Another week, another interview, and a particularly special author. I’m thrilled to introduce J.D. Field, a member of my writing group. I had the privilege of meeting J.D. in Oxford earlier in the year along with another extraordinary writer, Ruth Lauren Steven, who’s just signed with The Greenhouse Literary Agency (Go Ruth!). We three met in a pub (where else) and talked nothing but writing for hours. We also might have consumed a few beverages Since then, J.D. has released a debut novel called Song to Wake to.
About J.D. Field
I was brought up in the West of England and currently live in the Middle East. I’ve worked as an English teacher in ten different countries and managed to learn six languages really badly. When I’m not reading or writing I love swimming, diving, and sitting on balconies.
Song to Wake to
Sixteen-year-old Maddy Bride starts at a new school in the countryside. She knows she’ll have to deal with sports obsessed rich kids, cliques, and pressure. She doesn’t expect myths from the shadowy past to be taking place around her. Not only are the legends unfinished. They’re starting all over again.
Her new classmate, Eddy Moon, is awkward, and shy, and has lived a life of hardship and loneliness. As his strength and sense of purpose become more and more striking, Maddy comes to believe that he may have a place in the stories. At the same time she realises that the place she wants is by his side.
Closeness to Eddy brings Maddy another shocking realisation. Not only is he a mythic hero returned to life in the countryside, but maybe she too has a place in the legends. Torn between normality and her attraction to the magnificent Eddy Moon, Maddy has to decide who she is, who she is going to be, and whether stories must end the same way twice.
Welcome to my blog, J.D. I’m so chuffed to have the opportunity to chat about your new book Song to Wake to Perhaps you could start by telling us a little bit about it.
Song to Wake to is a YA paranormal romance. It tells the story of Madeleine Bride, who moves with her mother to Glastonbury, in the West of England. She gets a scholarship at a big, exclusive boarding school, and while she’s struggling to fit in and make friends, she finds things in Glastonbury are really not how they seem. It’s an area riddled with history and myth, and she starts to think the history is not completely finished. At the same time – of course – she meets a boy, Eddy Moon. He’s intriguing and handsome, but also quite distant and she tries to work out why he’s so off-hand. The reason is a little to do with her, but a lot to do with unfinished history.
I love how you’ve taken myth and history to produce a modern day paranormal story. What inspired you to use this particular legend (I won’t mention which one because that would spoil the plot)?
One of my first loves as a reader was books of myths and legends. I wanted to write a story that would appeal to teenagers and young adults and paranormal stories are really popular for that group. Using my old obsession with myths was getting kind of obvious, but then one day I glanced at a famous painting (I won’t say which, as it would give too much away) and all the pieces fell into place. I suddenly thought how the emotion and the story behind the picture could appeal to audiences today. Since then I’ve had another idea. In so many paranormal stories, characters have powers, but they use them for little conflicts amongst themselves. I think that’s a massive waste. There’s a huge tradition of superheroes who work for the good of mankind, Spiderman, Superman, whatever, but in the paranormal romance the heroes are kind of… selfish. I wanted to change that. Eddy Moon changes that…
I’m a thirty-something mother of one, and I thoroughly enjoyed Song to Wake to. Who else do you think the story will appeal to?
Mainly teenage girls and young women. I have a smart, feisty heroine that I hope they enjoy, and a very gorgeous leading man that I hope, well, they enjoy him too. There are also strands of mystery, adventure, some tricky clues and lots of sport, that hopefully will make the story appeal to guys as well.
Knowing of your deep love for research, I’m sure your character names have been chosen for specific reasons. Can you share?
All my character names are important. Madeleine is an ancient name, coming from Mary Magdalene, who had a special place beside Christ. She was a woman of mystery and influence. Bride is derived from a hill near Glastonbury which is associated with pagan legend in general and women in particular. Other names, like Mr. Neil, Kieran Hechter, and Eddy Moon are all clues to the characters links to legends.
Tell us a little about your MC Madeleine Bride.
Maddie is sixteen, and she’s trying to work out who she is, and who she wants to be. She’s tough, and smart, but at the same time she’s quite romantic in her idea of herself. Will she be a party animal, or a serious executive, will she be a jock or a gossip girl? The events in Song to Wake to give her some answers, but it’s only the first step in her journey.
Let’s try something a bit different. Can you open to a random page in your book and explain what’s happening?
This is the first page of chapter 5. Up to this point Maddie thinks Eddy is handsome, but a bit dull and distant. She’s riding her bike home from school and she gets attacked by stray dogs. He appears and rescues her and she’s amazed by how brave he is, how confident he is out of school, and how he completely takes charge of the situation. This is when he really wins her over for the first time. He’s wearing an old white dress shirt as a work shirt and riding a horse, and he completely takes her breath away.
I’m thrilled you opened to this chapter. The moment Eddie saves Maddie from the dogs is one of my favourites. Eddie’s heroics and take charge attitude are totally swoon-worthy.
I’d imagine there are plenty more adventures for Eddie and Maddie. Would you consider writing a sequel?
I’m writing ‘Rock Anthem’ the sequel to ‘Song to Wake to.’ It takes all the same characters from Song to Wake to, and adds some more. There are new threats, new surprises. Relationships develop and take sudden twists. There’s a lot of shopping and a really cool private jet.
Ooh, cannot wait!
So, when did you discover that you wanted to write, and how did you get started?
I remember this quite clearly. I asked Mum what the other two words were on the front of the Mr. Men books. She said ‘Roger Hargreaves, he’s the writer.’ I thought that was amazing. When I was little I wrote stories that were really like the ones I read, but with the names changed. I covered pages of Dad’s old computer printouts with pencil. Later on I tried writing screenplays, TV series, romantic comedies, poems, thrillers, everything. It’s been a long journey…
What’s the best piece of writing or publishing advice you could give other writers?
Don’t be sentimental. Focus on the story, on what’s going to make it work. Know who’s going to enjoy it. It’s okay to write for yourself if you’re the only one who’s going to read it. If you want other people to read your story then be sure you know what they’re going to love it about it.
That’s cracking advice. It’s all too easy to be precious out the words you write, forgetting they have to appeal to others if you intend to sell books.
Have you taken writing classes, and do you belong to a critiquing group or have a critiquing partner?
I wrote for years, but I only began to write well when I joined Scribophile, an online writing group. Scribophile has been fantastic for me. I benefit from all the lessons learnt and books read by other writers, and their attention to my stories, my grammar, my technique. I receive a stack of ideas to improve my writing, and the chance to read the work of other authors and decide what makes it tick. Critiquing other writer’s stories has been a joy and privilege and has changed the way I write in uncountable ways. I’ve made friends, some of whom I met, some of whom I probably never will, but all of whom have helped me get to the point where I could produce Song to Wake to. If you want to improve as a writer, to learn, and to find support, join Scribophile.
Thank you so much for providing us with such detailed answers. I’m sure readers will join me in wishing you every success with Song to Wake to.
Please write a comment below to let J.D. know how much you’d enjoyed the interview. Perhaps you have a pressing question that I failed to ask. Don’t be shy. Write your question in the box, and J.D. will be more than happy to provide an answer. Thank you for your continued support.
You can find out more about J.D. Field at the following blog.