Derrolyn Anderson is a visual artist and writer. She is the creator of the four part “Marina’s Tales” series, as well as the YA/NA urban fantasy “The Athena Effect” and its sequels, “The Mackenzie Legacy” and “The Caledonian Inheritance”.
Thanks for your time, Derrolyn! So my first question is, why young adult fiction?
I was a bookwormy kid, and I blew through every dog and horse story in the local library. There wasn’t a whole lot of YA back then, so by the 5th grade I was reading Judith Krantz and Gore Vidal. Aside from checking out the occasional Crichton or Grisham bestseller I fell out of the novel reading habit (though I always took DOZENS of magazines) until I had my kids.
I taught my three daughters to read at an early age and started vetting their books, falling head over heels in love with Harry Potter. When they worked their way over to Twilight, I found the romance to be a little stalkerish, so I decided that maybe I’d try my hand at a YA romance, thinking it couldn’t be all that hard.
Boy was I naive! Writing has been the most difficult thing I’ve ever attempted, but now I’m completely hooked, and I’m sure it’s an obsession that will last me a lifetime.
What made you try this interesting mix of YA/NA urban/paranormal?
I’ve always loved a good fish-out of-water story, and I had the idea a backwoods girl raised off the grid being thrown into city life abruptly. I saw a Neil deGrasse Tyson “Nova Science Now” that focused on the brain. It touched on the phenomenon of synesthesia, and got me started thinking…
What kind of research do you do?
I have a pretty large reference library at home, but when I’m writing I mostly do internet searches, and I usually end up going to Wikipedia. I’ve looked up how to conceal weapons, how long it takes to drown, what it’s like to be Tasered, and how to trace phone calls. If the police ever have a reason to check into my searches, it’s going to look very fishy.
LOL! How long have you been writing for?
I was an art major in college and never took any formal writing classes, but I’ve won workout equipment and concert tickets in writing contests, so I always knew I could write a good persuasive essay.
I’d never attempted anything longer than a few pages when I wrote my first book, but once I got started, it just came pouring out over the course of a few weeks. Ever since then I’ve been completely consumed by the process.
I once read somewhere that artists make good writers because of their ability to visualize… That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
Next! How do you ensure you have time to write?
My husband and I have a home-based business, so my work hours are very flexible. I usually try to slip away in the evenings while my awesome nurturing man cooks us girls dinner. I really scored – he’s cute, he helps brainstorm plot lines with me, and he’s an amazing chef to boot!
He sounds amazing! Who are your biggest literary influences?
I read a lot of James Michener when I was younger, so I’ve probably been most influenced by his big sweeping sagas like “Hawaii”, “Centennial” and “The Covenant”. (Not that I write big sweeping sagas, LOL.)
What are you reading at the moment?
The last novel I read was “Charm and Strange” by Stephanie Kuehn, and I really liked it, but now that I’m working on another book I’m only finding the time to dip into some compilation books of classic short stories.
Who is in your fantasy cast for the main characters in The Athena Effect?
I have a Pinterest board with images that remind me of the story, but they’re mostly random unknown models.
Actors? I hate to cop out here, but they’d have to be some fresh-faced unknowns, because I have a hard time seeing any of the current crop in Hollywood fitting the bill…
Maybe a younger Scarlett Johansson (for Cali)
or a teenage Colin Farrel (for Cal)?
Who do you envision?
Ooooh I love this part! I’d cast Elle Fanning (Dakota’s younger sister) to play Cali, because she’s the most amazing actor ever. She’s only 16 at the moment, though, so that gives us lots of time to find a production company and write a script!
And I’d cast a younger Zac Effron to play Cal, because I don’t care if people hate him because of High School Musical, you can’t deny he’s a gorgeous young man and I think he’d play the subtleties and intricacies of Cal’s character growth well.
Thank you Nemo, for having me here!
For more information on Derrolyn Anderson and her books please visit these links:
What’s next for Derrolyn Anderson?
Derrolyn says: I’m about halfway through the fourth and final book in “The Athena Effect” series. Once I’m finished with that I’m going to dive right in to a stand-alone murder-mystery period-piece set in the 80’s. Whew! That was a mouthful, but the story has been gnawing at the back of my mind for years, and once I put the current cast of characters to bed I can’t wait to dive right in.