This week I am featuring YA urban fantasy author April White.
Marking Time by April White
Seventeen-year-old tagger Saira Elian can handle anything... a mother who mysteriously disappears, a stranger who stalks her around London, and even the noble English Grandmother who kicked Saira and her mother out of the family. But when an old graffiti tag in a tube station transports Saira to the 19th Century and she comes face-to-face with Jack the Ripper, she realizes she needs help after all.
Saira meets Archer, a charming student who helps her blend in as much as a tall, modern American teen can in Victorian England. He reveals the existence of the Immortals: Time, Nature, Fate, War and Death, and explains to Saira that it is possible to move between
centuries – if you are a Descendant of Time.
Saira finds unexpected friendships at a boarding school for Immortal Descendants and a complicated love with a young man from the past. But time is running out for her mother, and Saira must embrace her new identity as she hides from Archer a devastating secret about his future that may cost him his life.
Connections by April White
As any author knows, social media is as necessary as breathing and as distracting as the aftermath of a seven-car-pile-up on traffic. There’s no such thing in the writing world anymore as “I don’t do twitter,” or “Facebook is just for finding friends from high school.” Even the famously (for those who follow him) tweet-adverse fantasy author, Patrick Rothfuss, finally caved on Twitter with a spectacular two-week contest. He challenged followers to “uncover the REAL Patrick Rothfuss” based solely on the tweets of himself (with one identity) and five women (with various other Pat Rothfuss identities). I was absurdly proud of having figured out the real Pat Rothfuss within three tweets, and yet one of the women’s Pat Rothfuss identity won the contest by a huge margin. Now that he’s firmly established in the Twitter world, even Pat Rothfuss has embraced the madness.
Twitter’s founders, according to a documentary filmmaker, were looking for a way for people to connect. And connections are the beating heart of… well, everything. Writers connect readers with each other and themselves through their stories. Actors find character inspiration among the people around them. Scientists search for reasons for the things that happen to all of us. Even politicians shake hands to show their sincerity. Everyone is looking for those connections that make life interesting, meaningful, and frankly, worth living.
Personally, I suck at tweets. That kind of one-line cleverness does not come naturally to me the way it did to, say, Hemingway. He would have been great at tweets, but maybe a little too stark and serious. Erin Faulk, Wil Wheaten and Joss Whedon, on the other hand – they are masters of the kind of cleverness, humor and truth that would make Tyrion Lannister proud. Funny will always connect with more people than significant, and observations of everyday life win over esoteric truths any day. Neil Gaiman is a master of truths, but he doesn’t translate as well into 140 characters as Erin Faulk, who can tell an entire story in ten tweets.
Twitter was the start of a conversation that led me to one of my very favorite social media connections. An author “liked” the review I wrote about her very funny, very smart romance novel. So I followed her on Twitter and she followed me back. She tweeted something funny, so I upped my game and tried to make her laugh with a response. She did. We became Facebook friends, and the timing was perfect for an invitation to a private Facebook group book club she was starting. Within two weeks there were about twenty members in the group, and after clever Facebook-post introductions, we began to tentatively connect. First it was responses to questions, evolving into a chats, and then opinions started creeping in. Our first book-of-the-month was a disaster, and it was the perfect book to really connect everyone in the group. We were honest, funny, snarky, thoughtful, raw and very open in that way doing something in common can bring out in people. We live across almost every time zone and span about four decades in age, but reading, posting, striving to make each other spit wine in laughter and sharing our thoughts about men, women, sex, wine, food, travel, and books has truly connected us to each other. Several of us are writers and bloggers, and in our group we now support each other in our work and our creativity as friends do.
I think it’s what authors strive for with social media in general – to connect with other people in a way that they want to read what you write. I found Patrick Rothfuss’ first novel, The Name of the Wind, and immediately connected with his story. And then I discovered his blog which made me laugh out loud, and I couldn’t help connecting with the writer telling the story. It’s like branding for authors because readers aren’t just hooked on a particular book, they can’t get enough of the author’s voice, and with that brings the freedom to write anything, in any genre, for any audience. Just ask Neil Gaiman, whose children’s story, “Suddenly, The Milk” has as much twitter attention as his graphic novel series, “The Sandman,” because his observations about life connect with everyone who reads them.
We all strive for connections, preferably in person with our friends and family, but also with people we may never meet except through the wonder and madness that is social media. One of my own blogs that seems to have connected with people is one about “What I know for Sure.”
A child or a chicken will get sick the day before I leave for a trip. Especially the “getaway” trips.
I am most productive when there’s no time for anything. When I have time set aside to work, I find anything else but work to fill that time.
I am afraid of very few things, but well-dressed, rich French women are among them.
Sometimes I wonder if it’s too early to have that glass of wine.
Sometimes I have it anyway.
Fish and chips wrapped in newspaper is the food of the Gods.
French fries in Amsterdam taste better with mayonnaise.
Everything tastes better with bacon.
Sometimes all you need is a perfect pair of shoes.
You can’t go wrong with leopard print.
Writers love reading, but hate writing. We write so we have something to read.
My best friends are the ones who read and drink like me. Even better if our kids are friends too.
There are few things more frustrating than chickens who hide their eggs.
I rarely crave a salad.
When I was nine, my favorite weekends were spent reading until 2am and then waking up to finish the book. They still are.
“Truth or Dare” is overrated. “I Never” is not.
The best movie quotes are from The Princess Bride.
Val Kilmer in “Real Genius.” Christian Slater in “Pump up the Volume.” Yeah, seriously.
Huge Actorman in anything.
The volleyball scene is 40 minutes into “Top Gun.”
Tom Cruise has weird shoulders.
Patrick Rothfuss is a genius.
My kids love it when I read his blog posts out loud. Especially the inappropriate words.
Apparently seventy is the new forty. Just ask our mothers.
Guilt is overrated. Except when it’s the reason you stayed home from the trip, and the other child got the fever from his brother. Or the chicken died.
Very little can repay the friend who packs your dead chicken in ice on Saturday so she can UPS it to the lab on Monday.
But it can be done.
And wine is the key.
I suppose each one of those thoughts breaks down into Tweet-sized bites, so maybe I don’t suck at Twitter quite as badly as I thought. But in any case, it’s all about connections, and if even one of these observations about life resonated with you, we might have just connected.
About the Author
APRIL WHITE has been a film producer, private investigator, bouncer, teacher and screenwriter. She has climbed in the Himalayas, lived on a gold mine in the Yukon, and has read the entire Harry Potter series three times; once to herself and twice out loud to her boys, ages 6 and 10. She and her husband share those boys and their home in Southern California with their dog, various chickens, and a lifetime collection of books. April wrote her first novel, Marking Time, because it’s what she wanted to read, and now needs to finish the five-book series so she can find out what happens next. More information and her blog are available on www.immortaldescendants.com