Thursday 13 October 2011

Interview with author Apryl Baker

Today I'd like to welcome Apryl Baker, author of the debut novel The Promise to the blog .

Read my review of the book here.

To read more reviews and to read the synopsis of the book check out the Goodreads page.

1.How long have you been working on The Promise, how did the idea come about?

I worked on the book for about a year. I call it my little Post-It Note idea. I was driving home from work and listening to Theory of A Dead Man’s Not Meant to Be. I passed this little community called New Salem and the image of a girl sitting beside a gravestone popped into my head. I couldn’t shake it so when I got home, I jotted it down on a yellow sticky and stuck it on the wall beside my computer. Over the next few days, I kept jotting down ideas and before I knew it I had a complete outline of a book on a wall of yellow, purple, and pink.

2.The Promise is about a small, close-knit town of witches who cast spells using the five elements. How hard was it to get the world of witches and spells right, and all the rules and mythology of this world, and make it seem real? Did anything ever change during the writing of the book, or has it all stayed as you originally planned?

Oh my goodness, it changed so much over the course of a year. I was lucky enough to be pointed to an online writing group by Susie Townsend of Fine Print Literary - Those people on there are brutal, but they were the best help I could have ever asked for. They were always brutally honest, never hesitated to tear my work to shreds if something didn't work, and were the first ones to shout when I got it right. I have made some wonderful friends there and they are a holy terror when it comes to fixing my

I wanted to create a world where magic was commonplace at least amongst the people of the town while keeping the real world as much involved as I could. That part was the hardest, taking something as fantastical as spellcrafing and grounding it into reality. I did a lot of research. I can still remember going into the local library and asking if they had any books on witchcraft and witchcraft initiation ceremonies. The little lady behind the desk was seventy if she was a day. She looked at me like I'd just sprouted horns and asked where the sacrificial dagger She told me in a very quiet voice, no. Suffice to say, I relied on books I could purchase after that. She still gives me odd looks when I go in there.

For me, the magic had to be believeable. I worked hard to get it right and hopefully I have. We'll see as more people read it and let me know.

3.I love the idea of being able to control the elements- Earth, Air, Water, Fire and Spirit. CJ can warm herself up if she's too cold, or cool down if she's too hot- very handy! She uses Spirit to help heal her friends. What would you most like to be able to cast spells for? Will CJ be able to control her powers and do more in book 2?

I'm a bit grounded, but I have a huge imagination. I think Earth would be my Element. It's everchanging, but essentially stays the same. I'm always changing, but my basic personality is essentially the same: nice, but a huge flirt.
CJ will learn to control her powers more as she gets deeper and deeper into the books. She is the coven leader for the Circle she must find to face the darkness coming. That much power is very heady. The real question is will she be able to handle all the power she has to unlock and control it or will it control her?

4.CJ and Kay are both very confident girls. Are any of the characters in The Promise based on anyone you know in real life?

I grew up in a very disfunctional family, but I was lucky enough to have the guidance of my aunt who taught me to be strong, no matter how hard life is. She was my life raft in some very murky waters and she taught me how to be the rock that anchors the raft. So, I would say she is very much a part of both Cassie and Kay. Her strength and confidence is where I found my own and she is who I think of when I think of strong characters.

5.Some of the story involves looking back into the past at the Salem Witch Trials. Did you have to do a lot of historical research for these scenes?

I have always been fascinated by the Salem Witch Trials and have read every book known to man on them. So, yes, my research was quite extensive as I've been reading about them for the better part of 15 years.

6.Ethan is the tall, dark and handsome stranger in town. Was it fun writing the scenes between CJ and Ethan?

How can it not have been fun to write about Mr. Melt In Your Mouth Gorgeous? He is CJ's own personal M&M. They are so funny and sweet and you find yourself hoping and praying he doesn't betray her. You'll laugh, you'll blush yourself silly, you'll put down the book at certain times when you are embarrassed for her. It makes you remember those first few days of a crush and you get to relive all those emotions through CJ.

One of our teens that read it, emailed me when she'd finished reading it that at one point she actually threw the book across the room and then ran to pick it up because she just had to know what happened. That is probably the best compliment I have ever recieved on the book. CJ and Ethan inspired that level of emotion in a girl that read it in one sitting. I am grateful my little sticky note novel could inspire those kinds of emotions in people. If I can make one person feel something, then I've done my job as a writer and entertained you.

7.If your book was being made into a movie who would you envision in the leading roles?

That's an easy one, the same people rambling around in my head as I wrote. I'm a visual writer and as I watch a ton of movies, my mind just picks people out and that's who I see as I write; a movie playing in my head.

Cassie: Emma Roberts
Ethan: Jake Abel

Kay: Phoebe Tonkin
Jeff: Matt Lanter

8.Have there ever been any books that you've read and thought "I wish I'd written that"?

All the time. The most recent one is Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. I've had an idea similar to it and when I read it, I thought to myself, huh. That was perfect for what I wanted to do, but I must say she did it so much better than I could I love that book.

9.Can you write anywhere or do you have a special place/ routine where you have to write?

My dad tells me I have been writing since I was old enough to hold a crayon. I used to show him these nonsense scribbles and tell him my crazy stories of what they meant. I tend to write anywhere, anytime. I am still fond of my sticky notes. If I'm at work and an idea pops into my head, it goes down onto a sticky note. If I'm home, I stop what I'm doing and scribble things down.

I do try to spend at least one hour a day writing in the same place. Outside on my back porch where its quiet. At least until my cat comes out and the birds take to teasing him by swooping down and then soaring up just as he jumps to catch them. He makes this insane warble and his entire mouth quivers. I laugh myself silly every time I see it.

10.What's next in store for CJ, Kay, Jeff and the others in book 2 of the Coven series?

CJ meets Melinda in book 2, titled The Oath. Melinda's element is Earth and she is the next member of the Circle that CJ must form to fight the evil that is coming. Melinda's sister killed herself and Melinda discovers she was driven to do it by a group of so called witches. Her goal: revenge. It is a much darker book than The Promise, but there is just as much romance and blushing involved in The Oath as there was in The Promise. Jeff continues to warm our hearts and even I find myself rooting for him as I write. Ethan is just simply delicious and you melt when you read the scenes between him and Cassie as always.

Thankyou so much for answering all my questions, and for talking to me about your book and about writing!

Buy the book:

Amazon UK                          -                  Amazon US
(paperback and kindle)         -                 (paperback and kindle)

Also, check out Apryl's blog for author information and to read the first chapter of The Promise for free.


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