Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Guest Catherine Stine

Today I’m welcoming Catherine Stine. As part of her Fireseed One book tour, she is answering some questions about her new YA thriller and her writing and drawing process. But first, a quick novel summary:

What if only your very worst enemy could help you save the world?

Fireseed One, a YA thriller, is set in a near-future earth with soaring heat, toxic waters, tricked-out amphibious vehicles, ice-themed dance clubs and fish that grow up on vines. Eighteen year-old Varik Teitur, inherits a vast sea farm after the mysterious drowning of his marine biologist father. When Marisa Baron, a beautiful and shrewd terrorist, who knows way too much about Varik's father's work, tries to steal seed disks from the world's food bank, Varik is forced to put his dreams of becoming a doctor on hold and venture with her, into a hot zone teeming with treacherous nomads and a Fireseed cult who worships his dead father, in order to search for a magical hybrid plant that may not even exist. Illustrated by the author. Fans of Divergent and Feed will likely enjoy this tale, as well as those readers who like a generous dash of romance with their page-turners.

Catherine: Thanks for hosting me, Hart!

How did you come up with the idea of floating farms, a USA transformed to having Vegas on the coast, and hybrid plants with magical breeding ability?

I’m also an illustrator, and I first imagined this world through a series of drawings I did of floating ocean farms, an army of dolphins and a psychic scientist! I was fascinated with what it might be like to live on an island that you could power up and move. BTW, that idea came to me way before JJ Abrams thought up floating islands for LOST. Just goes to show that if you have a cool idea for a novel, you’d best get started on it before your coffee gets cold, because ideas do seem to float in the wind. If you don’t whip up that novel fast, someone else will.

I eventually worked up about twenty drawings and then wrote a very early draft of Fireseed One. Over the years, it’s morphed to what it is now, just like those strange hybrid plants in Fireseed One. This novel celebrates art as well as writing, with an amazing wraparound cover by Jay Montgomery, a world map by Taili Wu, and nine of my own illustrations.

Speaking of hybrids, what’s the deal with Fireseed?

It was a concept plant, designed by Varik’s dad to withstand killing heat and no real water. It had magical hybrid powers, so that it would easily breed with almost any plant. It supposedly grew to five feet tall, and was blood red, and had branches with fingerlike appendages. The problem is, now that Varik’s dad has mysteriously drowned, no one can say if it ever existed off the drawing board. What in the world is Fireseed a mixture of? Ah, you have to read the book to find out!

Will Marisa and Varik ever play nice?
Not telling, but I’ll give you two sneak peeks from these Fireseed One snippets:

The first:
She laughs. Kicks the mask I dropped.

“Who are you?” I shout. “What were you doing in that vault?” I’m thinking she looks oddly familiar, like someone whose image is printed on a cereal box or advert. But I can’t place her. Certainly she’s no starving refugee or common thief. Her demeanor’s way too haughty. She looks well taken care of, as if she’s never missed a night of sleep, as if she’s recently rubbed lotion on her face and given her hair a comb.

The second:
“Look, jerk, I’m not your prize whale,” she hisses. “You want to see that video of your dad? The only way this is going to work is if you take the stupid fish line off me.”

“I can’t do that.”

“Why not?” She glares at me. “That bartender could have you arrested.”

“I could have you arrested!”

It’s a standoff while we glare at each other, me wondering why I don’t just jab her with my fish knife for all the damage she’s inflicted, her probably wondering how she can off me and get the rest of those disks. But there’s Fireseed; and the mystery video. I need Marisa to find out what those are.

Her face breaks out into a sudden, shocking grin as she holds out a handful of peanuts. “I got us a snack while I was waiting.”

I grab some as a watery tension in my chest eddies into my legs, morphing them into heavy, wet plaster. On the way back to Shin, I surreptitiously throw my share of the nuts on the floor. For all I know, she laced them with poison.

How many Fireseed books are planned? Have you already mapped out the next one?
Yes! The next is called Children of Fireseed, where I invent even more scary and spectacular hybrid creatures and scenarios. Hint: what advantages would you have if you could get your nutrition from the sun? The Fireseed cult will reappear, as will Armonk, Nevada and the little cult girl with three missing fingers. (You’ll understand when you read). Oh, and another super-hot romance.

Fireseed One is available as an ebook for $2.99 from Amazon, B&N, iTunes and Sony Reader. The collectible illustrated paperback is $7.99 at Amazon and B&N.

 About the Author

Catherine Stine’s Fireseed One launched in December to 5-star reviews. Her first YA, Refugees, earned a New York Public Library Best Book and a featured review and interview in Booklist. Middle grade novels include The End of the Race in the Wild at Heart series and A Girl’s Best Friend in the Innerstar University series. More and more, she’s enjoying writing page-turning suspense. She is also a professional illustrator and teacher of creative writing.

Where you can find Catherine and Fireseed One on the web:

Fireseed One on Kindle:
Facebook’s Fireseed One book page
Goodreads author page
Catherine’s Idea City Blog
Catherine’s website

Please consider LIKING the Fireseed One Facebook page on your way out, and take a look at the other fun Fireseed One tour stops here, from February 20 through March 19th!

Thank you so much for sharing all this with us today, Catherine! And you have an impressive list of books there! I wish you the best of luck with this one!

For Catherine’s other tour stops:


Angela M. said...

My daughter is going to love this book! It's amazing how you developed the concept for the worlbuilding :)

Angela M. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cherie Reich said...

Fireseed sounds really cool! I'll have to keep it in mind. I love the cover art too.

Catherine Stine said...

Thanks, Angela and Cherie, and Hart too, the way you put this together looks cool. Catherine

Julie Musil said...

What an amazing premise! I'm blown away by Catherine's creativity.

cleemckenzie said...

Your imagination is boundless, Catherine. Congratulations on these great books!

Catherine Stine said...

Wow, thanks, it's soooo much fun to IMAGINE worlds and new beings-human and otherwise.

Hart Johnson said...

I love your concepts here--the underlying stuff is so cool, and the fact that you come up with the idea through drawings amazes me. I have no skill that way. I think my favorite piece though, is having to cooperate with an enemy. Talk about tension!

Johanna Garth said...

Sounds like a great book and I love the writing/illustrating connection.

kimberlyloomis said...

Sounds like a very interesting premise. And CA NOT the Pacific boardering state? Hmmm... Is it wrong that's a selling point for me? Can't wait to check this out. Thanks for hosting her, Hart!

DonnaGalanti said...

Love this story concept - and excerpt! Its awfully fiery between these two - creates great tension with their dialogue. Fiery banter in Fireseed!

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

What an incredible fertile imagination this author has! I'm blown away by all of this. I will definitely have to check it out :)

Kanta said...

Definitely a page turner! I loved the fascinating world and quirky characters.

Catherine Stine said...

Yes, a fertile imagination, to grow a word garden! hhaha. No, really, thanks for all of the nice comments.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Amazing it all began with some of your own drawings.

Caryn Caldwell said...

Wow! This sounds really cool! I love the story of your drawings leading to the book, too.

Helena said...

What a double threat you are! A writer and an illustrator with a book that's certainly worth checking out.

Carol Kilgore said...

This sounds great. And I love the cover :) Thanks for introducing her, Hart!

Hart Johnson said...

It was my pleasure to introduce all of you to Catherine! Catherine, great to have you here!

Catherine Stine said...

Thanks, Hart. Enjoyed it!

Southpaw said...

Sounds really cool. I love the cover too!