Author: Emlyn Chand
Source: Goddess Fish Tours (author provided)
Genre YA Paranormal
I was really excited to see the blurb about this book and add it to my blog as part of a blog tour and be able to review it. But..when I found out that I could have an interview with Emlyn I was over the top with joy! As you'll learn in this interview, I have a daughter who is totally blind and books about people with any disability are few and far between, especially visual impairments. So..here is the interview... (please forgive the formatting errors..no matter what I tried I couldn't make some things right!)
Tell us something about Farsighted that didn't make the cut. Okay, but it’s a bit embarrassing! Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a crazy bird lady. Just visit my business site www.novelpublicity.com, and you’ll see what I mean (my parrot is the company mascot and there are many silly/cute photos of him). Since I’m such an avian nut, I wanted to give Alex a seeing-eye bird. It didn’t take me long to realize that it would be an ineffective story device... and also stupid. So, yeah, it didn’t make the cut :-P
I've seen some amazing animals do the guide thing from dogs to horses to monkeys..but birds? That's too funny! Now I'm picturing my daughter w/ a parrot on her head telling her which way to go! Thanks for the smile!
Where do you usually do your writing?
I find I’m most productive when I force myself to write for a long block of time. I call this being a “writing hostage.” I just go to my local Panera when it opens at 6 AM, order a coffee and a sandwich, and start working. I stay there until around 3 or 4. I love the background noise and the constant availability of caffeine and munchies. Panera puts me in the zone!
I only wish I was a morning person! I could get so much done! So...I guess if I was near you I could stake out Panera and question you all day! J/K
How did you happen upon a blind main character? (I have a 10 year daughter who is blind..she loves books about blind characters!
Everything started with a single image—my face in these tacky oversized sunglasses reflecting out at me from the car’s side mirror. I was daydreaming while my husband drove us across Michigan for my sister’s wedding. Something about my image really struck me in an almost horrific way. I felt the glasses made me look blind but found it so weird that there was still a clear image within them; it seemed so contradictory. At the time, my book club was reading The Odyssey, which features the blind Theban prophet, Tieresias. I started thinking about what it would be like to have non-visual visions of the future and began forming a modern Tieresias in my mind. Lo and behold, Alex Kosmitoras was born. I didn’t want him to be alone in his psychic subculture, so I found other characters with other powers to keep him company. Thank God for my poor fashion sense.
I’m looking into having an audio version of Farsighted created so that blind readers can enjoy it too. I hope when your daughter is a few years older, she’ll have the chance to listen to it. I wanted to create a character that was strong and heroic, despite the expected limitations.
Audio Books are great...I hope you keep me in mind when it happens. There are also some amazing books to braille companies that convert books. I don't know exactly how it works, if an author can request their books to be converted or if the company just picks and does it based on what clients want, but I'll put in a request to one of our favorites and see if we can't get your book into the hands of the visually impaired!
What are your favorite childhood books?
As a child, my favorite book was Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crocket Johnson. It opened my eyes to the world that could exist if only I was willing to create it—I think it’s what encouraged me to be a writer in the first place. I became an avid reader when I discovered Babysitter’s Little Sister by Anne M Martin at the age of 7. I used to read 2 of them per day!
There are several versions of Harold and the Purple Crayon out now..it's a great creativity starter for those little ones!
What part of writing and getting published were you the most surprised about?
Well, I knew what to expect in terms of logistics with publishing, because I work so closely with authors as a book publicist. I had no idea what to expect in terms of the emotionality and neuroticism that follows actually putting your work out there, so in that way, it’s been much tougher than I ever anticipated. I totally understand! But from other reviews I've read...I think you can relax and know that your book is doing great!
Do you reach for the sweet or the salty for snacking?
Oh, definitely sweet. And way too much of it too. I love scones and iced lattes above all else. I mentioned I write at Panera, right?
Which is your favorite form of social media?
This may come as a surprise, being that my business is best known on Twitter and Facebook, but I’m actually an enormous fan of Google+. I can definitely see it improving upon the existing social media model and becoming something huge once it gains momentum. I spend the least time on Google+ but get the most out of it. It’s just wonderful!
Do you have anything in the works that you can share?
Farsighted is a 5-book series. Each book will be told from a different character’s point-of-view, so in book #2, we’ll actually be able to see what Grandon looks like! Next up is Open Heart. I hope to have that ready by the middle of next year. I’d like to put out some book marketing guides next year too.
Oh wow..I didn't know that! I'm so excited..Can't wait to read the next installment!
Anything else you want to tell us about Farsighted?
I’d just like to say that I hope that readers will enjoy themselves. My primary goal is to tell an interesting story that people will find entertaining and be glad they read. Secondly, I’d like to infuse contemporary Young Adult fiction with a bit more diversity and teach readers about the beauty of other cultures and other ways of life. I also hope that Farsighted is a book that leads to introspection—what would I do if put in Alex’s place? Did Alex ever have a choice or was this path his destiny? What would it be like to see the world the way he sees the world?
Emlyn Chand is giving away a $50 Amazon.com gift certificate to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.
So..please comment and let Ms. Chand know that you are looking forward to reading this or something fun you learned during the blog tour because the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.
See the link at the end of My Take to go to more blogs on the tour!
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Alex Kosmitoras’s life has never been easy. The only other student who will talk to him is the school bully, his parents are dead-broke and insanely overprotective, and to complicate matters even more, he’s blind. Just when he thinks he’ll never have a shot at a normal life, a new girl from India moves into town. Simmi is smart, nice, and actually wants to be friends with Alex. Plus she smells like an Almond Joy bar. Yes, sophomore year might not be so bad after all.
Unfortunately, Alex is in store for another new arrival—an unexpected and often embarrassing ability to “see” the future. Try as he may, Alex is unable to ignore his visions, especially when they begin to suggest that Simmi is in danger. With the help of the mysterious psychic next door and new friends who come bearing gifts of their own, Alex must embark on a journey to change his future.
I really enjoyed this story about Alex and his new friends. The story flew by rather quickly and I found myself at the end far earlier than I wanted to! There were a few 'blind' scenes that were wrong, but really the only reason I know this is because my daughter has also been totally blind since birth and we have been immersed in the Visually Impaired Culture for over 10 years now. And actually it was minor things...one for example is the placing of a couple of braille books in his hands..braille books are far bigger and weigh much than a regular text book...actually one book is usually 2-4 Braille books. What I did like was the use of all of the other senses throughout the book, so that we were actually seeing things through Alex. She got those descriptions down wonderfully...very well written and 'seen'. It is a wonderful clean read that I would actually let me 11 year olds read, well...if I could get the book in braille or audio! It was refreshing to see a character with special needs get the front row seat for a change and actually grow into an even stronger character than they were at the beginning. I can't wait to see where the next installment takes us. The book was very down to earth, I would venture to say you might meet any of the characters (even the fake psychic) during your own daily interactions. I felt like they could be living down the street they were written that believable. I wish more writers would take on characters with special needs, but Ms. Chand has done that with Farsighted and succeeded. I applaud you and I am very glad I read this book!
Want to read what others are saying? Go to Goddess Fish and find out!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Emlyn Chand has always loved to hear and tell stories, having emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true story). When she’s not writing, she runs a large book club in Ann Arbor and is the president of author PR firm, Novel Publicity. Emlyn loves to connect with readers and is available throughout the social media interweb. Visit www.emlynchand.com for more info. Don’t forget to say “hi” to her sun conure Ducky!
Author Website: www.emlynchand.com
Novel Publicity: www.novelpublicity.com
I was given a copy of this book to review. No other compensation was given!