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Monday, February 4, 2013

First Friday-Five Favorite Things: Freakling, Lana Krumwiede

This past Friday, February 1, 2013, Marcy and I posted our answers to Lana's debut novel, Freakling. Today, you get to read Lana's favorite's. First though, I wanted to mention that the idea for doing this series came to me while I was reading Lana's book. She had such great insight into her characters, and there were so many moments throughout when I found myself really intrigued by lines of dialogue or paragraphs of description as it related to her main character’s growth. After running the idea by Marcy, she and I came up with the questions for the series. Marcy and I both hoped that by doing this, both we and our readers would gain a little insight into the thought process of the authors we were highlighting, as well as a sneak peek at their debut novels.

What I didn't realize is the effect that this would have on the authors. Here's what Lana had to say about the exercise.

"This is actually very thought-provoking. I started wondering if I should start thinking about things like this in the early or middle stages of the writing process. I think a really interesting pre-writing exercise would be to journal about what is my favorite thing about this character’s personality. Or, what is her character growth going to be all about and how can it be shown to maximum effect? I do think about things like that, but I don't often write it down or perhaps explore it fully."

"Of course, sometimes the writing takes on an energy of its own, and an author can't afford to ignore that. Even so, I find that if I can plant some solid ideas in my subconscious beforehand, then more or less forget about that as I write and let my subconscious work things out on its own, things come together nicely as I write. Not sure this is making any sense... the point is that I think these questions are really thoughtful and not the run-of-the-mill author questions, so good job!"

Thank you, Lana, for the compliment! Marcy and I really enjoyed reading the book and picking out our five favorites.

Now, let's hear Lana's five favorites.

1) What is your favorite line or paragraph from the novel as it relates to the main character's development and/or growth?

Taemon is a bit tricky to write as a main character, because his personality is reserved. He doesn’t like the limelight, and he would rather someone else take the lead. But he does have a strong sense of integrity, and when it was clear that people were relying on him to lead, he steps up to take that role. In my mind, this happens for the first time when Taemon and Amma get captured, and Taemon has to come up with a plan to escape. At that point, everyone looks to him for direction, and he doesn’t shy away from it. That’s my boy!

Here’s a quote from Taemon in which we finally see him taking a stand:

It’s not right for people with psi to use it for violence. Isn’t that why the powerless colony was established in the first place? Because being powerless makes you vulnerable?”

2) What is your favorite chapter ending or cliffhanger?

All the chapter endings in Freakling have a bit of the cliffhanger, though some are stronger than others. I think one of my favorites is the end of chapter eleven. The scene where Taemon and Amma ride in the back of Jad’s hauler is light and fun, then things get tense quickly when Taemon realizes where Jad is headed. Oh, and my other favorite is in chapter thirteen when he discovers the mysterious psi door at the colony.

Taemon faked outrage. “All right, that’s it.” He picked up another piece of hay. “All or nothing. If I win this one, you have to tell me. And if you win . . .”

“What?” Amma asked with a smile. “What do I win?”

Taemon looked at the scenery. He wasn’t thinking about the hay-spitting game anymore. A deep anxiety worked its way from his stomach to his scalp.

Earth and Sky! Was that the city wall he saw in the distance? They must be way past the drop-off station. He should have been paying attention. He never should have trusted Jad.

Taemon turned and banged on the roof of the driving compartment. “Stop!”

3) Who is your favorite secondary character and why?

Challis! She was really fun to write because she seems clueless, but she knows more than anyone can guess.

Here’s a fun line or two from Challis:

“Ah, you’ve come to see your Auntie Challis. It was always good to see you, Thayer.”

“Um, you too,” Taemon said.

Hannova looked confused. “What did she call you?”

Taemon whispered to Hannova, “I think she’s got me mixed up with her nephew.”

“Thayer’s my father, not my nephew. And another thing, the pickles next year were excellent. Sour, just the way I like them.”

“Next year?” Taemon asked.

“It’s all in the eyebrows, Thayer.”

4) What is your favorite line or paragraph of description?

This is tough because description is my least favorite thing to write; I have to make myself do it. I’m the same way as a reader—I tend to skim over description. I think the hardest thing was trying to describe psi as I introduced it in the first chapter. I rewrote that opening chapter countless times, trying to get the right tone and to inform the reader enough without getting off to a slow start. That feeling when the scene finally feels right is so satisfying.

Here’s an excerpt from the first chapter:

One day when he was about three years old, Taemon realized dishes didn’t wash themselves. Someone nearby was using psi to tell the dishes and the doors and the quadriders what to do. You couldn’t see it, you couldn’t hear it, but when an object moved, someone nearby was doing it with psi. Da said even the Earth had her psi. She used it to fetch rain from the clouds and rouse the seeds in spring.

5) What is your favorite line of dialogue?

I think my favorite dialogue in Freakling is the kind where Taemon gets confused about how powerless things work. For example, when Amma wants him to paddle the boat around the lake and she has to explain to him how to use an oar. That “fish-out-of-water” stuff is really fun to write because it adds humor, of course, but also because it shows how strange the powerless lifestyle is to a city dweller. The psi wielders have become so dependent on their power that they no longer have the basic notions of how to do things by hand.

“Me? Captain?” Taemon asked. “How can I move a boat without psi?”

Amma rolled her eyes. “Ever heard of an oar?”

“Or? Or what?”

Vangie and Amma laughed, but Taemon shrugged. How under Blue Skies was he supposed to know these things?

Congratulations Lana on your debut novel Freakling! Be sure to check out the sequel to Freakling. Archon comes out in October, 2013.

Thank you again, Lana!

You can find Lana at:

Twitter:  @LanaKrumwiede
Amazon:  Freakling

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