I’m so excited!
Today, I am thrilled to have Jennifer Bosworth, author of the awesome young adult novel, Struck, on my blog today. I first heard about Struck when I saw it’s amazing trailer. It’s seriously one of the best book trailer’s I’ve ever seen. The book is even better!
About Jennifer Bosworth
Jennifer Bosworth lives in Los Angeles, California, where lightning hardly ever strikes, but when it does she takes cover. She is the writer half of a writer/director team with her husband, Ryan Bosworth. Learn more about her at http://www.jenniferbosworth.com.
Welcome Jennifer! I absolutely loved Struck and I’m thrilled you’re here for a visit.
JB: Thank YOU for inviting me to be on your blog! It’s my pleasure.
In Struck, the main character, Mia Price, is a lightning addict, where did you get the idea for such a thing?
I actually started out wanting to write about a girl who was simply a human lightning rod, but everything changed when I began to research real life human lightning rods. One man’s story, in particular, altered the course of the novel. This man, a park ranger named Roy Sullivan, holds the world record for most lightning strikes survived. He was struck by lightning seven times, and used to drive around with a bucket of water in the back of his truck in case he was struck, caught fire, and had to put himself out. People actually began to avoid him because of his tendency to be struck. But he never quit his job as a park ranger, which seemed to me like the most obvious solution to avoiding lightning. That got me to wondering, “Maybe he likes being struck. Maybe he more than likes it. What if he craves it like a drug?” That was when my idea for a lightning addict was born.
That’s great! You have many compelling characters in this novel. Which one is most like you and why?
Mia is definitely my soul sister. She and I are both big time pessimists who tend to brace for trouble by constantly expecting the worst. That’s how we keep ourselves safe.
I actually had an epiphany about this subject a few days ago. I realized that I always break off a piece of one of my most negative attributes and give it to my heroine. It’s what allows me to understand them, more so than if I contributed something positive about myself to my character.
Aside from great characters, there are many other great elements in this book. Not only is it dystopian, set in a post-earthquake-ridden LA, but there is also a strong paranormal element. You also bring in the idea of Armageddon and the growing power of a religious cult. Where did your inspiration for these things come from?
I’ve always loved cross-genre stories, and even though I wanted to write something post-apocalyptic, I didn’t want it to be just post-apocalyptic. I was a huge fan of Stephen King’s “The Stand,” which combines both apocalyptic and supernatural elements, so that book was definitely an influence. The cults . . . well, cults and impending doom seem to go hand in hand, so incorporating them into “Struck” made sense to me. But I’ve been obsessed with cults for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, I used to have recurring nightmares that my parents were in a cult, and they would sneak out of the house at night to go to a black mass. (sidenote: my parents are the most normal people in the world, I was just watching a lot of horror movies at the time, so don’t worry. They really aren’t in a cult). Those nightmares haunted me, and got me obsessed with real life cults, like Jim Jones and the People’s Temple, and Charles Manson’s “Family.” Honestly, I just can’t think of anything creepier than cults, and I figure if they give me the creeps, then I can write about them effectively and give other people the creeps. I love scaring people. I love it more than anything else in the world. But before you can scare other people, you have to scare yourself.
Was there another direction you originally envisioned this story going? Or was there something that changed in the editing process that you thought was a sure thing?
Absolutely. “Struck” wasn’t even “Struck” when I first wrote it. The title used to be “Damned,” and it was about a teenage girl who falls in love with the Antichrist, kind of a cross between “Twilight” and “The Omen.” But I couldn’t get that novel to work. It was just too broken. So I took the setting (post-earthquake L.A.) and my protagonist, Mia, turned her into a lightning addict, changed the whole concept of the novel, and rewrote it from scratch. Kind of a roundabout way to go about writing a novel. I don’t recommend it.
Jeremy battles his own internal demons in this story. What’s his strongest characteristic?
Guilt, which fuels his drive to set things right. He’s tormented by the things he feels he should have had the power to prevent. I guess I broke off a piece of myself to give to Jeremy, too, because I’ve always been a guiltaholic. My poor characters, I force them to suffer so.
I’ve heard that Struck is first in a series. How many books do you have in your head? Do you have them mapped out?
Um. Er. Well . . . at this point, it’s a standalone, but I’d love to write a couple more books. I have a sequel in mind if my publisher decides it should be a series. Fingers crossed! In the meantime, if you need another Struckiverse fix, there’s an origin story of STRUCK’s villain, Prophet, on Tor.com.
I’ll also have a short origin story of two of the minor villains in STRUCK, the twins, Iris and Ivan, published in an anthology called UNFETTERED. You can learn more about the anthology’s publication here:
These are great! Thanks! I look forward to reading them. What made you want to become a writer? Was it something you always wanted to do?
I consider wanting to be a writer my first memory, other than crawling behind our couch and sticking my hand in a mousetrap. I prefer to forget that experience, though.
I’m pretty sure my love of story came from my dad. He used to tell epic bedtime stories that would go on for weeks. I wanted to do that . . . to be able to invent stories out of midair that could captivate an audience the way I was captivated by my dad’s stories.
Do you have a favorite book or a favorite author? Who/what is it, and why?
Stephen King will always hold the position of favorite author for me. His books and his characters, especially the Dark Tower series, shaped me as a writer and as a person. I can’t imagine any other book being able to hold a candle to “The Gunslinger.” I read it at such a young age, and it just became a part of me. It’s in my DNA now. If I ever have kids, they’ll probably turn out to be gunslingers.
What is the one thing you wish you knew before you started writing?
I wish I’d known what “high concept” meant, and how important it is to at least try to come up with a high concept idea before writing a book and querying. The first two books I wrote were compilations of everything I loved. They were both over 800 pages, because they contained too many ideas to fit in one book. Years after I wrote those gargantuan first novels, I learned that I didn’t need to pack every idea I had into a novel, that all I really needed was one . . . good . . . idea. Why do I make things so hard for myself?
Finally some fun, this or that questions:
- Coffee or Tea?: Coffee!
- Hard Ice cream or Gelato?: Gelato! Coconut gelato! Or salted caramel!
- Star Trek or Star Wars?: Star Wars! But no prequels.
- Telepathy or Telekinesis?: Telekinesis! Then people will be afraid to cross me, or I’ll go all Carrie White on their asses.
Thank you so much for visiting my blog today. Struck is an amazing debut novel and I look forward to future novels from you.
Mia Price is a lightning addict. She’s survived countless strikes, but her craving to connect to the energy in storms endangers her life and the lives of those around her.
Los Angeles, where lightning rarely strikes, is one of the few places Mia feels safe from her addiction. But when an earthquake devastates the city, her haven is transformed into a minefield of chaos and danger. The beaches become massive tent cities. Downtown is a crumbling wasteland, where a traveling party moves to a different empty building each night, the revelers drawn to the destruction by a force they cannot deny. Two warring cults rise to power, and both see Mia as the key to their opposing doomsday prophecies. They believe she has a connection to the freak electrical storm that caused the quake, and to the far more devastating storm that is yet to come.
Mia wants to trust the enigmatic and alluring Jeremy when he promises to protect her, but she fears he isn’t who he claims to be. In the end, the passion and power that brought them together could be their downfall. When the final disaster strikes, Mia must risk unleashing the full horror of her strength to save the people she loves, or lose everything.
Jennifer Bosworth can be found online here:
Giveaway: Win a Paper Copy of Struck and a signed bookmark!
This giveaway is now over.
Congratulations to the winner, Jen MacGowan of Oshawa, Ontario!!!