03 January 2013

Interview: Anne Osterlund (Salvation)

Salvation Blog Tour Stop!

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An interview with fabulous author Anne Osterlund

Aurelia, the heroine of Aurelia and Exile, came to you complaining about an itchy ankle. In Academy 7, Aerin was gazing in a mirror, contemplating her identity; and Dane was in prison. How did Salva and Beth, the main characters in Salvation, present themselves?
I first met Salva and Beth in the middle of a collision. Papers, pencils, the contents of Beth’s backpack, and point of view everywhere!

Yet neither of them bothered to introduce themselves. Oh, no; they were both far too busy telling me about each other. According to her, he was one of those “patronizing—and annoying— organized people.” And according to him, she was “the walking disaster area.”

There was plenty of evidence to support both claims. Though I got no names out of that particular collision, and I had no idea there was a book coming.

I didn’t find that out until Pepe shoved Salva into the prologue. Pepe is Salva’s best friend, and he’s pretty certain he knows what Salva needs: by this I mean who Salva should date, what sport he should play; what he should do with his life, where he should go to college, and when Salva should be brave enough to introduce himself to an author—aka yours truly—and demand that that author write his story.

In this case, Pepe was right: Salva has a heck of a story.
This is your fourth book, and third genre. How does writing contemporary fiction differ from writing sci-fi and fantasy? 
Aside from the lack of interplanetary planes and royal assassination attempts? LOL. Each genre has its own beauty, and this is certainly true for contemporary fiction, as I explained to Aurelia in my blog post here

The major difference, though, is that in science fiction and fantasy, even when the problems reflect modern issues, there is a certain barrier between the story and reality. In contemporary fiction, that barrier is void. The issues are real and immediate.
Out of your four published novels, which was the most fun to write, which was the easiest to write, and which was the hardest to write?

Yikes! Let’s salvage my characters’ emotions here and stick with some standout scenes in Salvation. (I don’t encourage competition between the characters in my different books. We are all a team).

In Salvation:

Fun—Beth dripping paint all over fundraising posters. Salva’s older sister grilling him on his love life. And, of course, the Romeo and Juliet death scene.

Easy—Actually, most of Salvation flowed very smoothly. Right up until . . . 
Hardest—Salva refused to go home. All he had to do was leave the school & walk home, but no. It took Beth and I forever to get him to go. Of course, when you take into account what happened after he went home, you can understand why he was so opposed.
Was there ever a moment when you wanted to go back and change something in a book you’d already published? 
Of course. But I’m not going to tell you what! I can tell you the changes would be very minor. My characters would never allow me to write all those revisions without pointing out a major flaw.
What can we expect next? 
Redemption. Aurelia demands that I finish her third and final novel. (Of course Robert wants me to finish it also. He just isn’t as demanding). She’s dying to tell you all about their book, but she knows this is Salva and Beth’s moment so she is very patiently—for Aurelia—biting her tongue. Though, as a tradeoff for such good behavior, I did write a blog post about Redemption here
What excites you the most about being a published author?

The chance to share my stories, create magic, and touch people’s hearts.
Do you have a favorite quote? 
I have many. One of my current favorites comes from the scene in Iron-Jawed Angels when the Alice Paul characters says, “If everyone approved, there’d be no point.” I imagine all writers can value that philosophy!
What three books would you take with you to a deserted island? 
The Complete Works of Shakespeare. (Who knows how long I might be stuck there?!!)

The Bible. (Because I might be suffering from some serious spiritual depression when I ran out of books to read).

Smoke Signals and Other Survival Tips for Dummies (OK, I made this one up, but you get the idea).
If you had a superpower, what would it be and what would you do with it? 
Oh, I would love to fly! But in truth, I would wish for the ability to feed all the people suffering from hunger. And then I would follow through. Though I would definitely need to engage in some soul-feeding storytelling along the way. 

About Salvation

Salvador Resendez--Salva to his friends--appears to have it all. His Mexican immigrant family has high expectations, and Salva intends to fulfill them. He's student body president, quarterback of the football team, and has a near-perfect GPA. Everyone loves him.

Especially Beth Courant, AKA the walking disaster area. Dreamy and shy, Beth is used to blending into the background. But she's also smart, and she has serious plans for her future.

Popular guy and bookish girl--the two have almost nothing in common. Until fate throws them together and the attraction is irresistible. Soon Beth is pushing Salva to set his sights higher than ever--because she knows he has more to offer, more than even he realizes.

Then tragedy strikes--and threatens to destroy everything that Salva has worked for. Will Beth's love be enough to save him?

About the Author

Anne Osterlund grew up in the sunshine of Eastern Oregon and graduated from Whitworth College. She lives in a cute little yellow house with her new feline friend, Charlotte, and her own library of young adult books. She also teaches sixth grade and enjoys immersing her students in language, literature, and imagination. Anne has written three novels, Aurelia, Academy 7, and Exile, all published by Penguin Books, and is polishing a fourth.