June 23, 2011

Author Interview: Dawn Metcalf (Luminous)

As reality slips and time stands still, Consuela finds herself thrust into the world of the Flow. Removed from all she loves into this shifting world overlapping our own, Consuela quickly discovers she has the power to step out of her earthly skin and cloak herself in new ones-skins made from the world around her, crafted from water, fire, air. She is joined by other teens with extraordinary abilities, bound together to safeguard a world they can affect, but where they no longer belong. When murder threatens to undo the Flow, the Watcher charges Consuela and elusive, attractive V to stop the killer. But the psychopath who threatens her new world may also hold the only key to Consuela's way home.

What are three things that make Luminous different from the other young adult books out there?

1) Unlike many paranormal urban fantasy YAs on the market, I believe mine is the only one that has a latina skeleton for a main character. Take that, tropes!
2) People worry that "diversity" is one token character with additional melanin added. Diversity in LUMINOUS includes race, religion, social class, ethnicity, sex, gender, sexual orientation, ability, and interest. The only thing these characters have in common is a narrow age range, their current circumstance, and the compulsion of the Flow.
3) There is no way on G-d green earth that ANYONE is going to accuse me of "writing down" to teens. Teen readers are smart. This is a thinking reader's book.

How many drafts did you go through until the Luminous readers will enjoy came to be?

I wrote the first draft in 2008. I don't like beginnings and I'd gone through at least three of them by then. There were two major rewrites and perhaps eleven different tweaks to the opening scene. After all that, it was hard to keep count. A lot can happen in three years! Fortunately, I have an amazing editor who kept improving the story, which makes it all worthwhile.

What do you like to do when not reading?
I mostly like to read and write, but I also enjoy baking (and eating), playing games, karate training, watching movies, being crafty, inventing elaborate theme parties and having crazy conversations with friends until the wee hours of the night. But most of the time, I am reading, writing, and having fun with my family!

Are there any legends or myths that you based the world of Luminous around?

Yes. Lots! I love borrowing myths and folklore for my writing, it anchors the story in the real world and--most importantly--makes it sound like it could be true. I loved researching the Day of the Dead in order to make a believable myth; I told my editor early in the process that I wanted it to seem like I'd found some obscure myth of a "Lady of the Dead" and created a modern translation rather than me making up the whole thing myself. That was for Consuela. I borrowed a lot of superstition for V, Greek "evil eye" curses and protections for Sissy, Japanese anime symbolism for Nikki, Biblical stories of Abraham and Isaac and the Exodus for Yehudah, old Ursu myths for Maddy, and a metric ton of Native American lore for Joseph Crow. I wanted to have people shaped by their cultural experience and have that define their place in the Flow. Someone compared this story to the movie What Dreams May Come, and that's spot-on for the personal-perspective-equals-reality parts, but I wanted their new world to be pulled directly from each character's own history and the stories, myths, and legends that shaped the world they'd left behind.

Which character from Luminous was your favorite to write and why?

Tender, but that's because I love writing antagonists. I am a goody-goody two-shoes in real life, so this is my time to explore being insanely wicked!

What are you working on now?

I have a myth-based fantasy project out on submission that I would love to explore more in future books, but the manuscript I am working on right now absolutely blows my mind and I only hope that I'm worthy of the idea. It's my first attempt to write something that in no way involves magic, myth, folklore, monsters, or some fancy way of teleporting instantly from one place to another, so I'm in uncharted territory and pushing my own envelope. This is both exciting and confronting. I don't want to give much away, but it's sort of a contemporary YA with a twist: a near-alternate-future reality where everything is the same as today's world except for one, small, significant detail that changes everything. And they say the devil is in the details! HAHA! Stay tuned.

Where can readers find more about you and your books?

You can visit my website at www.dawnmetcalf.com or follow my antics at a safe distance on my blog, Officially Twisted, at www.dawn-metcalf.livejournal.com.

Anything else you'd like to say?

Here's a shout out to other authors-to-be: don't worry about "getting it right", don't worry about the guy next to you, take your work and yourself seriously by putting both out there. Go to conferences, sign up for feedback, join a critique group, learn how to nail queries, read blogs and interviews and research your agents and editors. The biggest difference between pubbed and pre-pubbed is typing all the way to "The End" and then letting someone see it.

Good luck & go write now!


Flowing from Reading in Color, the next stop on the Mundie Moms' LUMINOUS Blog Tour is Mundie Moms.

This interview on the Mundie Moms' LUMINOUS Blog Tour was brought to you by the letter: E. Collect all the letters along the blog tour, unscramble the puzzle, and win a secret surprise as well as an extra entry in the LUMINOUS Grand Prize Giveaway, June 30th! Details at www.dawnmetcalf.com.

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