Today we have a guest blogger, Indie author Julie Anne Grasso. I am excited for you to get to know her and the release of her latest novel Return To Cardamom (Adventures of Caramel Cardamom #2). The Forbidden Planet (Book1) by Julie Anne Grasso is currently available for $0.99. Be prepared for a delightful read full of wit and warmth.
How did you get started writing? A few years ago I started reading books on writing for kids and everyone said, “Write about what you know”. I am a huge sci fi nerd, yes I even own a tardis, so that genre was an obvious choice. As I started formulating my story, I couldn’t help stirring in a bit of medical gadgetry and of course, chocolate cake. Escape From The Forbidden Planet was the result and Return To Cardamom just seemed to flow on from my original story.
I love your book covers. Who is your designer? David Blackwell from http://drawshootmove.com/ is my fantastical illustrator. Dave is not just an illustrator he is also an animator, so I knew that he would be great at the gaming/anime style drawing that I wanted for my covers. You will laugh hysterically when you see the stick figure drawings that I provided as a guide. He is obviously part wizard to produce those covers from my feeble illustrations.
What made you decide to self-publish your books? What has been hard or easy about this route? I did submit my manuscript to some agents and publishers originally, and after some nice feedback but no offers, I decided to pursue Indie publishing. The whole journey has been a huge learning curve, with quite a few bumps and scrapes along the way. However, I have met some great Indie author friends who have offered guidance and support, but it’s certainly a marathon not a sprint.
Why did you choose MG to write for? I love the innocence of middle grade. I want to take children on a great adventure, just before the pressures of teenage life encroach upon then. I hope to impart a tiny bit of wisdom, a whole lot of fun and of course cupcakes as the reader journeys along with Caramel.
Who is your favorite author? I have two, Anne McCaffrey writer of “The Rowan” and “The Crystal Singer” and JK Rowling. Nothing more need be said about her.
What is your favorite punctuation? I love comma’s, just ask my editor, I put about a billion too many in my manuscripts LOL.
Has your profession as a nurse been helpful writing certain characters and scenes? Definitely. I did a research project several years ago where scanning technology was used to diagnose and plan treatment for the children with burn injuries. I often wished I could heal and not just diagnose treatment, so that is where my idea of using a scanner to enhance the elves healing abilities came about.
Describe your main character: Caramel is not just your average elf. Sure she can read and speak into thoughts like every other elf, but her abilities stretch beyond what most of her family and friends could ever imagine. However, an injury as a child leaves her with a disabled leg which undermines her confidence. She is fiercely loyal, stubbornly persistent, extremely clumsy, has a penchant for cupcakes, is cheeky, adorable and cinnamon scented.
I love the names you have for your characters. How did you come up with them? My elves have signature scents, so I tried to find names that were as aromatic as possible if that makes any sense lol.
Do you think social media has helped you launch your books successfully? I joined Twitter, not really knowing what it was all about. I quickly found it was full of great authors, agents, publishers and illustrators willing to share their wisdom in the publishing field. Once I started to engage with people, I found they were interested in each step of the way on my publishing journey. The answer is therefore yes, I believe social media has helped develop my author platform, and engage with people who are interested in my books.
I just finished reading book 2. I am dying to know if there will be a book 3. If so, can you give us a little morsel of what it will be about? Aww, thanks Rebekah, I am totally over the moon when I hear people express their interest in book 3. The first draft has been written and I hope to publish it in early 2014. Caramel and all her friends will reunite on board an out of this world space ship for an intergalactic youth summit… I won’t just leave it there. I posted a sneak preview on my Goodreads Q&A, so drop by and let me know what you think.
Here is your chance to pitch your books. Why should my readers pick up a copy of your book to read? If you like the idea of telepathic elves who are obsessed with chocolate cake with caramel sauce, that swing through rainforests on vines, can train trees into the intricate dwellings in the canopy as well as doing battle with evil clones that aim to take over the universe, then you might enjoy this too.
Both books also have teaching resources, created for me by Carolyn Wilhelm of the Wise Owl Factory.
Return To Cardamom (Adventures of Caramel Cardamom #2) is currently available on Amazon UK, Amazon US, and Amazon Canada.
Genre: MG Fantasy
Description: Life is sweet for Caramel and things are finally getting back to normal. Well, as normal as it can be for a telepathic elf who can train trees and control computers, but she soon finds life on Cardamom is not all cupcakes and apple cider.
A saboteur is hiding in the rainforest canopy, and the elves’ precious cardamom export has been wiped out. Caramel is certain it’s another trick of Alexander222 and her Aunt Isabel, but no one will believe her, and the clock is ticking. She must expose the saboteur in time to save the crop or the Elves of Cardamom will lose their livelihood.
Caramel won’t rest until her theory is proven. While she is on the hunt, she makes a shocking discovery, one that will change everything.
Follow Caramel’s gripping adventures in the exciting sequel to “Escape From The Forbidden Planet.” Suitable for ages 9-12.
Author Bio: Julie Anne Grasso is an Australian author with a background in pediatric nursing. She spent many years literally wrapping children in cotton wool. Every day she witnessed great courage and resilience from the tiny people she cared for, which inspired her to write stories about a little girl elf just like them. Add in some very funky technology, her love of science fiction and desire to impart great values through her little girl elf named Caramel and there you have it, the Adventures of Caramel Cardamom Trilogy.
Julie lives in Melbourne with her husband Danny and their little elf Giselle. Most days she can be found sipping chai lattes, chasing a toddler, and dreaming up wonderful worlds that often involve consumption of cupcakes.