line is it has to be something that I personally want to explore. If an idea is interesting to me and has something in it that allows me to discover and learn and grow as a person, then I almost can’t stop it developing—my brain naturally wants to unravel that idea and find out all its secrets.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

Revision, I think, goes without saying. I should also say read more than you write, although, admittedly, I myself have been too busy to read more than one book in the last month! Personally speaking: Be open-minded about everything. That may sound strange, but if you embark with prejudices about characters/settings/plot points, or think your writing is perfect and your book is perfect, then you might close yourself off from some really great ideas. Commercially speaking: Know your audience. That’s a big one. It’s a very romantic idea for writers to hide away at home and write their books how they want to write them and tell themselves it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks. That’s fine if you just want to write a book or two as a hobby, but if you want to write occupationally—again, here’s that ‘play by the rules’ thing—you have to know the standards and practices of your genre and audience. I’m newly published; my second book just came out November 2011, so I only just started understanding this in the last couple of years. Also, just know your characters well enough to let them speak for themselves.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

I’d love to! As far as The Lone March Series, I’m working on # 6 now. Book # 3 will be out this spring and book # 4 in the coming fall. Besides that, I’m working on a Middle Grade slightly Paranormal series (think Roald Dahl meets Edward Gorey). I can’t say more about that yet, but I can tell you that there will be some crossovers between this and Lone March. And everything else I’m really, really not allowed to talk about yet!

In Twitter Fashion use 140 characters or less, sum up Moon-Ache for us.

It’s just a perfect second book. I think it’s a really great sequel. Moon-Ache is where the story really starts to kick in. (139—I did it!)

How did you come up with a story with such a whirlwind of events?

I think it had to be a whirlwind. When I first started the series, I thought, “The last she-wolf in the world? Yeah, her life is going to be all over the place.” Plus, I get bored pretty quickly; I need a lot going on so I feel like I’m always getting to explore something new.

How long did it take you to write it, and did you have any writer’s block along the way?

It usually takes me five months to finish a first draft, but I walk away from it for a while after that so the material is fresh for me when I’m ready to do subsequent drafts. So with revisions, I’d say it takes about eight months to fully finish a book. I didn’t have any writer’s block in Moon-Linked, but I did have a bit of a breakdown before I wrote the transformation chapter. I’d never written anything like that before and I wasn’t so confident in myself at that point, so I was afraid I couldn’t do it. Once I conquered that fear, the rest of the book spilled out in about two days. Nothing that dramatic happened when I wrote Moon-Ache, but I did recently have another minor breakdown during book # 5. I got disconnected from the story for a while (for reasons I can’t reveal yet) but it didn’t last long. The stories are already written in my head, so it’s never exactly ‘writer’s block’ per say, but more about taking my time to make sure I’m staying true to my characters.

Will we be seeing a following book to this series?

Oops—I think I’ve already given this question away. I’m up to book # 6 now and as it stands, there will be at least two more after that, though there might possibly be a # 9, we’ll just have to see.

How did you come up with the character March?

In the beginning, she was very much just a younger version of me (albeit, cooler than I was at her age) but once I figured out that the character was going to be the last chick wolf, that really helped me flesh out who she was and how she reacted to situations, because I wanted to bring forth her feminine side, showcase her girl-ness up against a pack of manly male wolves—really, a whole book full of male characters. That idea was interesting to me, because in some ways she’s still kind of a tomboy, but even a tomboy can seem pretty girly next to a bunch of burly, unkempt men!

I always must ask, if you could pick one actress to portray March on the big screen who would it be and why?

Oh, I had a feeling you were going to ask me this—every time I start thinking about my dream cast, I always get stumped about March! My favorite young actress is Emma Stone, but she’s probably already too old to play a fifteen/sixteen-year-old. Maybe one of the Fanning sisters? They’re both wonderful actresses and younger. March Howe demands an actress who’s capable of both crippling vulnerability and some serious, burgeoning strength, so she needs a lot of range.

Was there anything you found particularly challenging when writing this book?
Now that I think about it, yeah. For Moon-Ache, there were several things I found challenging. I don’t want to give too much away, but March has to deal with some serious, heavy issues in book # 2—things that would be difficult for an adult to handle, let alone a fifteen-year-old. Death, and then her sexual awakening, but that awakening comes in the face of some big-time sexual assault—seriously heavy issues. So I thought a lot about how to handle those things properly in relation to my audience and the fact that it was only the second book in the series, etc. And religion is a big theme in book # 2 so I worried a lot about how I presented that so as not to condemn it, but to show different facets of faith and different levels of belief and so on. Also, Moon-Ache is where the character of Ruthie Birch comes in. We only get a glimpse of her in this book, compared to later installments, but even that first glimpse was challenging. She’s a bit difficult to write because of her vintage vernacular. I have a huge excel spreadsheet dedicated to Ruthie’s words and phrases that I reference when it’s time for her to say something.

What were your feelings when you first saw the cover of your finished book?

I was ecstatic when I saw the cover of Moon-Linked. Actually, my reaction is rather embarrassing. There was lots of screaming at the top of my lungs and dorky dancing. I also did a fair bit of running wild, crazed circuits around the house, talking to nothing and no one for about an hour. It was very surreal, and I felt extreme relief, of all things, because it was the first time I felt like a legit writer. Take all that and repeat it for the cover of Moon-Ache, maybe even multiply it times two.

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Victoria said...

This series looks good. Thank you for the interview.

Read Between the Lines said...

These books sounds amazing adding them to my never ending TBR Pile

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