Friday, 26 May 2017

Interview with Emily Kazmierski and review of Malignant

I'm pleased to welcome Emily to the blog today with an interview and review of her YA book, Malignant. Here's a little bit about Emily

Emily lives in gorgeous southern California with her handy husband, two beautiful daughters, two curious dachshunds, and seven fluffy chickens. She loves to read, write, eat, and make homemade ice cream (but you'll never catch her putting coconut in it -- yuck!).

And onto the interview!

1 - What made you want to be a writer? I have always been a writer.
The first story I remember ever writing was about a little girl who dies and is reincarnated as a blue whale. I must have been eight or nine. When I finally finished my first novel, Malignant, and hit the publish button on Amazon, I did it mostly for fun. I wanted to see if anyone would read it and if it was any good. I'm enjoying the process of writing my second novel. I'm hoping to do it much more quickly this time.

2 - What kind of books do you read for pleasure? Up until last year I read mostly classics, but in the last couple of years

I've read a lot of more contemporary literature -- everything from plays to children's novels to historical fiction. I'm rather enjoying dipping my toes into new genres. My absolute favorite books are The Hobbit, Brave New World, and Watership Down.

3 - What kind of writer are you: plan or not?
I'm what many writers call a pantser, which means I write by the seat of my pants. I have a very rough outline, by which I mean I have a list of scene ideas, but that's about it. I write in my head and then I type it out. It takes me a while because I really mull over a scene before I pound it out.

4 - How does your average writing time go?
I write late at night when everyone else in my family is asleep so I have fewer interruptions. :) Sometimes I've thought a scene through and I know exactly what I want to say. In that case it goes pretty quickly. I try not to correct myself too much when I'm typing because that just slows me down. If I'm not sure where the scene is going it takes quite a bit longer. I have to sit and think about word choice, character qualities and motivation, and that sort of thing.

5 - What book/character of yours is your favourite?
I really like Mrs. Matthews, who is a relatively minor character in Malignant. She's kind of a Molly Weasley type -- motherly and caring but also strong and smart. She was fun to write because she was sassy and a bit nosy.

6 - If you had the chance to write anywhere, where would you choose?
I'd check into a little bed and breakfast in Monterey, CA and write while overlooking the ocean. Hopefully I'd see an otter or two.

7 - What attracted you to your chosen genre?
I mostly like to read and write about real people who live in our world. I like to wrestle with real problems that people face today. I want people to read my books and be able to use them to better understand their friend or next door neighbor.

8 - How have other writers influenced your own writing?
Every book I've read has influenced my writing in some way. I'm always learning new words and phrases. I love books that require me to look up words as I read. Reading is the best way for a writer to keep growing in his or her craft and to stay fresh.

9 - Do you prefer to type or hand write?
I type everything. I wouldn't get anything done if I had to do it by hand.

10 - Do you have a writing playlist? Or do you prefer silence?
I prefer silence. Music is distracting. A former boss of mine caught me directing music in my cubicle once. Boy was that embarrassing!

11 - Do you have any hobbies?
I love the arts and entertainment. I enjoy watching movies and television and going to plays and musicals. I also really enjoy cooking and baking and trying new recipes.

12 - Would you ever like to branch out to a different genre?
My first novel is a young adult novel, and I've also written several short stories. One is a fairytale retelling for middle grade readers, and one is about a little girl but is aimed more at adults due to the subject matter. Finally, the novel I'm working on now is adult literary fiction. So, I do play around with genre a bit, but not a lot. I have considered trying to write Christian romance because I've read quite a lot of it, but you probably won't ever catch me writing fantasy, paranormal, or that sort of thing. I would have no idea how to go about doing something like that.

When high school sophomore Reese's beloved mom is diagnosed with terminal cancer, she chooses to remain at home with her family rather than undergoing futile, body-ravaging treatments. Reese must grapple with the reality of losing her mother far sooner than she ever had dreamed, and far before she has learned everything that her mother has to teach her.

Reese's father pulls away from the family in grief and leaves Reese to care for much of the household. As the weeks pass, Reese realizes that the devastating cancer that is killing her mother might also cause her to lose her father.

Malignant is an raw young adult novel about a family whose members must learn to persevere through a heartbreaking crisis.

My review: 4 stars
I'm always a sucker for a good young adult book, and this one was no exception. The story starts with Reese going about her life with her mom, dad and best friend, Brandon. Except her mom starts to feel ill and a myriad of tests are run before it's discovered she has cancer. Opting to spend her last days at home with her family, the story follows Reese as she struggles to come to terms with her mother dying. It was beautifully told and heart-wrenching in places. Watching Reese's dad pull away as his way of dealing with his own grief was heartbreaking. The book is amazing and very much one I enjoyed. My only complaint was that it felt a little short in places, but other than that, a wonderful story and an author to keep an eye on. Recommended.

You can follow Emily on Facebook.

Join Joey here on the blog on Fridays for interviews, reviews and guest bloggers. If you'd be interested in doing any of those, you can contact Joey here.

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