Today, we welcome Elizabeth Maria Naranjo, who is excited to share her debut fantasy young adult novel with us, The Fourth Wall. Here’s what she said on WOW! Women On Writing’s blog yesterday (she is taking part in a WOW! blog tour): “Essentially, the book is about the power of grief, and how holding onto it can do damage. It’s about the importance of moving on.”
Here’s a summary: When Marin was little and monsters chased her through nightmares, she learned to weave her own dreams. Her mother called the lucid dreaming a gift, and when an accident takes her mother and leaves her baby brother an empty shell, Marin uses this gift to spin a new reality for herself. One without time or sorrow. A world without memory. But just when Marin thinks she’s safe in her make-believe fantasy world, the monsters come back and her dream turns to a nightmare. Something in the dream doesn’t want Marin to wake up. In order to heal herself and her family, Marin must face the truth she’s forgotten and conquer what lies behind the fourth wall.
Now on to the interview. . .(Make sure to visit the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win Elizabeth’s book!)
LL: Welcome, Elizabeth, and congrats on your debut novel, The Fourth Wall. We are so honored to host you on your blog tour. Let’s start with a little about the book. What do readers absolutely HAVE TO KNOW about your new book?
Elizabeth: Thanks, Margo, and I appreciate Lit Ladies for hosting me. Let’s see…what do readers have to know going in? I guess that this is a pretty dark novel about a young girl using lucid dreams as a method of escaping life. Lucid dreaming is the state of knowing when you’re in a dream. Once you’ve achieved that state of lucidity, you can begin controlling your dreams. Marin is fifteen, has recently lost her mother and life as she knows it, and reality isn’t such a great place to be. So she prefers her dream world, where she can choose to live without her memories.
LL: It is a dark novel, I would agree–but very well-written! What drew you to write about dreams and do so in the YA fantasy genre?
Elizabeth: I’ve always been fascinated with dreams. I was a lucid dreamer as a child and developed a technique for waking myself up from nightmares, which were recurring. The first descriptions in The Fourth Wall are basically from memory. So I knew I wanted to write a book about a girl who taps into this ability as a way of avoiding reality.
I love the young adult genre because I think that period—between twelve and adulthood, whenever that may occur—is the most difficult, confusing, painful, wonderful, and extraordinary time. It’s like a secret that most people forget.
LL: I (Margo) talk a lot about strong girls and women on the days I blog. Your main character Marin really fits this topic–I mean, she doesn’t like her current reality, so she just creates one of her own! How else is Marin strong? What is her main character flaw? How does she work to overcome it?
Elizabeth: That’s interesting, because Marin’s strengths include independence, a creative mind, and a strong will. All three strengths contribute to her greatest moments of weakness. She is deeply introverted—and I hate to call that a flaw—but certainly it hurts her to stay wrapped inside herself. I guess her main character flaw would be indulgence, and she works on that by slowly opening up, letting the world back in, and allowing herself to heal.
LL: Thanks for sharing so much with us about Marin! I love WiDo publishing! I’ve read several books–Moonlit, The Opposite of Everything, Wink–and now yours, The Fourth Wall. What’s it like to work with WiDo publishing or an independent publisher in general?
Elizabeth: It’s been fantastic working with WiDo Publishing. It’s funny you mention Moonlit, because Jadie Jones’s blog tour with WOW! Women on Writing is how I discovered WiDo. In Jadie’s interview, she talked about what a great experience she’d had with her publisher—she was so enthusiastic and sincere. I liked her book too, so I checked into WiDo and submitted my manuscript, and two months later I had a contract.
Being with a small press is unique because it’s more like a family. I never have a problem reaching my editors, most of the authors know each other, and there’s a lot of support all around. Also, parts of the publishing process that authors generally have no say over are different with a small press. I was asked for input on my cover, for example, and WiDo chose to go with my original title for The Fourth Wall, which was a huge and wonderful surprise. I doubt that happens very often with big publishing companies.
LL: Before this novel, you had a lot of success writing creative nonfiction and short stories. How did this prepare you for writing this book and getting it published?
Elizabeth: It definitely prepared me for the rejections. Those were old hat by the time I started submitting my manuscript. It also prepared me for editing. I’d worked with several editors on short stories and essays by the time my novel went through that part of the process, so I wasn’t shocked and offended and a big sobbing mess when I got my first edits back. I was more like, “Well, that’s not too bad.”
LL: What else do we need to know about you and your writing career?
Elizabeth: I have a short essay being published in September by Brevity Magazine, and I’m working on my next novel. It’s a story about a 12-year-old boy who runs away with his best friend on a search to find the friend’s father—a volcanologist who went missing in the field.
LL: WOW! That sounds really interesting. Thank you for coming on our blog. We are so happy to have such a smart, talented woman writer share your knowledge and work with us today!
Readers, make sure you enter to win a copy of The Fourth Wall below and consider buying a copy today too–win one for yourself and buy one for a gift!