Please welcome Auralee Wallace to The Qwillery as part of the 2014 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Sidekick was published on June 1st by Escape Publishing.
TQ: Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?
Auralee: As far back as I can remember, I wanted to write, and I did. I crafted countless stories ranging from epic high fantasies (if you can call 5 pages of double-spaced block letters epic) to Chick Lit vignettes written from a third grader’s perspective (odd sounding, but I don’t know how else to describe a story involving spilling pizza on a favorite dress while accidentally kicking over a garbage can in front of the entire class). I did not believe, however, that it was something I could do professionally. It took me a long time to get to the point where I thought I might give it a try.
TQ: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Auralee: PLOTTER. Sorry for the all caps, but I am a big plotter. I think it is essential for the type of book I write. My goal is to take readers on a screaming roller coaster ride, and that takes planning…otherwise (to extend the metaphor) people fall out and die horrible deaths.
TQ: What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?
Auralee: The most challenging thing for me is getting past the fear of the page that I know will soon be filled with an expression of me. It’s hard to put yourself out there, but it’s worth it when you connect with others who enjoy your work.
TQ: Who are some of your literary influences? Favorite authors?
Auralee: There are so many, but recently I was thinking about how much I loved Jane Yolen’s Pit Dragon Trilogy when I was maybe ten or eleven. Her books really took me away. For a while, I felt like I lived in the world she had created...with beautiful dragons. I think that is what we all wish for when we open a book, and it is such a gift when it happens.
TQ: Describe Sidekick in 140 characters or less.
Auralee: Sidekick is just like Cinderella…if Cinderella wanted to be a superhero.
TQ: Tell us something about Sidekick that is not in the book description.
Auralee: Sidekick is a little out there. Sometimes I think there should be a warning on the cover that states: DANGER: SCREWBALL COMEDY AHEAD. If readers are expecting something dark and angst-ridden, they will not find it in my book. I have always admired characters, and people for that matter, who can remain positive in the worst of circumstances, and who want to do the right thing, just because it’s the right thing. There seems to be an overwhelming abundance of anti-heroes out there these days (and I enjoy a good anti-hero) but I do think straight up heroes should get the credit they deserve.
TQ: What inspired you to write Sidekick? What drew you to writing about superheroes?
Auralee: I love superheroes for the escape they provide. We live in such a complicated world with complicated problems. The realm of the superhero is like a psychological balm. It holds the promise that no matter how bad things get, there is someone working to make it better.
TQ: What sort of research did you do for Sidekick?
Auralee: I didn’t do a lot of “superhero” research. Really, I spent most of childhood doing that. I did, however, do a lot of reading on writer’s craft. For the longest time I thought that just because I loved books and my education was focused on literature, I could write a compelling novel. I have since learned there’s a lot more to it.
TQ: Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?
Auralee: I would have to say Choden – the guru mentor of my superhero. In my writing, I often take stereotypes and flip them inside out for comedic purposes. Choden’s character, based on the stereotype of a Tibetan monk, is still a bit of a mystery to me, a mystery I hope to explore in later books.
TQ: Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery lines from Sidekick.
Auralee: “It was clear that I had no real skills or abilities when it came to crime fighting, but I had gumption. And wasn’t gumption worth more than anything else? Why would reality TV lie? “
“He was tall, at least six four, maybe five. Blond hair. Blue eyes. And yes, ridiculously muscular. He looked a little like the end result of a heated night of plastic passion between action figures.”
TQ: What's next?
Auralee: Currently, I am working away on the sequel to Sidekick, Sidekick Returns. I’ve also been dabbling with a cozy mystery. No matter what I’m writing, though, I think readers can expect a comedic edge. When I write, I lose myself in the story, so I figure, it might as well get lost in a place that will make me smile.
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.
Auralee: Thank you so much for having me!
Escape Publishing, June 1, 2014
eBook, 249 pages
Heroes meets Bridget Jones in this brilliant, hilarious debut novel about a girl who just wants to save the world...
Bremy St James, daughter of billionaire Atticus St James, has been cut off from the family fortune and is struggling to survive in a world that no longer holds its breath every time she buys a new outfit. To make matters worse, her twin sister is keeping secrets, loan sharks are circling, and the man of her dreams — a newspaper reporter — is on assignment to bring down everyone with the last name St James.
Things are certainly looking bleak for the down-and-out socialite until a good deed throws her into the path of the city’s top crime-fighter, Dark Ryder. Suddenly, Bremy has a new goal: apprentice to a superhero, and start her own crime-fighting career.
Ryder has no need for a sidekick, but it turns out the city needs Bremy’s help. Atticus St James is planning the crime of the century, and Bremy may be the only one able to get close enough to her father to stop him.
Now all she needs to do is figure out this superhero thing in less than a month, keep her identity secret from the man who could very well be The One, and save the city from total annihilation.
Well, no one ever said being a superhero would be easy...
Auralee Wallace is an author of humorous commercial women’s fiction and occasional guest blogger at Penny Dreadful Books and Reviews http://pennydreadfulbooks.me/. She is a member of the RWA, and her debut novel, Sidekick, a superhero urban fantasy, placed as a finalist in the Virginia Fool for Love Contest, The TARA Contest and The Catherine. Sidekick has been picked up by Harlequin’s Escape Publishing and is due for release June 1st, 2014. Auralee has a Master’s degree in English literature and worked in the publishing industry for a number of years before teaching at the college level. Her latest project, Camp Murder, a cozy mystery with an edge, combines the traditional elements of a good whodunit with a little romance, a little danger, and a lot of fun. When this semi-natural blonde mother of three children and three rescue cats isn’t writing or playing soccer, she can be found watching soap operas with lurid fascination and warring with a family of peregrine falcons for the rights to her backyard.