The unofficial start of summer is here! And here’s a book for your summer enjoyment from a wonderful author, G.A. Edwards
I can tell you about the inner working of a romance writer, a writer of women’s fiction, a short-story teller, and a bad poet.
But what turns the cogs in the brain of a Young Adult writer?
Maybe it’s sense of humor and knowing when to break the rules—writing rules—that holds the interest of readers of many ages. Maybe it’s the ability to tap into an inner Diva or insight into the emotionally growing mind of a young person possessing both fearlessness and vulnerability, then capture experiences in words. It is definitely the ability to engage readers and do it without preaching a message.
Let’s learn more about the author behind the book.
Linda: What is your favorite quote?
G.A.: While Mirror Images is a YA thriller about a small town, it’s also focused on the emotional relationship between two brothers when one of them is bipolar. I think one of the best quotes occurs when circumstances caused by the crimes force the family to listen as Max gut-wrenchingly describes what a toll being bipolar is on him when it comes to relationships.
“Do you guys understand what it’s like to know that you’re probably always going to need someone to help you? To check on you, to make sure you take your meds, that you aren’t too hyper or too sad, or that you don’t kill yourself? That you can’t even be there for the ones you love, because you’re sick? Because I live with it every single day, and I can’t face myself…if all I can ever be is someone else’s burden.”
Linda: When did you first want to write?
G.A.: I have enjoyed reading and writing since I was in grade school. I am a retired English, Speech Communication, and Theatre teacher and have spent my adult life working in the field and encouraging others. One day several years ago, I decided to take some of my own advice and begin writing. I have always used writing things down as a release to help cope when needed. I started with a blog, then went on-line, found a writing group, and began a serious attempt to become an author.
Linda: When was the moment you first considered yourself a writer?
G.A.: I think everyone feels it the first time they hold their book in their hand and realize they are now a published author. For me, it was when I realized that writing wasn’t simply an outlet anymore. I had developed set goals and the drive to complete them.
Linda: Will you share one or two writing tips that provided an “ah-ha” moment for you?
G.A.: Even before I was working on Mirror Images, I saw patterns and literary devices in literature and the work of other authors. Some of these things were quite obvious and so much a part of me, that I didn’t recognize them as viable structures to use for my writing until I started looking. A simple example of this is found in the old Scooby Doo cartoon. Each week the show begins with the group talking about where they are going (Exposition). Then the group arrives at their destination and something happens like there’s a picture with scary eyes, the appearance of a ghost or monster followed by the action building when the gang makes a plan to catch that week’s villain (Rising Action). Fred catches the villain, rips off the mask, and everyone says, “Mr. Wilson!” or whatever the guilty party’s name is for that week (Climax.) Velma goes over the clues (Falling Action) and the show ends with case solved and some additional hi-jinks of Scooby Dooby Doo (Resolution). Even though I have moved on to use a more complex plotline than this one, I came to realize I already had much of the knowledge I need to write successfully.
One of the most helpful things I did that resulted in numerous “ah-ha” moments happened when I became an intern for the New Adult line with editors, Karen Grove and Nicole Steinhaus, from Entangled Publishing, L.L.C. Each week I would read one or two full manuscripts from other writers, produce an evaluation, and it became easy to see the errors and places for improvement in the work of others. I then applied what I had learned completing these reports to my own work.
Linda: What lie(s) were you told about writing?
G.A.: I wasn’t lied to, but I had to learn to trust my own opinion when it came to voice. Very few of the writers that I work with write Young Adult or utilized much first person perspective. After trying to adapt Mirror Images to another point of view, I went back to the style of voice I heard in my head. One thing that gave me confidence to go with my gut was that I had read a great deal of work from Young Adult authors. I knew teen readers already readily embrace this style.
Linda: Where did the inspiration for MIRROR IMAGES come from?
G.A.: I asked myself, “What did I enjoy reading when I was younger that I miss? What have I heard teens complain is unavailable when it comes to reading material?” The answers were contemporary mystery suspense similar to Lois Duncan’s, Killing Mr. Griffin or I Know What You Did Last Summer, and more books with the social messages found in the current works of Jennifer Brown, author of Hate List and the new, Torn Away. It was also important to me to write a book that would appeal to both boy and girl readers.
As for the exact inspiration for Mirror Images, I began with the town of Madison. I thought of the many good aspects of small town living and those that are not so great. I utilized this knowledge to include the perspectives of some of the people in Madison in the beginning blurbs before each chapter. The scenes in Mirror Images that take place at the fair are drawn directly from a real town in Missouri. It is the community that ties the trilogy together and I am enjoying showing a different aspect of the town as I work on Explosive Charges, Book Two, in the Madison Murders series.
The relationship of main characters, Marty and Max, came from observing my twin stepsons. When the boys came into my life, I was surprised by the number of differences in the way the twins interacted with each other compared to what I had seen with my own single birth children. The title of the book came from the fact my twins would look to each other, rather than a mirror, if something was mentioned about their appearance.
As for the theme of mental disorders, I wanted to give a fair but truthful voice to the many people who have diagnosis and the family members who help care for someone who fits the description. I wanted to show that these individuals with a diagnosis are so much more than the symptoms of an illness or a disorder or their label.
Linda: What research did you do for this book?
G.A.: I studied the types of symptoms associated with being bipolar and the effects of the medications and therapies used to treat it. My sister is active in determining the Juvenile Code of our state. She was an invaluable resource as I searched for examples of the process accused go through in the judicial system. Tragically, a nearby community had clear examples of what occurs when members are accused of crimes and the fall out for the accuser, the accused, and the entire town as the truth was sought. Also, my granddaughter takes great joy in telling everyone that I tried to drown her in name of research to get a better visual in my mind of a dead girl. She exaggerates, some… Don’t worry, she’s fine now.
Linda: Please share with us one thing about you that most people don’t know.
G.A.: I am a very open person, so there isn’t much that I haven’t shared with someone. I think something that would surprise others is how much I love flowers. I did grow up in a small town and one of my joys as a child was to take a nightly walk to look at all of the neighbor’s flowers. I still enjoy this.
Linda: We wish you great success with MIRROR IMAGES.
Here’s a peek inside:
Someone is drowning little girls in Madison, Missouri.
But Marty Jamison’s too busy to worry about it. He’s got to help his bipolar twin, Max, start the new school year. It’s not fair when all he wants to do is get good grades for a future scholarship, to save for a car to drive after his upcoming birthday, and to spend more time with pretty Kayla Gallagher.
As more and more deaths occur, someone close to Marty is tied to the Floating Angels Murders. He’s forced to entertain the possibility that a person he loves is a killer.
Determined to find out the truth, Marty uses his after school job as a reporter at the local paper to search through the grisly evidence from the crimes. Marty finds his answers, but a final showdown at the pool forces a choice that could leave him ashamed to look at his own image in the mirror.
Mirror Images brings back the suspense of YA classics by authors Lois Duncan and Gail Giles with an emphasis on social issues similar to the those in the works of Jennifer Brown.
More about G.A. Edwards:
G. A. Edwards is a retired English teacher now spending her days as a writer and speaker sharing the joys of literature one word at a time. A voracious reader of all genres, she writes gritty contemporary thrillers for teens with flawed heroes you’ll want to come out on top. Memberships in Romance Writers of America, Heartland Romance Authors, Mid-America Romance Authors, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and as an intern for the New Adult line with Entangled Publishing, L.L.C. have given many writing skills and even more friends. She lives in the Midwest where she enjoys traveling with her husband and hosting highly competitive family game nights. She swears she loves teens, a good story, and her minivan, but avoids celery, glitter, and squirrels when possible.
I hope you’ve enjoyed meeting G.A. Edwards. She’s a writer to follow!