Hey guys! Today I have the pleasure of inviting debut author, J.A. George, here to Wonderland's Reader! Her book, Gifted, is the first installment of a new series called The Hayven Series. J.A. George was kind enough to come here today and give a bit of an explanation about Gifted and the thought process that went behind it coming about!
So, without further ado, here's J.A.!
Seeing as GIFTED is my first published novel, you’ve probably never heard of me, so I suppose this is the perfect opportunity to introduce myself. My name is J.A. George and I’m the author of GIFTED − The Hayven Series. If I were to summarise my novel in a nutshell, it would go along the lines of something like this:
There is no chosen one in this story.
She was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and happened to make a decision that altered her future forever. It happens to all of us every day.
Avery Gray is a size twelve university student with a penchant for dry humour, and she’s as normal as they come. One rainy afternoon, Avery had to make a choice: go through the alleyway or around it. Two possible options. One would have had her future continue on as planned, the other would ensure that her future never remained the same again. She unknowingly went with the latter.
Change can be good. It can bring new opportunities, new friends and a life you never thought possible. Change can be bad. It can bring you people determined to burn your city to the ground.
It all depends on the decisions you make.
Yup – that’s an acceptable nutshell.
As you probably guessed from the blurb, GIFTED fits into a few different genres, but I would narrow them down to contemporary young adult fantasy, but a few traces of romance, comedy, adventure and mystery can be found floating around inside.
As you could probably tell from that tid-bit, Avery, or as she’s commonly known, Ava, is my main character, and possibly my favourite (it changes every day). She’s pretty awesome if I do say so myself. This published version of GIFTED is my second edition and in my first edition Avery was completely different. In the past, I’ve had problems with writing for other people. All authors want their books to sell and in order to do that, you have to write a book readers will want to buy. The annoying thing is, authors don’t know exactly what readers want. We may know a few things, but not all. In my first edition of GIFTED, I tried to write a novel that would make everyone happy, until I realised that that was impossible. So after two years, I randomly made the decision to write for myself. I am in serious danger of going off on a tangent, but I’ll be putting up a post on my blog all about writing for myself. Long story short, Ava was a bit boring, in my opinion, because I was trying to follow trends I’d seen before, trying to fit her into too many different boxes. Now, I just love her. She makes me laugh − a lot. I hope she’ll make you laugh too.
The one question I get asked the most about my book is where I got the idea from. I have no idea where I got the idea from. I promise you, I don’t! Yet, it would be nothing short of a lie to tell you it simply fell into my head one day, but it often does feel like that’s exactly what happened. I really just wanted to write a book I wanted to read and certain elements sort of fell into place. Which now that I come to think of it, is probably why GIFTED fits into a few different categories.
When it comes to settings in GIFTED, I have two. I knew from the get-go that I wanted one of them to be based in the UK, but instead of using a town that already exists, I made one up – Huxton. Why make up a town when you have so many options at your disposal, I hear you ask. Well, it was so much more fun to make up my own world because really, anything goes; no-one can tell you the place you’ve made up isn’t exact or accurate because well, you’ve made it up, so of course it isn’t! Same goes for my fantasy setting – Hayven, a city in a country separated from the rest of the world where only gifters (ordinary people with extra-ordinary gifts) can go.
Going onto the concept of being gifted, well, that stemmed from me. No, unfortunately, I am not supernaturally gifted (yet – I’m waiting on it), but I am obsessed with people who are different. Now, when I say ‘different’, I don’t mean the gifts my characters have, such as, pre-cognition, shape-shifting, weather control, and earth manipulation, I just mean…different. The characters in GIFTED have supernatural gifts, but without the gifts, they are still different, they’re an eclectic bunch. I like the idea of ordinary people being extra-ordinary in some way or another, whether it’s to do with their artistic capabilities, the way their brain works, or their imagination – the reason why Roald Dahl remains my favourite author to this day. Because of this, I made a city full of normal people with gifts and personalities that are anything but normal, anything but ordinary and boring.
In case you were wondering, none of the characters in my book are based on people I know, rather influenced, as in, I’ve mixed different bits of people and made them into one person. Or I make them into people I’d love to meet one day. Are any of the characters based on me? I suppose they are. Something that’s extremely important to me is realism. I know GIFTED is fantasy, but I want readers to read about these characters and imagine seeing these people walking down their streets on a regular Wednesday. That’s why one of my settings is a contemporary setting – realism.
The title GIFTED just seemed the most appropriate as I wanted to summarise the entire book in one word and I think it does that really well, and I will also follow that trend with the three books that form the rest of the series. GIFTED is a title that graces the cover of other books out there, but I didn’t want to change the title because nothing suits it as much. So I added a subtitle and called my series, The Hayven Series.
My book cover is an interesting topic (well, to me anyway) because when I found a cover designer I liked the only thing I knew was that I didn’t want an actual person on the cover but rather an important image, and I finally decided on Mysteria Park.
The scene and significance surrounding Mysteria Park is why I felt it was best to have it featured on the front cover. However, I soon opted for a re-design as I wanted something a lot more plain and simple.
I’ve said a lot already in this guest post, but over on my blog, I have an entire post about my book cover process if you’d like to check it out!
Anywho, I think it’s time to bring this guest post to an end (*whispers* otherwise I might not get invited back!).
Thank you, Ashtyn, for allowing me to post on your blog. It’s been fun!
It was awesome having you, J.A.! I love hearing about the processes that goes into getting a book out to readers and yours was really interesting! Also, holy cow, I adore your cover!! The colors of the petals against the dark background are absolutely gorgeous.
I'm so excited to get my hands on Gifted! If you are, too, you should definitely check out J.A.'s website and twitter, which are full of amazing tidbits and information about the book.
Find J.A. online