Saturday, September 6, 2014

Author Interview: Pema Donyo author of The Innocent Assassins

I'm so excited to share with you guys my first ever Author Interview! Pema Donyo is the author of two books, The Innocent Assassins(a YA spy/thriller type thing) and One Last Letter(I want to say this is a historical romance?). Also, she's only 18 which is, right?

The Interview:

1. What inspired you to write YA?
Part of the issue was reading so many Young Adult/New Adult books which didn't connect with me as a young adult myself. I would read passages and think, "Wait, we don't sound like that," or read about a romance that made me wonder, "Why does she seem so calm? Her emotions would be way more intense!" I want to represent teens from the perspective of a teen.  I wanted to provide something as an author that I'd want to read as a Young Adult reader and a young adult.

2. You're fairly young, correct? When did you first start writing?
I'm currently eighteen ... but I've been writing for as long as I can remember. I have tons of notebooks filled with scribbles and story plots from elementary school.

One of my favorite memories from those days is creating picture books with my friend Taylor - she would draw them, and I would write them. We'd make the books during recess when we were in third grade, and then we would read them aloud to the other third grade classrooms. That's when I knew I loved creating stories!

3. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Learn to love rejection! Seriously, every part of the path to publication is paved with rejections - whether it be from agents, publishers, or anyone else in the business. Remember to keep everything in perspective as well. I'm so grateful to be published at my age; this was something that an elementary-school-me dreamed about. No matter where you are in your writing career, whether you've just finished your first summary or you've hit your first bestseller list, you should always be grateful for where you're currently at.

4. What is your favorite thing about writing?
Creating worlds, of course! Dialogue is my favorite part to write. There's nothing quite like envisioning a scene inside your head and getting into the voices of the characters. Over time, coming up with a plot no longer takes work - the characters speak for themselves!

5. Do you have a favorite character to write?
Strong heroines - if it's an archetype, it's my favorite one. The world can't have enough tough female heroes out there to inspire other girls. We need powerful female role models in fictional worlds to inspire girls in the real world.

6. What inspired you to write The Innocent Assassins?
I was watching Jack Reacher and reading The Bourne Identity at the same time, and something clicked - where were the female heroes? There are some - Salt, Nikita, Alias, to name an awesome few - but the majority of thriller and action genres feature male heroes. I wanted to provide another female hero to the world of thrillers!

7. Do you have a favorite scene or chapter in The Innocent Assassins?
I do, it's featured on my website's The Innocent Assassin's page. But I'll also post it below:

Freezing ice water snapped my eyes open.
I blinked away the unconscious haze, my hair and face dripping from the unwelcome drench. The first thing I noticed was the boardroom, similar to the ones I negotiated contracts in. But there was no contract here—only a long, empty rectangular table and looming executives and agents on either side.

In front of me stood Adrian, his expression unreadable as he studied me.
“I tried to stop you.” His voice reminded me of the cold water dripping from my clothes. “I warned you.”
“By hiring assassins to scare me? I thought you knew me better. Nothing scares me.”
“Death should.”
“You know I never wanted to be…” I swallowed hard. “This.”
“I changed Covert Operatives for you.” Emotion leaked into his voice, brimming with frustration. “I tried to give you what you wanted.”
“And force others against their will to work for CO their entire life?” I spat. “I think not.”
“When did you switch sides?”
“When I was arrested, Adrian. It was after our mission went wrong. The CIA gave me a choice. Go to prison and face the death sentence or work for
He gritted his teeth. “The CIA? You’re afraid of the CIA? You know as well as I do CO can keep you away from them. I can keep you away from them.”
I glared at him. “And hide away for the rest of my life?”
His shoulders stiffened. “No one would be hiding.”
“I want a life removed from murder. The CO job was always temporary! It was never what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.” I averted my gaze.
“Don’t you know there’s only one way this can possibly end? Kill me or let me go.”

8. If you had to pick a theme song for The Innocent Assassins what would it be?
"Angel With a Shotgun" by The Cab. The Cab's an amazing band (check them out if you don't them already!) and this song's perfect for describing Adrian's view of Jane. "Throw away my faith just to keep you safe/Don't you know you're everything I have." He's a typical tough guy/assassin, and he's incredibly protective of Jane.

9. Do you read a lot, if so what was the most recent book you read that you absolutely loved?
I wish I could say "a lot," but college and my internship over this past summer have kept my hands tied. The last book I read was Persuader by Lee Child - definitely recommend it to any thriller fan. What I love the most about Child is his visual writing style. He doesn't spend a lot of time on description or setting, just plain action and emotion. It's so easy to picture each scene in the novel as a scene in a movie.

10. And finally what three words would you use to describe The Innocent Assassins?
Passionate, deadly, and shocking.

Thanks so much for interviewing me. I hope you love reading The Innocent Assassins as much as I loved writing it!

Thank you so much for this lovely interview! =)

The Books:
22586384The Innocent Assassins
There are three rules to staying an assassin at the corporation of Covert Operatives: (1) your parents must be deceased, (2) your contracts must remain confidential, and (3) you must be under the age of eighteen.

After a murder mission goes awry a month before her eighteenth birthday, Covert Operatives assassin Jane Lu finds herself caught by the federal government and forced to spy for the CIA while remaining in Covert Operatives. Once her spying mission is over she will be allowed to live a civilian life without facing criminal consequences, a life she's only dreamed of having.

As Jane leaks information to the CIA, she uncovers secrets with enough power to both destroy Covert Operatives and her own boyfriend, Adrian King, who's next in line to be CEO of the company. When her identity as a double agent for the CIA is discovered within Covert Operatives, she must decide where her allegiance, and her heart, truly lies.

One Last Letter
A romantic hardened by reality… 
Evelyn Lancaster turned her back on her love for ranch hand Jesse Greenwood when she was sixteen to pursue a career and marry into wealth that could save her father’s struggling ranch. Now twenty-three, she works hard to keep the property afloat, but no suitor has stirred her heart the way Jesse did. After her father falls ill, she needs all the help she can get to keep the ranch running.

A cowboy returning to what he left behind… 
After making his fortune, a newly wealthy Jesse has returned home to see his younger sister married. Still smarting from Evelyn’s rejection, he finds the tables have turned, and now only his investment could save the ranch that he vowed to never step foot on again. 

When he agrees to help her salvage her family legacy, they must overcome their pride and painful past to work together. As long-held emotions rekindle, Jesse pretends indifference, only to admit his true feelings in an unsigned letter left on Evelyn’s porch.

Evelyn finds the missive and writes back, beginning a furtive correspondence. She dares to hope her mystery admirer is Jesse, but then another man comes forward to claim the letters as his own. Will one last letter give them the courage to say yes to love on the wild Texas plains?

Author Links

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  1. Woha 18 and a writer! Thats amazing. I'm really happy you get to be what you wanted (considering that you wrote a lot) and I'm so happy you wanted to show teenagers in real light. Many stories get that whole idea wrong and I have hard time connecting with that. Great interview, ladies :)

    1. Yeah I was so very impressed when I heard that she was only 18! Thanks for stopping by. =)