Today on my blog I’m featuring Laura Tisdall and her debut novel Echoes. Laura was nice enough to send me a copy for review, but while I’m making my way through my massive TBR pile, here is an interview!
Volatile mathematical genius Mallory Park is living two lives. In one, she is balancing senior year with looking after her little brother and troubled ex-Marine father; in the other, she spends her nights glued to her laptop, breaking into some of the world’s most secure systems as the hacker Echo Six.
As part of a corruption-exposing cyber network called the Forum, Mallory is far more at ease among the codes and hidden identities of her online world than she has ever been in the real one, but when other hackers start to go missing, she finds herself caught up in a web of secrets that could have repercussions far beyond both.
When anyone can be a name on a screen, how do you know who to trust?
1. Where did your ideas for Echoes come from?
I’d just had my first novel, Tainted Earth, turned down by publishers. I had an agent and it got pretty close in a couple of places, but in the end kept being rejected because it was YA dystopian fantasy and lots of publishers weren’t taking that any more due to very saturated markets. (Although I’m not entirely convinced there could ever really be too much dystopian fantasy…) In both my writing and reading, I’d always focused pretty much solely sci-fi or fantasy before, but needing to be a little practical at that point, I tried to think of something I might be able to write outside of that, that would still be something I’d want to read. I’ve long been a fan of ‘spy-fi’ TV shows like Alias and Fringe, so wondered about doing something more along those lines; contemporary, but still with almost the feel of a sci-fi. I got onto thinking about a computer hacker character and, following a huge (and, at times, ridiculous) brain-storm of ideas on a long car journey with my family, the idea of Echoes and the character of Mallory Park started to form in my head.
2. When you aren’t writing, what do you like to get up to?
Pretty much anything involving stories – be that reading, watching epic TV shows or movies, even playing nerdy strategy board games… I also do a lot of playing and writing music, or seeing theatre shows (my working background is in theatre and I’m a total geek about it).
3. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Don’t give up. If you have to write stories, then keep writing stories and enjoy it for the fun of doing it, regardless of what happens to those stories afterwards. I think, also, one of the most important things I had to learn early on was that the first draft of something is only about 10% of the work. Re-drafting and trying to make something you’ve written better is absolutely key.
4. Which writers inspire you?
Lots! Suzanne Collins, Veronica Roth, Trudi Canavan, Neil Gaiman… Also TV/movie writers like Joss Whedon and JJ Abrams. The first was JK Rowling, like for a lot of people. Reading Harry Potter at ten years old genuinely changed my life. I’d never been gripped by a book like that before, where I just had to keep reading and couldn’t put it down. After that came Philip Pullmans’s His Dark Materials series and I was away…
5. What are some of your favourite novels?
Again, there are lots. My absolute favourites are the Harry Potters and The Hunger Games trilogy.
6. What makes you happy?
Family, friends, my faith… and then reading, music, TV, movies again… 🙂
7. When and why did you first begin writing?
I can remember writing stories from when I was very little. I’d always be daydreaming about various characters. My first attempt at any kind of serious writing was when about ten years ago when I wrote a musical called Faerytale.
8. Do you have a specific writing style?
Not really. Mainly, I just try to get myself into the emotional mind set of the scene I’m writing and just see what comes out!