Interview with Rebecca Taylor, author of Ascendant

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Today I’m joined by the lovely Rebecca Taylor who wrote the fabulous book Ascendant.

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Click on the picture to get to Rebecca’s own blog!

What inspired you to write Ascendant?

I was reading several books and watching programs on Alchemy, history, secret societies, universal powers, the power of thought and intention—and then I started seeing it everywhere, in other books by other authors (Maggie Stiefvater and Libba Bray just to name a few) and quotes and writings from famous historical figures. It felt like a fire being ignited in my brain, some great secret that certain people knew about and utilized in life. I was so excited about these concepts that I wanted to write a story about a girl discovering them for herself.

Did you have the characters planned out previously or did they unfold as you were writing?

Unfolded as I was writing—absolutely. I do some planning, mostly plot types of things, but the characters happen more organically as I’m writing.

If Ascendant was to be made into a movie who would you like to play Charlotte?

Someone unknown: dark haired, highly intelligent and quick, but slightly insecure. She has to grow into the confident young woman she will surely become.

Does your job as a school psychologist influence your writing in any way?

I think it helps a great deal in terms of knowing when the actions of a character don’t ring true. For me, character is king and should drive the plot. I hate when I read something and a character behaves a certain way or has a particular reaction (that is completely not something that character would do) and the only purpose is to serve the plot. Our characters should change and grow, but their behaviors and emotions should make sense in terms of whom they are and where they are heading.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

The wanting the writing career so bad you sometimes make yourself sick or knock yourself down an emotional flight of stairs. The bipolar swings between “I’m doing it!” and “I’m never going to do it.” Maintaining the constant and steady stream of belief in yourself that is absolutely essential—that is the number one hardest thing. Other than that, the pace at which the publishing industry moves is horrifyingly slow—being on submission is like staring at yourself in the mirror and watching your hair grow—for six months. Also, bookstores have become a psychologically interesting place for me. I have always been a reader first and foremost and so, I have always loved bookstores. I’ve even worked in a few over the years. However, when I started writing, bookstores became an emotional crapshoot for me. Sometimes, I still love to walk in and see all those books. I can’t wait to roam the shelves at my leisure and pick out what’s next for me. Other times, I walk in and I’m horrified and overwhelmed by the sheer volume of other very talented writers in the world and I wonder why on Earth do I ever even attempt to sit down and peck out some dreck.

Now it’s time for some quick-fire questions!

Favourite author?: Too hard. Franny Billingsley, Kate Morton, Kate DiCamillo, Jane Austen, Shakespeare, Felix J Palma, Jonathan Franzen, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, J.K. Rowling, John Green, Neil Gaiman, Meg Wolitzer, so, so, so many for so many different reasons.

Favourite place to write?: Where no one will bother me

Favourite fictional character?: Oh God, I can’t believe I’m going to admit this but I love Sponge Bob. Most adults don’t give him a chance but I laugh just thinking of him.

A fictional character that you love to hate?: Hannibal Lecter. Honestly he is so complex—like a Mr. Darcy that may or may not eat you. (Actually, I kind of just described Edward as well—maybe I’m on to something here.)  

Favourite book genre?: I don’t have one. I read just about everything from the classics to my doctor’s office pamphlets. The only genre I don’t read much of anymore is straight up romance and that is only because I read SO MUCH of it in high school—but it’s not like I don’t ever or wouldn’t, especially if someone I knew recommend a really good one to me. My favorite books make me feel guilty because they are keeping me from doing everything else that I should be doing. Case in point: I spent the entire day on Tuesday reading the new Neil Gaiman book when I should have been writing content for my new website (and this interview.) I felt horrible the whole time—but I could not stop myself.

Thank you so much Rebecca for taking the time to answer my questions! Your answers were fascinating and made me laugh out loud at points! (Sponge Bob rocks!)

Please check out my review of Ascendant HERE. You can buy Ascendant on Amazon UK and Amazon.com

Ascendant

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How did I get it?:
Received from author in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

When I was twelve, my mother disappeared. I was the first person to never find her.

I’m sixteen now and she has never been found, alive or dead. I’m not the girl I should have been.

When Charlotte Stevens, bright but failing, is sent to stay at her mother’s childhood home in Somerset England her life is changed forever. While exploring the lavish family manor, Gaersum Aern, Charlotte discovers a stone puzzle box that contains a pentagram necklace and a note from her mother—clues to her family’s strange past and her mother’s disappearance. Charlotte must try to solve the puzzle box, decipher her mother’s old journals, and figure out who is working to derail her efforts—and why. The family manor contains many secrets and hidden histories, keys to the elegant mystery Charlotte called mom and hopefully, a trail to finding her.

Thoughts:

This is another one of those books with a synopsis that completely pulled me in. I really couldn’t wait to get stuck into Ascendant. It was incredibly easy to read. I read it within 24 hours as I was engrossed and just had to know what was going on. I kept putting it down for a break, but ended up picking it up again within minutes!

The story is gripping, clever and it wasn’t predictable. It’s billed as young adult, but I believe readers of all ages would enjoy it. The mystery was well written, not giving too much away at once, encouraging the reader to read on.

I absolutely loved the characters. Charlotte was a great character, all too often characters in young adult books can be a bit needy or sometimes just plain irritating. Charlotte is clever and incredibly engaging. Caleb and Hayden are the main male characters. Caleb was very sweet, but a tad possessive. Hayden was a typical ‘bad’ boy that you find in YA books. I was glad that Charlotte didn’t spend her time fawning over the two boys, because that’s something that is all too common in YA reads.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Ascendant. It was fast-paced, interesting and very easy to read. Look out for my interview with the author Rebecca Taylor coming up very soon!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Stacking The Shelves #23

Click on the image to take you to Tynga's blog to learn more!

Click on the image to take you to Tynga’s blog to learn more!

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you’re adding to your shelves, be it buying or borrowing. From ‘real’ books you’ve purchased, a book you’ve borrowed, a book you’ve been given or an e-book they can all be shared!

As ever, click on the book image to take you to the books Goodread’s profile.

Edelweiss/NetGalley

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The Runaway Wife- This book sounds really intriguing so I was glad to be approved for it!

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Sometimes Never, Sometimes Always- A beautiful cover and a book I’m looking forward to reading!

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The Truth About Letting Go- The cover is so pretty and it sounds intriguing!

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Confessions of a Chalet Girl- I’ve seen this one about a few blogs now and I was intrigued!

 

For Review

Lightpoints

Lightpoints- This book is gripping, a story of a woman who has a near death experience and awakens with a new sense.

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Ascendant- This book sounds SO good. Can’t wait to read it.

Feel free to leave your links so that I can see what you’re stacking your shelves with!