Interview with author Calista Lynne

Here at Kettle Magazine we’re very pleased to have the opportunity to interview author Calista Lynne. She has kindly agreed to answer a few questions for us, about her book and life as a writer, on the eve of her debut novel We Awaken being published on July 14th.

We Awaken is a Young Adult novel about dreams, magic, and romance. Below is the official synopsis.

Victoria Dinham doesn’t have much left to look forward to. Since her father died in a car accident, she lives only to fulfill her dream of being accepted into the Manhattan Dance Conservatory. But soon she finds another reason to look forward to dreams when she encounters an otherworldly girl named Ashlinn, who bears a message from Victoria’s comatose brother. Ashlinn is tasked with conjuring pleasant dreams for humans, and through the course of their nightly meetings in Victoria’s mind, the two become close. Ashlinn also helps Victoria understand asexuality and realize that she, too, is asexual.

But then Victoria needs Ashlinn’s aid outside the realm of dreams, and Ashlinn assumes human form to help Victoria make it to her dance audition. They take the opportunity to explore New York City, their feelings for each other, and the nature of their shared asexuality. But like any dream, it’s too good to last. Ashlinn must shrug off her human guise and resume her duties creating pleasant nighttime visions—or all of humanity will pay the price.

Image: Calista Lynne, Harmony Ink Press

And now for the questions!

Hi Calista! Have you always wanted to be an author?

I’ve wanted to do a variety of things, from being a scientist to a baker, but I’ve always been the best at writing so it just sort of happened. All of my biggest role models are authors so it only makes sense that I chose to follow in their footsteps!

What inspired you to write We Awaken?

My goal was to write the representation I wish I had growing up. While incorporating asexuality into literature is what drove on the book, the actual ideas for the plot came from a sonnet I had intended to write for a contest but abandoned. Not to mention there are some obvious fairytale influences in the plot, it being magical realism and all.

What is your writing process like?

Lots of lists that end up getting ignored. I tend to write numbered outlines so if I get stuck on a scene I can just move on to the next number. Then it’s just a matter of powering through the rough draft, printing it out and annotating it, then retyping it until it’s perfect. Well, there’s a bit more to it than that, but it’s a good starting point. Also lots of caffeine is involved.

Which of the characters in We Awaken would you least like to be stuck in an elevator with, and why?

The obvious answer is Semira because she’s just a nasty person all around. Traditional, textbook villain right there. Except for that fact that she looks like an elderly woman. Other than that, I feel like Ellie and I wouldn’t mesh too well because a lot of her negative traits are inflated versions of things I don’t like about myself. There’d probably be a brawl to the charming tune of elevator monotony.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Write to gain validation and to prove yourself. Blabbing about the book you’re going to write does nothing and just lets others come steal your ideas. If you have a great concept, write it and the words will speak for themselves.

Can you sum up We Awaken in five words?

Ladies, dreams, and happy endings.

What was your favourite scene or moment to write in We Awaken?

I remember feeling so relieved the day I rewrote the opening and it was what I wanted. What is now just the first few paragraphs had originally been pages and it completely dragged. One day I woke up and the way I could fix it popped into my head so I hand wrote the entire thing and that was that.

You can find Calista Lynne on her Twitter and Tumblr accounts, as well as on her blog. We Awaken is available now, published by Harmony Ink Press, and can be purchased from Amazon UK and all other good bookshops.