INTERVIEW WITH ERICA CAMERON, AUTHOR OF THE DREAM WAR SAGA

  1. Can you tell us a little about your books?
    Right now I have two series running concurrently and they are very different. The Dream War Saga includes Sing SingSweetNightingale Sweet Nightingale, my debut novel that released in 2014, and Deadly Sweet Lies, which is out in August. The series is about dreams and willpower and magic and trust. It introduces readers to a world where it’s possible for creatures to turn your own mind against you if you let them and follows the teenagers—Mariella and Hudson in the first book, Nadette and Julian in the second book—who are trying to stop that from happening.

    My contemporary Laguna Tides series is co-authored with Lani Woodland and began earlier this year with Taken by Chance. Book two, Loyalty and Lies, is coming in August as well and it will be followed by Dealing with Devalo in November (we think/hope). This series is set on the fictional island of Laguna Tides off the coast of Laguna Beach, California and it follows a group of friends through their very interesting senior year. Each book in the series (there will be five in total) is told from a different guy’s point of view and although the same characters are involved in each book, the stories are more companion novels than sequels. You can definitely read them all out of order without too many spoilers. Axl Derringer, the narrator of Loyalty, is my little broken baby and I love him so much! The poor kid hasn’t had it easy through most of his high school years and his senior year may be getting worse. And that may be mostly my bad. 😉

    2. Are you a plotter or do you write whatever pops into your head?
    On the plotter to pantser spectrum, I’m definitely somewhere in the middle. It’s rare for me to write two books in exactly the same way, but I do seem to be getting a little bit more of a method as I write more books (I just finished my fourteenth complete first draft recently). Beginnings tend to fall into place first for me. It’s not always the beginning that will stay once beta readers and editors dig their claws into it, but it’s still the start of whatever story I’m trying to tell. I take that moment/character/concept/whatever and write until I get a feel for the characters and the world. Only then do I have any chance of planning the rest of the book. I have a hard time plotting anything until I know who I’m working with and how/why they’d react in certain situations. Even then, I can’t plan everything. Relationship development, for example—whether it’s romantic or platonic—tends to evolve naturally while I’m writing. It’s hard for me to plan the characters’ special moments.

    3. Do you require silence when writing or do you like to listen to music?
    Again, somewhere in the middle! Complete silence isn’t a good idea for me because then I start feeling restless and distracting myself with something else. Music, however, is too distracting. Especially music with lyrics. I was raised dancing and doing musical theater, so it’s really ingrained in my head that music is something that involves participation. Singing along, choreographing, whatever. I do best with white noise of some sort whether it’s a café or something like the specially designed rain-like sounds of Writer’s Mind (a CD that is supposed to help promote creativity by synchronizing brainwaves). Sometimes I’ll put on a movie that I’ve seen a hundred times on in the background if I need the illusion of activity and white noise, but it has to be something that I can essentially ignore.

    4. Who is the inspiration behind your main characters?
    Nothing and no one in particular, actually. While all writers pull from their lives—it is absolutely unavoidable, really—I try not to do it on purpose. I like my characters to be their own people and so I pick a couple of solid characteristics and then try to build the rest of their psychology around that and the life they’ve lived. For me, if I consciously base a story or a character on something that’s happened in my life or someone I know, I feel too restricted by the reality of that situation or person. I feel as though I’m not allowed to deviate more than a certain amount and that can be very not good for the purposes of the story I’m trying to tell.

    5. If you could meet any author who would it be and why?
    For years I have been pining to meet Tamora Pierce and it finally happened back in May! Since I started going to conferences and conventions back in 2012, I have met a slew of fabulous authors, but meeting Tamora? Yeah. I babble-gushed like the ridiculous fangirl I am and I have no shame in admitting that. 😀

    6. What book(s) made you want to be a writer?
    There are a lot of books and authors that have significantly touched my life in one way or another, but there are three authors whose stories were the first I attempted to emulate. The first piece of fiction I ever remember writing was a 40-page mystery story. I was thirteen and had probably been spending too much time reading my dad’s James Patterson books because the story involved an abused child, a kidnapping by a biological parent, a police investigation, a manhunt, and a rescue. Oh and a happy ending, of course. In high school I tried my hand at fiction again, this time going for novel-length fantasy that was essentially Tamora Pierce fanfiction. And this was before I even knew what fanfiction was! I had no idea what I was doing so the novel never got close to finished, but I did try. In college, what finally reignited my drive to write was Stephenie Meyer and Twilight. My sister gave me Twilight—basically forced me to read it in 2006—and I fell into the fandom. I found the Twilight Lexicon and, through the Lexicon, discovered fanfiction for the first time. I read a story and thought, “That’s a good idea but wow. I can do so much better than that!” So I did. I wrote three novel-length works and one short story and then decided to try my hand one more time at creating my own worlds.

    That happened in 2007 and I haven’t looked back since.

BIOECameron-CreditLaniWoodland-201506-(79)

After a lifelong obsession with books, Erica Cameron spent her college years getting credit for reading and learning how to make stories of her own. Erica graduated with a double major in psychology and creative writing from Florida State University and began pursuing a career as an author.

Erica is many things but most notably the following: writer, reader, editor, dance fan, choreographer, singer, lover of musical theater, movie obsessed, sucker for romance, ex-Florida resident, and quasi-recluse. She loves the beach but hates the heat, has equal passion for the art of Salvador Dali and Venetian Carnival masks, has a penchant for unique jewelry and sun/moon décor pieces, and a desire to travel the entire world on a cruise ship. Or a private yacht. You know, whatever works.

Her debut novel, Sing Sweet Nightingale, released March 2014 and it was the first volume of The Dream War Saga. In May 2015, Erica and her co-author Lani Woodland launched the Laguna Tides series with Taken by Chance.

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