I am pleased to welcome A.E Rought, author of Broken and Tainted, on to the blog today. Tainted, the second book in the series, was recently published in the UK by Strange Chemistry this month.
1) I loved Broken when I read it last year. Can you tell me a little about the sequel, Tainted, out with Strange Chemistry this month?
Thanks for having me here. I’m glad you loved Broken!
Tainted picks up roughly two weeks after Broken leaves off, and Alex tells this story. When I originally wrote Broken, it was supposed to be a single title, then we figured out we were doing a sequel and the only way I could think of to do it was from Alex’s point of view. Readers get to experience Alex living with Daniel beneath his skin, and a harpy of an ex-girlfriend on his back. The book delves deeper into the shadow of Alex’s life we didn’t get to see through Emma, like the messy dealings of his father’s lab.
Tainted isn’t the soft, dark love story that readers experienced in Broken. The tale is darker, much twistier and faster paced. There is romance, of course, but it has to share the focus with what’s going on. I had a blast writing it!
2) The cover for Tainted, is just as stunning as Broken. What are your thoughts on the covers?
The cover for Broken wasn’t what we were expecting, really the artist’s take on the idea Amanda pitched. Then, I sat back and looked at it—how it’s a riff on a Gothic image, the way Broken is a riff on Frankenstein, and I fell in love with it.
Tainted’s cover is nearly exactly the idea I pitched to my editor Amanda. I opened the email and honestly squealed a little. It’s darker to reflect the darker story. Alex is the focus, and he’s carrying Emma because… Well, you’ll have to read it and see.
3) I understand that Broken has been optioned by ABC family for a TV series. How did you feel when you found out?
When the option offer came in, a tumult of emotions ran through me. Happiness, humbled, proud, hopeful, blessed, anxious, Then, I ran around the house with my hair on fire, I think. I mean, I thought it was a joke the first time my Gotham rep contacted me through email. Whoever thinks they are going to end up with an option with a network like this, with a production company like Junction Ent. working on the adaptation? It’s surreal. A dream I didn’t entertain when I wrote Broken.
4) What are you working on at the moment?
I’m just getting into a futuristic sci-fi YA story that my agent is NUTS about. It’s completely different from the Gothic reboots of Broken and Tainted. It’s off-world, in a matriarchal society, beyond that we’re playing it close to the vest right now.
5) You have firmly established yourself as a YA writer. Have you ever wanted to write for any other age group?
I started out writing adult romances, actually. I have a couple with Samhain Publishing. One is a high fantasy romance, one is a western contemporary romance. I have a penname, too, under which I write other stories—but in the YA realm, it’s like Voldemort and we do not speak of it.
6) Do you find that the writing gets easier or harder with each book you publish?
I think each book presents its own set of joys and challenges. How I think about writing them has definitely changed, and it seems harder. Especially after Broken, I started to look at the stories as a whole and what readers might want out of them. With every book, though, I try to improve my craft, regardless of how others might accept or perceive it. In the end, it’s me and the story first, and that relationship has to work.
7) What usually comes first - the character, the plot or the idea when starting a new project?
That depends on the book, too. For me, Broken started with a feeling that I needed to write out. I chatted with my alpha reader to craft a story idea to pour that dark, romantic, achy feeling into. Tainted came about from looking at Alex and Emma and wondering how much more I could wring from them. The sci-fi I’m working on now came from the concept. The idea hit, and I KNEW I had to explore it.
8) Do you have a daily word count that you aim for when writing your first draft?
When I’m in the thick of it, I write about 2,000 words a day. I’ve written as little as 500, and as many as 10,000. I have avoided setting strict goals because life gets in the way, and then I feel guilty on both accounts.
9) Do you edit your first draft as you write it or wait until you have finished it?
I tend to edit as I write. I just can’t walk away from something that needs fixing. I usually go through what I wrote the day previous before I move forward.
10) What’s the weirdest question you’ve ever been asked during an interview?
Oy! Good question. Sadly, nothing comes to mind right now. Usually, I have to struggle with answering similar questions in different ways. One that I’ve always struggled with is “Who would you cast as your characters?” I still get brain-locked on that one.
11) Did you attend any writing courses before you were published?
Do a couple writing classes in college count? If you mean writing workshops, etc at conferences or online, then no, not yet.
12) Is there any non-fiction writing book that you would recommend?
I don’t have any in my library, but my writer friend swears by Stephen King’s On Writing.
13) Do you have any advice for aspiring and unpublished authors?
Find a peer group like YALITCHAT, the connections they have can really help.
Get a good support system of writers around you to learn from.
Get a good support system of understanding, writer-friendly family and friends around you.
Let your characters speak.
Hone your craft.
Try plotting rather than pantsing. Having an outline to follow will help you avoid many pitfalls, like writing yourself into a corner.
Write because you love it.
To find out more about A.E. Rought: