I had an amazing experience this week . . . and it was proof, once again, that when we send our words out into the world, we have no idea where they'll land and who they'll touch. This week, I received a fan letter (via e-mail). While fan letters are ALWAYS cool, this one was even more so. Because it came from a reader half a world away, a young Taiwanese woman who loved my book (which has been translated into complex Chinese characters) and wrote to tell me so. I was incredulous and thrilled. When I first imagined being a published author, when I first dared dream the dream, I couldn't have foreseen the lovely people I'd meet because of a story set on a small Wisconsin lake. But that story has taken me around the world.
And now I get to introduce you to another writer whose words will also go places she could never imagine. Kelly Para's new novel, Invisible Touch, poses the question, Do You Believe in Fate?
Kara Martinez has been trying to be "normal" ever since the accident that took her father's life when she was eleven years old. She's buried the caliente side of her Mexican heritage with her father and tried to be the girl her rigid mother wants her to be -- compliant and dressed in pink, and certainly not acting out like her older brother Jason. Not even Danielle, her best friend at Valdez High, has seen the real Kara; only those who read her anonymous blog know the deepest secrets of the Sign Seer.
Because Kara has a gift -- one that often feels like a curse. She sees signs, visions that are clues to a person's fate, if she can put together the pieces of the puzzle in time. So far, she's been able to solve the clues and avert disaster for those she's been warned about -- until she sees the flash of a gun on a fellow classmate, and the stakes are raised higher than ever before. Kara does her best to follow the signs, but it's her heart that wanders into new territory when she falls for a mysterious guy from the wrong side of town, taking her closer to answers she may not be able to handle. Will her forbidden romance help her solve the deadly puzzle before it's too late...or lead her even further into danger?
Now, let's hear from Kelly in her own words:
1.) How did you come up with the idea for this book? Are you more driven by plot or by character?
I've always believed in intuitive vibes and repetitive signs and thought wouldn't it be cool to have a girl who really saw visions and have to piece the signs together to help others? But not only that, but this gift had to also be a curse and would a logical mother believe her? And from there Kara was born in my mind with secrets and pain and grief and romance. I am more character driven. I don't believe plot is my strength. I really love to push my characters to their limits.
2.) Who's your favorite character in this book and why?
My favorite character in Invisible Touch is Kara. She's dealing with a strong psychic gift that is often at times a curse and tries to get a handle on it all by herself while the family deals with the grief of losing her father. She's got a strong heart and like a lot of teens with personal dilemmas trying to hold it together.
3.) What's your writing process/writing environment like?
Before I take any notes, or jot down ideas, I always start a book by writing a scene. Once I get that scene down then the brainstorming comes next. My writing environment is my laptop. :) I have a desk with a computer with access to the Internet, and at times I'll set my laptop there or take it to the recliner.
4.) What's your favorite part of writing?
My favorite part is building characters from scratch, and then using my imagination to create their stories.
5.) What's the best piece of advice you've ever gotten about writing?
So many, but I think the one that comes to mind often is that your writing skill is like a muscle. You have to work that muscle in order to build your strength as a writer.