Today’s interview is with exciting YA author, Chrystalla Thoma. The premise of her book is original and intriguing. I’ve added it to my TBR pile. I’m sure you’ll be adding it to yours after reading her interview.
About Chrystalla Thoma
Chrystalla Thoma is permanent resident of fantasy land, complete with angels and demons, elves, vampires and werewolves. A Greek Cypriot, she lives inCypruswith her husband and her vast herd of books. She writes mainly fantasy and science fiction, primarily for a young adult public. When not reading or writing, she works as a freelance translator and text editor.
In a world where parasites create new human races, Elei leads a peaceful life as aircar driver — until a mysterious attack on his boss sends him fleeing with a bullet in his side and the fleet at his heels. Pursued for a secret he does not possess, he has but one thought: to stay alive. Yet his pursuers aren’t inclined to sit down and talk, and that’s not the end of Elei’s troubles. The two powerful parasites inhabiting his body, at a balance until now, choose this moment to bring him down, leaving Elei with no choice but to trust in people he barely knows in a mad race against time. It won’t be long before he realizes he must find out this deadly secret — a secret that might change the fate of his world and everything he has ever known — or die trying.
Welcome to my blog, Chrystalla (such a beautiful name by the way). I’m so chuffed to have the opportunity to chat about your book Rex Rising. Can you begin by telling us a little bit about it?
Rex Rising is a dystopian YA science fiction novel, and it is the first book in the series “Elei’s Chronicles”. Rex Rising follows the adventures of Elei, 16 years old or so, who leads a peaceful life as aircar driver in a world where parasites create new human races. One evening, a mysterious attack on his boss sends him fleeing with a bullet in his side and the fleet at his heels. Pursued for a secret he does not possess, he has but one thought: to stay alive. Yet his pursuers aren’t inclined to sit down and talk, and that’s not the end of Elei’s troubles. The two powerful parasites inhabiting his body, at a balance until now, choose this moment to bring him down, leaving Elei with no choice but to trust in people he barely knows in a mad race against time. It won’t be long before he realizes he must find out this deadly secret — a secret that might change the fate of his world and everything he has ever known — or die trying.
I have self-published this title and am working on the sequel right now. I am interested in both the self-publishing model and the small traditional publisher model and hope to keep publishing in both.
I absolutely adore the cover of this book! The scales on the face fit perfectly with the title to suggest an otherness. I’d definitely pick up this book if I saw it on a bookshelf.
What audience is Rex Rising aimed at?
My novellas and novels target primarily a mature young adult audience (let’s say 17 upward) but also adult readers. They weren’t originally written for a young audience but it became evident very soon that they are well suited to YA, both because of the age of the protagonists and the issues that preoccupy them (identity, love, place in the world).
Are you working on another book at the moment? Can you tell us about it?
Currently I’m revising the sequel to my self-published novel. This one is called “Rex Cresting” and in it we follow Elei who is still recovering at a hospital on the north coast ofDakru. After the events of Book 1 (Rex Rising), Elei is convinced that his part in bringing down the Gultur is over. Rex has infected the other race and their dictatorial system is starting to collapse. Not every Gultur, though, has been affected, and on top of that, inside Elei’s body, Rex has matured and goes through another transformation. Elei isn’t sure he can survive Rex’s new strength — but that is the least of his worries, as the Gultur descend on him again.
I hope to have it ready for publication by February 2012. Meanwhile, I’m writing Book 3 (still untitled) and working on a couple of smaller projects.
I especially like trilogies. When I finish a good book, I’m sad to say goodbye to characters I’ve grown to love. Knowing there’s another adventure to immerse myself in softens the disappointment of reaching the end.
When did you start writing?
I have been writing since I was 9, and wrote my first novel when I was 12. What, doesn’t everyone?
No, I think that’s quite unusual but quite wonderful that you found enjoyment in writing novels at such a young age.
Are you a plotter or a pantser, and do you have a favoured POV?
I am a mixture of plotter and pantser – I make outlines and usually have in my mind several important twists the story must hit and the ending, but apart from that I write and let the characters shape the book.
I write almost exclusively third person close narrator. I can’t for the life of me write first person, but I did try it in a couple of short stories. Not my favorite, though.
Do you have any writing rituals?
Not as such. I usually go around with my current work in progress playing in my head like a movie and I grab my notepad and take notes from time to time. When the time comes to write and I sit at my computer, I have several internet windows open, checking emails, FB, Twitter and others. And I write, preferably with a cup of coffee next to me (I’m an addict!) and something sweet, like chocolate.
The internet is singularly responsible for millions of ailing word counts. On the few occasions that I don’t have access to the internet, I’m far more productive. And caffeine is a must when writing!
What is your most common writing mistake, the one that makes your editor want to scream?
Oh there are quite a few! I tend to rush my endings and have then to rewrite them and expand them. I also overuse verbs of the senses, like “see”, “feel”, “hear,” etc. When writing a close point of view, such verbs break the magic.
Tell us about your journey to become a published author.
Since my native language is actually Greek, I started writing in Greek and published two novels when I was very young. They both won national prizes here in Cyprus where I’m from. Then came many years when I didn’t do much writing, because I was studying and being stressed a lot! During my studies, I finally decided to start writing in English, because Greek people don’t read much speculative fiction (I mostly write fantasy and science fiction). I started by translating from Greek, then began writing directly in English. I was terrified that native speakers would call my bluff, tell me I can’t speak English well enough to write literature. But fortunately this hasn’t happened (yet!). I joined an online critique group and honed my craft before I started publishing, short stories in magazines and anthologies, then a novella with a small publisher, and now my self-published novel. I have more longer works in progress and some in submission land and hope that 2012 proves a very published year!
Fingers crossed we see more published works from you this year.
What’s the best piece of writing or publishing advice you could give other writers?
I always say, write what you would love to read. Most authors set out to write the novel they would have loved to read but haven’t found anywhere. Then learn your craft, join critique groups and exchange critiques and ideas.
Have you taken writing classes, and do you belong to a critiquing group or have a critiquing partner?
I have never taken writing classes (nothing against them, it just didn’t happen). I belong to two online critique groups and also have beta readers who read and comment on my stories. I would never have been published without these groups and these wonderful authors who patiently taught me all I know and always take the time out of their busy lives to help me. If you don’t belong to a critique group, I suggest you go find one. They are gold.
I couldn’t agree more.
Thank you so much for providing us with such detailed answers. I’m sure readers will join me in wishing you every success with Rex Rising.
Please write a comment below to let Chrystalla know how much you’ve 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 Chrystalla will be more than happy to provide an answer.
Rex Rising can be purchased from Amazon.
If you are a published author and would like to be interviewed on my blog, please contact me at amaleen (at) amaleenison (dot) com.