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Author Interview + Giveaway: G.P. Ching

I consider myself extremely lucky that author G.P. Ching stopped by to answer a few questions during the Weaving Destiny blog tour. The tour stopped here earlier in the week when I posted my review, but I’m so glad that the author agreed to stop by this weekend for an interview and a giveaway.

As always, I may have asked a few too many questions, but she was kind enough to answer most of them. I love it when I can learn more about the author behind the book and get answers to as many bookish questions as I possibly can. And I’m happy to share those answers here with you today.

About the Author

Author of The Soulkeepers (DarkSide Publishing, 2011) and rebel suburbanite who makes wicked cookies, kicks patootie at Guitar Hero, and thinks guinea pigs are the perfect pet. Visit her at www.gpching.com.

About the Author Q’s

Q. I can see from your bio that you took an interest in writing at a very early age. But your educational and career paths seem to have gone in a very different direction. What made you choose to obtain degrees in both accounting and nursing? And how did you manage to bring everything back to writing?

My mother was a florist and my father was a sheet metal worker. I’m the youngest of five children and my parents sent every one of us to an expensive private school because they valued education. As you might expect with this scenario, there wasn’t a lot of disposable income, so I grew up with a healthy appreciation for money.

When I went to college, I tested out of the writing requirement. I’d always excelled in the verbal subjects in school. But when I sat down with my counselor freshman year, the conversation went something like this: “What can I major in that only requires four years of school and will guarantee me a job making enough money to support myself?”  The answer that year was accounting.

I always wrote stories. Writing is my first and deepest love. But because publishing can be fickle and income unsteady, most writers need something to fall back on.

I finished The Soulkeepers while earning my second degree in nursing. I’m a registered nurse now but for various reasons, including my family and the books, I’ve never worked as a nurse.

Q. The numerous jobs you held must provide a great set of experiences and stories to draw from for your writing. Have any of them made their way into your short stories or full-length novels? Anything that might make it into a future story or book?

During high school and college I worked in a flower shop owned by a man. Laudners’ Flowers and Gifts is based on my experience there. I’ve always thought a flower shop was a perfect setting for human drama. People buy flowers for the extremes of life: births, deaths, weddings, etc. And I find it interesting that the floral industry survived the depression and is resilient during recession. People value the meaning behind flowers.

Certainly nursing played a part in the hospital scenes incorporated into Weaving Destiny. And, believe it or not, my experience working for an insurance company inspired Malini’s background and character.

Q. When is your favorite time of day to write? Do you have the luxury of having a set time each day to focus on your writing or is it more of a “whenever you can” situation?

My favorite times to write are first thing in the morning when I wake up or just before I go to sleep. Unfortunately, those times are usually busy for my family. So, most of the time, I just write when I can, usually when the kids are in school and my husband is at work.

Q. Your writing is absolutely beautiful and the first book in The Soulkeepers series feels very polished. I can easily see this series being a great fit for the traditional publishing route. What made you choose to go with an Indie publisher versus one of the Big Six?

Thank you! I did query around twenty agents on an early version of The Soulkeepers and got several requests for fulls and partials but didn’t find a match. I decided to publish with DarkSide – an independent author cooperative – because the family history in The Soulkeepers was time sensitive and I thought if I waited too much longer that portion of the manuscript would become dated.

About the Book Q’s

Q. There are many books written for the YA market about fallen angels. But your The Soulkeepers series really stands out – the world you’ve created is very unique and doesn’t read like any of the stories that I’ve come across. What made you choose to write about these specific supernatural beings? And how did you manage to create characters that were different from those typically written about?

The world of The Soulkeepers is based on actual Judeo-Christian mythos. I’ve had a few reviewers comment that the plot reminded them of The DaVinci Code for that reason. I think what makes the book unique is that the thread of realism allows people to connect with the book on a different level than if it was strictly fiction. I’ve had readers mention to me that after they read the book, they really thought for a second about whether it could be true. That’s a huge compliment.

Q. Many readers find it difficult once they become attached to a character to see the series continue from another character’s point of view. What made you decide to write Weaving Destiny from Malini’s point of view? Did you find that switching perspectives helped keep the story fresh and exciting for you as the author? Do you think readers will feel the same way?

The beauty of writing a book in the third person is that the reader can experience the story from different perspectives. The Soulkeepers was written in close-third in Jacob’s perspective but there were two chapters written in Malini’s perspective. Weaving Destiny is predominantly written from Malini’s perspective but has parts in both Jacob’s perspective and Mara’s perspective. The third book, Return to Eden, is written primarily from Dr. Silva’s perspective but other characters will help tell the story.

In Return to Eden you will read the completion of several story arcs that began with The Soulkeepers and continued through Weaving Destiny. I don’t think it would be possible to write the type of multi-dimensional plot that I think keeps readers riveted if I could only write from one perspective.

[Fiktshun – I’m so super excited about this. You just can’t know!]

Q. How easy was it for you to get out of Jacob’s head into Malini’s once you made that decision? What, if any, were the challenges?

It wasn’t as difficult as you might think. In order to write book one, I had to get inside the heads of all of my characters to understand how they would react to Jacob and the events of the story. It wasn’t difficult to make the jump to Malini’s perspective because I’d been exploring her character for so long.

The major challenge with the first book was thinking like a fifteen year old boy. I spent some time doing research, placing myself where I could listen to my relatives or neighbors who were that age. Boys relate to things very differently than girls. They are less outward about feelings and more about actions. Girls are more about relationships and emotions. If you’ve read both books, you’ll see a difference not only in perspective but in the focus of the book moving from male to female perspective.

Q. Of the three, which book did you enjoy writing more? Which was easier to write? And if you chose Weaving Destiny, was this because it was the second book in the series, because it was written from a female POV, or is there another reason altogether?

I enjoyed writing Weaving Destiny more because I’d already created a world in The Soulkeepers that I could build upon. With setting and relationships already established, I could dive into the action. Also, I could develop the characters in a way that I couldn’t with The Soulkeepers. WD is the shorter book but more happens because I didn’t have to use as many words to paint the picture for the reader.

Q. Weaving Destiny was going to be called The Medicine Woman. What made you decide to change this book’s title, as well as the title for book three?

When I first mentioned the title Medicine Woman, another author suggested to me that it gave too much away. She hadn’t read the book and if she had I don’t think she would have thought so. But the comment made me afraid that readers would assume too much from the title and maybe not give the book a chance. Weaving Destiny captures the essence of the story and also holds a hint of the esoteric quality that makes the series unique.

[Fiktshun: I absolutely love the new title. It ties in so well to very specific parts of this story. And it evokes a very different feeling than the book’s original title.]

Q. In Weaving Destiny, you introduced a new character named Henry who gave Malini a gift. While you kept much of the sense of adventure from the first book with both Malini and Jacob’s journeys, this exciting new development took this series in a whole new direction. Is there anything you can say about this without revealing any spoilers?

I don’t want to give too much away, but Henry was an important character because he was previously human and now is an immortal living in the in-between. In the battle between God and Lucifer, we now have human players like Dane, the Soulkeepers who are genetically gifted humans, and then those beings like Henry, Fate, and Dr. Silva who are more than human but have free will. If you’ve read Weaving Destiny you know that Lucifer doesn’t play by the rules, so having characters with different strengths, weaknesses, and responsibilities will play a role in the next installment.

[Fiktshun: Return to Eden sounds epic. I can’t wait for it to be released! I have a feeling there is a tough road ahead for all my favorite characters.]

Q. Mara Kane was another great new character introduced into this series. While she initially came across as rude and selfish, her fierceness, sarcasm and interest in Jacob added an entirely new dynamic to this story, creating quite a bit of tension between the two main characters. What made you decide to add this character in as a possible third point to a love triangle and an obstacle to Malini and Jacob’s destiny?

I’ll be honest. Mara’s character began a little tongue in cheek. She was my way of poking fun at the classic young adult love triangle. But unlike most books, in Weaving Destiny the triangle never comes to fruition. My true intention for her character was to create space and doubt between Jacob and Malini. Those two things were necessary for them to grow as individuals. Malini needed to come into her power on her own. I didn’t want her to be simply an extension of Jacob. So Mara and Henry served to introduce doubt and change their relationship from one that was taken for granted as unbreakable and fated, to one that is chosen, fostered, and cherished. Malini’s character grows in self-esteem and self-reliance over the course of the story and is able to reconnect to Jacob as his equal because their love has been challenged.

Q. Destiny played a huge part in this story. It was the idea that carried through the entire book. Do you believe in destiny? Do you believe destiny can be changed or that it’s set in stone?

I used to love my corporate job. I used to think I would always work for an insurance company and I still think the company is awesome. But then I had my kids and I thought I would never love anything more than staying home with them all day. So, I quit and became a full time mom. And then they grew up and went to school and I had some time during the day and I filled that time with my hobby, writing,

And now here I am, in love with writing the way I loved it as a child: for the pure fun of it. I don’t think any of us knows what the future will bring. I think we’re like the Redwoods, each of us individuals but somehow tied together by our roots that shoot out just below the surface. We don’t control the opportunities that present themselves to us. That part’s luck. But we do choose our destiny by what we prepare ourselves for and the opportunities we choose to take.

[Fiktshun: Absolutely beautifully said. Just like everything you’ve written. You have such a way with words and I love what you’ve said about destiny.]

Quickie Q’s

Let’s Play Favorites…

Favorite The Soulkeepers cover?

Weaving Destiny. It might be the only young adult book with an East Indian girl on the cover.

Favorite Guitar Hero song to play?

Walk This Way by Aerosmith.

Favorite writing distraction?

Facebook. It’s a love/hate relationship.

Favorite writing snack?

Cocoa covered almonds.

Favorite hero or heroine in a young adult novel (not your own)?

Katniss Everdeen.

Now it’s time for This, That or The Other…

Write in silence or write with music or TV?

Music.

Paranormal/urban fantasy.

Angels, faeries, or creatures of the night?

You would think I would say angels but I really love to read about vampires. I think I have a vampire book in my future!

Coffee or tea?

Coffee and lots of it!

Who gets more attention – husband, children or guinea pig?

Depends on the day! I deeply love my family but when everyone is at school and work, Mr. Pig can be my best friend.

One Last Q

Is there anything that I haven’t asked that you’d love to share with existing fans or new readers? Something about the book? About you? About the industry? Or even about this blog tour?

Don’t forget to enter to win an eReader on my blog! Thank you for the interview, Rachel.

***

It was a pleasure having you here on the blog. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and all those lovely insights into your life, your writing and Weaving Destiny. I am really looking forward to seeing how this series will end, though I will be said when it comes to a close.

If you’d like to learn more about The Soulkeepers, visit the website, HERE.

If you’d like to read an excerpt from chapter one of Weaving Destiny, CLICK HERE.

To find out more about past and upcoming tour stops, click the image below and you will be taken to the author’s blog. And while you’re there be sure to enter the giveaway for an eReader.

And you won’t want to miss Friday’s stop at The Top Shelf where you can read a guest post by Author G.P. Ching about Sex, Drugs, and God: Taboos in YA Literature

What’s Up for Grabs:

An eBook copy of The Soulkeepers and Weaving Destiny by author G.P. Ching. If the winner has a U.S. mailing address, they will also receive a couple bookmarks and pens.

The deets:

1. One entry per person.

2. There will be one winner for both eBooks.

3. You must be 13 or older.

4. Giveaway is international for the eBooks only. If the winner has a U.S. mailing address they will also receive a couple bookmarks and pens (shown above).

5. All prizes will be sent directly from the author.

6. Contest ends at 11:59 p.m. on September 24th. Winner will be chosen by Random.org and announced on September 25th. Winner will have 48 hours after notification to respond with their details.

There is no requirement to like or follow. But if you’d like to spread the word that would be awesome!

*** If you’ve read this far, be sure to check below the form for another chance to win***

To enter, fill out the form below:

Thanks everyone for stopping by and entering the giveaway for the Weaving Destiny blog tour. I will be running the names through Random shortly and announcing the winner here. Stay tuned….

Congratulations Ashley! You’re the winner of the author’s Weaving Destiny eBook and swag pack giveaway. I will be contacting you by email for your details which I will then forward on to the author so she can send your prizes.

What I’m giving away…

As I am such a huge fan of the author, I would also like to offer up a paperback set of both books to one winner ordered directly from Amazon. And this will be international to anywhere Amazon delivers.

You can enter both giveaways, but to enter mine, leave a comment letting me know you want to be entered and a way to get in touch with you.

As above, you must be 13 or older to enter.

UPDATE: My giveaway is also closed. Stay tuned and I will announce the winner shortly.

Congratulations Kaitlyn! You are the winner for my giveaway of the print copies of The Soulkeepers and Weaving Destiny. I will be contacting you shortly for your details and you will have 48 hours in which to respond or I will be forced to choose another winner.

Thank you so much to everyone who entered both giveaways. Be sure to check out author G.P. Ching’s books on Goodreads, as this is an amazing series.

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