Interview: Author Sioux Trett

The following post is an interview I did with young adult fiction author Sioux Trett (her blog is here!

You can head over to her blog to enter an awesome giveaway for book launch 🙂

A new book in her exciting series Paper Dreams Chronicles is being released on Tuesday! It’s a great moment to introduce you to her, if you haven’t yet found her books, and add some links so you can check out the first book in time for the release of book two.

If you like Diana Wynne Jones, Hunger Games, Upside of Unrequited,  you’ll likely love Sioux’s series, which is an interesting, playful and yet suspense-filled adventure in time, books, and space…with first love thrown into the mix.


Hi Sioux !
First of all, I have to say I’m really loving your books. Book two ramps up the stakes in a big way, and we get to know Rennie and the others a lot more.

It surprised me in so many good ways, and I can’t wait for people to get to read it.

Thanks Becky!
It makes me so happy that you like my books! And thanks for having me on your blog today. It’s always so great to get to catch up with you.
Let’s just jump right in with a few questions –

1) Which character do you resonate most with? Which is the voice of Sioux (if there is a voice of Sioux in here..), and which ones are your favorites?

Oh that’s an easy one for me. Rennie (the main character) is definitely my voice, We don’t look alike, and most of the time we don’t act alike. But she speaks in sarcasm and nerd quotes which is definitely all me.

Since it is written in a first person narrative, it seemed like the way to go for my first attempt at this whole novel writing thing, and I have to say that I’m loving the experience. Getting to write a character who speaks so much like me is a luxury for sure.For this second book, though, I have to admit that my favorite interactions to write were Rennie & Seth.  He’s feisty and snarky in a way that Alex isn’t, and that interplay was surprisingly fun to write.

2) I know this is a very frequently asked question, but here goes: can you tell us a little bit about your writing process? Any tips and tricks, or things you’ve learned along the way that are helpful to struggling writers out there?

 

My writing process is haphazard at best, haha! I wish I was more disciplined with it. But I do have some tips, mostly based on my own mistakes. Most people sit down to write their first book and think, “Okay, Chapter One, Page One… Here we go.”

Let me tell you, that first page is a BEAR. Like, big ugly snarling grizzly.Don’t force yourself to face that monster straight out of the gate. My best advice is to write what you know. You probably have an opening in mind, an ending in mind, and one or two big major points in the middle. Great! Write those! What is the strongest scene in your head? The one that makes you keep coming back to this particular story to tell. Write that! It doesn’t matter if it’s chapter three or 3/4 of the way through the whole thing. Just get that down and start crafting around it. That sounds chaotic, and it probably won’t work for everyone. But oh man is it freeing for me. For A Time Forgotten, the first scene that I wrote ended up being in Chapter 21. But it was what kept shouting inside my skull and getting it out helped to inform other scenes I hadn’t even known were in my head yet. That was a really long answer! I hope there was something helpful in there.

3) how many books do we get to look forward to in this series?
There will be three novels, and right now I have two novellas planned as well. Those are still iffy, though. There are two stories I would love to tell within this world, but they’re both prequels and the thought of someone reading out of order and seeing massive spoilers just haunts me.
Haha! Control issues much?
But for sure there will be the three novels. In fact, I’m starting on the third today. (And yep, I am indeed starting smack dab in the middle because this scene keeps playing out in my head.)
4) Are they mapped out?… do you know how this all is going to END? (eek!)
I do know how it ends! I’ve actually had the end in mind since day one. How I get there is another story. I know certain key moments, but there are some details still waaaaaaay up in the air. Secrets will be revealed, sacrifices will be made. I’m excited to see it all play out! 

Thank you so much, Sioux, I’m so looking forward to the big launch on Tuesday!

 

Thanks again for having me visit today! I can’t wait for Tuesday! 😀
 

Again, here are the links to Sioux’s books:

Book 1                                                                               Book 2

drawn cover                  a time cover

Book Launch!YA author Sioux Trett

Just a quick post to let everyone know, author Sioux Trett’s launch of A Time Forgotten, the second book in the Paper Dreams Chronicles, is happening Tuesday! (her blog is  here! )

If you’re already a fan of Rennie and the gang, maybe it’s time to re-read book 1 so you’re ready for book 2 to land on Tuesday.

I’ll be interviewing Sioux here- in fact I’ve just sent off the questions – and likely that interview will go up on Sunday.

I’m so excited for you, Sioux, and very honored to beta read this wonderful series… I hear there are some changes I get to look forward to in the officially released version, and I can’t wait to read it again!

useful links: 
drawn cover

Book 1: Drawn In

a time cover

Book 2: A Time Forgotten

Talisman

People don’t seem to be at all suspicious of bad fortune.

When something good happens, something we wanted and maybe worked for, we look for the loophole- all of a sudden, we’ve stumbled into the dangerous and unpredictable realm of the Goblins (or Fairies or Elves- all equally twisty for us human folk), and we are wary, tense, ready for the hidden dagger, the tragic trap in the Fairies’ Gold, the hidden twist in the Genie’s wish.

But when something bad happens, we aren’t hunting for the hidden promise, the gift. “Ah! Of course,” we say knowingly, feeling good in a strange, dark (and Goblin-like, if we could only see ourselves) way, that if we didn’t see it coming, we at least foresaw something bad- and even if we weren’t quite as prepared as we thought we would be, at least we knew. We watched the news, didn’t we, in order to know, to be informed, in readiness for just such a happening as this. Dark triumph.

And with the laws of finite probability, we can live years -decades, even- ready for “something bad”; prepping for it, experiencing it internally over and over, and it will come eventually! It is a relative certainty.
And maybe there’s something good – good possibility and promise sparkling around the edges of our life, so we might even get specific and define that something Bad as a threat to the something Good that’s nosing toward us, wagging its tail. “Look out behind you,” we call to Good Thing, even while we absolutely know with every power in our Goblin-made lenses, that the Bad Thing will gobble up the Good before it reaches us.

Until the moment something bad finally actually happens, and we’re almost relieved. “At last- it’s here- I can face it.”

This is how we call in “bad luck,” and make a home for it. This is, in fact, how we create it. Fairies and Goblins alike tremble at the power we humans have to create “bad fortune.”

This is how we fail to use the powerful magic lenses, the talisman we’ve been given. (It was originally supposed to protect us!) We can choose, really. We get to find our way into the Fairy halls, passing the throne and the ballroom, with hardly a wistful glance at the glittering gowns and impeccable tailoring, at the swirling, dancing, laughing party guests in their elaborate masks, with certainly not one single taste of the vast, gleaming array of steaming dishes, savory and sweet, ripe fruit bursting with promise, and every kind of drink or nectar we can imagine (and many we can’t)- we can be strong, ignore it all, and make our purposeful way to the Forge. We can set our lenses there in the crucible that’s been sitting unused, and we can take up the ladle of molten, liquid Dream and pour it gently on our lenses. We can coat them in any powerful transformative substance we wish.

Or, we can stalk through our lives in human instinct, as human beings created with a negative bias in our brains (so we could survive in the caves and dwellings that Bad Experiences taught us to seek, and gather around our campfires and tell stories that taught us all, deeply, how to Survive when the Night gathered outside the ring of our fires) We can magnify our talismanic lenses with Doom and Prediction of Failure and all the substances that fairies find so horribly unfashionable, so they mostly exist right here in our world, all ready to hand – it’s not even hard to gather them. It requires no quest. We can even do the re-coating of our lenses while sitting on the couch!

We can continue to seek and call Bad “fortune” to us, and look for it even when Good is determined to find us- we can continue to look for the Bad as avidly as any lover in the marketplace, sure his heart’s desire is around the next corner.

This is just to say: I am writing fairytales. In them are clues I’ve hidden; clues that will help any humans that should happen to stumble accidentally into the Other realm. The hidden things will help you survive, and they’ll even help you build a kingdom successfully, if that is what you desire.

I’ve been forbidden to simply tell these rules outright, because it is another truth of humans that we have to work for things, or we don’t see their sovereign nature, and run the risk of simply discarding that which is valuable beyond our ability to imagine.

Do you have what it takes to craft your talisman? You will need it – your very life depends on it.

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Power of a Word

(*note: if you use this facebook app thingy, after you’re done, go right away into settings – apps – and delete it, because apparently it accesses a ridiculous amount of information.)

I did that Facebook word collage thing. My most used word was “love.” It’s a pretty nifty way to check in with the “word of the year” one-word new year resolution.

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Yes. 2015 has been about love. Finding out what love is. Learning what love feels like (dear wounded young-me: it doesn’t feel unsafe. It doesn’t feel like longing. It doesn’t feel like lack or pity or regret. It doesn’t feel like fear and danger, scrambling to prove your worth, make up for someone else’s accusations and blame. It doesn’t feel like lack or  inadequacy. You only thought it did, so you found, allowed, and created those things. Love feels like safety, peace and growing. Love feels rooted in honor. Love feels like questions and risking only in that it might be time to shift the status quo, It might be time to leap and listen to someone else’s perspective. Love feels like respect – for one’s self and one’s own needs and boundaries, and for the other and their needs and boundaries. Love feels like home. Love isn’t the games you thought you had to play in order to be interesting, or the manipulations and power plays that left you so confused, shaking and dizzy.  Love feels intrinsically interesting in simply being authentic with another, and learning their true self. Love feels like trust – and when the Demons of fear come up to tell you to distrust, love feels like completely knowing those are just fear and damage voices from your own past. Of your own creation. Love feels like being trusted, and holding your head up with shining heart, knowing your lover believes in you – love feels like choosing actions that show love and gratitude for his belief in you. love feels like abundance. Love feels like an energy flow of giving and receiving, not hanging on and holding back. Love feels like loving yourself, nurturing the relationship entity, and loving him are all in harmony and a constant flow.)

I’m so grateful to the counselors, healers, teachers, hard work, and examples in life who all helped me see completion of that particular broken place, that Groundhog Day lesson on endless repeat. Over. Finally.  2015, thank you for realizing my one-word intention in life. I taught myself how love feels through the long, slow and difficult process of becoming whole. Of loving this flawed being that I am – as I am.

look- I’m not perfect in this. I’m still struggling with the idea that I can be beautiful to him even though I’m not blonde and tall. I still struggle with perfectionism and fear. I always will, because I am human. The difference is, I am now safe to know I’ll be true to myself  I’ll walk away from anyone who tries to crumble my self-worth by telling me I’m not honorable and not trustworthy. I’ll walk away from anyone who tries to tell me I deserve unkindness and lack-mentality living. I love my life and myself enough to let go of anything that dims my light  and doesn’t appreciate my heart.

When the self-talk becomes kinder and more compassionate, what we accept and allow in our lives shifts, too.

This is how to make room for love. Teach ourselves how love feels by having the courage to practice love-in-action.

2016: I’d like to see love still infusing the collage, of course; it’s a garden that needs watering, and it’s a joy to nurture. I’d like the central word to be: writing. Completion. It’s time to see my novels, my babies finally born. I’ve worked on them so long. Time to laser focus. Love makes this possible – it’s a solid foundation from which to build. Success will be what form it needs to take. I don’t know what it looks like, but I know what it feels like: completion.

What will your collage look like in 2016? What is your central word intention?

Apparently, we don’t have to know how to do it, or what it will look like. We just have to set the intention and leap.
Loving and living into it : now. Today.

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Book Love List

this is inspired by Sioux, whose blog you can find here: http://siouxtrett.wordpress.com

my blog entry will not be so clear, concise, tidy and understandable as hers;  I am a sprawling, messy writer.

Here goes:

a “Love List” for my book-    Image

My poor book that I have not worked on in over a year, because I’ve gotten too busy with FEAR RESPONSES, HEALING and OLD DREAMS.

My book that is really begging for attention again, like Figaro does persistently in the morning, his silently obstinate furry face totally un-ignorable — my book, you’re going to get my time and attention again and to merry hell with everything else.

Everything else being:

Fear Response: a certification that will lead to a business that is a side-passion in a health-related field, that will lead to more certain income.

Old Dream: a Maggid certification/ordination… this is in lieu of rabbinical school, which would have taken a lot more money and many, many more years. This has been two years of training, and it will be over in September. It doesn’t really feel like a “detour” as such, because it will add to my writing, and it has been a very rewarding experience. It has also challenged me to face and conquer some major demons, so I feel it has been a unique opportunity that is actually completely necessary on the road to completing this particular novel. (AND I have had to really conquer the fear of rejection, so that will serve me immeasurably as a writer. I  have a much thicker skin now, thank God.)

HEALING:  Figuring out the whole “love” thing (which, duh, no one ever figures out – it’s a cosmic joke, it’s why we are here in the first place, isn’t it, so I’ve gotten over trying and have gladly let go of the old – and may or may not lampoon him mercilessly in my book- and am enjoying the new and keeping it in perspective. I’m not sure I believe in romantic love any more, to be honest…there is love. But the romantic thing is, perhaps, a dopamine-flooded illusion. Maybe.) I’ve been focusing a LOT on boxing this year. I am stronger. I am healthier. I feel awesome. I’m getting good at boxing. But working out so much means sitting and writing has become anathema. I’ve tried to find ways to stand and write.  I’m still working on this. I think the fitness aspect will help the writing, actually, if I get more methodical about exercising early in the morning and then hitting the keyboard.

All right. Okay.  long apologia over. Now to the Love List for my book (Which is, for now, entitled “Steampunk Torah;” merely a description of what it was when it was a weekly serial – it needs a title of its own–)

I love you, Archives. I love you so much. You are unique, dangerous and weird and I still haven’t completely explored you. I am excited to figure out  the dark powerful mystery that surrounds you.

Characters I love dearly:  Jac, Professor Malone, Is.  You three are supporting characters right now, and I love you so much. I am not sure how you sprang out of my brain; you are hilarious and clever. You behave in ways that surprise and delight me. I have had to add a sequel simply so I can preserve your lives — and the sequel is duly added — you are not going to die on my watch.

I love that these things are in this book:  Shrødinger’s Cat, Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, Amaranth, the “unwilting” that was mentioned in John Milton’s Paradise Lost as a flower in Eden, that happens to contain more iodine than the average grain, which happens to dissolve ink, and so it is used as a “murder” weapon against a Manuscript.  I still have to perfect the method of iodine extraction here, but I’m very proud of this research.

I love Mari’s journey that people will never read.  How she began as a heroine who simply reacts to the men around her, and how I realized that, and how she is now shifting to drive her own story – to create her life, not react her life.  I love how her “life” in this sense mirrors my own awakening.

I love the “villain” characters who grew from people in my life, who came across my path like ugly little gifts, to become the love-to-hate kinds of nasties that one needs in a book. And I love that they are faceted, not just plain nasty.

I love the illustrations that grow in my head until I need to put the colors of my book down on paper.

I love that you haunt my dreams still, book, you maddening, sprawling piece of weird adventure.  I wonder what is going to happen next. I wonder how you grew – truly it is a mystery to me where you came from.

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I love that an agent in Jerusalem whom I never would have met under ordinary circumstances (but you propel me out of the ordinary, and I love you for that,) stayed up all weekend to read you, book, and then told me she needs to know how you end — I, too, should love to know how you end —

I love the fun contraptions: the “Certainty Principle” which uses the spheres in their paths as a sort of guiding principle to manipulate space-time realities of human beings;
the wearable double-boiler (dangerous!) and wings; Figaro, who is not really just a cat, as he seems to follow his own space-time rules, but then, that’s a cat for you; Professor Malone’s clockwork carriage (highly dangerous, do not try this at home!), the Manuscripts…

I love the questions you make me ask, such as:

Who is to say that magic does not exist, since it’s all just bendy science, and therefore entirely provable and possible?

If the nature of space-time as we perceive it is defined by our limited perceptions, what if our perceptions were to be given a little shove of encouragement to expand?

Where will I find an editor who believes as passionately as I do in the semicolon?

When are you going to be finished?

To Kill the Angel in the House

Some of us still struggle against her.  Yes, even in “this Day and Age,” no longer Victorian times,

there is still a feminine ideal — she is giving. She is caring, she is understanding.  She doesn’t take up too much space; she is small, thin, dainty, always feminine.  She smells lovely. She is soft in voice and in body – she never loses her temper or raises her voice; she hardly speaks at all, really, unless it is in a charming and enchanting way.  She is The Angel in the House.

I’d like to kill her; I’d like to finally be rid of her.  She hangs weights on my tongue and silences my voice.  She makes me wish I were a size 0, yes, that’s Zero, the perfect size – ZERO! Take up absolutely NO room in the world, ladies, you will offend no one! Zero! the perfect size to curve enchantingly around your man, to drape winsomely in the spaces that he doesn’t need to fill!

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On paper, it’s ludicrous. We shake our heads: No, impossible. Women are not like this today – they are empowered, they are strong, they are unapologetic…

it’s more subtle, perhaps, than a corset, but trust me, the Angel in the House is still present among us.

Inspired by a walk with a friend today, and coming home to see a drag queen performance by another friend- I am musing about The Angel in the House;
I should like to throttle her completely. One day, I will.  She is why I box – when I am boxing, she leaves the room in despair, no doubt to sink frailly onto a couch in a near-faint, fanning herself and calling weakly for water…

This is a passage on the Angel in the House in an article called “Professions for Women” by Virginia Woolf.  It is a bit long by modern Internet Attention Span standards, but it really is worth the read:

“What could be easier than to write articles and to buy Persian cats with the profits? But wait a moment. Articles have to be about something. Mine, I seem to remember, was about a novel by a famous man. And while I was writing this review, I discovered that if I were going to review books I should need to do battle with a certain phantom. And the phantom was a woman, and when I came to know her better I called her after the heroine of a famous poem, The Angel in the House.

It was she who used to angelinthehousecome between me and my paper when I was writing reviews. It was she who bothered me and wasted my time and so tormented me that at last I killed her. You who come of a younger and happier generation may not have heard of her–you may not know what I mean by the Angel in the House.

I will describe her as shortly as I can. She was intensely sympathetic. She was immensely charming. She was utterly unselfish. She excelled in the difficult arts of family life. She sacrificed herself daily. If there was chicken, she took the leg; if there was a draught she sat in it–in short she was so constituted that she never had a mind or a wish of her own, but preferred to sympathize always with the minds and wishes of others. Above all–I need not say it—she was pure. Her purity was supposed to be her chief beauty–her blushes, her great grace. In those days–the last of Queen Victoria–every house had its Angel.

And when I came to write I encountered her with the very first words. The shadow of her wings fell on my page; I heard the rustling of her skirts in the room. Directly, that is to say, I took my pen in my hand to review that novel by a famous man, she slipped behind me and whispered:

“My dear, you are a young woman. You are writing about a book that has been written by a man. Be sympathetic; be tender; flatter; deceive; use all the arts and wiles of our sex. Never let anybody guess that you have a mind of your own. Above all, be pure.”

And she made as if to guide my pen. I now record the one act for which I take some credit to myself, though the credit rightly belongs to some excellent ancestors of mine who left me a certain sum of money–shall we say five hundred pounds a year?–so that it was not necessary for me to depend solely on charm for my living.

I turned upon her and caught her by the throat. I did my best to kill her. My excuse, if I were to be had up in a court of law, would be that I acted in self-defence. Had I not killed her she would have killed me. She would have plucked the heart out of my writing. For, as I found, directly I put pen to paper, you cannot review even a novel without having a mind of your own, without expressing what you think to be the truth about human relations, morality, sex. And all these questions, according to the Angel of the House, cannot be dealt with freely and openly by women; they must charm, they must conciliate, they must–to put it bluntly–tell lies if they are to succeed.

Thus, whenever I felt the shadow of her wing or the radiance of her halo upon my page, I took up the inkpot and flung it at her. She died hard. Her fictitious nature was of great assistance to her. It is far harder to kill a phantom than a reality. She was always creeping back when I thought I had despatched her. Though I flatter myself that I killed her in the end, the struggle was severe; it took much time that had better have been spent upon learning Greek grammar; or in roaming the world in search of adventures. But it was a real experience; it was an experience that was bound to befall all women writers at that time. Killing the Angel in the House was part of the occupation of a woman writer.”

– Virginia Woolf

Mrs Edwards and Fraulein Kussin met in the boxing ring on 7 March 1912 (1)

rainy hike – a poem i am too lazy to edit (because I want to go box now.)

Imageit was sunny , I swear, when I started-

the rain began so softly, or i was so tangled in my thoughts

I didn’t notice until my sweater slipped, damply, off my shoulder

and something in me … rose up

as though she’d been waiting, curled,

since i came back from Wales years ago

was handed my boy, my wild light

in a box. His ashes were so small- a tiny puff of grey

I held them in my hands and i felt nothing

did not feel her tendrils retreat, did not feel my neck stretch toward the ground

did not feel Imagination grow dull, scared into sleep

sharply cold, the rain on my eyelids

I feel her stretch and smile-

my hems are dragging, sodden now

and the businessman in the doorway

khakis pressed, wide shiny belt hard

holding in his soft animal belly

says “yeah,” absently into the phone,

takes his hand out of his pocket

and lowers that little black prison

to smile openly at me.

I feel his longing,

for youth, maybe, I think –

I feel like telling him,
“come away now, come box for a little while,”

that has always been my tragic flaw–I see the animal in others

and I want to set it free

I have grown wiser now, so I smile and walk on

an old man is coming toward me;

he grins like a beacon under his sweatshirt hood

walking a bright, lion colored dog

I smile at the dog, animal to animal

and then the man greets me like we’re at a family reunion

and I realize-

it’s not youth.

it’s life force…

a phrase we say too much, and have forgotten how it feels

those of us who are blessed enough to remember we are animals

to feel the rain on our faces

and let our sweaters fall off our shoulders,

we wake up- it doesn’t matter when

let your animal out to play, oh, let it out.

I swear it was sunny when I started.

the Wall

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photo by James Starkman

The next story I am telling (this coming saturday) is dealing with the time when the Berlin Wall came down, and the time period a little before it. It’s rough going, this story. I did not realize how much of my psyche (my inability to tolerate confinement or the perception that someone else has power over me) is formed from what I experienced in East Berlin.

Stomach, heart, mind: stop stressing – it’s long over.
Doing research for this story is a very surreal experience… a lot of what they’re saying on various websites about the Berlin wall simply is not true. 2012

Weird being an eyewitness to something unfolding–and hearing what they’re saying about it these days that simply is NOT true- not a word of it –kinda makes ya think a bit about “historical facts.”

This maggid training is an interesting journey. I had no idea it would be so deeply personal…

it’s a challenge. I like it – a lot.