Hello everybody! Today I am very happy to welcome Emyln Chand author of “Farsighted” to Coffee and a Keyboard. Thank you so much for being here!
Thank you for giving me a home on your blog today—it’s great to be here!
When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve been writing since before I could write, if you know what I mean. I’ve always loved inventing stories or “tall tales” as my parents call them. I wrote and illustrated children’s books for my younger brothers when I was still in grade school. In fifth grade, I wrote a short MG novel. I tried writing screenplays in high school but never got very far with those. Really, I started writing seriously about two-and-a-half years ago when the local paper offered me a book review column. That gave me the courage and consistency to write novels. Farsighted is my second written but first published.
What inspired you to write your latest book?
Everything started with a single image—my face in these tacky oversized sunglasses reflecting out at me from the car’s side mirror. I was daydreaming while my husband drove us across Michigan for my sister’s wedding. Something about my image really struck me in an almost horrific way. I felt the glasses made me look blind but found it so weird that there was still a clear image within them; it seemed so contradictory. At the time, my book club was reading The Odyssey, which features the blind Theban prophet, Tieresias. I started thinking about what it would be like to have non-visual visions of the future and began forming a modern Tieresias in my mind. Lo and behold, Alex Kosmitoras was born. I didn’t want him to be alone in his psychic subculture, so I found other characters with other powers to keep him company. Thank God for my poor fashion sense.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
My primary goal is to tell an interesting story that people will find entertaining and be glad they read. I also wanted to take YA back to its intended audience—young adults—and to infuse the existing canon of literature for teens with diversity, to teach readers about the beauty of other cultures and other ways of life. I also hope that Farsighted is a book that leads to introspection—what would I do if put in Alex’s place? Did Alex ever have a choice or was this path his destiny? What would it be like to see the world the way he sees the world?
What books have most influenced your life?
In truth, I’m influenced by everything I read (for better or worse). My primary writing influences are JK Rowling for awesome world-building and unrivaled dialogue-writing skill, Anne M Martin for first making me love books, John Irving for incredible characterization, Suzanne Collins for riveting action, and Vladimir Nabokov for seamless and beautiful prose.
What book are you reading now?
I’m reading Scorpio Rising by Monique Domovitch (a wonderful woman who is both a friend and a Novel Publicity client). I’m a sucker for literary fiction, so I’m just eating Scorpio up!
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part was getting started! I spent about three months trying to talk myself out of writing Farsighted. It’s too ambitious, my inner critic pointed out. You’ll never get it done, not in the way it deserves to be done, it pressed. But there was another part of me that couldn’t resist; I knew I had to at least try before giving up. So glad I decided to be an optimist for a change!
Do you have any advice for other writers?
My advice is this: Have fun with your writing. Don’t put pressure on yourself or your story and don’t try to fit either into some type of mold. Not every work HAS to be published, but every work will teach you something, and it will make you a better writer. Find the joy in writing, and you won’t go wrong.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I like to work, haha. No, seriously. I run my own company, and I love my job. Work is relaxing. When I’ve worked too hard and have to call it quits for the day, I like reading on my Kindle, taking bubble baths, and watching Glee (or more recently, The Big Bang Theory). I also have 5 birds, a dog, and a husband.
Where can we find more information about you and your current projects?
I’m everywhere. Seriously, Google “Emlyn Chand” plus your favorite social media site, and you’ll find me. My website is www.emlynchand.com and my favorite networking sites are Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and GoodReads.
And of course, last but not least…do you have a favorite brand, flavor, type of coffee?
I am a hardcore coffee addict—sometimes drinking as much as 16 cups of coffee per day. And I just got a Keurig coffee maker for my birthday, and I love it! I still drink the exact same brand of coffee I’ve always enjoyed—Dunkin’ Donuts. Now I just have more fun preparing it
Alex Kosmitoras’s life has never been easy. The only other student who will talk to him is the school bully, his parents are dead-broke and insanely overprotective, and to complicate matters even more, he’s blind. Just when he thinks he’ll never have a shot at a normal life, a new girl from India moves into town. Simmi is smart, nice, and actually wants to be friends with Alex. Plus she smells like an Almond Joy bar. Yes, sophomore year might not be so bad after all.
Unfortunately, Alex is in store for another new arrival—an unexpected and often embarrassing ability to “see” the future. Try as he may, Alex is unable to ignore his visions, especially when they begin to suggest that Simmi is in danger. With the help of the mysterious psychic next door and new friends who come bearing gifts of their own, Alex must embark on a journey to change his future.
Emlyn Chand has always loved to hear and tell stories, having emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true story). When she’s not writing, she runs a large book club in Ann Arbor and is the president of author PR firm, Novel Publicity. Emlyn loves to connect with readers and is available throughout the social media interweb. Visit www.emlynchand.com for more info. Don’t forget to say “hi” to her sun conure Ducky!
Farsighted is her latest book.