Welcome back for part II of my interview with author Deva Fagan. If you missed it Part I
As the story played out did you ever flip flop on who the "good guys" and "bad guys" were?
I did definitely make it a point to try to understand why every character would be doing what he or she was doing. When Nyl tries to convince Trix to join his "side", for example, I like to think that he truly believes his own arguments. And for that to ring true, I had to try to convince myself
I love following a writers career from the beginning and watching them go into their craft. I've enjoyed all your books, with each new one you've given more than the last time.
How do you continue to challenge and push yourself?
I think the first step is recognizing that you want to push yourself, and identifying what your strengths and weaknesses are. I've always loved world-building and coming up with cool ideas, but it wasn't until I really started paying attention to character and voice that I actually managed to publish my first book. And even now I recognize that character (especially character motivation) is my danger zone. I can get carried away with cool ideas and not pay enough attention to why my character is doing what she's doing. So that's something I try to be aware of with each new book.
Another thing I do is to look at my own absolute favorite books, and figure out why it is I love them so, and ask how I can develop the same qualities in my own stories. For example, one of the things I love about the Harry Potter series is how I feel like each of the secondary characters has his or her own story to tell. I would read a book about Neville's adventures, or Hermione's, just as happily as I'd read about Harry.
With Circus Galacticus, I knew I wanted to push myself to present a similarly wide cast of characters-- wider and richer than in my previous books. To do so, I needed to be sure I knew each of them well enough that I could imagine writing an interesting and fun story from that other character's point of view.
Your endings are crescendo good and I wasn't kidding when I said I may have to start calling you The Closer in my review.
What is it about endings that bring the best out of you?
Wow, thank you! That is high praise! As a reader I hate it when a book I'm enjoying peters out, or ends in a sort of hasty confused muddle. So I do certainly try my best to make my own endings satisfying.
I write outlines for my books, so I do make sure I know how they'll end, in a general sense, before I write them. Not that I know all the details of the ending before I get there-- but I try to make sure I know where I'm headed in terms of the main character's emotional arc. I need to know right from the start what's at stake, so that I can build to that climax where the character grapples with their big issue.
So for Trix, one of the big questions she has to confront is whether she truly belongs anywhere. She desperately wants to have a home, and she also wants to be special and cool and "a star." So I knew that she was going to have to face those desires at the end of the book, and thus that was something I worked toward in writing the big climax and the last few chapters.
Circus Galacticus is a very visual read. One thing that stood out for me was the naturally diverse cast and the character art created by Loraine Sammy is great. Would you ever consider writing a graphic novel edition?
I would LOVE to work on a graphic novel edition, if a publisher were interested! I have been a comic book fan since I was a kid. I started off reading Archies but quickly moved on to superhero comics. My favorites were the X-Men and especially their junior counterparts, the New Mutants (who are a wonderfully diverse superhero team, I will add)
And when I was writing Circus Galacticus I often imagined the scenes in my mind like panels in a comic. So yes, it would be a dream come true to work on a graphic novel!
I think its fitting and a great sign that the Muppets who helped inspire Circus Galacticus are making a come back right now.
Also this year there seems to be a resurgence of middle grade and young adult novels set in space or with aliens.
As a girl who grew up watching Star Wars, Star Trek and Doctor Who (among others) I am always looking for more of that sort of thing!People keep saying that there's a certain bias against science fiction, but there's so much space adventure on the big and small screen that it certainly seems like the audience is there.
Okay I am going to very careful with this next question because I've always been superstitious. (but I can't resist asking) It's that time of year again when people begin to make guesses and predictions for the upcoming ALA awards.
Are you an author that likes seeing your books on mock list? Why or why not?
Hee! I blush even to be asked this question. I'd certainly be flattered, especially since mock lists are put together by people who truly love books. Knowing that such folks thought well of my story would make me very happy.
But that said, I will admit that my primary aim in writing is not critical acclaim. I want to write books that entertain and that make people think about life. The best "award" is knowing that a reader has truly enjoyed one of my books.