Thursday, February 06, 2014

Interview with M.D. Waters, author of Archetype - February 6, 2014

Please welcome M.D. Waters to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Archetype is published today by Dutton. Please join The Qwillery in wishing M. D. a Happy Publication Day!

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

M.D.:  Thanks for having me! I first got the itch when a teacher my senior year in high school asked us to write the prequel to Star Wars. I’d never attempted something like this and found the experience pretty liberating. I definitely wanted to do more. A year or so later, I came up with my first story idea and gave it a lame shot.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

M.D.:  I would say that, at this point, I’m a plotser. I didn’t plot Archetype, but only because I really felt I knew that story. It practically fell onto the page in five weeks, and by some miracle managed to make sense. Outside that, I’ve been plotting major plot points for a few years now on other projects, and just recently plotted down to individual scenes. That said, I give myself the freedom to stray. Some of my best ideas come from letting go.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

M.D.:  That probably depends on the day. Lately it’s finding a large enough chunk of uninterrupted time. It doesn’t matter what’s going on, my family still gravitates to standing in front of my office to hold conversations or toss balls around or chase each other. I’m currently begging my husband for doors.

Outside that, I’m challenged by what I’ve always been challenged by: Dragging middles, and GMC’s, and scene & sequel, and showing vs. telling. I could go on. These things have gotten easier, sure, and I finally understand them, but that doesn’t make them any less a challenge.

TQ:  Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?

M.D.:  I didn’t read a huge variety of books growing up. I read a lot, but the only author I read until the pages fell out was VC Andrews. There was something about that forbidden love angle. Then in high school, my stepmother introduced me to a whole new world: fantasy. I read my first Anne Rice novel and binged on her for the next few years. I was in love with every single one of her books.

There had been several others after, but it wasn’t until I read Karen Marie Moning’s Fever Series that I gained an appreciation for world building. I’ve read that series more times than I can count. Then I came across Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy and liked her so much that I read everything she’d written, which wasn’t much at the time. I loved how she made you fall in love with the hero and heroine, then ripped your heart out mid-way through the series without blinking. While those books were hard to read, I knew without a doubt she’d make it okay, and those happy endings were far more satisfying because of it.

More recently, I’ve fallen in love with Margaret Atwood, who I’d never dreamed of reading until the comparisons of Archetype to The Handmaids Tale. She has a way of constructing a sentence that takes my breath away.

TQ:  Describe Archetype in 140 characters or less.

M.D.:  What an evil challenge!

An amnesiac struggles between believing the secure life her husband claims is hers and the terrifying life her dreams say she left behind.

TQ:  Tell us something about Archetype that is not in the book description.

M.D.:  I guess this is mentioned in the description, but it isn’t very obvious. Emma has a voice in her head that she calls She or Her, who advises Emma to make certain decisions as the novel progresses. But Emma doesn’t trust Her and works against Her whenever possible. What I have loved about this from the beginning was that every fight Emma put up against the voice, she was unknowingly working her way back to who she really was before the accident: Independent.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Archetype?

M.D.:  I woke up at 1 or 2 in the morning with a rough version of the pitch running through my head. (In a future where women are a rare commodity, Emma fights for freedom but is held captive by the love of two men—one her husband, the other her worst enemy. If only she could remember which is which. . . .) I went right to my computer and knocked out a couple pages using those lines as my beginning. As I did that, I realized this was a story I’d made up a long time ago (and had since forgotten) to help me shut the brain down and sleep at night. I already knew so much of it, but unfortunately, not all of it was usable. I had to create motivations that weren’t there before.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Archetype?

M.D.:  Me? Research? LOL! Very little. I had to do the usual internet searches for things like the luckenbooth that’s branded to some of the women, and beginner paint supplies. The biggest headache was researching seagull migration patterns, which felt never-ending. I think I (and the Dutton team) was still working on details for it after the galleys went out. And all for a few paragraphs. Crazy!

TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

M.D.:  I have a special place in my heart for Arthur Travista, Emma’s doctor. I loved writing the scenes with him because I could really see him in my head. I knew how he thought, and he almost always had a way of telling the truth, without giving a single thing away. He was, by far, the easiest to write.

The hardest character to write? Everyone else. They all knew a particular truth, and giving them believable motives to keep it from Emma wasn’t easy. Even Emma had to hold back at times.

TQ:  Give us one of your favorite lines from Archetype. Why did you choose to write Science Fiction/Adventure? Do you want to write in any other genres?

M.D.:  Favorite lines:

His grip is too firm. He holds on to me, but I am merely water sliding over stone and no matter how hard he tries to keep me, I will soon be gone. At least I feel this fleeting. Like glass blown to its thinnest point. Beautiful and shining and solid. Delicate.


I didn’t “choose” science fiction. It may have chosen me. I say all the time that it was an accident, because in order to make the reveal work, I needed a future with fertility issues and high-tech gadgets. I took a lot of inspiration from scifi movies, because at the time, I’d only read a handful of YA scifi, and the few Bradbury stories I’d read in high school.

What I was writing was the same thing I always have: A heroine with a ton of internal and external conflict. She knows how to throw a punch, and she loves so deeply that it has the ability to shatter the hearts of everyone within range. I love putting a woman up against an entire world on the verge of massive change and watching her fight to survive. That’s all I thought I was writing. I just happened to leave the fantasy creatures out of it this time.

For the time being, I’m enjoying the futuristic aspect of my work, but one day I hope to return to some of my old urban and paranormal fantasy stories.

TQ:  What's next?

M.D.:  Next comes the conclusion to Emma’s story in Prototype, which releases in July this year. I’m very excited to show off the world outside the very limited one I allowed her in Archetype. It’s a year and a half later, and quite a few things have changed, good and bad, when her past charges in to upend everything she’s been working for.

After that, I’m anxious to explore this world with a character who hasn’t lost her memory. There’s so many details I couldn’t write into either of the novels without forcing them, so I’m excited to further blow out this world.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

M.D.:  Thanks for having me!

Dutton Adult, February 6, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages

Introducing a breathtakingly inventive futuristic suspense novel about one woman who rebels against everything she is told to believe.

Emma wakes in a hospital, with no memory of what came before. Her husband, Declan, a powerful, seductive man, provides her with new memories, but her dreams contradict his stories, showing her a past life she can’t believe possible: memories of war, of a camp where girls are trained to be wives, of love for another man. Something inside her tells her not to speak of this, but she does not know why. She only knows she is at war with herself.

Suppressing those dreams during daylight hours, Emma lets Declan mold her into a happily married woman and begins to fall in love with him. But the day Noah stands before her, the line between her reality and dreams shatters.

In a future where women are a rare commodity, Emma fights for freedom but is held captive by the love of two men—one her husband, the other her worst enemy. If only she could remember which is which. . . .

The first novel in a two-part series, Archetype heralds the arrival of a truly memorable character—and the talented author who created her.

Dutton Adult, July 24, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 368 pages

The stunning debut that began with Archetype— and has readers buzzing—concludes in Prototype, when a woman’s dual pasts lock onto a collision course, threatening her present and future.

Emma looks forward to the day when she can let go of her past—both of them. After more than a year on the run, with clues to her parents’ whereabouts within her grasp, she may finally find a place to settle down. Start a new life. Maybe even create new memories with a new family.

But the past rises to haunt her and to make sure there’s nowhere on the planet she can hide. Declan Burke wants his wife back, and with a little manipulation and a lot of reward money, he’s got the entire world on his side. Except for the one man she dreads confronting the most: Noah Tucker.

Emma returns to face what she’s done but finds that the past isn’t the problem. It’s the present—and the future it represents. Noah has moved on and another woman is raising their daughter.

In the shocking conclusion to M.D. Waters’s spectacular debut, Emma battles for her life and her freedom, tearing down walls and ripping off masks to reveal the truth. She’s decided to play their game and prove she isn’t the woman they thought she was. Even if it means she winds up dead. Or worse, reborn.

About M.D. Waters

Photo by Crystal Bingham
M.D. Waters lives with her family in Maryland. Archetype is her first novel. Its sequel, Prototype, will be published in July 2014.



Twitter @_MDWaters


1 comment:

  1. I've heard great things about this book! I hope to be reading it soon too.