Joining me today is A.L. Knorr, who has studied dance, worked in marketing, and is now writing young adult fantasy books. Thank you, A.L., for taking the time to chat to me. Please sit down, get comfortable and let’s begin.
About A.L. Knorr
A.L. is a Canadian who spends summers in the beautiful Rockies and winters wherever it isn’t absolutely freezing – usually Italy. Her love of stories sparked after her mom taught her to read at the age of three, and writing for a living was a dream she harboured all her life. She studied dance but ended up working in marketing for many years and learning how to make a business go. When Amazon changed publishing forever and made it easier for indies to make a living with their craft is when Abby knew it was time to do it on her own. There has been no looking back.
What’s the name of your book?
Born of Water: An Elemental Origins Novel
Tell us a bit about your book
Targa MacAuley’s mom is a creature of legend: a mermaid disguising herself as a deep-sea salvage diver while raising her daughter. The only problem is that Targa is a dud. She never made the change as a child like she should have, and she knows her mom is disappointed. Not only that, but the longer a mermaid lives on land, the more difficult it becomes.
Targa isn’t just a disappointment: she’s her mom’s personal form of torture.
So, when a rich Polish shipping magnate hires the salvage crew to work a long lost ship in the Baltic Sea, Targa jumps at the chance to tag along. If she can’t be a mermaid, at least she can help her mom and see her in her true element.
But the Baltic serves up more than an old shipwreck. Because deep in its briny waters is the key to why Targa never changed. And who she truly is.
If there was a film or TV adaptation of your book, who would you like to see play your characters?
I can easily picture Kate Beckinsale as Mira, the mom in my book, but the daughter Targa is a little more difficult. The two of them look a lot alike so it would have to be an actress like Kate, just younger. Maybe Megan Fox.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
Very. Both Targa and Mira were chosen carefully because both mermaids have a siren name that the sea gives them, which is a name that swallows up their human name. For instance, Targa’s siren name is Atargatis.
Give us an insight into your main character. What makes them unique?
Targa is one of the few sirens whose mother did not use siren wiles or manipulations to catch her father. Her parents have a genuine love which results in Targa being given the power of an elemental, a giant step above any normal mermaid. But she’s got a problem – she was supposed to have her first transformation when she was just a little girl – the moment she first steps into salt water. When it doesn’t happen, Targa feels like a dud.
If you could choose ten words to describe your book, what would they be?
Cinematic, sweet, startling, engrossing, authentic, environmental, relational, coming-of-age, romantic, detailed.
Where do your ideas come from?
It was born from my love of nautical history and shipwrecks and my love of YA fantasy. I asked myself, ‘If mermaids existed, what would they really be like? How would they procreate? How do they live? How do they react to different environments?’
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
I haven’t created any book trailers but I’d like to at some point in the future.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Finishing my first book felt like a huge accomplishment as it was something I dreamt of doing since I could read at the age of three.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Traveling the world while spinning my yarns.
Have you always liked to write?
Yes. I learned to read when I was three and have been in love with words ever since. I’ve been writing dialogue since I could hold a pencil. Apparently I should have been a screenwriter.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Accept that your first draft will be terrible. The gold is revealed in the rewrite.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
Probably working in marketing. It’s what I did before and I really enjoyed it.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
Everyone is entitled to an opinion. I don’t take bad reviews personally. You cannot please all readers, it’s simply impossible.
What is your best marketing tip?
Be genuine and answer every fan email and every facebook question or comment. Nurture a two-way relationship with people, even though it can be energy-draining for introverts, it’s vital to your author brand.
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
Do you have a favourite conference / convention that you like to attend? What is it?
I’ll be attending the 20Books Conference in London in 2017, and in fact have been invited to speak so that’s super exciting!
Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others?
Fight scenes – I usually need to enlist help to write a good sword fight.
How long does it usually take you to write the first draft of a book?
I can do it in less than a month if I really knuckle down and my outline is thorough.
What are you working on now?
Born of Air. The 5th instalment of my Elemental Origins Series.
Describe what your ideal writing space looks like.
Anywhere that isn’t too loud and I can sit for hours without being disturbed. Italian cafés are my favourite!
Why should a potential reader buy your book(s)?
If a reader loves to be convinced that elemental magic could be real, or mermaids could be real, they’ll probably love my books.
What’s the strangest thing you have ever had to research for your book?
Parasitic isopods. Don’t look them up. They’ll give you nightmares.
What’s something you’re really good at that few people know about?
Why did you choose to write in your genre?
I couldn’t write in any other (to start out with anyway). My love of coming of age stories and fantasy made YA Urban Fantasy a no brainer. I would like to try another genre down the road, but only after I feel like I’ve told most of the YA stories burbling around in my head. There are a lot of them!
Where did your love of books come from?
Storytime as a child. My mom did a great job reading out loud to me.
How long have you been writing?
Since I could write.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
What would the main character in your book have to say about you?
She’s introverted and sits too much.
Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer? If so, what do you do during the day?
Nope. I am blessed to do this full time.
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?
Targa MacAuley, my siren/mermaid from Born of Water. I see a lot of myself in her.
When you’re writing, do you listen to music or do you need silence?
I don’t need total silence, but I don’t listen to music – that would be too distracting. The background noise of a café is perfect.
Who are your favourite authors, and why?
Anne Rice comes to mind as the author of the most fantastic vampire novel I’ve ever read. Kelley Armstrong for her werewolf series and her YA trilogies. JK Rowling for somehow managing to be both funny and dark at the same time, and for changing the world of publishing forever. Stephenie Meyer for proving that the story is more important than the writing. But no one more than Stephen King who transcends it all. I don’t like horror, but King’s stories are so amazing that I’ll read them anyway, just to have a King experience.
What’s the best thing about being an indie author?
Flexibility! It’s up to me what to write, what genre to write in, what my cover art looks like, where to distribute and how, what my newsletter says, what my website looks like, when to launch the next book, and everything else. It’s a lot of work, but I love being in control.
What do you find most challenging about writing?
Rewriting is a daunting task, but I think that outlining is actually the most difficult. It isn’t easy to craft a story that ticks all the boxes and there is so much creative freedom that you can feel exposed and overwhelmed. But nothing beats putting the finishing touches on a great outline.
Where did the inspiration come from for the laser (a small boat) accident?
The answer is… real life! I didn’t end up in the kind of trouble that my characters did, but that boat accident actually happened to me.
Available formats: ebook