At the end of 2018 review team member K.D. Reid read and loved The Upworld by Lindsey S. Frantz, so when the opportunity arose to find out more about the author and the world she had created, it was a no brainer! With special thanks to K.D Reid for coming up with these great questions and, of course, Linsdey S. Frantz for taking part!
Q: For those new to you as an author, let’s cover what got you into writing.
When I was about 13, I was at my Papa Cardona’s house visiting with my family. My uncle Vaughn, who’s about my age, was reading a book about dragons, and I’d forgotten my book at home (I always had a book with me), so I asked to borrow one. He let me borrow DRAGONSEYE by Anne McCaffrey. From the moment I started reading it, I knew I wanted to do what McCaffrey did. It wasn’t her best book, and it was in the middle of the series, but completely fell in love with Pern, the planet where the dragons and their riders lived, and the dragons themselves. That was 20 years ago, and now I own MOST of her books, and have read everything of hers I can get my hands on.
Q: Where did you get the idea for Vitium?
Honestly, I needed something that could mutate people, or their brain chemistry, that didn’t have any rules already attached to it. At first, I was going to use nuclear waste, but I wanted to have more freedom with the side effects than that would allow. So I created my own substance and started looking up Latin words that might fit it. Vitium, in Latin, can mean fault, crime, or vice. I thought, since Vitium is the culmination of pollutants gathering and congealing over centuries, that it was an appropriate word. It’s the fault of modern man, it’s a crime against Mother Nature, and at some point in the books it will become a vice for some.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit of backstory about The Wylden without giving away anything about Book 2 or giving away spoilers for The Upworld? A big ask, I know!
I think so! So, in book two, Erilyn will go on a journey to try and figure out some stuff about the Wylden. I don’t want to say too much about that, since it’s all still in progress. But—and I think this is OK, since Erilyn realizes a little of it in bits and pieces in book 1—while the Wylden seem like animals, they’re people just like the upworlders and just like the cave dwellers. I won’t say how, but Vitium plays a big part in their lives, just like it’s played a big part in Erilyn’s life. And as Erilyn discovers various truths about Vitium and the Wylden, it changes her perception of them and of the entire world around her.
Q: How many of your characters have traits of or were based off of people you’ve known in real life? And what are the other ways that you build a character?
I think all of my characters have at least one or two traits or characteristics from people I know. Sometimes I do it intentionally, and other times I realize I’ve done it after the fact, but I see a lot of my family and friends in my characters. And then other times, I’ll create a character with the intention of basing him or her off of someone I know, but they’ll take on a life of their own and the only similarity might be some piece of backstory the reader will never even see. When I create any character, though, it usually starts off with a single trait. It may be a physical characteristic like their eye color or an expression, or it may be a way they behave—shy, talkative, mean—and they sort of grow from there. I also like to get to know my characters as I write them. Before I wrote THE UPWORLD, Erilyn lived in my head for about ten years. She was waiting for the right story, I think, because I tried to put her into a lot of stories before THE UPWORLD was born. That being said, even though I don’t usually let characters sit in my brain for a whole decade, I do like to let characters live in my head until they mature to a point that they’re ready for their story. That may be a week and it may be years, but I don’t like to really write them until they’re ready to be written. I guess I kind of went off the rails with that question. So, short answer, most, if not all, of my characters have at least something about them based on people I know.
Q: In The Upworld, we get two different perspectives: Erilyn and Finn. Erilyn’s view is first person and Finn’s was third person, if I recall correctly. What made you decide to use two different points of view?
Well, at first it was going to be purely from Erilyn’s point of view, but there was a lot that I realized I couldn’t share if it was a close first person POV. So I added Finn! In the first draft with Finn’s POV, both characters were in third person, but I felt like the voices of the two characters became two similar like that. I wasn’t sure if having Erilyn’s POV in first person and Finn’s in third would work, but in the end I was happy with it. It helped me keep their narrative voices straight in my head, and I think it helps the reader differentiate between the two. I’d also read UNDER THE NEVER SKY by Veronica Rossi a few months before I started writing my book, and she does a truly wonderful job of utilizing two characters’ points of view, which made me want to give it a shot. Hopefully I did both points of view justice.
Q: Considering all of the different parts of how an author gets their work published, what was your favorite part of putting this book together?
Honestly, my very favorite part was typing the last sentence, and then starting the first revision. Revision is something I’ve always really, really enjoyed. I compare it in my head to baking a cake. Writing the book is like mixing all the ingredients and putting it in the oven to bake. It can be a long, complicated process, but putting all the raw pieces together to create something bigger is fascinating. But the FUN part is icing the cake. You can cut the cake into pieces to create a new shape, ice it, and just in general have fun as you change it into something new. Icing it, for me, is like the revision. And then, of course, the day that Amanda from Line by Lion Publications actually offered me a book deal, that was a pretty amazing part too. (And THAT was the understatement of the century. I got her email. I cried. I laughed. I cried more.)
Q: What was your favorite book that you read in 2018? Why did it speak to you?
I started a new job last year, so I didn’t have a lot of time to read, but my husband got me a book for Christmas that once I started reading I couldn’t put down—SKYWARD by Brandon Sanderson. It’s a sci-fi YA novel with a protagonist that I am nothing like, and yet, I really felt like I understood her. She was rough and rowdy on the outside with huge ambitions, but on the inside she was like every other nervous, teenage girl faced with big life choices. I’m not sure why I loved it so much, but I did. I could easily read it again, and again, and again.
Q: We like to round off our interviews with this question! Fictional 5: Can you choose 5 fictional characters or authors that you would love to invite for a dinner party, what would make them such great guests?
The five authors I’d like to invite over would have to be Anne McCaffrey, JK Rowling, Veronica Rossi, Suzanne Collins, and Elizabeth Hayden. All five of these women have had such a huge influence on my writing, and I would LOVE to be able to just sit and talk with them, or just listen to them to talk to each other, about writing and life and everything in between. Anne McCaffrey inspired me to write. JK Rowling inspired me to dream as big as I could and to keep workin and trying. Veronica Rossi inspired me to try challenging the “rules” as I knew them (like staying in 1 POV at a time). Suzanne Collins inspired me to not be afraid to push the boundaries of what’s acceptable. And Elizabeth Hayden inspired me to write beautifully and to dig deep into my stories. A conversation with all five of them would be life changing and brilliant.
What a great interview, Skyward was certainly a 5 star read for this blog too! Thank you again to Lindsey S Frantz and K.D Reid for making this post possible. If that has piqued your interest in The Upworld it’s currently available through Amazon and you can find the link to our 5 star review here!