Today we have the opportunity to have with us today, talented author, Azia Squire. Good morning, Azia, just relax in our cozy recliner and put on the fuzzy bunny slippers while I pour you a cup of hot coffee.
Azia, we would love to hear how your morning begins once you wake. With a video camera in hand, why not tell us about your day if we were to follow you around?
Well, my year is really disjointed because I’m in college, so the way my day progresses depends on whether I have classes or not. The summer is a busy time for me with interning and marketing Liquid: The Unit. In the morning, I usually run my personal errands – shopping, appointments, managing my website, etc. – and usually, I’ll have an author showcase/book signing/presentation to do for Liquid: The Unit in the afternoon. Also, I make a conscious effort to write for at least two hours every night.
Now that we heard about how your day begins, why not tell us something about your latest release, Liquid: The Unit?
At its core, it’s a fantasy story and it fits in the young adult genre but I think it can be read and enjoyed by anyone who appreciates the genre no matter his or her age – I think that’s one of the things the review misinterpreted about the book. It’s not specifically for ages 9-12 – that’s not to say that that age group can’t enjoy the book, but really, it’s for anyone who enjoys sci-fi and fantasy. In addition to the fantastical elements, it’s about character evolution. If you strip all of the otherworldly things away, you can still feel the emotion depth of the characters. The story is rapid – it moves fast – and there’s a lot happening but it doesn’t rush through the more subtle emotional moments that connect you to the characters.
The other thing about Liquid is that it’s series. Liquid: The Unit is only the first in the series and we really don’t spend much time on Earth, therefore, we don’t learn very much about how informed humans are about these other planets – at least not in the first book. As the series moves along, we’ll learn more about how interconnected the universe actually is but the first part is really about Kell’s journey and the way she’s coming to terms with her potential.
Is it difficult for you to fashion your characters and make them come alive in the pages?
I think the characters in Liquid: The Unit are rich and well-drawn and it wasn’t difficult for me to design them that way. The key to creating well-drawn characters in my opinion is to show and not tell the reader who they are. Allow the characters to come alive through their actions and their dialogue.
When it comes to secondary characters, do you find it hard to allow them to blend in the story or does it come naturally?
It comes naturally. When I’m designing a story, my goal is to make sure everyone is playing his or her “role” and that we get to see everyone’s motive. Everyone should really have something at stake, secondary or not, so as long as that is coming across, the job is done.
Can you give us a peek into the next book that you are working on for your audience of readers?
Right now, I’m working on a saga about a group of kids growing up in an urban Southern community and coming to terms with their passions, talents and relationships. The basic synopsis is:
It’s the 90’s. A decade of new media, postmodernism and diversified music scenes. And on Peregrine Blvd in Atlanta, Georgia, a radical group of kids is gearing up to change the world of entertainment as we know it.
Is it difficult for you to let a story go?
Yes and no. When it comes to writing stories, I tend to get more attached to my characters than I do to plots. I like to explore what makes my characters who they are as people so there have been many stories that I felt comfortable leaving the “world” of the story alone but I wanted to spend more time with some of the characters so those characters showed up later in other stories.
How long does it take you to finish a book from start to submission?
It would usually take me about three to four months to write an 800-page story. However, I handwrite everything first and then I type it. So that, plus the editing process, would add about another month or two to the completion of the entire project.
What is the hardest part of creating a book? Surviving the editor? Promoting? The last chapter?
I would say the most difficult part of creating a book is definitely promotion. Editing is very much a trying process but it’s part of the joy of letting your imagination run wild. Promotion is less about your imagination and more about being practical. It’s more clinical.
I believe you are doing a book tour this summer. Is there any special news or something noteworthy that you would like to tell your readers and perhaps give us the dates?
I’m very much at the promotion stage of Liquid: The Unit! So far, I’ve been participating in local author show cases, book signings and presentations. On May 21st, I did a book signing at the Camp Creek Barnes & Noble in Atlanta, GA. On June 10th, I have a presentation at Cochran Public Library in Stockbridge, GA, and I’m in the process of setting up dates with local independent bookstores around the city. In October, I’m participating in the Barnes & Noble Educator’s Week as the featured teen author. In the meantime, I’m doing numerous presentations at local schools including Stockbridge Middle School, Stockbridge High School and Eagles Landing Middle School in Atlanta, GA. My website has all the details: www.aziasquire.weebly.com.
You have been chosen to take a thirty day trip to three fabulous spots in the world. Where would the trip start and end and who would you take with you?
Let’s see … I would probably start in Berne, Switzerland! I’ve always wanted to go but I haven’t gotten around to it yet and I would ultimately make my way to London, UK, which is my favorite city in the world. I was there for a bit in 2010 while I was living in Dublin, Ireland, and I fell in love with it. I hope to move to London one day and live there for maybe a year. Between Berne and London, I would go back to Rome, Italy. I wouldn’t take anyone with me – just my backpack, laptop, journal and MP3 player.
What does the future hold for Azia?
Well, I’m graduating from the University of Pittsburgh next year – May 2012 – and I plan to move away from Pittsburgh and to a slightly larger city. That would be ideal but it really depends on where I can land a publishing/journalism job or whether or not I go teach abroad. Hopefully, my writing career will still be propelling forward in the meantime and I can move toward turning the Liquid series into a very popular project.
You have the opportunity to either sky-dive, climb Mt. Everest, or go on a wild animal adventure to find a rare crocodile, would you go alone or take someone with you, and which adventure would you choose?
I would choose to sky-dive – that’s something I want to do one day anyway. I would definitely take my best friend along for that one; I think it’d be too nerve-wrecking to go alone.
What is your favorite food and dessert that you could eat all the time?
My favorite food is cheese pizza and my favorite dessert is ice cream. I can eat ice cream all day and never get tired of it.
You wake up one morning to learn you are an astronaut about to make a journey into space. What planet do you wish to go and see?
Probably Saturn or Jupiter. Those are my favorite planets.
Azia, thank you so much for being our guest today. I wish you the best with your writing career. Thank you for sharing a part of your life with us.