Feelin Farsighted: Interview with YA Author Emlyn Chand

I was recently fortunate enough to catch up with Emlyn Chand, president of the excellent Novel Publicity and author of debut novel Farsighted as part of her world-wide-web-hopping publicity tour. I’m still working my way through the ARC that she sent my way, but I’m enjoying it so far. A plot synopsis courtesy of Amazon:

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.

Side note, is it just me, or does the guy on the cover resemble Barack Obama? I mean, really, look:

Anyway! Today I have the good fortune of sharing this interview with you. Up front, though, I believe I should give you all fair warning that there be prizes afoot. Prizes, you say? That’s right. Check this out: you could win a $100 Amazon gift card as part of Emlyn’s blog tour. Just leave a comment saying something – anything, really, you can talk smack about the questions themselves – about the interview, and the fine folks at Novel Publicity will enter you into the raffle. Oh, and you can also win 1 of 10 autographed copies of Farsighted before its paperback release by entering the giveaway on GoodReads. That’s right, they’re putting on the full-court press of prizes! Gotta be crazy not to participate. Be sure to check out the tour notes at the end of the post for more info on how to win.

Without further ado, here’s what Emlyn had to say…

1. What provided the spark of inspiration for Farsighted? Any long-term influences that you’d like to cite?

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.

Now as to my long-term influences… In truth, I’m impacted by everything I read (for better or worse). My primary influences are JK Rowling for awesome world-building and unrivaled dialogue-writing skill, Anne M Martin for first making me love books, John Irving for incredible characterization, Suzanne Collins for riveting action, and Vladimir Nabokov for seamless and beautiful prose.

2. How long have you wanted to be a writer, and what is your earliest writing memory?

I was born with a fountain pen grasped firmly in my left hand, at least that’s what my Twitter bio says. But seriously, I do believe writers are born into the craft—we haven’t got much choice, but it’s a great calling to have. As a child, I always had a story to tell. I also loved illustrating my own books and comics. I first became a writer writer when I began doing a book review column for the local paper. That taught me the importance of deadlines and letting the words flow out even when I had no idea what direction they’d take me in.

Earliest writing memory? I used to write and illustrate picture books for my younger brothers. I did this when I was 9 or 10. The series was called Spot and Dot and was about a cat and a dog. I wrote one about Spot coming home from the pound and needing to get a bath and another with a sequence of dreams that Dot the cat might have—she woke up in ancient Egypt and was revered as a Goddess; she found herself in a giant room filled with yarn balls, and she somehow ended up inside an aviary exhibit in the zoo. They were so much fun to create, and my younger brothers loved them.

3. What was the last book you read, and is this part of your chosen writing genre or a departure?

I’m currently reading Matched by Ally Condie and am absolutely loving it. That’s pretty typical of what I like to read. I also read How I sold one million eBooks in 5 months by John Locke and enjoyed that. I read marketing books far more than I read fiction these days. When I’m not working, I like to pretend I’m working 🙂 The only other genre I read with regularity is literary fiction. I run a book club with roughly 400 members, and we’re solely devoted to the classics.

4. Can you talk some about the difficulties of balancing your role as president of Novel Publicity with your own writing career?

Well, I may be able to balance my writing and my business, but everything else in my life is out of whack. I work anywhere from 13 to 17 hours per day. Every day. This does not leave time for social interactions, family, taking care of my health, or any sort of leisure activity.

Ultimately, My day is quite simple. Wake up (usually anywhere from 2 AM to 6 AM depending on how much I need to get done). Work until 7 PM. Eat dinner with my husband. Either watch television or read a book until I fall asleep. Repeat on loop. When I’m actively writing (as opposed to editing or marketing my work), I like to write at least 1 1/2 hours first thing in the morning. I go to Biggby or Panera to get it done. The rest is devoted to my burgeoning business, Novel Publicity.

Hey, didn’t somebody important say, “far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing?” I don’t mind having to give-up the other parts of my life to pursue my work, because I love it. I know I’ll eventually need to achieve a better balance, but for now, I’m content to push the pedal to the metal.

5. What might your readers be surprised to learn about you?

Hmm… Well, up until quite recently, I was a shy and socially awkward person. I felt very nervous participating in social interactions and was constantly sticking my foot in my mouth and giving it a good chew. At some point, I adopted the policy fake it until you make it and forced myself into extraversion. Novel Publicity has really brought me out of my shell. I had to get over my social anxiety if I wanted my business to take off, so I did, and it did.

6. What’s on the horizon for you?

I’m working on book two in the Farsighted series. It’s called Open Heart and will be written from the point-of-view of a different main character. I’m also toying with the idea of a special hardcover edition of Farsighted Book 1 with new chapters added to the end and a sneak peek of Open Heart.

Blog Tour Notes

THE BOOK: Alex Kosmitoras may be blind, but he can still “see” things others can’t. When his unwanted visions of the future begin to suggest that the girl he likes could be in danger, he has no choice but to take on destiny and demand it reconsider. Get your copy today by visiting Amazon.com’s Kindle store or the eBook retailer of your choice. The paperback edition will be available on November 24 (for the author’s birthday).

THE CASH PRIZES: Guess what? You could win a $100 Amazon gift card as part of this special blog tour. That’s right! Just leave a comment below saying something about the post you just read, and you’ll be entered into the raffle. I could win $100 too! Please help by voting for my blog in the traffic-breaker poll. To cast your vote, visit the official Farsighted blog tour page and scroll all the way to the bottom. Thank you for your help with that.

THE GIVEAWAYS: Win 1 of 10 autographed copies of Farsighted before its paperback release by entering the giveaway on GoodReads. Perhaps you’d like an autographed postcard from the author; you can request one on her site.

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!

MORE FUN: There’s more fun below. Watch the live action Farsighted book trailer and take the quiz to find out which character is most like you!

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10 Comments

  1. Haha, I love it! I told the cover model what you said – looking forward to hearing his response. And you came up with great questions too. Thanks for giving me a home on your blog for the day 😀

    • Hah! I have a feeling he probably looks nothing like him usually, but it’s something about that shot that brings out his inner Barack. More power to him, I say. Thank you, I’m glad you liked the questions! I really enjoyed your answers. Have an awesome day 🙂

  2. Emlyn,

    Wow, that is an amazing blog tour you have lined up. Color me impressed! Best of luck with your novel and your new business!

    BTW, I tried to vote for Shaggin The Muse on your site, but couldn’t figure out how to do it. So click one vote for Jonathan on my behalf, would ya? 🙂

    Cyndi

  3. I’ve read about FARSIGHTED — what a cool premise, and what an awesome contest! I think it’s wonderful how you were inspired to write the story by your reflection in the mirror.

    Thanks Emlyn for the giveaway opportunity, and thanks Jon for interviewing her.

    J.C.

    Join me in the Trick or Treat Spooktacular! Could you help make the Grand Prize a brand new Kindle Touch?

  4. Thank you for this interview and profile, Jon. I’m in the middle of reading Farsighted and loving it. Well done, Emlyn! You’ll hear from me when I’ve finished …

  5. I like interviews like this because they give a different view of other writers. I’ve never read any YA but will give it a try and then can give a copy to my grandchildren.

  6. Hi everyone and thank you for all the supportive and enthusiastic comments. This tour has kept me so busy over the past month that I am only now able to return and respond to new comments. The support of the book blogging community has been spectacular. You guys rock!

  7. Pingback: Farsighted by Emlyn Chand « Breathing Books

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