Meet Layla McKelland:
Novelist (unpublished, but cut her some slack…seventeen is a bit early to despair),
Slightly neurotic introvert (Alright, let’s be honest…there’s no “slightly” about it),
International Woman of Mystery, and…
Okay, just scratch the bio.
The only real “mystery” in Layla’s life is why her father has never been on the scene. Or why her mother drags Layla to a new coastal home every year.
Nothing about the latest hometown seems too newsworthy…until a routine day at the beach leaves Layla questioning whether she’s read one too many paranormal fantasy novels. The plot thickens when a random guy claims to know things about her father—a bizarre claim he backs up with an equally impossible stunt. And Layla soon finds herself on the wrong side of a mysterious attempted drowning…on her own kitchen floor.
When all is done, Layla will attest that fact is far stranger than fiction. And nothing in real life is ever as transparent as it seems…Not even water.
Especially not water.
You can buy Aqua at:
Interview with M.A. George
1) How long have you been writing and how did you get started?
Confession: I came onto the writing scene way later than most. I’ve always been a dreamer and a storyteller at heart, as well as an amateur grammar freak. (Please don’t critique my grammar now. I’ll be jinxed into making a hideous boo-boo. Come to think of it, I probably already have.) I only figured out the amazing joy of writing novels about three years ago. Now I’m making up for lost time.
2) Who were your favorite authors when you were growing up?
My first memory of being rabidly addicted to a series involves John R. Erickson’s Hank the Cowdog books. I remember reading them aloud to my mother every evening, and I still have a hardback set I’m saving for my boys when they’re just a wee bit older. I also adored (and still do) Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables stories.
3) In twenty words or less, what is Aqua about?
Quirky teen girl discovers hidden secrets about her family involving water. Mass quantities of water. Adventure abounds. Oh what fun! (Sorry, my obsessive-compulsive side wouldn’t allow me to make it anything but exactly twenty words, nonsensical though they may be.)
4) How did you come up with the idea of Aqua?
I have absolutely no idea, it feels like eons ago. I vaguely recall images of a teenage girl moving around the country with her mother, bouncing from one coastal town to the next, uncovering a hidden past and an intense connection to the water.
5) Before Aqua, you wrote the Proximity series. What is Proximity about? How did writing Proximity differ from writing Aqua?
Proximity is the story of Palta Capal, a second-generation Earthling, born to alien parents over a century ago. When travelers from her home world unexpectedly appear on our planet, Palta’s monotonous life takes a whirlwind turn. Space travel and whatnot ensues. Writing the Proximity series was in many ways similar to writing Aqua; but I would say the greatest difference was in completing one series versus beginning anew with an unrelated storyline. By the third book of the Proximity series, the characters were so familiar that I needed very little forethought to predict their reactions or find the right words to fit their personalities. Beginning a new story with Aqua, I once again found myself meeting an entirely new cast of characters, forming a premise from the ground up. Some days that freedom is the most exciting thing about writing…infinite possibilities for character and plot development. Other days, it makes for a seriously jumbled brain.
6) What is your writing process like? Are you a planner or a pantser?
I would say I’m 97.4% pantser. I really do enjoy that thrill of discovery, waiting to see where my characters will take me next, wondering what words will fly from their mouths. I credit many a plot twist to those unanticipated revelations mid-stream. That being said, if I don’t at least have a general idea where I’m headed, things would get pretty ugly. I usually type up a vague plot outline when I begin; but it is 100% guaranteed to change by the time the last chapter is finished. I do sketch out little snippets of dialogue or random plot ideas as I go along, whenever the inspiration hits my brain. Then I piece those in when the right moment arrives. (Huge source of frustration if the “right moment” never really seems to turn up. I’m harboring quite a few random snippets of dialogue that went unspoken, just because I can’t bear to delete them.)
7) What do you like most about being an author? What do you like least?
What I like most is the creativity. Whether I’m dreaming up plot ideas, weaving words together, working on cover design—or even tinkering with my website—the entire experience is an exercise in creativity. Creative expression is the thread that holds my sanity together. What do I like least? Formatting. Not because it’s actually that much of a chore…It just gets monotonous after a while.
8) What does your family think about your writing career?
The hubby thought I was off my rocker when I first told him I was writing a book. Now he’s quite used to it, and actually serves as my first line of defense against horrendous plot disasters. My two boys are still wrapping their heads around the idea that Mama is actually capable of typing up enough words to fill an entire grown-up book. They are enamored with the covers and love spotting my picture on the computer when I’m working on various internetty things.
9) What do you have planned next?
I have been persuaded to plan a sequel to Aqua, which wasn’t initially in the cards but should be a blast. I’m also working on a new YA fantasy novel, which involves alternate realities. Definitely going to be a blast to write (and hopefully to read too!).
10) Tell us something that most of your readers don't know about you.
I have a degree in Engineering. I don’t actually use it, but there it is. Oh, and I’m a recovering overachiever. Please don’t hold it against me. ;) Thanks so much for inviting me over for an interview! It was a pleasure stopping by.
Thank you, M.A. George!
You can also find the author on:
Still not convinced that you should read Aqua? Then check out this trailer!