Today I am hosting Emily Devenport, author of Spirits of Glory, for an interview. Enjoy!
Why do you use pen names?
Emily Devenport is my maiden name -- that's the name under which I was first published, and the name I would have chosen to use through my entire writing career. But my publisher (NAL/Roc) had other ideas. Even though my Emily Devenport titles sold pretty well in the mass market paperback category, at that time book stores had enacted a new policy for midlist writers that was potentially damaging to sales. They would only order as many copies of a new release title as they had last ordered of a backlist title. In other words, even if they sold 20 copies of your last book from a particular location, if they had only ordered 2 copies for restock recently, that's how many copies they would order of the new title. So my publisher asked me to come up with a new pen name, and I turned into Maggy Thomas.
My Maggy Thomas title, Broken Time, was a big critical success -- it was nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award -- but the sales were only so-so. So my publisher thought maybe I needed to adopt a gender-neutral name to attract more male readers to my titles. I became Lee Hogan and wrote Belarus and Enemies.
I own the rights to my backlist titles, and now that I'm publishing ebooks, I get to decide what name to use. I'm happy to be Emily Devenport again, and I'm pretty sure there won't be any reason to adopt another pen name in the future. But you never know. A writer's career can be very unpredictable. I wrote about my experience with pen names on my blog, if you'd like a more detailed account of the experience click HERE
Where did the inspiration for Spirits of Glory come from?
A lot of my ideas come from dreams. In this case, I dreamed about the rain storm I wrote about in chapter two. If time has fractured, a rain storm is very odd and beautiful. I also dreamed a couple of the later scenes in the book, the scene where Hawkeye is forced to run from the scavengers, and the scene where she meets Dagger. When I woke up, I knew I had something special percolating there, so I just kept asking myself questions about what I had seen and what it meant. I was working in my garden one day, pondering the book-in-progress and playing an album by Patty Griffin called, Impossible Dream (coincidentally enough), when I head the song, "Useless Desires." Some lyrics really caught my attention:
"Goodbye to all the window panes, shining in the sun,
Like diamonds on a winter day, goodbye, goodbye to everyone."
This reminded me of the Forbidden Cities, standing silent after all the people disappeared. It really fired me up. So writing a book can sometimes be like writing poetry. Images, sounds, and phrases can spark ideas.
Explain your world-building process for SOG.
This time around, world-building was remarkably easy. I didn't have to research anything and didn't have to think much about the technology that was being used there. The journey itself is very low tech, and the artifacts that Hawkeye and the Neighbors encounter on the way are intentionally baffling. I did wonder what libraries would be like in the future, and I gambled that they would still have hard copies of books as well as electronic databases. I really think that whether or not hard copies will continue to exist depends on how expensive they are to make and buy.
Are you a plotter or panster?
I think it would be more accurate to call me a puzzler. I have bits and pieces of ideas, settings, and characters floating around in my head, and eventually those pieces begin to fall into place and form a picture. Eventually the time comes when I've got to do more hard thinking about structure, but the skeleton has to be there first. For an example of what this process was like for my novel, Belarus, check out my blog.
What authors/books inspired your writing?
So many writers have inspired me, the list might look a bit ponderous. When I was a kid, the writers who first caught my attention were Ray Bradbury and Edgar Allen Poe. After that it was Anya Seton, Daphne Du Maurier, Shirley Jackson, J.R.R. Tolkien, and a huge host of wonderful SF, fantasy, and mystery writers. I always found genre fiction more fascinating than mainstream.
What are you currently working on?
I'm getting ready to publish another one of my backlist SF titles, Belarus, as well as an adult fantasy/horror novella titled Pale Lady. I'm doing the final edit on a YA title, The Terrible Twelves, co-written with my husband, Ernest Hogan. I'm writing another YA fantasy, titled The Order Of The Dragon. And Im finishing up an audio version of my Urban Fantasy title, The Night Shifters.
Is there anything else you would like to say to your readers?
I'm thrilled to see how the community of book lovers is growing online. The reviews I've read on these blogs and on the online retail sites are much more honest and open-minded than the ones I used to see from professional reviewers in magazines and newspapers. Professional reviewers are often a bit jaded, and at least a little arrogant. It's as if they've forgotten they're book lovers, first. I'm really impressed by the blogs I've discovered while doing this tour, and I'm looking forward to discovering what else may be "out there."
Thanks for stopping by Emily!
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One morning the people of the North woke up and the people of the South were gone. That's the first thing every child learns on the colony world of Jigsaw. But for one girl, knowing about The Disappearance is not enough. Hawkeye wants to know why.
That's why she spent half her life researching The Disappearance. And that's also why eight Neighbors show up on her doorstep, demanding that she accompany them into the Forbidden Cities ruled by the Southern gods to speak with the Spirits of Glory. Everyone thinks Hawkeye is an expert on Neighbors, these almost-humans who move, talk, and think as if they were born inside one of the Time Fractures. But she can't imagine what they want to ask the ghosts of their ancestors, or why they need her to go along. The Southern gods caused every human inhabitant of the Southern cities to disappear overnight; what else might they do?
But the Northern gods say Hawkeye should go and her curiosity won't let her refuse, even though she's going into more danger than she can imagine. Pain and puzzlement wait along the broken interstate, along with scavengers who want to kill them all. Hawkeye's questions only generate more questions as they move farther and farther into the South, right into the heart of the Disappearance, until Hawkeye's questions have all been answered.
Even the ones she was afraid to ask.
I'm married to artist/writer Ernest Hogan and we live in Arizona. I'm studying to become a geologist.