A little over a week ago, I posted my review for Emerald City by debut author Alicia K. Leppert. If you missed it or are new to my blog, feel free to check it out HERE. But in a nutshell, this is what I thought about it:
Emerald City was not a bad read. I think the author captures the realistic and ugly stages of grief, depression, and suicide. I liked that the paranormal elements were introduced a bit later in the book. It was a nice change to see the relationship between two characters take its time to develop rather then using the instant love formula that we see so much in YA novels. Great characterization, interesting angel mythology held the story together. But a few plot holes such as poor editing, combined with the terrible marketing of this book is why it only gets a 3 out of 5 star rating. I think paranormal romance fans will miss out on Emerald City because they won't know about it. Thank God I am open minded! Someone who picks up this novel thinking its a contemporary romance may leave a worse review simply because they felt misled.
After I posted my review, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a message from the author. Alicia not only liked my critique, but she was nice enough to clarify my confusion over some of the issues I had stated in my review. How many people get that opportunity, right? So I took it a step further. I asked her if she was up for a quick Q & A and I am so happy she said yes! Oh and there is more! Alicia not only was gracious enough to answer my questions, but she also is allowing me to host a giveaway! After the Q&A, check out the rules so that you can enter for a chance to win an E-book (pdf format) version of her novel Emerald City!
Enjoy and Good Luck!
10 Things You Should Know About Alicia K. Leppert & Her Debut Novel Emerald City
1. How long has the process been from the time you started writing Emerald City to it being published?
About four years. It took me about three years to write, but that was very off and on. There were sometimes months at a time that I wouldn’t write at all. A year ago I was signed by Cedar Fort and it took a year for the re-writes, edits, and actual publishing of the book.
2. To clarify, what reading level/genre is Emerald City considered?
It is being marketed as a Young Adult paranormal romance. I wrote it with adults in mind and wasn’t particularly comfortable with the idea of it being marketed as YA because of the suicide and depression factor, but I had no say in what genre it would be categorized in. It’s very confusing to people, I know.
3. I saw on your website that you started and abandoned 10 stories before coming up with the idea for Emerald City. What inspired you to write about such sensitive topics as depression suicide?
When I decided to write a book, I knew three things right from the start: that it would be a love story, it would take place in Seattle, and it would be about a girl suffering from depression. This is a very personal topic for me, as I’ve suffered from anxiety and depression my entire life, although I’ve never had experience with suicide. I wanted to tell a story that would give people an idea of what depression sufferers go through on a daily basis. A lot of people don’t think it’s a “real” thing, or that it can be willed away. But it’s a very real disease and extremely debilitating. I hope that those who are suffering from it might find hope from my story, and those who aren’t will have a better understanding of those who are.
4. Where did the idea for the paranormal element come from?
I actually never set out to have any fantasy aspect to my story. In fact, I fought against it for a long time. But when I just wasn’t coming up with any solid ideas for my book, I finally started toying with the idea and suddenly I knew I had my story. I’d been reading a lot of fantasy/paranormal stories at the time (still am) and it suddenly seemed like the natural way to go.
5. I’m sure you are aware of the love/ hate debate over the “Instant Love” formula in some novels. Some readers love it when 2 characters “instantly” fall in love and others hate it, wanting to watch characters fall in love over the course of a novel. According to the story you mentioned about how you and your husband “met and were married” in less than 3 months, I would say your relationship falls into the “Instant Love” category. But Jude and Olivia take their time getting to know each other. What are your views on the instant love formula? Feel free to talk about your own relationship and also Olivia and Jude’s relationship in your novel.
I am on the hate side of the love/hate debate over instant love. I can’t stand stories where the love interests meet and within a day would give their lives for each other. I think it’s totally unrealistic and way overused in books today. I have a hard time finishing books with these kinds of relationships. My goal in writing Emerald City was to create a very realistic, believable romance that slowly built up so that by the time the characters finally got together, the reader was just dying inside. Now, this does make me sound like a horrible hypocrite given the way I met my husband, which was, yes, virtually instant. But it wasn’t love at first sight. In fact, we never saw each other at all. We met online and fell in love getting to know each other through chat in a matter of a week. We got engaged over the phone before ever seeing pictures of each other or meeting in person. After meeting, we got to know each other in person over the course of three months as we planned our wedding. We’ll be married 12 years in July. So here is my official stance on the “instant love” thing: I know it can happen in real life, in rare cases. However, I don’t buy it for a second in every single novel that seems to be put out these days. I think it’s formulaic and cheap and doesn’t invoke any feelings of romance from me when I read them, which is saying a lot for this die-hard romantic!
6. Like I said in my review, I know that some authors have little to no choice in choosing their book cover art, book synopsis/blurbs, etc. How much creative freedom did you have with the final book art, book blurb, etc?
Typically, you are right. Most authors don’t have any say in what goes on the cover of their book. I, however, was an exception, in that I know someone very well who works at the company that published me, and because of that I had the rare opportunity to write my own blurb, synopsis, and even to approve my cover (which I did immediately, they did a FABULOUS job). I know some people find it frustrating that my blurb and synopsis are so vague and that the cover and title give absolutely nothing away about the story and more specifically a paranormal aspect, but actually that was intentional. I love an air of mystery, and I wanted the reader to be as surprised as possible when they read the story. I know for some people this made them dislike my book, not knowing what they were getting into, but I don’t regret it for as second. Soon everyone will know what the book is about and for the sequel I won’t have to be so secretive. It was fun while it lasted.
7. So in my review, I stated my confusion over the title of the book and book cover and how it relates to the story. You were kind enough to contact me and clarify. Can you explain why you chose Seattle as the setting of your book, why it is called “Emerald City”? And any other significance behind the title?
Yes, this was a case of me assuming too much. I knew not everyone would know that Emerald City was Seattle’s nickname, but I assumed more people did than actually do. And it, stupidly, never occurred to me to mention it in the book for those who didn’t know. Rookie mistake. I chose Seattle because I have always had a sort of love affair with it. I was born there, and my birthstone is the emerald. I’ve only ever lived in two places, Seattle and where I live now and if you saw where I lived now, you’d understand why I chose Seattle as the setting. Besides, I always envisioned Olivia’s story in a big city and Seattle is the only one I know well enough to write about. As far as choosing it for the title, I don’t know, I just loved it. I thought it sounded perfect and I still get tingly when I hear it. There really is no other significance behind it other than that it means Seattle.
8. One thing I forgot to add in my review is how the book ends. While things are pretty much wrapped up, I couldn’t help but feel that this book could lead to a sequel or two. Any plans to expand on Emerald City?
Yes, a sequel is definitely in the works. It will be called Sin City, taking the characters to Las Vegas. The books will be a series, although I don’t know how many books there will be yet. I tried to write Emerald City so that it could stand on its own as a book, but also leave it open to a sequel. I do know I left a few things unfinished though, so…watch for the sequel!
9. What’s one thing you love about Emerald City? Is there one thing you could go back and change?
I love the raw, powerful way that Olivia’s emotions are portrayed. I’ve been told by many readers that it sucked them in and they could feel everything she was feeling. I’m very proud of the way I wrote her. There are, of course, things I would change about it, but they’re mostly minor. The biggest thing would probably be the ending. The general consensus seems to be that it happened too fast. If I could go back and redo it I’d draw it out, take more time on it.
10. Now that Emerald City is out on bookshelves, what are you doing now? Any new projects or future plans?
Oh boy. I’m so busy promoting Emerald City, with book signings and speaking events. But I am starting Sin City, the sequel, and that will be my focus from here on out.
Thanks for the interview! I loved answering your insightful questions!
1 (ONE) winner will be chosen. The winner will receive an e-book (PDF format) version of Emerald City!
Please read the following rules/instructions carefully. All responses must be left in MY comment section of this post.
1.. Must be a follower of my blog through GFC and/or Networked Blogs (must leave GFC name/username in the comment section of this post so I can check you joined)
2. Leave your name and email address in the COMMENT section of this post.
3. Must answer this question: Why do you want to read Emerald City?
Optional/Bonus: Add/Follow me on Twitter and Facebook! :)
Giveaway ENDS: Thursday, May 10th (last day to enter) and the winner will be chosen and contacted by Friday, May 11th. Winner(s) will have 48 hours to respond to my email. If I don't hear from you, a new winner will be chosen. So please make sure you leave your correct email addresses in the comment section!
For any comments, questions, or concerns about this giveaway, feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org