WHAT DID YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT WRITING THIS BOOK ?
Solving the puzzle with Ugene. Hanging out with Ugene. Watching Ugene grow and accept who he is, and that his deficiency doesn’t mean he has no value. Honestly, when I started writing this book I wasn’t really sure how it would end. I knew that he had to stop Paragon, and that the government was involved in what was going on, but everything else just sort of came out. I let the story tell itself, and I let Ugene guide me through the process. So the thing I enjoyed most was just hanging out with him. He’s much smarter than me, and he sees things that I don’t.
WHERE DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR THIS BOOK ?
One night my husband, step-son, and I were creating a bunch of crazy “what if” scenarios and we would build on them. Ordinary started with the question: “What if a boy lived in a world where everyone had a superpower but him and the only job he could get was delivering flowers by bicycle?” It made us laugh, but it was probably another six years before I realized that there was actually a book hiding in there. Obviously a lot has changed between that first question and the final book, but the basic question remains the same: what if you were the only person without a superpower in a world full of supers?
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THIS BOOK AND WHY ?
Ugene’s speech to the city. I was sweating it out with him. Like Ugene, I’m not a big fan of public speaking, so I completely related to his apprehension. But the words that started pouring out of his mouth gave me chills. I researched some of the greatest speeches in history, and if readers really look closely they will see hints of those speeches layered into his words. I have no idea how to inspire an entire city to act, and in the end I was so proud of how he pulled it together in a way I never would have done under such pressure.
DO YOU WANT EACH BOOK TO STAND ON ITS OWN , OR ARE YOU TRYING TO BUILD A BODY OF WORK WITH CONNECTIONS BETWEEN EACH BOOK ?
I’m a huge fan of epic sagas. All my favorite fantasy books are epics. Even the superheroes I grew up worshiping are sagas, revised, rebooted, and linked through the multiverse. So yes, I am building a larger body of work. In Ordinary, Ugene lives on Cante Road, which is the surname of the hero in another series I’m planning. If my readers pay attention, they will notice little subtleties linking all my books in a multiverse. However, not all my books will take place on the same world.
DO YOUR CHARACTERS SEEM TO HIJACK THE STORY OR DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE THE REIGNS OF THE STORY?
The characters completely had control of this one. Well, mostly. I only had a few ideas on where this was headed, so I gave them a lot of freedom to get to the ending. They really surprised me, and rarely gave me a chance to come up for air. Ugene quite stubbornly trusted no one he didn’t know because of the trauma from Paragon in the first book. Willow was commanding and insisted on having her way, though I did force her ending on her. Most of the surprised me over and over again.
WHAT IS THE FIRST BOOK THAT MADE YOU CRY ?
I’m an emotional sponge, so a lot of stories have gotten me going, but the first one I really remember losing control of myself while reading is Robert Jordan’s “A Memory of Light.” The ending of that fourteen-book saga ripped at my gut and it took me so much longer than it should have to finish because I had a hard time seeing the pages through my tears. I ugly cried. A lot. But I also learned a lot from that ending. Particularly, how to give your characters a perfect ending even if it’s brutal.
IF YOU COULD TELL YOUR YOUNGER WRITING SELF ANYTHING , WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Just write! I spent so much time plotting and researching writing tips and information for books that I didn’t do much writing. Cut out the noise and just write the book. Find a good group of authors in your genre to critique your story. But in the end, success as an author comes from just writing the book and fixing mistakes later.
DO YOU HAVE ANY “SIDE STORIES ” ABOUT THE CHARACTERS ?
Yes! I wrote a short story about Dr. Joyce Cass’s rise to power, titled Superior. It’s an exclusive offered only to people who subscribe to my email list. So if readers want to know how Dr. Cass ended up the say she did, sign up and read the story. There are also some cameos from other members of the Directorate in the short story as well.
WHAT IS NEXT FOR YOU AS AN AUTHOR?
I’ve actually already started writing my next series. It’s a late-15th century Mongolian Historical Fiction with fantasy elements. I’m excited about the project, but it may not appeal to younger audiences. There is a lot of sexuality and violence, as there was in the old Mongolian Empire. After that, I have a massive epic fantasy series to write. Right now, the plan is a five-book epic series with a follow-up five-book series that takes place 100 years after the first. But we will see how these actually fall into place.
WHAT IS YOUR PREFERRED METHOD TO HAVE READERS GET IN TOUCH WITH OR FOLLOW YOU( I.E., WEBSITE, PERSONAL BLOG , FACEBOOK PAGE , GOODREADS, ETC. ) ?
Sign up for my newsletter, follow my social media pages. I’m probably the most active on Facebook, so that’s the best place to start. I encourage reviews on GoodReads, BookBub, and Amazon, and I try to respond as much as I can. I also welcome readers to email me directly. I love hearing from them. Links for all of them can be found on my website, starrzdavies.com.