Tell us a little about yourself. When did your interest in writing begin?
I’ve been drawn to books for as long as I can remember. Like many authors, my love of great stories drew me in early. I grew up in a family of readers where books were always important. I began to take writing more seriously in high school and then college, but didn’t aspire to write novels until I was in my twenties.
Tell us about your YA Fantasy Adventure, THE EXPATRIATES.
I had a blast writing THE EXPATRIATES. It’s the first in a series that follows teenager, Jim Wales, who can communicate telepathically with animals. He discovers his family has been hiding him because they know he’s a scholar—one who can manipulate energy using magic—and someone is hunting all scholars.
What was the inspiration behind this book?
Oh, it’s the ultimate cliché! The kernel for the idea of this series came to me in a dream, almost 14 years ago. It was a little scene in my head where this dark-haired kid is walking through a meadow of golden grass with a tiger and there’s a falcon hovering in the air over him, and he was communicating with the animals with his mind. It is still so vivid, all these years later.
Is there a message you hope to relate through your books?
I didn’t write the book with a message in mind, but after the book was finished there were many themes that emerged. This book is about what makes a family and a home, friendship, trust, and, taking a stand—even when that’s scary.
What is the most important thing for you when writing your novels—the characters or the plot?
I think there needs to be a balance in a book—especially adventure and quest stories—between the weight of the plot and the characters. When I’m planning out the story, I find the plot takes the lead, but the twists and turns are only meaningful because of the how they impact the characters. So, I think it’s important to give both equal time and attention while writing.
Are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you outline/plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea leads you? Has your process changed from when you first started?
I am a converted plotter. I first wrote THE EXPATRIATES as the pansters do. No outline, nothing but my mind to guide the next thing. Believe me when I say that I made every single mistake you can make. The whole thing was a mess. Rewrites took years, and finally I had to stop, outline it as if it were a new story, and start over. That process was laborious and took another few years to complete, but I can honestly say that it’s made me a much better writer. Now, I plot using a whiteboard with color-coded post-it notes, which allows me to plot but also lets my inner pantser make some changes along the way. I try not to make it too rigid.
Do you ever get writer’s block? If you do, how do you get through it?
I find that when I get stuck in my writing, it’s usually because something isn’t working. If that’s writer’s block, then yes, I totally battle with it. I believe the subconscious mind is constantly tinkering and when it needs time to percolate over something, it will put on the brakes. I’ve discovered that I get through it more easily when I don’t stress over the block. I put my writing energy into something else and let the mental knots tease themselves out until the aha! moment arrives. And it usually does, so that’s always good.
What books and/or authors have most influenced your life?
I read most of the usual things as a kid, but I remember discovering Stephen King when I was a tween. I was sick, home from school, tucked into my parent’s bed in our apartment in the Bronx, reading SALEM’S LOT. I was totally freaked out, and completely hooked. Then came THE MISTS OF AVALON by Marion Zimmer Bradley. I love everything about this book and its ties to the women of the Arthurian tales. After that, it was anything supernatural, magical, or creepy. Dean Koontz, Neil Gaiman, Diana Gabaldon, Anne Rice, Harry Potter, LOTR, and His Dark Materials. I also adore PILLARS OF THE EARTH and PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.
If you could go to lunch with one of your characters who would it be and why?
I’d have to pick Hollis. He’s a minor character in THE EXPATRIATES who’s intrigued me from the moment he appeared. I’m looking forward to seeing some more of him in book two!
Can you tell us what is coming up for you and where can we find you online?
I’m busy with book two at the moment, finishing up all the plotting and starting to get the words in order. I’ve been working on some short stories, some related to this series and some not, that I hope to release as well. I blog at http://www.corinneoflynn.com. I am also on facebook.com/oflynnbooks and Twitter @CorinneOFlynn
Next week, Nov 17-23, Corinne will be taking her book across the web on a blog tour with giveaways via Xpresso blog tours. Bloggers can sign up here: http://xpressobooktours.com/2014/10/09/blitz-sign-up-the-expatriates-by-corinne-oflynn/ Readers should visit her website for links to participating blogs.
What readers are saying:
“Told in a beautiful, flowing style full of colorful images and adrenaline-pumping action.”
“Pop some popcorn, sit back … and enjoy the thrill ride, right up to the end, which leaves you begging for more.”
“Captures your attention from the start and then guides you through a roller coaster of adventure, drama, mystery, magic and young love.”
Corinne O’Flynn is a native New Yorker who now lives in Colorado and wouldn’t trade life in the Rockies for anything. She loves writing flash and experimenting with short fiction. Her novel, THE EXPATRIATES (Oct. 2014) is a YA fantasy adventure with magic and creatures and lots of creepy stuff. She is a scone aficionado, has an entire section of her kitchen devoted to tea, and is always on the lookout for the elusive Peanut Chews candy. When she isn’t writing or hanging with her family, Corinne works as the executive director of a nonprofit. She is a member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, Mystery Writers of America, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. The Expatriates is available on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble. She blogs about her adventures at www.corinneoflynn.com.