Monday, April 8, 2013

Author Interview With Tyler Jolley and Sherry Ficklin

I have had the pleasure of interviewing authors Tyler Jolley and Sherry Ficklin about their up and coming book Extracted (The Lost Imperials #1).  I am very excited about this book, I have a very big soft spot for anything steampunk. Not a lot of people even really know what steampunk is and it is hard for me to explain, but anytime I find something in this genre I jump all over it. Add time travel and I'm just about drooling all over the book waiting for it to come out.

I was informed about Extracted (The Lost Imperials #1) by Tyler, we just so happen to be part of the same group on Goodreads. I had asked if anyone knew any good steampunk books and he told me about his. I just about cried when I seen it wasn't going to be released until November. But being the good sport that I am I sucked it up and put it on my to-read list. So when I had the opportunity to interview Tyler and Sherry I took it. To me it was the perfect way to keep myself excited about their book and to learn more about them as authors at the same time.

Extracted (The Lost Imperials, #1)Welcome to the war.

The Tesla Institute is a premier academy that trains young time travelers called Rifters. Created by Nicola Tesla, the Institute seeks special individuals who can help preserve the time stream against those who try to alter it.

The Hollows is a rogue band of Rifters who tear through time with little care for the consequences. Armed with their own group of lost teens--their only desire to find Tesla and put an end to his corruption of the time stream.

Torn between them are Lex and Ember, two Rifters with no memories of their life before joining the time war.

When Lex’s girlfriend dies during a mission, the only way he can save her is to retrieve the Dox, a piece of tech which allows Rifters to re-enter their own timeline without collapsing the time stream. But the Dox is hidden deep within the Telsa Institute, which means Lex must go into the enemy camp. It’s there he meets Ember, and the past that was stolen from them both comes flooding back.

Now armed with the truth of who they are, Lex and Ember must work together to save the future before the battle for time destroys them both…again.

After reading that how could you not be interested in this book? Everything about it has me turning into a fan-girl.

Now onto the fun part!

-When and why did you first start writing?
"Sherry- I’ve been writing since high school. As a reader, I think writing was the next logical step for me. I started publishing just sort of to see if I could. I wanted to share my stories with the world. Seeing your name on a book cover for the first time, let me tell you, it’s amazing."
"Tyler- Well it all started when I got stressed.  I was sitting around my senior year of dental school waiting to take my state license board.  I got done with all my dental school requirements in February 2002 but I didn’t take boards till May of that year.  So there I was stressed and daydreaming like crazy.  My mind is always wandering and I’m always making up story lines.  I told my wife Jeena about some of my “crazy” story ideas and she told me to write them down.  Even though my college route was all science classes, at least I knew how to type.  During those months the epic story of Neto Lexan was born and I became less stressed.  It was the best thing for me.  Shortly there after I saw an interview with Nicholas sparks and he said that he first started writing to pay off student loans.  I was sold.  Writing to pay off all my school debt.  Genius."
-What is the hardest aspect of writing for you?
"Sherry- Editing. I tend to go over and over it so many time, it sort of feels like the magic is gone. I don’t get that feeling back until someone else reads it and gets excited about it. Then it’s exciting for me again."
"Tyler- I have to agree with Sherry, editing is tough.  We have some of the best Editors, yes two editors and they have been great." 
-What do you find is the best part of writing a book?
"Sherry- There are a LOT of best parts. The initial idea is so exciting, then when you finish your first draft. Then, holding a published book, that’s pretty special. No, wait I know. The best feeling so far was when I got my first piece of fan mail. I was like, OMG, this is for ME! Lol."
"Tyler-For me it is getting lost in a world that exists in my mind and then seeing it on paper.  I’m now an orthodontist and periodontist and still day dream constantly during my work day.  The plots and story ideas are flow like water.  Luckily I haven’t been so lost in thought that I’ve drooled on one of my patients."
-What do you think makes a good story?
"Sherry- I think a real character—flaws and all—Is what makes a good story. I will forgive a lot of plot holes for a character I love. Also, I really like when a book can make me suffer. I want to cry! But then, I want a happy ending too."
"Tyler- At first I thought it was the creation of an awesome world.  Something that would be appealing to the eye, like watching a movie.  Even though world building is super important, I agree with Sherry.  Soon I learned that the more interesting the characters the better the story and how they interact in the world."
-Is it difficult to co-write a book with someone?
"Sherry- I think that would depend on the person. I was very lucky to not only find Tyler, but to write a story with him. We balance each other very well. He is strong in places I’m weak and vice versa. Writing with him is easy."
"Tyler- I have to say writing with Sherry has been very rewarding.  She knows the craft on a different level than I do.  We wrote alternating chapters bouncing ideas off of each other.  I’m sure there are people out there that haven’t had that experience.  But with us, it has been awesome."
-Do you ever experience writers block and if you do does it help to have a co-writer when this happens?
"Sherry- Yes and yes. I get writers block, or maybe just a general feeling of this isn’t working. It defiantly helps to have someone to bounce ideas off, someone who knows the story and characters as well as you do. Most of our better ideas come when we are just having lunch and tossing out ideas at each other."
"Tyler- Having Sherry in the arena with me really helps with the ole blockage.  Brainstorming lunches once a week really helps.  It’s a good thing we live in the same city."
-How did you get interested in writing a Steampunk book?
"Sherry- I wasn’t. I didn’t even know what Steampunk was really, until I was knee deep in the initial outline. As it evolved, I knew there was this vintage aesthetic to it, being a time travel story. Only later was I introduced to the idea of Steampunk. It just sort of fell together, the way the best things seem too."
"Tyler- I had heard about it but didn’t quite understand the genre.  When Sherry presented it to me I was excited and intimated all at the same time.  The cool thing is we wrote Extracted with the vintage flare and great gadgets, but it was written how a typical teenager would talk and act.  Very fun."
-How did you come up with the idea for Extracted?
"Sherry- Initially I wanted to do a story about Anastasia Romanov. I think I was watching a documentary or something. I did an initial outline, and then scrapped it. Did more research. Plotted more ideas. I realized pretty quickly it wasn’t just her story, that it was her and her brother. But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get a feel for him in my head. I knew Tyler from his book Neto Lexan so went to him. Sort of a hey, I have this idea. Are you interested in co-writing? He came up with some ideas for Lex—I mean he connected with the character right away. It was perfect. Kismet."
"Tyler- The initial idea came from Sherry.  When we decided to write it in a Steampunk world my mind started coming up with all sorts of cool stuff.  I was nervous Sherry wouldn’t like anything I was writing, but she was excited with all the initial world creation."  
-How did you think of the title?
"Sherry- We didn’t. Initially we tried a few things, but none really worked. It was our Editors that came up with the title. As soon as we heard it, we just laughed and laughed. (Since Tyler is an Orthodontist, we figured it was fitting) Funnily, when he announced the title, most people thought he’d written a dental paper or something."
"Tyler- It is oddly fitting for an orthodontist and periodontist to have a book called Extracted.  For the sake of the fan, fortunately it isn’t about teeth.  Our characters don’t even brush their teeth.  Our Editors came up with it.  It references kids being plucked from time to become Rifters in a time stream war." 
-Can we expect to see a lot of neat little gadgets and machines and can you give us a small preview of one of them?
"Sherry- One of my favorite gadgets from the book is a ring that the Tesla kids use called a Babel Stone. It’s made from a piece of the tower of Babel and a mini electromagnet. It allows them to speak and understand any language. We don’t see much of it in book 1, but we see it used more later."
"Tyler- Ok my turn.  Sherry talked about something awesome that the Tesla kids use.  The Hollows have a DNA Detector that they use to find lost kids in the time stream.  It acts by “sniffing out” the DNA of someone.  Kinda like a time stream blood hound.  Lots of great gadgets in Extacted."
-What was your inspiration towards using time travel in this book?
"Sherry- Well, in doing my research I came across something I found interesting. Years ago they exhumed the bodies of the Romanov family and their servants. Two bodies were missing. Anastasia and Alexei. Then years later in another location, they found fragments of remains they think belong to the missing children. So my question was, why? Why were they found so many years later? Why were they found so far away? My nerd brain flew right to time travel."
"Tyler- The inspiration was from what Sherry said above.  I think the blend of Steampunk and time travel is something very unique.  It hasn’t been used too frequently.  On the other hand, we had to make up very strict rules about how our characters time travel.  There were some times we would have to re write some scenes so that it would fit perfectly in the time travel rules we made up."
-I see the name Nicola Tesla and can’t help but want to ask if Tesla Coils will play a part in this book?
"Sherry-There is some. A lot of Tesla’s history is explored in the second book. He really is the person who discovers the time travelers. It kind of kills him not to have those abilities himself. We see a lot more of this in book two."
"Tyler- We love using history loosely in this book.  Tesla coils are a part of that and his NYC laboratory.  There are many fun historical events or inventions we try to put a Steampunk spin on them so that they will fit perfectly in Extracted."
-I love the cover of the book can you tell us who designed it?
"Sherry- Lisa Amowitz designed the cover. Let me tell you, it was crazy! I thought the publisher was going to throttle us. I mean, it’s hard to please one author, much less two authors and two editors. I bet we went through 30 covers before Lisa stepped in and rescued us. She nailed it. As soon as we saw it we were both like, yes. This is our cover."
"Tyler- Holla!!  Lisa rocks!"
-Do you have any advice for other writers?
"Sherry- Just keep writing. Don’t get discouraged. It can be hard, especially when you are just starting out, but if you love writing, I mean LOVE writing, then just keep doing it. Trust your gut, and trust your voice."
"Tyler- With perseverance one will find luck.  Also the hardest thing is to get the whole manuscript done.  Just work through everything without being too nitpicky and get the whole on paper.  Then you can do our favorite part, EDITING."
Now I'll be posting handy dandy little links all over the place to make your internet stalking easier. I've already put in all the work, and have about 20 taps open all over the place.

Can't forget this one. . .

And what is this? I got a little surprise while jumping tabs all over the place. . .

I'll be checking out Tyler and Sherry's other books while trying (and most likely failing) to be patient for Extracted (The Lost Imperials #1) to be released, so you can expect to see more of them on my blog.


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