Friday, May 18, 2012

Guest Post: Wendy Higgins (Sweet Evil)

What if there were teens whose lives depended on being bad influences? 

This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels in Sweet Evil.

Tenderhearted Southern girl, Anna Whitt, was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage, and her will-power is put to the test. He’s the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

Today I have a guest post from author Wendy Higgins discussing her in depth venture into creating her main characters for her new Trilogy!

In the seven weeks it took me to write the first draft of Sweet Evil, I was completely lost to my two main characters, Anna and Kaidan. They took over my mind. Every song that came on the radio, I heard through their ears. Every person who walked by, I saw through their eyes. And in case you’re wondering, Kai likes to listen to his music loud. Very loud. And he can pretty much find something attractive about any person, while Anna tends to concentrate on their emotional states. Needless to say, it was hard to concentrate on real life. My house was a wreck and I barely slept. I even lost weight. But it was awesome--like a seven week adrenaline rush.

I’ve wished I could feel that way again, but unfortunately that kind of insane inspiration has not returned to me for subsequent writings, at least not at that level of intensity. I think that time was necessary in order for me to really get to know my characters. Both of them are about as opposite as they come. Anna is easier for me because I had many of the same traits as her when I was sixteen. I understand her sensitive thoughts and her naïve reactions. But Kai is a different story.

Kaidan Rowe keeps his deepest thoughts and desires to himself. His complexity was, and is, difficult to write. On the surface he needs to come across as tough, confident, sometimes crass, and always sexy. But underneath all that is something else…something we only get through hints and glimpses. And choosing when he’d reveal things, and how much he’d show, was a challenge. Kai causes me no end of tweaks and revisions. Though he never verbalizes his feelings, I hope readers will have a true sense of him by the end of Sweet Evil. I hope people will be able to see the person he is and the person he wishes to be. The deepest desires of these two characters, after all, is the heart of the story. I hope you’ll let them take over your mind and feel them as strongly as I do. They will take you on quite a ride.  :)

What made you decide to write a Young Adult book?
I was a high school teacher and I love working with teens - my own teen years stand out so clearly in my mind. I went through a lot, and I like to explore those “coming of age” dynamics.

What is one YA novel you wish you had written? 
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher is brilliant and heart-wrenching.

What makes your book different to the other YA novels in the same genre?
You mean those millions of angel books out right now? Lol J I guess maybe the fact that I didn’t shy away from “traditional” Biblical angels and demons. God and Lucifer are not characters, but they are spoken of. Lucifer is kind of like a mob boss for all of the Dukes on earth who do his bidding.

Who would play your hero and heroine in the TV or film version of your book?
I’m not sure about Anna - someone sweet and innocent looking with long blonde hair. As for Kaidan, I always think about Ben Barnes with the longish hair. He’s got the accent, but he’d need blue eyes.

Do you wish your book had gone in the 'traditional' way, or is it just pure awesome coming out of Inkpop? Does it feel different?
I think it does feel a little different. I wonder sometimes if some people will take me seriously as an author, but I can’t worry about that, and it keeps me humble. What happened with Inkpop was a dream-come-true. I would not change it. The funny thing is, my agent at the time had been subbing my book to publishers. The Inkpop-related offer from HarperTeen came the same week as another publisher offered via my agent’s efforts. Ultimately my heart was with Harper and Inkpop.

Is there something you can tell us about Kaidan Rowe (the male love interest! SWOON)
I don’t want to give away too much…Kai was fun to write because I was able to combine all of my favorite traits - English accent, drummer in a rock band, sexy like it’s his job (wink, wink - inside joke for when you read it). He’s hardened. Never loved or been loved. He’s a tortured soul. You may or may not like him, but I think it would be difficult to feel indifferent toward him.

Can you see yourself in any of your characters?
Being my first novel, I think some of my physical traits rubbed off on Anna since I fell into that “write what you know” thing (blonde, short, er…flat-chested). But one physical trait we do not share is the legs - mine have never been like sticks, haha. Like Anna, I was naïve and innocent as a teen, but I did not have Anna’s will-power. She’s way stronger than me!

Is there any significant or deep meaning about the title/cover of Sweet Evil?
The title Sweet Evil is a fun and significant, oxymoron. Really, Anna is an oxymoron herself - a walking contradiction because of her parentage. But every person has that opposing force thing inside of them; that capability of being both “good” and “evil.” The cover of Sweet Evil shows those opposing elements of light and dark. I think it captures the mystery and dichotomy found in the story.

And finally, can you tell us anything about the sequels?
The sequel is tentatively called Sweet Hope. It’s under consideration with the publishers at the moment, but I’m not counting my chicks before they hatch. It’s meant to be a trilogy. I’ve begun outlining book three, and I hope to start it soon. I can’t give too many deets, but I will say that Anna does some growing up between books one and two. She’s still sweet, but she’s no longer helpless on her own.

Thank so much again Wendy for stopping by, and if any of you followers out there haven't had the chance to pick up her new release, Sweet Evil, run out and get yourself a copy now!  Your don't want to miss out on this great new read!!

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