The crazy talented Miss Pearson, author of the Song of the Silvertongue series and Chasing Power (also, amazing contestant on TBS’ King of the Nerds), was kind enough to be my very first interviewee, and I gotta say, she did an fantastic job. Check it out below!
Author, Genevieve Pearson
Interview with Genevieve Pearson
So, I’ll admit I was doing some stalking and I see you were homeschooled 2nd – 8th. I was totally homeschooled too! (2nd – graduation! I totally win….errrrr…yeah)
Homeschooling is a whole bag o’ worms, but, on a smaller scale, do you think that’s affected your writing at all? How so (or no)?
It definitely affected my writing. First of all, it gave me the free time I needed to invest in reading. By twelve, I’d read practically every children and young adult’s book in my local library and was moving on to the adult fantasy and science fiction sections. I devoured books, and my early experience in grade school leads me to believe that sitting in a classroom may have killed my love of reading rather than nurturing it. I also got to spend more time writing. I think there’s a reason most of the youngest published authors were home schooled in some capacity–it’s because they had extra time to follow their passion. Finally, I think while home schoolers have a reputation of being sheltered, my experience was the opposite. I got to be outside in the world, experiencing life and doing things other kids my age weren’t. I was going to work with my parents, but I was also going to museums, hiking, going birding, working on political campaigns, tracking down ghost towns in the Cascade mountains. If my parents had to rely on getting me home so I could be up at 6 AM the next morning, my life would have been much more limited and I wouldn’t have had as much to write about. Essentially, I feel being home schooled gave me a head start on my peers by putting me out into the world sooner.
I totally know what you mean, one of the big positives on homeschooling for me was having way more time to pursue my passions.
As a Seattleite myself, I’m curious to know how you would describe growing up in Tacoma (I may have a few preconceived notions…)
Tacoma is a lovely seaside community, with the unique combination of what I’d call the highly literate working class. Everywhere you go in Tacoma there’s a lovely view, and it’s a little warmer than some of the surrounding towns so our snow melts faster. I grew up in the North End, so I always felt like I was part of a really strong community where everyone knew everyone else. I love that you’re driving distance to a big city or the Mountain and the people are super friendly.
Assuming you spent some time in the city (Seattle) What was your favorite hang out?
In Seattle? I like Elliot Bay Bookstore, the UW Bookstore, and Dick’s for burgers. In Tacoma, I like Steamer’s and Katie Downs and walking on the beach at Point Defiance and of course Half Price Books, which isn’t in Southern California!
I’m totally obsessed with Elliot Bay Books! I’ve spent far too many hours browsing shelves and reading over the staff recommendations (Staff recommendations are my weakness).
I’ve read quite a few interviews, but one thing I never heard the answer to – how did that whole process happen with getting onto King of the…no, I’m totally kidding. I did read that you would have used some of your prize money from King of the Nerds (had you won) to start a business. (That’s totally what I’d do with 10k too!). What kind of business do you want to start?
I want to start Hobby-Con, a convention that celebrates hobbyists and collectors. Some day!
So, as Revelations is your book I’ve read, most of these questions will be pertaining to the first book in your series (Though I have every intention of reading the second)
As a self proclaimed nerd of the comic book and sci-fi variety, the biblical end-of-days apocalypse genre is an interesting choice. What was it that caused you to choose that theme for you first big series?
I love stories of regular people against big, immovable forces of nature. I like taking insurmountable odds and epic showdowns and making them as personal as possible. And you don’t get a more epic showdown than a Biblical apocalypse. There are so many stories in various religions that are about making hard choices in terrible situations, and those are the types of situations I love to explore with my writing. The rock and the hard place. These moments are when we all have to make that awkward, painful transition from being a ‘child’ (self-centered, unaware of the larger world) to ‘adulthood’ (recognizing, caring for, and taking responsibility for things outside of yourself).
I feel like I can sense a little bit of Buffy in Kyrie, or maybe I’m just projecting (my own obsession). What was your inspiration for this character?
I find these questions hard to answer. Stories pop into my head, and the characters are there. I feel like I had to discover Kyrie, but I’m not sure what her inspiration was. I will say that once I started fleshing her out, I tried hard to make her a little more feminine, a little nicer than my other character
Samantha, in Chasing Power, is jaded, pragmatic, and vastly manipulative. She’s Moriarty if Moriarty were a good guy. With my next series, I wanted someone who was a bit of her opposite, because a lot of feedback was that Sam was unapproachable as a protagonist. So I came up with Kyrie, who had enough self-awareness that I could tolerate writing her but was still pretty much Sam’s opposite: naive, romantic and idealistic. She’s basically a knight from King Arthur’s court trapped in a woman’s body. She wants to be a champion for good and is driven to it by a force she can’t fully understand. And unfortunately for her, life takes people like that, chews them up and spits them out. Poor kid.
Seriously, Kyrie has a REALLY hard time in this book and somehow she stays strong. She’s a great character.
How did you decide to focus on Kyrie’s voice as her ultimate power? It’s pretty awesome and unique!
I love building rules into my worlds. I knew right after I had the idea for the book that I had to have rules about the Nephilims’ abilities and how they accessed those abilities, or it would drive me crazy. I’m a world builder, and if I’m creating a fantasy world, I always, always, always work out the mechanics of how everything works in those worlds.
In this case, the idea came from the word ‘silvertongue,’ as in, a ‘silver tongued devil.’ The silver tongue is all about charming through voice, so the idea of spell casting through voice evolved through there. Since Kyrie loves singing and Meriah is her vocal teacher, spell-singing became a natural extension of that. All Nephilim must vocalize in order to access their powers, however, how they each do so tends to be unique.
Additionally, it’s a not so-subtle-metaphor for how Kyrie, as a character, has to find her voice in order to claim her power, which is something we all have to do in life.
So, you made an interesting decision to make THE romantic scene in the movie between Kyrie and a boy not-so-with-the-romantic (you know what I’m talking about): Can you explain your decision to go there?
The long and short of it was that I find the way sex is depicted in the majority of YA novels (the majority of media in general!) problematic . Most novels either avoid the topic completely, demonize sex, or over-romanticize sex and ‘the first time.’ I feel like there are a lot of false expectations and misconceptions that probably arise as a result. So I knew going in I wanted to be truthful.
I debated for a very long time about how I wanted to write the scene between Kyrie and Aaron. A big part of me wanted to just ‘pan to curtain.’ But that would be a cop-out. There are a lot of positives going on in that moment: whereas before, she always did things for other people, this is the first time Kyrie really–really truly–does something for her own self. She’s taking control over her life in a way she hasn’t really done before. Before she can really sacrifice her freedom, she has to experience what it is she is giving up.
But, at the same time, I wanted to be honest: You don’t fall in love–deep, romantic love–with someone in the course of two or three days. Kyrie isn’t comfortable with Aaron the same way she was comfortable with Nate. She doesn’t have knowledge experience in this realm. Aaron’s a good guy, but he’s just a guy. He’s not a magical unicorn who will make everything perfect. Ultimately, I decided to try and present a scene that was realistic to the situation Kyrie was in.
So in short, I decided to write an authentic experience rather than a romantic one, because Kyrie’s story isn’t about romance so much as it is about finding out who she is and what she is capable of.
I love this answer! I totally agree that the sex in YA novels (much like the sex in movies) is wildly unrealistic. I love that you did this.
How do you feel like your writing and writing style progress with each book that you write?
I feel like I write each book more quickly with the last, and my stories get a little more cinematic and I begin to master the in-between scenes just a bit better than I had before.
I’m hoping they are getting better! I definitely like Genesis more than Revelations, but maybe that’s just me. And I know there’s good stuff coming, too. I always save the best stuff for last.
Krista’s Picks Kuriousity Kwestions:
If you had the awesome task of casting the movie for your book, who would be your dream actress for the role of Kyrie?
Gosh, don’t know. Kyrie is of mixed heritage, and there aren’t a lot of well known actresses out there who are good actors and have that look. At least that I’ve seen, and I’ll admit I don’t always pay attention. Maybe Hailee Steinfeld?
If you could make up a ships crew of literary characters, who would be on it?
What would you make bake or buy for the Krista’s Picks potluck?
Spinach and sausage pie!
That sounds amazing. You’re totally invited to my Potluck!
What contribution to the world do you hope to be able to look back and see when you’re old? (both babies and world domination are acceptable answers):
I want to write and direct one of the greatest films of all time.
What’s one interview question that you’ve always wished you would be asked (and your answer of course!)
Question: What’s Kyrie’s theme song?
Answer: Torpedo, by Jillette Johnson.
What should we be expecting from you next?
I’m working on a few projects. One or two I can’t talk about just yet, but I’m also contributing a short story to an upcoming Athena Voltaire trilogy, I have a period horror/thriller in the works, and, of course, there’s the next book in the Song of the Silvertongue Series! Kyrie’s not out of the woods just yet (ever?) and there’s a lot more planned for her.
It sounds like you’re staying super busy. I’m excited to read your future books. Thanks again for stopping by Genevieve and letting us know a bit more about yourself. You’re always totally welcome!