Today we're joining the Heartbeat Thief blog tour by chatting with author AJ Krafton. Come get to know more about AJ and her book. Be sure to check out the rafflecopter giveaway at the end of the post as well!
Hi, AJ! Welcome to We Do Write. Tell our readers a bit about THE HEARTBEAT THIEF.
The Heartbeat Thief is the story of Victorian debutante Senza Fyne, whose mother's obsession with gaining an advantageous marriage is partly to blame for her growing fear of death. The mere thought of growing older and losing her precious youth and beauty and, subsequently, her chances of finding a husband or even obtaining a happily-ever-after…that's quite horrible enough. But when death claims those whom she loves, the grief and fear push her past her limits—and she takes a very drastic measure to escape the clutches of Time and Death forever.
How did the idea of the story come to you?
I admit, the story was born of the things I love to read myself. I adore Jane Austen's novels, the characters that grow and bloom before our eyes, the manners and the courtesy, the sense of being in love with love. Austen's style is so different than my own (my books tend to be plot-driven urban fantasy) and I use her books to escape and find a little respite.
I supposed I always knew that, eventually, the two worlds would collide. The idea for the story developed like a beribboned fog, gradually taking shape as I indulged myself in the styles of the masters themselves.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Usually, I pants my way through most of the first draft, before I do a chapter outline and see what exactly is going on. Once I see the general shape of things, I plot the rest, adding and subtracting elements so that the plot is structured and satisfying.
THE HEARTBEAT THIEF was a little different. I wanted it to have the feel of a historical fantasy and, in tribute to Jane Austen, I wanted a story that was more character-driven than plot driven. I don't think a plot-driven storyline would have served the story as well, since it's primarily a story that deals with a person's perceptions of death, a very personal, internal story. However, Poe's Masque of the Red Death complimented the theme perfectly, and I used excerpts of Poe's story to foreshadow sections of Senza's journey. Poe's story also provided the structure the story needed, right down to the path of the story—like Prince Prospero and his castle with the seven chambers, Senza goes through seven distinct "chambers" in her life, complete with doorways through which she could never return. (I'm sure you can imagine who was waiting in the final chamber.)
What’s the hardest part of writing for you?
Not editing while I write. I try to write early in the morning or when I'm a little tired just so that the Editor Brain is inhibited. Then I can write effortlessly without censoring, and the ideas flow so much easier. If I'm wide awake, then I switch to analog measures—pen and paper, no delete key, just word after word without worry that I missed punctuation or ended a sentence with a preposition.
What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?
Tea. Preferrably Darjeeling. A good Darjeeling. One that leaves me thinking about the taste even after I swallow it.
If you could have any super power, what would it be?
Heightened senses, physical prowess, and epic fighting skills like Matt Murdock in the Netflix series Daredevil. I want stick holsters in my jeans and the ability to do those wicked kicks and jumps. Unlike the character, my sight is just fine and I still walk into junk. All the time.
(Although yesterday at the day job I had less-than-courteous customers and at one point I wished I could control bugs just so that I could mentally direct them to swarm on a person or two. My gnatty minions! Fly! Fly right into their eyes and up their noses! Fly, my pretties! *cackles*)
What's the weirdest thing you've googled?
Oh, my God, what a question. I'm almost afraid to answer this because I Google a lot of stuff in the name of writing research. Once I Googled Victorian underpants because I wanted to know what girls wore under all those skirts. Sounds pervy but honestly, it was for science.
Finish this sentence: If I'm not writing, I'm probably ...
…watching Ghost Hunters.
Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.
My beta readers—Mickey, Jen, and Hall have stood by my side from the very first book. Over the years, I've had the honor of working with many more readers but I think those three should be thanked each and every day.
I also want to say thank you to every person who ever took the time to leave a review about something I wrote. Over the years, I've gotten feedback from hundreds of readers who shared their thoughts about how my work resonated with them (and in some cases, didn't ☺)
Reviews help authors out by encouraging other readers to take a chance on a book. Bad reviews often do the same exact thing. Really bad reviews kind of act like a challenge to readers who often say I have to read that book for myself because I can't believe it's that bad. I know it's true because I've done it.
Personally, reviews helps me to understand readers whose tastes and perceptions are different than my own—and actually helps me craft future stories. I read books to experience another person's life or world…and reading reviews helps me see my work from someone else's perspective. In the end, I don't care about star ratings. What I'm gratified to see is another individual who read my story and wanted to talk about it. It causes me to feel a really big feeling that's difficult to name (something along the lines of validated plus infinity plus 1.)
Thanks for stopping by the blog, and good luck with your book!