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.
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?