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Author Interview: Lisa Cach *Wake Unto Me*
Girl loves ghost boy.
What most influenced you to write this book?
The main sources of inspiration were a creepy portrait of a noblewoman I once saw at the Uffizi Gallery in Italy, and a short story I read long ago, in high school.
When I’m working on creating a story, I draw from everything I’ve ever seen, read, and experienced; I sift through it all, looking for pieces that will fit together and build an interesting plot. No experience, bad or good, is ever wasted. I even console myself, when something goes badly in my life, that someday I may be able to use it in a book.
You’ve written a lot of adult romances as well, how was it like writing YA? What were the challenges and advantages?
The main challenge was that my editor kept telling me to ‘tone it down’ when it came to any physical romance between the hero and heroine. I had to keep the action above the neck, which is way different from what I’m used to writing.
One thing I very much liked about doing a YA was that I could spend more time on the heroine’s search for who she was, and who she wanted to be. When you’re a teen, there’s such mystery about what shape your own future will take, and how you will turn out. In adult romances, you already know what the characters grow up to be.
In the beginning, what or who spoke to your first? The story or the characters?
Both. The two are always interconnected, for me. As one grows in my mind, so does the other; as the idea for the story changes, the characters who fit in that story, and can make that story happen, also change.
I spent a couple weeks in France, including taking a self-guided walking tour through the countryside in the Perigord Noir region, along the Dordogne River. That was seven days of walking miles of paths, from village to village, castle to castle. One day we walked 16 miles in 90+ degree heat; I almost expired. On the bright side, at the end of that day we stayed in a castle — Chateau de la Treyne (http://www.chateaudelatreyne.
Was there any scene or part in the Wake Unto Me that was difficult to write? And if so how did you get through writing it?
I always find action scenes to be difficult, like the practice sword fight in Wake Unto Me. You have to very clearly picture the movements in your mind, in slow motion, to be able to describe them in a way that will recreate that picture for the reader. It seems like it would be the easiest type of scene in the world to write, when you picture it in your head. But just try to translate that image onto paper! Perseverance, and lots and lots of rewrites, are my only way to get through it.
I feel that names hold meaning and importance to characters. How do you come up with or decided on the names for your characters? Do they hold meaning?
Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. Raphael’s name was important because he was an aspiring artist, and his name was in honor of the artist Raphael. The headmistress’s name — Madame Snowe — is rather obviously symbolic, as she comes across as cold. Caitlyn’s name didn’t have a special meaning, though; I was just looking for a name that sounded appropriate for a 15-year-old from Oregon.
One thing I’m always careful about, though, is never to have two characters in a book whose names begin with the same letters. It gets too confusing if you have a Karen, a Kate, and a Kristin.
Who was the easiest & hardest character for you to create?
Both Caitlyn and Raphael were difficult, as they had to be the most three-dimensional as well as believable. Secondary characters are always easier, and in a way more fun, because they can be simple and exaggerated. They need to make an impression and be memorable, but you don’t want to delve too deeply into their inner worlds, because they’re not as important to the story.
After tackling Wake Unto Me are you looking to write more YA? What are you working on next?
I have at least five YA story proposals floating around out there, being looked at by editors. One of them is for a sequel to Wake Unto Me, so fingers crossed I get a contract for it!