Saturday, July 24, 2010

Take Two! Leigh Wood Talks about On the Way to New Isosceles

Please note; The book featured in this edition of the Take Two series is for adults only.

Take Two! Leigh Wood answers two curious questions about her new book, On the Way to New Isosceles.

Q. 1. The title of On the Way to New Isosceles hints at triangles and geometry, but I assume it has a somewhat different meaning. Please tell us how you came up with such an intriguing title.

A. Only one person emailed me saying they were confused by the title. I actually hate math so I expected more questions about the title! Most people say they love it, as it is unique and gets them thinking. It is about triangles in a way-there are references to triangular locations and objects in the novel. However, there is a suggestion of two equal sides, which leads to notions about the two factions joining together. And of course, our couple JJ and Rub have to find a little equality and the happy medium in making both their angry professional and gettin' steamy personal relationships. There's a question of balance, perhaps also. We can't have any fulcrums swinging too far in the wrong direction in love or war! I have to say I don't remember how I came up with the title. Maybe it was my notions of romance and action equality along with a 'journey not the destination' feeling. I think I stink at titles! However, I am keeping up with the theme for the sequel, currently called Equilateral Planet. Some days I can't spell either one!

Q.2. Your protagonist is called JJ. Is this initialised form of name something common to people from her futuristic society, or does it say something special and specific about her character?

A.2. Wow, a seemingly innocent but deep question! I'd say the fact that she has a snappy, neutral nickname is a part of their militristic society just on the nature of simplicity, uniformity, and speed. They are an on the go, space faring and fighting people with no time for fussy names. JJ is then, an extension of her society. In some ways, her full complete name represents herself as a happy girl on earth with parents, sunshine, and no cares. Now she is alone, owns the bare minimum, and keeps a stiff upper lip. Only certain people are allowed to call JJ by other derivities of her name. It's her way of shutting herself off. JJ is short and sweet, clipped, and gets the job done. There's no need for anything pretty that rolls off the tongue! By contrast, Rub likes to make jokes about his name and calls his friends by several different affectinate terms. Opposites attract!

Thanks, Leigh!

On the Way to New Isosceles was published by Eternal Press in 2009. Visit Leigh's blog.


Kristin as Leigh

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Take Two! Robyn Opie talks about her book, Black Baron

Today we welcome Robyn Opie to Spinning Pearls to answer two inquisitive questions about her book, Black Baron.

Q.1. The title “Black Baron” has echoes of the German fighting ace The Red Baron. Was this deliberate, and if so, how did you jump from a fighter pilot to a cockroach? If not, where did the title come from?

A.1. Yes, the title was deliberate. I imagined Black Baron as a racing hero and every race is like a fight for his life. The story, itself, turns out to be a fight for survival. The idea for the story came when I decided I wanted to write a funny story for boys. I thought about all the things boys like, one of which was bugs. I didn't want to write about the usual bugs, such as spiders, worms, ants etc. I wanted to be different, so I settled on a champion racing cockroach. Naturally, the main character is a boy - Jake. He sees himself as Black Baron's manager and friend.

Q.2. How do you choose the “voice” for your stories? Do you generally prefer first person, third person or omniscient? Why?


For me, the "voice" of the story is usually chosen by the main character. The main character also tells me his or her name. The name comes first, then the story, then the "voice". I prefer first or third person, never omniscient. I originally wrote Black Baron as third person but the story didn't work for me or the main character, Jake, so I rewrote the manuscript in first person. The change to first person did the trick and the story came together in a way that pleased all of us, Jake and Black Baron included.

Thanks, Robyn.

Black Baron was published by Walker Books in 2008. Visit the publisher website WalkerBooks and Robyn's own website at Robyn Opie

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Take Two: Yolanda Sfetsos talks about Shade of Grey

Today we welcome Yolanda Sfetsos, who answers two quick questions about her newly-released novel, Shade of Grey.

Q.1. Shade of Grey is an intriguing title. Can you tell us how it relates to the plot of your book?

A.1. Thanks! I have to admit that it took me a while to come up with the title for this novel, especially since I wanted all three names in the planned trilogy to be similar. It actually turned out to be the perfect title because it highlights the things in Gypsy's life that are definitely not black or white, but shaded with the grey in-between. Also, since the story deals with the Greys, it's extra fitting.

Q.2. Contemporary romantic SF is quite uncommon. (Most SF seems to be futuristic.) Tell us how you went about planting this genre in a contemporary Australian setting.

A.2. You're right. Most SF stories are set in futuristic or otherworld locations, but there is that small percentage that brings the alien factor to our backyard... such as The X-Files and V, not to speak of a bunch of movies. I've always been intrigued by these stories, and this turned out to be my tribute.

Basically, I wanted to set this story in contemporary Australia, and cast what at first seems to be an average woman leading an average life. Then I threw her into a very alien situation. Gypsy finds herself caught in the middle of conspiracy theories, UFOs, abductions, and Men in Black who aren't all trying to save her. That's the hero's job:-)

Thanks, Yolanda! To read an excerpt, or to but Shade of Grey, pop along to