Dawn Metcalf Interview + INDELIBLE Giveaway
We’d like to give Dawn a warm welcome. Thank you Dawn for joining us!
GG: What would you say draws you to write Young Adult? Was it a conscious decision or simply what developed naturally for you?
DM: I’ve written the same stories forever, but it’s only fairly recently that they were called “Young Adult” (which didn’t exist when I was a young adult!) so it was more a marketing decision at first. Since my main characters were the right age and going through the kinds of growing pains that young adults do, it was suggested that I look at Young Adult literature instead of my usual Science Fiction-Fantasy, so I did! I fell in love with the genre and have been writing and reading it ever since.
GG: Generally speaking, where do you draw inspiration for your writing? (Music, literature, reality, etc?) And more specifically, could you pinpoint anything that played into developing your newest release, Indelible?
DM: I get most of my inspiration from reality (or my version of it, anyway), focusing on other cultures, legends, pantheons and myths. Those were my favorite books growing up and the favorite things I like to write now.
Indelible borrowed heavily from fairy lore and the allure of the innocent like in Peter Pan, The Last Unicorn and Meet Joe Black—immortal characters who had otherworldly powers, but knew nothing about humans or love.
GG: I would find it hard to imagine a real person that Indelible Ink could be based on physically given his unique characteristics, but is there any person who inspired the overall character? How did you come up with the concept of Ink and his not-quite-human form?
DM: I dubbed Ink “a teenage Peter Pan with knives.” To get the feel of the character, his facial features and expressions of open, innocent wonder were based on early Johnny Depp characters from the films Benny & Joon and Edward Scissorhands.
The idea of molding his body came up from my own twisted imagination and an improvised scene from a writing exercise several years ago, which worked very well with the idea of Ink’s “becoming more human” from the figurative sense to the literal sense. The idea of showing how one person affects another is actually happening as Joy contributes to the “formation” of Ink. To have the female in that leading role is a very powerful image for me.
I think we all have lasting effects on one another, especially those we love, and those changes create lasting impressions that shape us, our perspectives and our relationships in the future.
GG: In what ways do you relate to Indelible’s leading lady Joy Malone?
DM: She is very loyal and very stubborn and wants to have control over her life that frequently feels out-of-control. I can relate to these feelings a lot! She is far more physically talented and self-focused than I am, but that adds to her feelings of control and loyalty to her family and friends so I was glad that I included these quirks to her character.
GG: Indelible and your other novel, Luminous, are both YA Fantasy. Do you ever see yourself publishing something outside this genre?
DM: Mmmmaybe. I usually write quirky books that are a little left of normal, but I have at least one idea for a humorous contemporary book and another for a near-future, alternate-now that feels like science fiction. I will admit that the WIP I am working on now is a MG steampunk fantasy, so I don’t wander far from the genres I love!
GG: How many novels are you planning to release in the Twixt series? After that, what’s on the horizon for you?
DM: I will write as many Twixt novels as folks want! If it were up to my characters, I know that there are plenty of stories that Joy wants to tell, as well as Graus Claude, Kurt, and a new character from Book Two that I cannot talk about yet. And, of course, Inq would want a series all her own. She adores the spotlight! Ink is a private person and Monica’s tales-to-tell might be too NC-17. I could go on and on and on…
GG: Many of us at Gliterary Girls are also writers. Can you tell us anything unique about your writing process or if you have any writing quirks? Lucky sweater, Reece’s Cups, typewriter by candlelight in a damp cave next to crashing waves?
DM: Um…wow, there’s an image! Honestly, I write in silence, in an empty house, sans distractions and maybe a cup of tea. That doesn’t sound very glamorous, but the more I talk to other writers who have cast lists and playlists and lucky doohickies littering their desks, I guess I might be unusual. (Color me surprised.)
I sit down and I write, linearly and in order, about 2-3,000 words at a time until I hit “The End.” Then I stick it in a drawer to marinate and think about what it’s done, work on something else, crack it open 4-6 weeks later, note all the glaring errors, beat myself up about it, do a rewrite, ping trusted critique partners for expert eyes, gather feedback, correct all the glaring mistakes I seemed to have been blind to the first time around, then it’s off to the agent or editor with crossed fingers! At least, that’s been my lucky pattern thus far.
GG: From reading Indelible, I got the sense that you were a seasoned writer. How long have you been writing? How many books did you attempt and/or complete prior to being published?
DM: HAHAHA! *wipes eyes* Okay, I’m a seasoned writer if you add garlic salt and chives. Other than that, I’m just a person who writes because they can’t NOT write and have been doing so for a very long time. Now, if you ask how long I’ve been writing books with an eye towards publishing, that would probably be since I joined SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators) and got a clue, which was around 2005, but I’ve been writing novel-length manuscripts since the early 1980s. My debut novel, Luminous, came out in 2011 and Indelible is out now in 2013 and these are my first two published novels, but are probably numbers 15 and 18 of my full-length manuscripts, respectively. I’ve also written over 30 picture books that were all awful and three or four Middle Grade manuscripts that I hope make it onto the shelves someday. Writing professionally is not for the impatient, but I like to tell people, “Remember: there is no timeline for awesome!”
GG: Who are your favorite authors and/or what are your favorite YA books? What are you reading right now?
DM: I just finished The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black who has been a favorite genre author of mine for years, as well as Nail Gaiman, Laini Taylor, Brenna Yovanoff and Jeff Somers, to name a few. Long-time faves include Spider Robinson, Neal Stephenson, William Gibson, Terry Pratchett, Steven R. Boyett, Connie Willis and Joan D. Vinge and graphic novel writers Phil & Kaja Foglio, Alan Moore, Wendy & Richard Pini, and Faith Erin Hicks. (Not all of these are classified as “YA” but they could be!)
GG: Enough about books! Tell us something about YOU the person, not the writer. Anything you want (pets, family, hobbies, passions…)
DM: I love karate and chocolate in equal measure and such is the paradox of my life. I am a sucker for elaborate theme parties, improvisational theater, games and basically any excuse to break out costumes, face paints and hats (of which I have quite a collection)! I am rabidly passionate about self-esteem and body image and basically have always wanted to tell more people than I will ever meet in person, “It’s okay.” Professionally, I have been a sex educator and gender rights advocate for over twenty years. This makes me both interesting and embarrassing at parties, but luckily my family is used to it and loves me anyway.
Dawn, it’s been great getting to know you a little better. I love the Peter Pan and Johnny Depp references as well as your love for Sci-Fi and Fantasy. Thanks for the chat![divider top=”0″]
Some things are permanent. Indelible. And they cannot be changed back.
Joy Malone learns this the night she sees a stranger with all-black eyes across a crowded room—right before the mystery boy tries to cut out her eye.
Instead, the wound accidentally marks her as property of Indelible Ink, and this dangerous mistake thrusts Joy into an incomprehensible world—a world of monsters at the window, glowing girls on the doorstep and a life that will never be the same.
Now, Joy must pretend to be Ink’s chosen one—his helper, his love, his something for the foreseeable future…and failure to be convincing means a painful death for them both.
Swept into a world of monsters, illusion, immortal honor and revenge, Joy discovers that sometimes, there are no mistakes.
Somewhere between reality and myth lies…
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