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MICHAEL JENSEN AND DAVID POWERS KING INTERVIEW AND WOVEN GIVEAWAY



 Happy Monday Everyone! Hope you're having a great start to the week. Can you believe it's already the end of January? I've been doing great on my commitment to exercise regularly. I joined Planet Fitness and it's really helped keep me on track when it's too cold to walk outside. Hope you're doing good on whatever new plans you made for the new year.

Before I get to our fantastic interview, I have a few winners to announce.

The winner of A CONSPIRACY OF US is Jessica Lawson!

And the winner of TUNNEL VISION is Jenni Enzor!

And the winner of the Kate Testerman critique is Susa Silvermarie!

Congrats! For the book winners, please e-mail me your address so I can have your books sent to you. Please e-mail me by the end of Wednesday or I'll have to pick another winner.

Today I’m super thrilled to have follower David Powers King and his co-author Michael Jensen here to share about their new YA fantasy WOVEN that releases tomorrow. For those of you who have followed their road to publication, this is a sweet day for them. And I’m so happy to share in it with them.
WOVEN is a fantastic story. I loved the magical system they created around the idea of threads. And Nels and Princess Tyra are such fantastic characters who both grow through the story. This was a real page turner for me and I can’t wait for the second book in the series to come out.
Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

Two unlikely allies must journey across a kingdom in the hopes of thwarting death itself.

All his life, Nels has wanted to be a knight of the kingdom of Avërand. Tall and strong, and with a knack for helping those in need, the people of his sleepy little village have even taken to calling him the Knight of Cobblestown.

But that was before Nels died, murdered outside his home by a mysterious figure.

Now the young hero has awoken as a ghost, invisible to all around him save one person—his only hope for understanding what happened to him—the kingdom’s heir, Princess Tyra. At first the spoiled royal wants nothing to do with Nels, but as the mystery of his death unravels, the two find themselves linked by a secret, and an enemy who could be hiding behind any face.

Nels and Tyra have no choice but to abscond from the castle, charting a hidden world of tangled magic and forlorn phantoms. They must seek out an ancient needle with the power to mend what has been torn, and they have to move fast. Because soon Nels will disappear forever.
 

Hi David and Michael! So excited to have you here today!

DPK: Thank you for having us, Natalie! This is an honor for us both.

1. Tell us about yourselves and how you became writers.

MJ: I came from a musical family where everyone sang or played an instrument. I sing and play the piano, myself. I began making my own compositions and even tried my hand a writing a few musicals. That’s when I discovered a passion for writing and storytelling.

DPK: I grew up near Hollywood, so I was pretty much surrounded by movie culture all the time. I tried my hand at singing, acting, and animation. Then one day, I had a crazy idea pop into my head when I was 14, leading me to give writing a shot. Been writing and submitting ever since.

2. So cool how you've both been artistic since you were kids. How did you decide to co-author
this book and what considerations went into that decision? What tips do you have for other writers considering co-authoring a book?

DPK: Michael and I first met as coworkers and soon became friends. I let him read one of my practice novels. Then, when he shared his idea with me over lunch—a ghost and a princess in a forest looking for a needle that could bring the ghost back to life—I was sold. “We HAVE to write a book!” was my response. I have always loved ghost stories, and this idea was killer.

MJ: David has been a wonderful co-author. The reason we work so well together is that we put the project above our artistic differences. We never compromise our artistic differences; we just work together to come up with a solution that is better than either of us had on our own. It helps having a co-author who is also your friend.

3. That's so awesome that you met as co-workers. It's like it was destined. Where did you get the idea for WOVEN and how did it change, if at all, as you collaborated together?

MJ: Almost a decade before meeting David. I dreamed I was crushed by a tree and became a ghost. I could pass through walls and fly around. It was very frustrating because no one could see or hear me. I even sang about my frustrations in my dream. I woke up thinking this was my next musical project. I wrote an outline and several songs for it. As much as I loved the story, it just wasn’t working as a musical, so I put it on the shelf. When I read one of David’s books, I remembered it. The basic storyline is still there, but the collaboration process altered WOVEN into something better than I could have dreamed. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll still make that musical.

DPK: I instantly fell in love with this concept. Some of the fantastical elements didn’t make the cut after deciding to ground the story in reality, but it’s possible that we’ll use them in the future. What I have treasured throughout this whole experience is Michael’s trust in sharing his brilliant concept with me, a fledgling writer. Michael has since helped me find my voice as a writer.

4. I loved how the magical system in WOVEN dealt with threads and a magical thimble. What was your world building process like?

DPK: We knew early on, if we wanted a magic needle, we needed a world with a magic system to match. We applied every aspect of sewing and weaving, giving them a place in our world. The concept that everyone is a thread in a tapestry allowed us to invite a different kind of ghost, too.

MJ: Neither David or I knew anything about weaving and sewing before this. We did quite a bit of research and spoke with professionals to help make the magic system parallel the trade.

5. Interesting all the research you did on weaving and sewing. I can imagine you didn't know much about it beforehand and probably weren't very interested in such things. I’ve heard from other authors that co-author books that it’s common for each author to write from one character’s POV? Was this true for you too? And what else did you do to make the story seem so seamless like it was written by one person? Because it seems like there is a whole lot more to co-writing a book to ensure that both characters move the plot along in a cohesive fashion and so that hints and foreshadows are suggested along the way.

MJ: We would sit down and discuss the story chapter by chapter. David would write a treatment of the chapter and hand it to me. I would keep the elements I liked, rewrite a different direction if needed, and send it back. We repeated this process until we had a chapter we were both proud of.

DPK: The Lead Writing approach has worked exceptionally well for us. That’s when one writer handles the initial draft while the other focusing on editing and adding elements. We always plan our chapters ahead of time, as Michael said. This helped us streamline the presentation into one that is unique. This would be a very different book if it was written by either of us on our own.

6. Your collaboration process is fascinating. And I haven't heard any other authors describe it like you have. Who was the harder character to develop—Nels or Tyra—and why?

DPK: Tyra. We wanted her to be unlikable, in a good way. I think we rewrote her character three times. Eventually we found a balance that made her justifiably unlikable, or as one of out early readers put it, “wonderfully flawed.” She does become more sympathetic as the story continues.

MJ: I disagree with David—sorry buddy. Nels was the most difficult because his character arc is so subtle. He starts out flawless; too good and kind. We had to dig deep and consider how dying would change him, how he resents having to put his afterlife in the hands of the spoiled princess Tyra. Nels had to lose every sense of his self while remaining the loveable, all-around good guy.

7. Your competing answers are making me laugh. I know your road to getting an agent and your fantastic publisher Scholastic were not without bumps in the road. And your story is such an inspiring one of not giving up. How did Meredith Bernstein become your agent and Scholastic your publisher?

MJ: Our road certainly has been ... unusual. After the rights for WOVEN were returned to us, the controversy with our previous publisher ignited a media frenzy that soon landed us six offers of representation with major literary agencies. All of the Big Five publishing houses requested and read the manuscript, too. After carefully weighing our options, we selected Meredith Bernstein to represent WOVEN in an action with major publishers—it was acquired by Scholastic at auction. They happened to be our first choice, so everything worked out.

DPK: An unusual road ... Michael couldn’t be more right. It’s not a path any author plans on, but it happened. Michael’s battle became mine. He had my back through the thick of it and he will for always. Being offered a contract with Scholastic at the end is the equivalent of a dream come true. I’m proud and consider myself exceptionally lucky to have an amazing team to work with.

8. I have been jumping up and down with excitement for you just knowing what you've gone through and how things tend to work out for the best. What are your plans for marketing your book? Any decisions made based on watching other authors before you promote their own books?

DPK: Being in the blogging community for six years, I’ve seen many authors promote their books. Because of this networking experience (and a great publisher), I believe the marketing is practically taking care of itself. We are doing a blog tour/giveaway for the next three weeks.

MJ: While Scholastic is doing the majority of marketing for us, we plan marketing where we can, and we will also make ourselves available for signings, school visits and conferences.

9. Glad you've feeling it's a smooth process. Some authors feel overwhelmed with the marketing aspect of it. What are you working on now?

MJ: Among our personal projects, we are currently working on a companion novel to WOVEN.

DPK: The companion novel is coming along great. We hoping to have it wrapped up before the end of this summer. Our primary focus is writing the next two books that follow after WOVEN.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, David and Michael. You can find David and Michael at:

David: Blog: www.davidpowersking.com , Twitter: @davidpowersking
Woven Website: www.wovenbook.com

And WOVEN is available now wherever books are sold:
iTunes             

David's and Michael's publisher Scholastic generously offered an ARC of WOVEN for a giveaway.  To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through February 7th. I’ll announce the winner on February 9th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, please leave it in the comments.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry.This is for for US.

Here's what's coming up:

On Saturday I'll be participating in the Favorites Giveaway Hop. I'll have a lot of your and my favorite books to choose from and will also offer an Amazon Gift Card if you don't see a book you want.

On Monday I'll have an interview with debut author MarcyKate Connolly and a giveaway of her MG fairy tale story MONSTROUS.

On Wednesday next week I'll be reviewing Jennifer Nielsen's new MG mythology/fantasy MARK OF THE THIEF and giving away my ARC. Jennifer is one of my favorite authors and I loved this start to her new series.

And the next Monday I'll have an interview with debut author Laurie McKay and a giveaway of her MG fantasy THE LAST DRAGON CHARMER.

The next Monday I have an interview with debut author Rhiannon Thomas and a giveaway of her YA fairy tale retelling A WICKED THING.

The Monday after that I have a guest post by debut author Karen Bao and a giveaway of her science fiction YA DOVE ARISING.

Hope to see you on Friday!

 

44 comments:

  1. I wondered how you wrote it together. Passing it back and forth meant both voices were woven into one. Hey, just like the book!
    I started as a musician and interested in art as well. I think most creative people are creative in many areas.
    Good luck tomorrow on release day, David and Michael!

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  2. Sounds like a great book! I can think of several kids who would love it! Writing together sounds like a fun challenge too :)

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  3. If not for that controversy, none of that would've happened, so it all worked out.

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  4. Congratulations to Michael and David! I love how one of you said the most challenging character was the unlikable one, and the other said the most challenging character was the more perfect one. In my writings, I've had one of each of those, in two different manuscripts. Both are difficult characters to write in their own way!

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  5. Yes, sounds like a great story and a very workable co-writing process. I don't know what the controversy was with the previous publisher, but happy to hear it all worked out for the best. Congrats!

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  6. I'm always envious of authors who have writing partners. What a wonderful experience. Congrats to these two, and I look forward to reading their story.

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  7. Hubby and I got to read a traveling ARC of Woven and thoroughly enjoyed it. Wonderful read.

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  8. Woven sounds like a wonderful story. When a book is written by two authors, I keep wondering how they decide who writes what. I remember reading about the controversy, glad it all worked out in the end.

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  9. I'm with you Natalie, where has January gone? What a wonderful co-writing team, glad to hear that things worked out and Woven was able to be published. Love the premise, especially the idea of woven threads. What fun the research must have been, congrats.

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  10. I admire people who can work together and write a novel. I don't think I could do it. Woven sounds like a fun and interesting read.

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  11. The book is so fantastic and I'm so glad that, though it had a rocky road, it ended well in the hands of a great publisher like Scholastic.

    Very happy for you both David and Michael :-)

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  12. Congrats to those lucky winners.And I'm glad to hear you're sticking with your fitness plan, Natalie.

    This book sounds wonderful. I'm always impressed when two authors can find a way to work together to create a seamless novel.

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  13. Fascinating collaboration and insights into a book I'm excited to read!

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  14. Congrats to both David and Michael. Sounds like they have come up with a great formula for co-authoring a novel. And this is just the start of the journey!

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  15. Thank you for having us here, Natalie. It's such a thrill to be on your site since I've been a fan all these years. You guys are the best! :)

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  16. What an awesome collaboration story~ and an exciting book-deal-with-Scholastic story as well! Congrats to you both~ can't wait to read this one!

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  17. "A ghost and a princess in a forest looking for a needle that could bring the ghost back to life" reminds me of Peter Pan and how Wendy had to sew back on his shadow. What an awesome premise for Woven. Congrats, Michael and David!

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  18. Hi Natalie, thanks for the great interview! I always enjoy your posts. No need to enter me in this contest as I'm seriously backlogged on books! And congratulations on the exercise; it always makes me feel better.

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  19. So excited to hear I won Tunnel Vision! Woven sounds so intriguing! I loved hearing about the process of collaborating, especially how polishing the chapters and developing characters.
    Good job, Natalie, on sticking to your exercise goals!

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  20. Sounds like amazing world-building. I'd love to read this--I love the description and have been hearing good things. sharif(at)sharifwrites(dot)com

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  21. I adore the premise - especially the ghostly aspect :) Can't wait to read it!

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  22. Good luck to Michael and David. I admire people who can collaberate on a story. Heck, I have enough trouble working with myself.

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  23. Great interview. I like seeing how authors work together. I've been seeing Woven everywhere. Congratulations to Michael and David!

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  24. Hi Natalie! I love reading about collaborations between authors. So cool. Thank you for hosting David and Michael today. Woven sounds interesting.

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  25. Awesome that you two work together so well. I am hoping this is something my granddaughter would want to read. She is ten and is already a book hoarder, so I will be buying the hard back for her.

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  26. So interesting to hear about how writers could collaborate. Thanks for the interview! The books sounds really intriguing.

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  27. Thanks for noting the controversy and how that actually turned into a good thing for the authors. It's difficult to keep going sometimes as authors, so hearing about others' triumphs is always heartening!

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  28. Hi Natalie! You did a phenomenal job with this interview. After the tough road they had last year, they definitely deserve this moment. Congratulations Michael and David! Eva

    My email is: Lilicas_Place@yahoo.com

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  29. I won Woven through a Goodreads Giveaway, read it, and loved it! Way to go, Michael and David!

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  30. Nice to read about two authors' collaborative process while working together. I am also an advocate for female protagonists who aren't always likable, so I'd be curious to read the book to see how they composed the character of Tyra.

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  31. P.S. I will be mentioning about this contest on my Twitter.

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  33. Another great interview. Fascinating stuff. Thanks for that. Please let someone else win. Still digging my way out of a mountain of books.

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  34. I loved this interview. The book's premise loosely reminds me of Clive Barker's Weaveworld (very, very loosely). I cannot wait to read this book. Thanks so much for sharing with us. michelle_willms at yahoo dot com

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  35. An interesting process on writing with another. Congrats to David and Michael on a fabulous story.

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  36. Congrats! Co-authoring a book needs great chemistry. I can't wait to read your book. Thanks for sharing and the giveaway. I will share on twitter.

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  37. I remember all the unpleasantness they went through originally, and I'm beyond thrilled they've had such an amazing outcome after having each other's back and standing up for what's right.

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  38. I've always wanted to co-write something, and I'm so glad to see how well it worked for the two of you - it gives me hope. I didn't know about the "bumps" in your publication journey, but there's nothing more exciting than an auction! Wishing you both much success with WOVEN!

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  39. I've often wondered how collaborating authors worked, and this process sounds actually doable! This is actually the first time I'm tempted to find a co-author.

    I love that cover, too, and the concept.

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  40. Congrats to David and Michael! It's always interesting to see how different authors work together. Wishing them all the best.

    I'll pass on the giveaway for now. Have a great weekend!

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  41. I've always wondered what it would be like to work with another author on a book. Sounds like something I'd like to try sometime. Congratulations to Michael and David. Way to go! YEAH! *waves to Natalie*

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  42. Woven has been on my TBR list since I first heard of it! So great to hear from the authors. I really enjoyed hearing about how they co-authored Woven together. My co-author, Stephanie, and I agreed that when we wrote together it was about the book and not about our feelings, which helped us to write without having any problems. It sounds like David and Michael had a similar understanding. :) Wishing them the best of luck!
    ~Jess

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  43. I've always wondered about how co-authoring went. Thanks for a peek into that process! E.G. Moore emilygmoorewriter@yahoo.com

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  44. This interview was so refreshing :) Hearing about the process. Can't really say I've heard of a book from a ghosts point of a view. So this sounds very intriguing I can't wait to read it.

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