We are shining the spotlight on an author that is now on my watch list Emma Raveling. Her book Whirl, the first installment of the Ondine Quartet series is an instant page-turner and is one book that I believe has the potential to rival Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, for best YA Paromantasy novel of all-time. Whirl follows Kendra, a bad-ass Ondine who was raised amongst humans, but is taken fro her care-free human life to a school of her kind in order to teach her how to use her powers after the death of her mother.The journey as she discovers her powers, her role in a prophecy that rests the future of her people on her shoulder and her attraction to a man that is untouchable will have you racing through the pages!
Let's talk to Emma as we discuss her thrilling new novel, her life as a writer and her desire for telekinesis ;-)
Let's give it up for Emma Raveling!!
Tell us about yourself. Hi, Evie! Thank you so much for having me here today.
I’m a thirty-something year old fantasy writer and frequent traveler. My husband and charming German Shepherd are the great loves of my life. I’m hopelessly addicted to coffee and diet coke, adore beautiful art, am passionate about food and cooking, and am a dedicated practitioner of vipassana meditation. Whirl is my debut novel.
How did you start your career as a writer? I started writing as a child. As a voracious reader with an overactive imagination, I constantly had stories running around in my head. When I was around six, I began writing those stories down because I wanted to be like the authors of my favorite books. I gave these stories daily to my mother as a “present”. She was very encouraging and nurtured my love of words.
I continued writing throughout high school and won several writing competitions. I was fortunate enough to have had wonderful teachers who encouraged me to pursue it. But in college, I ultimately chose a different career path. I still had dreams of being published someday, but it remained a vague, far-off idea.
All of that changed in January 2011. One of my resolutions was that I was going to publish a novel this year. No excuses. At the end of January, the idea for the Ondine Quartet series came to me and I immediately began working on it.
Where did you get the idea for the Ondine Quartet series? The inspiration for the series was actually a piece of classical music. The French composer Maurice Ravel composed a work for solo piano called Gaspard de la Nuit. This music was based upon a series of poems by Aloysius Bertrand. The first movement of Ravel’s work, entitled Ondine, is based upon the poem of the same name by Bertrand. This poem is the epigraph for Whirl. It tells the story of Ondine, a water nymph who sings to a mortal man, attempting to lure him to her. He rejects her love and pleas to join her in ruling the water world. Heartbroken, Ondine fades away, disappearing beneath the waves.
I heard a live performance of Ravel’s Ondine and a haunting image flashed into my mind of a teenage girl standing in the ocean. There was such a loneliness about her. But her eyes were startling - they were the eyes of a fighter or warrior. Intrigued, I began exploring that idea in my mind and the Ondine Quartet was born.
I love the array of characters and how different each one is. There is Ryder with his boyish charm; Kendra who is a bad-ass with a good heart; Tristan who is smoldering hot, dangerous yet sweet; Julian who is the guy you love but can’t figure out his intentions; and the list goes on. My question is: Which character is your favorite and why? Although I love all of my characters, I have to admit that Kendra, the main character, holds a special place in my heart. When I first conceptualized the Ondine Quartet, I wanted the series to be told in first person through the eyes of my heroine. She was embarking on this extraordinary adventure and I knew her voice would be one of the most important elements of the narrative.
Even as I write the next step in her journey, Kendra continues to surprise me. She’s a challenge to write which may be why I love her so much! Complex and difficult, she has both a fierceness and a certain vulnerability and loneliness that is fascinating to explore.
Which character are you most like? Ooh, this is difficult!
I think I’d have to say I’m an odd mixture of Aubrey, Chloe, and Kendra. I’m similar to Aubrey in that I like researching and learning things. I also like to do things as quickly and efficiently as possible (I’m not a big fan of wasting time). I’m similar to Chloe in the sense that I prefer to be diplomatic and am often a mediator among friends. And I relate to Kendra’s rebelliousness. As a teenager, I went through a very difficult rebellious stage so I do understand her need to question the rules and push boundaries.
Kendra has some serious romantic potential in Tristan and Julian. Can we expect to see more of this hot love triangle in the next installment? Can I have the guy she leaves behind? lol *Laughs* I’ll be sure to reserve him for you! ;)
Yes, love (in all its forms) will continue to be an important element in Kendra’s journey as the series progresses forward. In Whirl, readers are introduced to these characters and their world. Each installment in the series will continue to grow in complexity, including the relationships between these characters.
Tristan and Julian both connect to Kendra in unique ways and appeal to different sides of her. They also play an important part in Kendra’s development as she transitions to adulthood and comes to terms with her destiny.
And yes, we will be seeing more of both men in the second book :)
Here is the million dollar question. When is book 2 of the series being released? I can’t give an exact date yet as I’m still writing the first draft of Billow. If my life cooperates, I’m hoping for a release sometime in spring.
Who are some of your favorite authors? I read in a wide variety of genres so my favorite authors are spread across different fields. For literary fiction, I enjoy Milan Kundera, Paul Auster, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Toni Morrison. For urban fantasy and paranormal romance, I enjoy Stacia Kane, Patricia Briggs, and Karen Marie Moning. For young adult/MG books, I love Orson Scott Card, Cinda Williams Chima, Garth Nix, and JK Rowling. I also recently read a wonderful regency romance (I haven’t read this genre in years!) by Loretta Chase and enjoyed her writing tremendously.
What books are you reading now? I just downloaded Diana Rowland’s latest urban fantasy, Sins of the Demon, which is the fourth book in her Kara Gillian series.
Are you working on any other projects we should watch out for? My first priority is to complete the rest of the Ondine Quartet series. But I’m already taking notes on two other projects that I plan to start once the series is done. One is a stand-alone adult futuristic sci-fi/fantasy romance, and the other is a YA dark fantasy series that has some elements of horror.
What was the hardest part of writing your book? There were two challenges for me - writing involves a tremendous amount of time and requires total concentration. Writers never really stop working as our “work” is something that we carry around in our heads. I was often surprised at how physically and mentally exhausted I’d get at the end of an intense writing session. Most people don’t realize that writing is not just about the time you spend in front of the computer getting the words out. An important part of constructing a novel involves a great deal of thinking time away from the desk. When I’m working on a book, I’m thinking about the story all the time.
What do you do when you are not writing? Besides reading, I enjoy watching movies and Japanese TV shows (j-dorama) and going to museums and classical music concerts. I also enjoy training my dog and spending time with her. Another passion of mine is food, so I spend quite a bit of time trying out new recipes and exploring new restaurants with my husband. I also practice vipassana meditation daily.
If you could be a supernatural creature or possess any power, what would it be? I’d love to have the power of telekinesis. Moving things with your mind would be beyond awesome. :)
Tell the readers what to expect when reading one of your books. I primarily consider myself a fantasy writer mainly because it allows me the flexibility to cross a wide variety of genres. I think my books have a mix of action, mystery, horror, romance, adventure, and of course, fantasy and the supernatural.
Is there anything you would like to say to your readers? In the acknowledgements of Whirl, I mention my readers. As I’ve stated, writing has long been a dream of mine. But written words do not have power until they are read. By taking the time to participate and be a part of the story and world I created, the Readers have made this dream come alive for me.
Emma Raveling is an author to watch out for. Her book, Whirl, instantly went on my favorites list after keeping me glued to its pages and dreaming of the what might happen in book 2 of the series. Action, adventure and romance with a strong heroine leading the way will keep you hooked from page 1.