Friday, May 20, 2011
FEATURED AUTHOR: Paige Agnew
Paige wrote her first book, Starless Sky at age 15 and published it in January of 2010. The seventh book she wrote, but 2nd to be published in January 2011, is appropriately titled, Seven. Her sense of humor and from the heart personality shines through her writing. She was born in Michigan. Her compassion and sense of humor is in all of her writings. When Paige is not writing, she enjoys sports, dancing, singing, playing the piano, reading and attending her brother's football games. Paige is looking forward to watching her brother, Vince Agnew, play at the next level (NFL) in the fall of 2011. In addition, spending time with family, friends, and her dog, Tigger are important to her. She is also actively involved in her church and community.
Fall 2011Paige will be attending college and pursing a Bachelors degree in Creative Writing/English and is currently working on other books
How did you start out your writing career?
Writing has been something that I’ve loved for a long time, but I didn’t get serious about it until my freshman year of high school. I’d written stories before but never finished them, but as I started Starless Sky, my first novel, I knew it’d be different. I had a feeling in my gut that this one wasn’t like all the rest. Before I knew it, I’d completed a book and was working on it getting published.
What did you learn while writing this book?
There are many unfinished stories of mine of out there. Halfway through, I’d become dissatisfied with a story and stop. I’ve come a long way since then… or so I thought. I’ve written fifteen books so far. Starless Sky was my first and Seven is one of the later ones (my seventh). I hadn’t had problems with unfinished stories for a while and then halfway through Seven, I stopped. There was another story on my mind that I was anxious to write and I had writers block with Seven anyhow, so I stopped, figuring that Seven was done for and would go in the pile with the rest of my rejected stories.
To my surprise I literally finished the next story on my mind in a month. I didn’t know what to write next and I found myself going back to Seven and I finished it soon after. So the most worthwhile thing I learned with Seven is how daunting a task writing a book can be. I learned how to push through writers block and I’m happy I did.
What did you hope to accomplish with this book?
I intended for this book to be very symbolic and the symbolism is something you really have to dig underneath the surface to see. It’s hard to explain what I mean without giving things away. So what I’ll say instead is that I hope readers catch that how I began the book is really a statement of what I wanted people to take away from it as a whole and see how it’s an ongoing theme throughout:
“We are all born with profound greatness, as immense as the sea. Every day is a choice whether or not we live up to our potential.”
Which character did you have the most fun writing about?
Right off the bat, I’d have to say Jonathan. He’s by far the most interesting character. He’s the bad boy of the bunch who at first just comes off as cold, manipulative, and evil. Little by little, you get glimpses into his life and of the person he really is. He slowly emerges as a leader and perhaps the only one that can bring the other six hostages to freedom. It was fun to write from his mean, sarcastic, indifferent attitude and watch him transform into so much more.
What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
What’s surprised me most about becoming a published author is the level of support I’ve received. I mean, getting a book published isn’t something people do every day and when I wrote Starless, I was fourteen going on fifteen. I guess I wasn’t expecting for people to take me seriously. The support I’ve received from friends, family, and strangers has been nothing short of a blessing.
What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?
I love to read. To me, writing is reading. Even though I’m coming up with the story myself, it was a story I didn’t know before. I feel like I’m telling it to myself as much as I’m telling it to others. That’s my favorite part. I love being the puppet master, creating my own world and being able to share it with others.
I hate the vulnerability that comes with it. It’s one thing to write for yourself, but as soon as others are involved, things get a bit tricky. I’ve never really been an outgoing person, so to put something that I care a lot about on the shelves for others to interpret as they want to love or perhaps criticize is nerve-racking. It’s terrifying and the most that I can do is not think about it. To my relief, my book has been received very well, but the vulnerability never really goes away. It’s just something you have to be strong enough to deal with.
What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?
I can’t say there’s anything I wish I’d known. I feel like, with some of the mistakes I‘ve made, that I’ve grown from them and taken away more than I would have from something I’d already known. It’s all a learning experience.
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?
Do: Organize your thoughts and think things through thoroughly. Whenever I’m starting a new story, I’m always so excited and I want to dive right in, but I have to restrain myself. Developing a story takes a lot of time and a lot of thought. I think it’s important to be in a mindset where you know you can execute your ideas thoroughly. And most importantly, believe in yourself.
Don’t: Ignore cadence. Everything has to flow together as one. Themes have to fit in with the characters and the characters have to fit in with the plot. Finding a rhythm of that is important.
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
It would be great if all non-writers understood that putting your work out there for the whole world to see isn’t as easy as some people make it look. With that being said, I think there should be a little more respect. I’ve seen books get torn apart and I think, regardless of opinion, people should stop and think about how much effort and work someone put into making it. Of course, I don’t like every book I read and we all have our criticisms, but in the back of my mind, I know the amount of sweat and tears that go into it.
If you could be a character from any book you've read, who would you be?
That’s a hard question. A lot of my favorite characters also have lives that are a little unfortunate at times, so I’ll have to choose carefully. I think I’d either be Aislinn from the Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr or Isabelle Lightwood or Clary Morgenstern from The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare.
When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Of course, I love reading. It’s nothing short of an obsession. I love all different forms of art, music especially, whether it be playing the piano or singing or listening to my favorite bands. I’ve kept myself busy with choir, musicals, dance team, art class, and sports.
What do you do to interact with your readers?
February through March, I went on a virtual book tour and it really helped me promote my book and get in touch with readers. I’ve done a book signing and I’ll be doing a book showing in June for a conference in Atlanta.
Our theme for this month is BOOK READERS. Give a shot out to five book clubs who have featured your books.
Reviews by Molly, Healing Hearts, Acting Balanced, Night Owl Teens, Book Clubs Unite
Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?
I think what I know for sure always comes down to my roots. My roots are my family, my friends, and God. I know who I am and what I want and it’s the people closest to me and my faith that have had a tremendous influence in shaping that.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
I’m honestly not sure what my next book is. I haven’t decided, but I’m leaning towards publishing Get Real. Here’s a brief synopsis: GetReal.com— It was her escape. The only place she could go and say whatever she wanted without the world judging her for once… the only place she could go where no one would find out how she really felt about how her perfect boyfriend dumped her, how her father’s alcoholism landed him millions of miles away, how her prodigal son of a brother dropped out of college to move back home, and how her mother would rather walk around pretending none of these things even existed. As her last year in high school approaches, Anna realizes it’s time to make a change. But she never would have expected the newest change to be the boy who could see right through her façade, the one place besides GetReal.com that she finds an escape.
And then an excerpt:
The strangest feeling that I didn’t belong came over me and partly I just felt like I had been kidding myself about all of this in the first place. Maybe this was all just a big sign that my life really was moving on. I couldn’t live in the past with all the good memories; I had to get away from the problems I was facing now. Maybe quitting dance had been a good decision after all because this wasn’t my life anymore. I didn’t know who I was now. I wasn’t a dancer, I didn’t have a boyfriend, and these days, I barely had a father or even a mother. I realized that I had been letting all of these labels define me and only days ago, I’d thought living by no definition was a scary thing when really I hadn’t embraced my freedom. I had the opportunity to find myself, to really and truly look deep inside and find a better meaning to my life. All of the people that had surrounded me at the party were people afraid of their future. High school was as good as it would get for them and they were living it up to the fullest. I couldn’t live in the past, or even the future. I had a lot of work to do in my present before I could deal with either of those.
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
P.O. Box 88314, Grand Rapids, 49518
Meet the characters: Cecilia and Tommy: Two best friends who live on the wrong side of the tracks with crumbled lives and neglectful parents decide to run away. Can their friendship stand the test of Seven?
Greg: Daily, he wakes up in the morning with a fresh cup of coffee, goes to work, comes home, eats, and goes to sleep. His rote, monotonous life slowly starts to unravel. Will he unravel completely before Seven’s done with him?
Hazel and Kale: Two teenagers madly in love. They thought summer would be a chance for their newfound love to blossom. Will it have a chance before Seven rips it apart?
Kariann: When she’s not taking care of her son, Noah, she’s teaching and taking care of everyone else’s kids. She’s good at taking care of people. How can she possibly make anything better when she’s captured by Seven?
Jonathan: He’s dark. Clever as a snake and as temperamental as one, too. All he wanted was to be left alone. He might be the only match for Seven.
When seven strangers are thrown together, pawns in a psycho’s mind game, they realize they have to work together to reach their true potential or die.
One chance to not only save their lives, but to change them in ways they’d never imagined possible.
Book trailer - www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbfhxDm62rk
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