Please welcome Adam McOmber to The Qwillery as part of the 2012 Debut Author Challenge
Interviews. The White Forest
was published yesterday. Read Adam's Guest Blog - Inspector Francois Vidocq
and my review of The White Forest here
: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?Adam
: I’d say my most interesting writing quirk in The White Forest
is that I attempted to adopt a nineteenth century style of writing, while still making the work accessible and engaging for a twenty-first century audience. It was great fun to inhabit Jane Silverlake’s eerie voice. I thought a lot about the tone of Poe and Hawthorne and Henry James (in his ghost stories). Giving myself this challenge produced a unique tone on the page—an interesting hybrid voice that is antiquated and somehow contemporary at the same time. TQ
: Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?Adam
: I have so many favorite writers. I’m highly influenced by Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Isak Dinesen (her Seven Gothic Tales
is amazing), Henry James and M.R. James. As for contemporary writers, I love Stephen King, Cormac McCarthy, Donna Tartt, A.S. Byatt and Kazuo Ishiguro. I read a lot of nonfiction as well. Peter Ackroyd is wonderful for history. Works about psychology or spirituality are of interest to me as well.TQ
: Are you a plotter or a pantser?Adam
: I’m a little of both. I like to know where a book is going—what the end is going to be. But I also like to surprise myself along the way. There were many things that happened as I was writing The White Forest
that came as a complete surprise, and I love that. The act of writing for me should be as much fun as the act of reading.TQ
: What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?Adam
: I really enjoy writing. Sitting at my desk and entering another world is one of the greatest pleasures of my life. One challenge though is that I want to make sure everything in a novel happens at just the right time to create the perfect amount of suspense. This takes a lot of revision. I really want to create serious tension so the reader feels like he or she just has to turn the page.TQ
: Describe The White Forest
in 140 characters or less. Adam
: Jane Silverlake, Victorian super hero, loses her beloved and must use her powers to find him. She enters an underground cult that wants to use her for illicit purposes. TQ
: What inspired you to write The White Forest
: A lot of things came together to inspire The White Forest
. I’d been writing short stories for my book This New & Poisonous Air
, and some of the ideas in The White Forest
arose from those stories. What really set me off on my journey though was a vision I had one day while coming home from work. I saw a woman in a dark nineteenth century dress walking alone across an open field. Her head was down. I couldn’t see her face, but I knew she was troubled. Something had happened that upset her greatly. I knew, at the same time, that she was dangerous. She wasn’t to be trifled with. And I wanted to find out all about her story. She became my main character, Jane Silverlake.TQ
: What sort of research did you do for The White Forest
: The White Forest
was rigorously researched. I did my best to present an authentic version of Victorian London. I wanted the reader to trust the setting, so I could play around with all of the supernatural effects inside that setting. I also read countless Victorian ghost stories as research. I wanted The White Forest to have the flavor of one of those wonderful old ghost stories that are meant to be read in a dimly lit room by a roaring fire.TQ
: Who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?Adam
: Jane, the main character of The White Forest
was certainly the easiest to write. I got to the point where I could literally think in her voice about any subject. As I mentioned before, she has this quiet, eerie tone, that’s also strong. It’s a great deal of fun to think her thoughts.
The most difficult character to write was Ariston Day, the leader of the underground cult in the book. I wanted him to be very smart and to have philosophical reasons for all the apparently evil things he does. It took a lot of research to write that character, and I also wanted him to seem menacing enough so the reader is worried for Jane.TQ
: Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in The White Forest
: My favorite scene is when Jane punishes one of the cult members for something he’s done to her. He thinks he’s stronger, simply because he’s a man. She proves him wrong.TQ
: What's next? Adam
: I’m working on a new novel that I’m very excited about. I can’t say too much about the plot right now because I’m in the act of writing the book. It’s a fast paced novel with a unique supernatural aspect and many interesting twists. I think my readers are really going to enjoy it.TQ
: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.The White Forest
The White Forest
Touchstone/Simon & Schuster, September 11, 2012
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages
In this hauntingly original debut novel about a young woman whose peculiar abilities help her infiltrate a mysterious secret society, Adam McOmber uses fantastical twists and dark turns to create a fast-paced, unforgettable story.About AdamAdam McOmber
Young Jane Silverlake lives with her father in a crumbling family estate on the edge of Hampstead Heath. Jane has a secret—an unexplainable gift that allows her to see the souls of man-made objects—and this talent isolates her from the outside world. Her greatest joy is wandering the wild heath with her neighbors, Madeline and Nathan. But as the friends come of age, their idyll is shattered by the feelings both girls develop for Nathan, and by Nathan’s interest in a cult led by Ariston Day, a charismatic mystic popular with London’s elite. Day encourages his followers to explore dream manipulation with the goal of discovering a strange hidden world, a place he calls the Empyrean.
A year later, Nathan has vanished, and the famed Inspector Vidocq arrives in London to untangle the events that led up to Nathan’s disappearance. As a sinister truth emerges, Jane realizes she must discover the origins of her talent, and use it to find Nathan herself, before it’s too late.
teaches creative writing at Columbia College Chicago and is the associate editor of the literary magazine Hotel Amerika
. Stories from his collection, This New and Poisonous Air
, have been shortlisted for Best American Fantasy and nominated for two Pushcart Prizes in 2012. Visit www.AdamMcOmber.com
: TwitterThe Giveaway
: One commenter will win a hardcover copy of The White Forest
generously provided by Touchstone!How
: Leave a comment answering the following questions:
Do you have any favorite time period settings for novels? Which?
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