Monday, April 2, 2012

Strange Chemistry's new BROKEN by Author AE Rought

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other A to Z participants.
As you Alleywalkers know, the Graffiti Wall was created to celebrate children's literature in all shapes and forms from literary agents, publishing houses, editors, authors, and the books themselves. I always hold any visitor close to my heart. But today's guest shares a more personal place in my life.

She's a wife, mother, published adult author, and one of my amazing Oasis for YA sisters -friend -beta -brainstormer & everything else. 
AE Rought
Author of BROKEN, to be released Jan. 2013

Can you describe yourself in five to ten words?
How about 3, and alliterative to boot? Compulsive. Creative. Compassionate.

You've been writing for some time. What provoked you to make the leap from Adult literature to YA?
When I read, it’s almost always YA—I adore the “new love” stories. When I told my adult romance CP that I wanted to try YA, she said, “Honey, you’ve always kind of written it anyway.” I stepped back and looked at my stories, and she was right. The heart of my romances is consistently that first blush/first love relationship. Where better to explore that than through a teen heart, feeling it the first time?

How has your long relationship with your agent helped you?
Gina knows me, she understands my writing compulsion. A great illustration of this: I told her once I wanted to write a light, happy romance. She giggled a little, then said, “You’ve always been dark.” Gina knows how I think, where my writer brain automatically goes, and how best to help nudge it into something amazing.

What is the biggest challenge in writing YA as opposed to Adult?
Each has its own challenges. The tensions, tones, and pacings are different. For me, I think the biggest challenge beyond an authentic teen voice has been dialing back the Heat, and letting the real emotions in the relationship grow.

Yes, I'm sure you have to 'check' yourself at times. :D

BROKEN is the first YA novel you've written to see the light of the publishing world. Can you share a bit of your journey, growth, and even frustration specific to the YA avenue?
My stories usually start with an outlandish What if? I used to be a pantser, and now, thanks to the complex subject matters of late, I’m a plotter. Pantsing just doesn’t treat the concepts well enough for me. I wrote one novel twice because I knew the core concept was kickass, but I failed in the execution. Admitting I failed was one of the biggest growth moments, I think. Frustration? Hm… Being behind the curve, I guess. I’m no good at predicting the market. I got off that train with BROKEN and wrote what I wanted, not what I thought might fit.

It is so refreshing to hear a writer say that he/she wrote what they wanted. Love that.

Here's BROKEN'S book blurb:
CLICK the P to view images
Ann has saved that represent
BROKEN to her.
 A string of suspicious deaths near a small Michigan town ends with a fall that claims the life of Emma Gentry's boyfriend, Daniel. Emma is broken, a hollow shell. She and Daniel had been made for each other. 

When she encounters newcomer Alex Franks, only son of a renowned widowed surgeon, she's intrigued despite herself. He is as drawn to her as she is to him. He is strangely...familiar. The closer they become, though, the more something inside her screams there's something very wrong. And when Emma stumbles across a grotesque menagerie of mangled but living animals within the walls of the Franks' estate, she knows...

What moved you to write this story and how did you develop it?
The best way I can explain this is I felt BROKEN, the dark, twisted, aching romance of it existed almost like a separate entity in me. After I finished the rewrite of that first YA, nothing else felt right. So, I called my actual Young Adult YA beta, told her what I felt, and that I had to write it. We bounced ideas around, hit the reimagining idea, so I decided to go where my agent said I write—dark—and things just started falling into place. Borrowing on a metaphysical concept and taking the tropes of Frankenstein, I roughed up the concept for BROKEN. I wanted to take the main characters and twist them till they broke. I think I succeeded with Alex and Emma.
The Publisher of BROKEN
Click the image to link

You have an amazing publisher! It's been only a short time since your two book deal announcement, but how has it been working with them thus far?
OMG, Sheri. I’m so lucky! Amanda is great. I wanted an editor who really “got” my novel, and I won the jackpot with her. Strange Chemistry is as awesome as its name. J

I'm one of your betas, so I know your other stories are grade A+. Do you plan on revisiting those? (I want you to!!)
First, thank you! Second, BROKEN is intended as a single title, so... I'll keep you informed.

Graffiti Wall question: What would your ideal grocery store checkout line look like?
Empty as a freshly dug grave. MUAhahaha. >:} But, clean, of course. Who wants their groceries with a side order of dirt?

How did I know you'd say that....

This is a personal preference, but I'm curious. What do you feel is the most important to a writer - drive, honing the craft, betas, perseverance, CPs, research, platform, cyber-presence, etc..? What makes a successful writer in the YA realm?
Bear with me…

I always do. *wink

Every writer has different skills, every writer has different needs. Perseverance? Hell yeah—if you give up, you get no where and only have yourself to blame. I would put honing your craft near the top, because without a damn good story, you’re not going to get the success we all want in this business. The tools to honing your craft? Drive, research, knowing who you’re writing to, and betas and CPs. Those people are hugely important, they’re in the trenches with you, guarding your flank, lifting you up or covering your butt. Often times, your betas and CPs help with platform and cyber-presence, too.

So, long story made short, it’s all important, but the semantics are going to be different for the individual writer.

With all you've witnessed, where do you see YA literature heading and what advice could you give to those bent on publishing young adult stories?
I’m probably not the best person to ask for “future of publishing” advice—I wasn’t thinking about publishing when I wrote BROKEN.

We’re still seeing vampires and werewolves, though not as many, and the takes and treatments are different. Fantasies and fairies continue to show up on the shelves. Dystopians are going strong and seem to be proliferating. We’re seeing more of the darker stories, more horror. My best advice is to take the path less traveled, but write what You want, and make it amazing.

Now that your book deal has been announced, what are your next steps? 
Well, there are forms to fill out, and cover stuff, and edits, and proof reads... The Alley will be one of the first to know, and included in every BROKEN detail I can!

STAY TUNED for more BROKEN tomorrow, as Ann offers up a contest per our Blogging from A to Z Challenge. It's fabulous and some awesome prizes. 


  1. I love dark books like this. My books usually have a dark edge to them, too. So happy for AE, and I can't wait to get my hands on this one!

  2. Great interview Sheri & AE. I'm especially intrigued because it's set in Michigan where I live. Congrats AE!

  3. Congratulations AE on the upcoming release of your new book.

  4. Great Interview, thanks Sheri and congratulations AE!

  5. A.E I am so thrilled for you and can't wait to read your awesome book! Sheri loved your comment on my blog thank you as always and did I tell you how amazing you are? Because you are, and I love the latest version of MB. It's so there! It'll be the next Book we'll be chatting about to come out into the book world you'll see :)

    1. You never have to thank me for stopping over and commenting on your site. I only wish I had more time to do it more often.

      Thank you so much for your compliments about MB. Your last sentence just about made me cry. I think you might be onto something this go around. The story is there; I can feel it. I made a few more changes, deciding to start with that first page and then meld her actual memory into the second chapter, leaving crumbs here and there. It really works. Great suggestion, Marcy!!

  6. love the advice about ignore the market and write what you feel. congrats AE!!

  7. Wonderful interview, and great advice on staying on the path less traveled :) You have no idea how psyched and thrilled I am for you! Best wishes for the future of Broken and the many other awesome books sure to follow; once the world gets a load of your awesomeness, A.E, they're not going to be able to get enough!

  8. Great interview. Congratulations on your forthcoming book, AE. I look forward to reading it.

  9. So happy for you, Ann! Love the interview and love that you put honing the craft at the top of your list. Thanks for the great post, Sheri!


  10. Nice to meet you both! I do love to read (and write) darkish YA. BROKEN sounds fabulous and will add it to my TBR. I, too, have a debut coming out in January of 2013! AE, have you joined The Lucky 13s--blog for debut YA authors?

  11. What a fantastic interview! Congratulations on your book, AE! That's fantastic!

  12. Excellent interview, Sheri and AE! Honing the craft are the three most important words for any writer. I loved reading this and cannot wait for the book to be on the shelves. :-)

  13. Great interview Sheri!
    AE- so excited for you! Can't wait to read BROKEN. It sounds fabulously twisty :)

  14. Congratulations, AE Rought. I wish you the best of luck!

    Thanks for interviewing her, Sheri!

  15. Great post, you two! Congratulations on the book, AE. Here's to many more!

  16. Great interview and congrats on the book release.

  17. It sounds like an AMAZING book!! I can't wait for it to come out. Love the interview. I always love success stories.

  18. Love the personality (on both your parts) in this interview! The book sounds great too. I found the question and answer to the switch to YA writing especially intriguing. Thanks so much.

  19. LOVELY interview!!!!!!! Congrats! :)

  20. wonderful interview. Great to hear about AE!
    Great A-Z post!

  21. BROKEN IS a dark and deliciously creepy book, but it's so beautiful and achingly , heart-wrenchingly romantic at the same time, it's really a perfect storm of YA elements. This was really the story that came from the author's soul. Is it corny to say I'm my own authors' biggest fan? I just absolute love this book!

    1. That is not corny at all. I'm right with you there!! The story is amazing! I'm such a sap for bleeding, young love.

  22. Oh AE, Broken sounds juicy good! I love your adult romances and this sounds just as suspenseful and filled with wonderful characters. Can't wait until the book comes out ... just 8 more long months :-D

  23. Love your Broken story premise! Good luck with it.

  24. Very nice interview. Thank you for sharing:)

  25. WOW OMG you guys! I would love to reply personally to each commentor, but I'm afraid I would be here all night, teary-eyed and sniffling by the end of it. So, to ALL of you, from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! I never dreamed when I started writing BROKEN that the book of my heart would touch and reach the interest of so many others. <3 <3 <3

  26. Great interview! I'm so excited for AE and can't wait to read BROKEN!!!

  27. That is so awesome for A.E. She must be thrilled. Congratulations!!!

  28. What a wonderful interview! And many congrats to A.E.!

  29. Great interview and best of luck to AE! Congratulations!

  30. Great interview, guys! Sounds like my kind of read.

  31. Great interview! I have been looking forward to this book for some time. Thanks, AE and Sheri! Well done.

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by! The story is a beauty. Love it!

  32. That was a spectacular interview. Thanks for sharing BROKEN on B day.

  33. Some great insights - esp. liked it when she said to take the road less traveled :)

  34. Fabulous interview. YA stories have such a great appeal and Broken sounds like a great read.

  35. What an interesting journey. Best of luck to you Ann!


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