Monday, February 4, 2013

Author Interview+Giveaway: Emily Craven

Hello everyone!

Today I'm thrilled to be welcoming Emily Craven, author of The Grand Adventures of Madeline Caine to Melissa's Midnight Musings! Read on to learn more about this great book and meet this wonderful author, and enter to win a copy of her book.

About the Book:


Madeline Cain Photographer Extraordinaire: Put this on your status if you know someone (or are related to someone) who has been eaten by dragons. Dragons are nearly unstoppable and in case you didn't know, they can breathe fire. 93% of people won't copy and paste this, because they have already been eaten by dragons. The other 7% are sitting in the shower armed with fire extinguishers.
---Posted 15 hours ago [Comment . Like]

Madeline has achieved her dream, acceptance into world famous photographer, Jason I’Anson’s, exclusive college in New York. Like many people of her generation who travel overseas, she turns to Facebook as a medium to pass on news and keep in touch with her family and friends. But her move from the sleepy Australian town of Adelaide to New York City doesn’t exactly turn out as she expected. From her first meeting with her chain smoking, club crazy house mate and his superhero Mexican Chameleon, Duncan (who can move from one side of the room to the other in a blink of eye), she knew she was in for an interesting time. Add an umbrella rigged by her brother to yell abuse at surrounding pedestrians when it rains, pizza deliveries to porn sets and being pulled in by the FBI for questioning after an explorative stint into spy photography, and things move from the interesting to the ridiculous.

Egged on by her Australian Facebook friends, Kathy the hypochondriac and Tim, who has a strange sexual affinity for electrical appliances, Madeline tries to find her feet in the big city. But this may be harder for her to achieve than first thought, after she accidentally blackmails a famous model cheating on her boyfriend.

In a world of status updates, blogs and photographic file sharing, where everyone who adds you can follow your every move, how the hell is Madeline supposed to get out of the hole she found herself in?

Format: E-book
Pages: 150
Published: September 20, 2012

Buy the Book:

The book is also available on many of the other branches  of Amazon. Check your local Amazon branch to see if the book is available.

The Interview:

Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Do you have any unusual talents or hobbies?

My name is Emily Craven and I’ve had a varied career for a woman of 25. I’ve been writing since I was twelve and believe I am the only writer who can claim to have an undergraduate degree in Astrophysics and Geophysics. Funnily enough I’ve never written science fiction, go figure. I live in Australia and yes, my high school had its own herd of Kangaroos. I’ve been to almost every continent (Africa being my weakness in continent-domination) and have the pretty photographs to prove it (though probably less professional then Madeline Cain…).

In terms of unusual talents or hobbies, I’m one of those insane people who gets excited at the thought of sky diving (though if you try to attach me to the end of a bungee cord I will take you down with me for your cruelty). I love doing tribal belly dance, singing, am a self confessed Trekkie, and will never pass up a good bar of chocolate. If you put me anywhere in the vicinity of snow, please be aware of avalanches, I hear my squeals of excitement are at just the right pitch to trigger them.

 When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer? 

I was originally inspired to write when I was twelve, after I learnt one of my favourite authors, Isobelle Carmody, started writing her first book at 14 (which was later published). I worked on that book all through high school and last year even got to do a twelve month writing mentorship with the woman who started me writing in the first place, Isobelle.

 Where did the inspiration for The Grand Adventures of Madeline Cain  come from?

Madeline Cain came about when I was in a writing rut so deep you could have filled it with water and called it a well. I normally write fantasy but found the creative juices just weren't enough to fill a thimble let alone the Pint glass needed to complete a novel. So deciding life wasn’t interesting enough, I challenged myself to write a novel in a month. It was going to be FUN! (*cross fingers*) Definitely not insane enough to try writing a fantasy novel in a month I chose to do a comedy based in Facebook in a similar style of my other favourite author, Meg Cabot. I created a Facebook event and threw my plot line to the winds, asking my assortment of kooky friends to give me their best ideas, which included chameleons, umbrella's called Laani, triplets, a transvestite dwarf book club and a group of disturbed university students. November 2010 as the only month I could legitimately claim my hours on Facebook as "research". Then after two years of cleaning Madeline Cain up between fantasy projects, she finally made it into the world.

The Grand Adventures of Madeline Caine is heavily influenced by social media. What makes the book different from those that are already out and also have a heavy social media element to them?

Madeline Cain isn’t just influenced by social media, it’s written as though you are READING off a social media site. The whole tale is told through Facebook status updates, private messages, notes and chats. It’s like reading your Facebook newsfeed (though hopefully a bit more entertaining). However, unlike other novels that deal with social media, this story doesn’t stay on the page. Taking advantage of technology, readers can now interact with the main characters from Madeline Cain on Facebook. Each character has their own page where readers will find the characters interacting with each other and posting additional pictures, videos and more.

I love the element of realism it gives to the characters, after all in Facebook we always know there is some real on the other end of the profile…

How would you describe the book in 140 characters( or less)?

In the world of status updates where ‘Friends’ can follow your every move, how is Madeline supposed to get out of the hole she created?

 Who is your favorite author?

There is one kickass YA author that really inspired me to write this book and that was Meg Cabot. I love Meg's work, particularly her earlier stuff like 1800-where-are-you and the Mediator series, but in particular I really loved her series that was told entirely through email. They really pushed the boundaries of how you can tell a story and I loved not knowing whether the characters were telling the truth in the emails or whether they were just telling a version of the truth that made them look good. That's what I tried to do with Madeline Cain, play with the format by telling a story through Facebook and showing how the story changed when Madeline told it publicly to when she private messaged her friends. Also Meg’s main characters were these strong, cool girls that I looked up to. They helped shape my views on life and I wanted to create a strong female lead as well in Madeline to help inspire young girls like Meg inspired me.

 Do you have writing routine? A special pen, a certain type of music, time limits?

I can’t listen to music at ALL when I write, because my brain instantly wants to groove, or relax or hum. It’s damn distracting when you have a musical brain I can tell you. I have a special space pen my mother gave me for my graduation, made as the name suggests, so you can use it in space (you know, if you just feel the need to nip out of the atmosphere for a bit). You can write upside down or on the side and the ink always follows. Other then that I have to have a nice notebook, it can’t just be any shitty spiral bound set of pages, the cover has to speak to me, like a book cover.

I wish I had a writing routine; it would make putting down my latest read so much easier.

 Do you enjoy edits/rewrites, or not?

Edits and rewrites are my favourite part! I hate the blank page with no story on it, when everything is just vague ideas in my head without any clear idea of how it’s going to come out. But once there is a frame work there I can work on, all of the sudden extra scenes just come to me, it’s unfair that they are my easiest writing moments. Perhaps I should just start my new novels in the middle of old ones, so I don’t get that blank page phobia…

Do you do a lot of external research for your writing process? If so, what's the most interesting thing you've uncovered in your research?

I’m sorry to say the only research I did was in how Facebook works. How do you get one of your pages to interact with another? What does Facebook look like when you change the language to Pirate English? That sort of thing.

Oh, if you want to have a good giggle I definitely recommend spending a week on Facebook’s Pirate English setting. C-L-A-S-S-I-C.

Which character  was your favorite to write and why?

Oh my favourite by far was the chameleon, Duncan, the super hero amphibian who could move from one side of the room to the other in the blink of an eye and announces his invisible presence with a single “Hola!”. The chaos he causes in Madeline’s life is epic. A close second favourite is the talking umbrella Laani, who is rigged by Madeline’s brother to yell abuse at pedestrians when it rains. The fun I had making up weather related insults cannot be measured.

How do you come up with your character names?

Your guess is as good as mine. Sometimes I didn’t have a choice, I was told by my friend that I must have a chameleon in the book, and I had to name it after him, ditto for the umbrella being named after my sister. The British triplets (Madeline’s classmates) all have names starting with J because my partner comes from a family of three boys all with names starting with J, and he was the one who wanted triplets in there.

Please tell us a little bit about your journey to publication

By the time I was in my early twenties I had written two novels, a fantasy novel and a travel novel and gotten nowhere with my pitch to publishers. Then one day I had the luck and the pleasure of having dinner with the wonderful fantasy author Garth Nix and he gave me some very sound advice. Put the manuscripts to the side and write something else, new or different it doesn’t matter, because you only become a better writer by writing more.

That’s when I wrote The Grand Adventures of Madeline Cain. The writing group I was with, who had read bits and pieces from both my novels and were full of advice for how to fix them up, seemed to have nothing bad to say about Madeline. By that time I was well into my research into e-books and digital media, I had started a successful blog on the topic and was even asked to speak by several organisations around Australia about the e-book revolution and how authors could take advantage. So I skipped the depressing rat wheel that was pitching Madeline Cain to publishers, and went straight on the e-book publishing bandwagon and haven’t looked back.

What is the hardest part of being a writer?

For me it’s writing new material. Don’t get me wrong, I have a million and one ideas but fleshing those ideas out into something that someone might like to read is a thing I struggle with, but am training myself out of! Writing started off as being fun after all, now it’s about taking that fun and doing it daily.

What is the main theme/feeling you're trying to portray in your work, or the main feeling you hope that readers will come away from the book with?

Madeline Cain is about having fun, loosening up and creating your own opportunities. There really is no message I want to force on young people, but I do want them to see that they can create awesome stories just by using the things they love like Facebook. A book doesn’t have to be unending pages of words blurring together, if you have a platform or style that speaks to you, use it!  

When you're not writing, what are your other hobbies/passions?

Travel. Travel, travel, travel! I love it just as much as I love taking photographs; the walls of my house are covered in photographs I’ve taken while on trips. My latest passion is the recent project I ran in November, were my partner and I gathered up 55 old digital cameras that people had donated through a Facebook page I set up, and we took those cameras to an orphanage in Cambodia where we spent two weeks with the children teaching them how to take photographs. I got to meet the little girl that I sponsor, and I don’t think I have ever been loved that much, or been so proud of a group of children in my life. They were beautiful, and by the end, they took the most amazing photos. I hope to incorporate the experience into a Madeline Cain novel one day; I think Maddie would love it!

Are you working on any new projects?

Currently plotting up the second Madeline Cain novel! Let’s see if I can bring myself to write this one in a month too! I already have ideas for the third Madeline Cain novel too, what do people think of the title The Grand Adventures of Madeline Cain: International Wedding Crasher?

Quick Fire round:

Coke or Pepsi? Coke
Chocolate or Vanilla? Need you ask? Chocolate!
Rainy winter days or blazing hot summer days? Can’t choose, love both. Though hot summer days make it harder to force myself to write inside!
Hard Copy or e-book? E-book
Favorite book? A Sudden Wild Magic – By Dianna Wynne Jones
Last book you read? Code Name Cassandra – By Meg Cabot
What's a quote that inspires you? Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience – Mark Twain
What's your favorite comfort food? Haighs Champagne Chocolate Truffles.

Meet Emily Craven:

Emily Craven is an author of non-fiction, fantasy and YA fiction. In 2011-2012 she undertook a 12 month writing mentorship with world renowned fantasy author Isobelle Carmody, for her YA fantasy novel, Priori-The Power Within. She blogs and presents for If:Book Australia, Meanland and the Australian Society of Authors on the future of digital publishing, e-book marketing, transmedia/interactivity and the reader/author connection. You can connect with her  on Facebook

Enter to Win Your own copy!

Emily has very generously offered up two e-copies to give away!

Giveaway Details:
This giveaway is open Internationally

The giveaway will run until February 18, 2013 at Midnight PST
You do not have to be a follower of Melissa's Midnight Musings to enter
The author, NOT Melissa's Midnight Musings is responsible for sending of prizes to the winners


Melissa's Midnight Musings will NOT be notifying the winners of this giveaway first. I will choose the winners via rafflecopter and then pass their emails to Emily Craven who will then contact the winners regarding the sending of their prizes.

Enter to win below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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