Monday, November 12, 2012

YA & MG Author Spotlight: Darby Karchut

There are authors and then there are authors with more class than I deserve to be treated with. My next spotlighted author has been patiently waiting for what feels like forever for me to release her post. She is one amazing and talented lady.


Darby Karchut is an award-winning writer, a teacher, and a compulsive dawn greeter. She lives in Colorado with her husband and owns more backpacks than purses. As she should.


Her YA books include GRIFFIN RISING (2011 Sharp Write YA Book of the Year), GRIFFIN'S FIRE, and GRIFFIN'S STORM. Her debut Middle Grade novel, FINN FINNEGAN (Spencer Hill Press) will be released March 2013. The next book in the Finnegan series, GIDEON'S SPEAR (Spencer Hill Press) will be released February 2014. Visit her on her Website and Blog for descriptions and purchase links for her books. And for a bonus, check out her appearance in Publishers Weekly.

Please give her a warm welcome.


Did you have a(n) favorite stories/movies that influenced you as a child?
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, to be sure, was the greatest influence, especially his use of mythology to create a complete world. I was also inspired by the Star Wars saga. Both Tolkien and Lucas used the archetypal hero and his/her journey (all hail Joseph Campbell) to tell stories that resonate with each of us.

Why do you write? 
As many of you know, I had never written a thing until I wrote Griffin Rising. I never even wanted to be a writer. I just read a lot growing up, especially fantasy and science fiction. But Griffin kept bugging me to tell his story, so I did.

I write Young Adult and Middle Grade for the reasons other authors work in that genre: it is a great avenue for exploring the profound issues that shape our lives. YA and MG get to the heart of what story tellers throughout the ages have done: use stories as mirrors to ourselves.

You mention that Griffin kept bugging you to write his story. Care to share a little of that journey. 

In the early summer of 2009, I came across a legend from the Middle Ages about a lower caste of angels who were said to control Earth, Fire, Wind, and Water. For some reason, that legend stuck in my mind. A few days later, while I was out running, the idea of warrior angels who secretly live amongst us while training their apprentices just simply roared up behind me and slammed into my head. Like an avalanche.
So I went home and started jotting down some ideas. I began the actual book on July 17, 2009.
Since I had no idea how to write, I just started writing. And reading. And studying every article, book, and blog on writing. Then I wrote some more. I must have rewritten Griffin Rising over thirty times before I felt it was ready.

Give us some insight into your road to publication.
I started writing Griffin Rising on July 17, 2009. Finished it in November. Re-worked it about a bazillion times. Submitted loads of query letters. Got rejected. Re-worked my query letter and changed the title of my book.

In February, I tried again and immediately starting getting requests from agents and publishers. In June 2010, eleven months after I had written the first sentence, I was offered a contract with Twilight Times Books. Since then, I have also been contracted for the second book in the series.

I love hearing about the writer's journey. No two are alike.

Tell us about your Indie experience.
The number one reason I signed with Twilight Times Books is their reputation. Lida Quillen is a master at promoting her authors and her publishing house and its imprint. Plus, Twilight Times Books has been around for a long time and knows the industry inside and out.

I really like their team approach to everything from editing to cover art. Griffin Rising began as my book, but it rapidly became “our” book.

Signature Graffiti Wall question: the power goes out at your house during a thunderstorm. You have a candle & matches and a flashlight. Which do you use while reading one of your three top favorite books? What are the three and which will you read?
The candle, of course. Ambiance AND light: how perfect!
The books would be The Lord of the Rings, The Ranger’s Apprentice, and The Mortal Instruments. I honestly don’t know which one I would grab. Maybe all three?


Got to love ambiance!

What was your method for writing a sequel? 
When I began writing GRIFFIN RISING, I had already jotted down notes for book two, GRIFFIN’S FIRE (it’s a four book series). As soon as I finished polishing book one and began the submission process, I started working on GRIFFIN’S FIRE, both because the story was fresh in my mind, but also to keep myself from going crazy while waiting to hear back from agents and publishers. I found myself tweaking book one as I was writing book two to make the story flow more smoothly and to fix a few plot holes. I did the same thing with book three, GRIFFIN’S STORM. I found myself backtracking to FIRE while working on STORM. Maybe I should have written all three books at once, but I had such fun doing it this way: three steps forward, then two steps back. LOL!

LOL, indeed! I know this last answer is definitely going to help me as I'm just drafting the sequel to my YA novel. 

What about you? Have you ever written a sequel? What was your method?

48 comments:

  1. I was influenced by the same things, although I write for adults. I'm also with a smaller publisher and have enjoyed the experience.

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    1. Alex, so many of us were influenced by Tolkien. I bet you can't wait for The Hobbit.

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  2. I was influenced by the Tolkien stories too (and Harry Potter). Loved hearing how you came up with the idea for your story.

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    1. Thanks, Natalie. You never know what is going to inspire a story, eh?

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  3. I actually almost feel like I'm writing a sequel right now. I was asked to take the first book that I'd meant for a trilogy and fill it out, add aspects and revelations of the following books in order to wrap it all up as a stand alone. But writing in all that added material definitely makes me thing about what a sequel would have been like. Great interview! Loved learning more about Maureen and her books, and her experience with Twilight Times.

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    1. I know! It's like writing backwards! :-)

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  4. Sorry, I don't know where 'Maureen' came from. LOL. I was reading another author interview before this one and had a brain spasm. DARBY!

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    1. Awww, no worries. I do that kind of stuff all the time. You should hear how my 7th grade students pronounce my last name. *Snorts with laughter*

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  5. I'm in the middle of a sequel right now... I had a rough idea of where I wanted it to go while writing the first book, but as usual, my characters have other ideas :) I let them run the show!

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    1. As you are writing your sequel, keep re-reading your first book. That way, book one is still fresh in your mind and you'll avoid some plot holes.

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  6. Replies
    1. thanks, Sarah. Sheri did a terrific job with these questions. One of the most fun interviews I've ever done!

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  7. Sheri, I loved, loved, loved your questions! It was so fun to write about the process in creating a series! Thanks for having me, my dear! *big hug*

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    1. BIG hug, back!! Thank you for being featured on Writer's Alley!!

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  8. Great interview. I love reading about writers' journeys, too.

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    1. Gosh, me, too! I always feel inspired by others.

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  9. Great interview! I've seen Darby's books around! Best of luck to her with the Griffin series! :o) <3

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    1. Thanks, LTM. Griffin has been fun to write! A local junior high is currently reading the series in their lunch time book club. I've had the opportunity to sit in with them.

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  10. LOTR AND Star Wars? You couldn't possibly have two better influences. Sign me up, please.

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    1. I totally agree! :-) Love your avatar, BTW!

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  11. I love the tip about rereading the first book as you are writing your sequel. Fantastic interview and congrats, Darby!

    Best,

    Martina

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    1. It seems to work for me, but everyone has their own way of doing it. Just as long as it works for you, then it's right. :-)

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  12. I love how you say Griffin kept bugging you. I have a boy named Reggie that keeps telling me to work on his story, but I keep telling him I have to finish revisions on Merry's story first. :-)

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    1. Yeah, you better pay attention to Reggie, or he'll just keep bugging you! :-)

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  13. Great to have a character that won't leave you alone! Griffin did exactly the right kind of nagging. Keep up the great writing, Darby.

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    1. Aw, thanks, Lee! You've been having fun in California with your book tour! :-)

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  14. I love the story of how Griffin came to be, that's exactly how I felt/feel about my YA I'm querying now...also glad to hear you're a fan of both Tolkien & Star Wars, I can't wait for the Hobbit!

    Best of luck with your writing :) can't wait to read about Finn!

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    1. And best of luck to you, Patrice, with the querying process. You never know what the next e-mail or phone call will bring!

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  15. Enjoyed the interview. I love to hear the story behind the stories. I'm so glad Griffin is a series. Griffing is a character that stays with you as you wonder what he'll be up to next.

    I've never written a series and have no plans to. However, I just sent a sequel of my mg story to the publisher. Maybe she'll like it. Maybe not. Like you said about Griffen, the character wasn't finished yet. She kept telling me to get busy with her further adventures.

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    1. Absolutely! When a character feels unfinished, it's time to write more. Thanks for stopping by to support a fellow YALitchat MG Lair mate!

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    2. Bev, I hope you write a sequel to Caves and Life on Hold!

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  16. Loved your interview, Darby. Congrats on all your books! :-)

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    1. Thanks, Lexa! Always nice to "chat" with you.

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  17. Great interview. And yay for Darby, my pub house sister! :) One really important thing I learned when writing a sequel is to first make sure I have a list of things from book 1 that I will need to know and reference for book two. I keep lists of character descriptions, quirks, etc. because it's so easy to overlook something small and create inconsistencies. My lists keep me on track and also save me from having to search through the previous book to refresh my memory.

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  18. Its great to meet Darby! She's an accomplished writer and best wishes for her continued success!

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    1. So glad I could introduce you to Darby. She truly is a writing gem and a great cyber friend. Thanks so much for stopping by, Stephen.

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    2. Thanks for the best wishes! And, Sheri, you're making me blush!

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  19. Love Tolkien! What a great interview. Nice to meet Darby, thanks Sheri!

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    1. Thanks, Lydia. Tolkien rocks! Can't wait for The Hobbit.

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  20. Congrats, Darby! Your books sound great!

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    1. Aw, thanks. I really had a blast writing them.

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  21. Nice to meet you, Darby and don't you just love how mythology can spark an idea? Congrats on your success!

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    1. Mythology is such fertile ground! My newest series is based on Celtic mythology from the Bronze Age. Bliss!

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  22. Thanks for the great interview, ladies. I've written a sequel for a book. I planned the entire series before I wrote the first book. But alas, I decided I didn't want to write YA fantasy after all (even though I loved my books). lol

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    1. Stina, you have to write your passion, that's for sure.

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  23. Awesome interview. I love hearing how others have made it on their writing journey. Thanks for sharing and I hope you do well with your books.

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    1. Thanks, Clarissa! It's was a fun day and Sheri Larsen simply rocks my world.

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