Today we continue our exclusive Q&A with Exileauthor Kevin Emerson. If you missed it, check out part 1 here.
Most of your books in the last few years have had elements of the paranormal. EXILE is completely contemporary, set in the real world. What sort of brought you back down to earth for this book?
I’ve always enjoyed writing contemporary. My debut middle grade, CARLOS IS GONNA GET IT, was contemporary. I just also happen to also love sci-fi fantasy stuff. I’d always wanted to write a book about a band, but I’d never come up with a unique angle for a story. The idea of writing from Summer’s point of view (the band manager rather than a band member), felt like something new and fresh. Also, it got me to look at the band from the outside, as opposed to from behind the drums, which was how I always saw things when I was a teen. It turned out to be pretty challenging, but really fun.
You write both YA and MG. How do you balance going back and forth between the two?
With lots of practice! I started out only in MG (Carlos and my supernatural series OLIVER NOCTURNE). ATLANTEANS was classified YA, but when you read it, it’s sort of a hybrid. At the time I wrote that, I was teaching 8th graders, the classic in between age. EXILE is also inspired by teaching. Over the last couple years, I’ve been teaching a high school writing camp in the summers. Summer’s voice is partly those teens.
These days, I can switch between the two voices. But I do need to clear my head in between each, like take a day off or work on music instead.
To that end: what are you working on now?
I’m currently in the busiest point in my career. The Atlanteans finale (The Far Dawn) is finished. I just turned in the first draft of the second EXILE book, and that book BREAKOUT that I mentioned just went to galleys (it pubs in Feb 15). So, what I am spending most of my writing hours on this month is a new middle grade sci-fi series that’s like Battlestar Galactica for tweens.
Thanks, Kevin! Tune in for part 3 on Friday!