In this two part interview, novelist Demetra Fisher talks about her life and her influences on what has led her to become a published author. Her first novel, In Your Dreams, will be appearing shortly in book stores and online. Part one focused on her background, life experiences and interests.
Part Two, below, talks about the specifics of her book, the characters and the genre.
How much of you is in your main character?
There is a bit of me in Alex; mostly my likes and dislikes. Alex is an English major and loves to read; we share that. Also her interest in psychology, which leads to her curiosity about the supernatural is the same path that I traveled when I was close to her age. Oh, and her hair (laughs); we have the same difficulty taming those unruly curls! Did you draw off real life experiences for the characters in this book?
I was a late bloomer in a way, so I did draw from that experience. For the most part, Alex is generally unconcerned with her appearance, having more important things to concentrate on. However, that all changes when she meets someone to whom she is attracted. That was the same for me and for most of my friends, although for them, it happened when they were much younger. Some of the other scenarios in the book are also drawn from real life experiences, although not all of them are my own. How much and what type of research did you do for this book?
I did a fair amount but not a lot. Mostly, I just incorporated information I've gathered over the years whenever I investigated the many different paranormal subjects that interested me. Dreams and dreamstate activity always intrigued me so I have studied that pretty extensively in the past.
When you were forming the ideas for your book and in the beginning stages of writing it, did you have in mind that it was going to be a series, or did that just develop?
As I said before, I had no idea where my story was going when I first began writing it. I just let it flow and as it unfolded and I got more deeply entrenched, it made sense that it should be written as a trilogy, given my target audience.
Your book is aimed mainly at the Teen/Young Adult audience. How mindful of that are you when you write?
Very! Teens have little extra time in which to develop a love of reading and I am aware of that. Most spend as little time as they can get away with on their assigned reading because of all the other sports, clubs, and social activities that they would much rather focus on. The books in my trilogy are designed to encourage readers to contemplate some rather sophisticated topics, but written as easy, quick reads to fit in with their busy schedules. In your view, what is acceptable in that genre and what is not?
Well, I think that anything that pertains to teens and their lives and futures is acceptable. That includes all kinds of relationships, varied social situations, and exposure to more adult activities like drinking and sex. Even if teens are not participating in those particular activities, they are most certainly, at the very least, thinking about them, so intentionally leaving those topics out is kind of demeaning to their intelligence and budding sophistication. If you do that, you will lose their interest very quickly because your subject material and characters will not be relevant to their lives and thought processes.
How would you describe your writing style and in this book specifically?
All of my writing tends to be emotionally based as well as being visually descriptive. I try to have my reader feel whatever my characters are feeling as if it were their own experience. It's tricky with a YA audience because you have to make the story and the characters' experiences believable, yet you have to be sure to capture and retain their attention.... make them want to read more. It needs to be an interesting and descriptive read, but has to move along at a fairly quick pace. Challenging for a writer like myself, who tends to get a little wordy.
Why Young Adult as a chosen genre for you?
Well, two reasons, really... One: As I said before, I want to entice young readers to develop a love of reading. I do that by creating stories that feed their imagination and also encourage them to question the subject material. Like, "Could that really happen? Is this even possible?" That isn't difficult as teens have a natural inclination to question the validity of almost anything. By giving my readers lots of concepts to explore, I'm hoping they will be encouraged to build on their own belief system, and solidify their ideals and principles individually, and not just rely on what they have been taught to accept. Two: I think that because teens are especially hard to please, targeting the YA audience makes me focus more on the skill of writing rather than just the storyline.
Do dreams play an important role for you in your everyday life?They do. I have always been interested in what our dreams mean on a subconscious level and I have read many books on the subject. It is always interesting to try and interpret what you've dreamed.
I believe that all our dreams have meaning. After all, the brain doesn't shut down when you sleep... quite the opposite! Sometimes we do our best thinking while we are asleep. And our dreams often reflect that.
I have a very open mind with regard to the abstract. Unlike most people, I don't necessarily have to have concrete physical proof that some things exist in order for my mind to accept that they very well might. Those concepts are not a stretch for me at all. As such, I can write about those subjects as if they are in fact, real and do indeed, exist. And for all we know, that may actually be the case. We are here on earth for such a short time,
it would almost be acquiescent of us to assume that only what we've come to know and are familiar with, is all there is.
Again, where can we find your book and when will it be released?