In my continuing effort to suck as many friends as I can into “volunteering” for a role on one of my websites, we’ve got our first installment of what I hope will be a continuing series, with my friend Allirea sitting down over a cup of virtual java (possibly something stronger) and interrogating some of the indie authors she’s read and enjoyed. Here she takes aim at Imogen Rose, asking about her books with an emphasis on Rose’s most recent release, Uprising.
Imogen Rose is the author of the bestselling series, the Portal Chronicles, which has attained cult status within indie literature and become a favorite among teens and adults alike. An immunologist by profession, Dr. Rose published her first work of fiction in 2010. She now writes full time and is currently working on her second teen series, the Bonfire Chronicles. Imogen was born in Sweden and has lived in several places, counting London among her favorites. She moved to New Jersey in 2001. A self-confessed Hermès addict, Imogen freely admits to being obsessed with Kurt Cobain. She enjoys shopping, traveling, watching movies, and hanging out with her family, friends, and Chihuahua.
I have always been a fan of Imogen Rose, and after meeting her in Memphis, I asked her if I could interview her and ask questions that popped into my head. After many glasses of bubbly, she agreed.
You seem like a normal person, how do you manage to write such un-normal stuff?
Normal? Really? I don’t know if I should take that as an insult or a compliment to my acting abilities. Joking aside, I guess the more normal a person’s life, the greater the urge to fantasize about the “what ifs.”
How was the Bonfire Chronicles born?
Before I started writing, I unleashed my creativity through photography and digital art. My passion for photography is responsible for the thousands of photographs saved on my computer. Needless to say that it drives my kids and dog (who occasionally gets dressed up) bananas. I will snap away at whatever they may be doing, trying to capture and immortalize those moments. Even homework time isn’t sacred.
The photograph used on the cover of Faustine was taken during homework time. My younger daughter was so engrossed by what she was doing, not paying any attention to me at all, when I reached over for my camera. Later on when I was flipping through the pictures I had taken, I stopped at one of them, it drew me in and stayed with me. It’s this photograph that inspired the whole Bonfire Chronicles series.
I had no idea what the series would be about when I started writing. I played around with the photograph on Photoshop, messing around with the eye color, and the name Faustine popped into my head. I suddenly had a title for my photograph, which was now of a girl with red eyes… a vampire, perhaps? I had no idea who she was, or what she was when I started writing. The “Who is Faustine?” was very much a question for myself.
Once I had finished the book, I sent it to my then agent. She read it and felt that the stronger story would be the one preceding Faustine, that of her days at Bonfire Academy. I was thrown a little, having no desire to write a story from a twelve-year-old’s voice. But as I was thinking, I imagined seeing Faustine walk into Bonfire Academy. I saw her from afar and high up, like I was looking down a window. It then struck me that the next story was not going to be written from Faustine’s point of view, but from someone observing her—Cordelia was born, and the two prequel books (Initiation and Integration) were written.
We were then back in the present again. However, it wasn’t as simple as continuing Faustine where I had initially left off. I now had to take into consideration all the events in the prequel books as well as the fact that Cordelia had her own following. Fans of the series wanted more Cordelia!
Uprising follows on, not just from Faustine, but also from the two prequel books. It, in addition, merges loved characters from the Portal Chronicles into the timeline. Confused? 😀
What do you like doing in your free time?
I watch TV, shop, and spend endless hours on the Internet.
Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night with an idea and gotten up to write?
I am usually awake in the middle of the night, so no. 😀
Have you ever spent hours writing, and then trashed it because it didn’t work?
Nope, that’s the sort of thing that would make me move on to another passion.
Tell me the ONE character in your books that is the most like you. You can only pick ONE, no cheating?
Oh, this is hard, but if I only have to pick one… Cordelia.
I know you have to have creativity to be able to write and be productive. What if you are closing in on a deadline and you have NOTHING, what do you do to make that happen?
I have always worked best under pressure. Pressure being allocating time to actually perform the task in question.
Are covers important in the e-book era? If so, why?
I think so. Covers allow the reader that first impression as to where their imagination is about to be transported. That hasn’t changed in the digital era.
Why do you include name brand placements in your novels?
Growing up, my mother referred to a bag/shoe (whatever) by the brand name rather than just the item. So, she’d say, “Go and get my red Chanel flap,” rather than, “Go and get the quilted red bag on the top shelf.” Thus it’s just natural for me to refer to things by their make. Honestly, it just makes things clearer.
Do you get paid for them?
No, and I would never expect to.
I see authors posting about word count. Why is that important in writing a book?
I don’t think word count is important at all. Why take 100,000 words to say something that can be elegantly said in 60,000 words?
Tell me in what order you should read your books/series?
I suggest that they are read as I wrote them (Portal, Equilibrium, Quantum, Faustine, Momentum, Initiation, Integration, Fusion, and Uprising).
What character has been the funnest to write and why? AGAIN, ONLY ONE and no cheating?
Hands down… Rea! I love writing without a filter, and her character allows me to do that.
When did you first, without hesitation, call yourself an author?
Without hesitation… not yet. And I don’t know when that will happen. I am not sure exactly what I am waiting for. In my opinion, I am a better storyteller than writer. I guess that when the two equalize I’ll feel confident to call myself an author… without hesitation.
How do you use social media to promote your writing?
A few years ago when I had just published my first book, Portal, the Amazon Kindle forum was an important promotion platform. Portal received invaluable attention from the voracious readers who partook in that forum. That site has since closed its doors to promotional posts. However, while a participant there, I made a lot of friends, many of who followed me to Facebook. I now use Facebook, Twitter, and blog tours to launch and promote my books. Facebook has given me an awesome home from which to interact with my fans. I also use paid promotional sites to afford my books visibility.
One popular medium that a lot of authors use, but I don’t, is blogging. I do have a blog, but I hardly ever update it. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say… I have very strong opinions and write imaginary blog posts in my head all the time covering topics from the debt ceiling, will flared jeans make a comeback?, to the use of sex in Young Adult literature. But I figure that my readers are more interested in my next book than my random bloviations. So, I keep those to myself, and focus on my fiction.
What is your favorite coffee drink?
Right at this moment… pumpkin lattes.
What do you wear when you write?
What would make you cry?
Something awful happening to my daughters, dog, and friends. ASPCA commercials also make me tear up.
I have read in recent interviews, that your younger daughter was your inspiration for writing. Any signs of her following in her mom’s footsteps?
Not as far as the writing goes (although writing is a strong subject for her at school). She is more into the performing arts.
If you had to choose ONE adjective (or verb) that describes you, what would it be?
Do you have any books translated in other languages? If yes, do you use Google Translate?
Making my stories available in different languages has been a dream ever since I published my first book. I now have books available in German, French, Spanish, and Japanese. It’s not as easy as using Google Translate, though. Let me give you an example:
Original: Do you have any books translated in other languages?
Google Translate to German: Haben Sie Bücher in andere Sprachen übersetzt?
Google Translate back to English: If you have books translated into other languages?
And you can only imagine doing this in Japanese. 😀
Translations are tricky. It’s not just a matter of accurately translating the words. The integrity of the original voice must also be maintained while taking into account the rules and traditions of the new language and the culture of the country. It takes a very special team to put it all together. The translator must be familiar with the genre in both languages. I also use bilingual beta consultants who are already familiar with my work in English. They line check the translation with the translator to provide me with an accurate translation of the story (which is more than just a translation of the words).
It’s taken me a while, but I now have the most awesome teams working on my books.
Have you written any other genre besides YA? If yes, what, and can we read it?
It’s my job to keep my friends amused. One way I do this is by sending them off to look for (ha-ha) books written by me under pen names. Now, if I told you more that would ruin their fun!
Last question, I promise. Tell us about this Elf book you have been promising for 3 years, and when will it be out?
I decided to gift you a real elf instead of writing about one. I dressed him up in sparkly green tights and shipped him to you last night. Make sure to kiss him and love him and squeeze him and call him BigAl.
End of Interview: