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Killing Your Characters

character deathI am a ruthless author, and if you’ve read all four books in the Akasha Series, you’ll know what I mean. I won’t post any detailed spoilers here, but I can tell you that I have literally received hate mail for killing off certain characters.  I’ve received one star reviews because the reader had become so attached to these characters, and they just didn’t want to accept the ending I wrote.

To these readers, I really want to send a big thank you. Thank you for letting me know (in your own way) that you love my characters!  There is no bigger compliment to a writer. I, of course, apologize for throwing you into an emotional whirlwind, but I hope what you take from the series overall is an awesome story, and maybe you will have picked up some ‘eco’ tips along the way. J

I’m not the only author to tread these waters. Having recently finished ‘Allegiant’ by Veronica Roth, I have to wonder what kind of hate mail is in her inbox – and I can definitely sympathize with her. Veronica Roth explains her decision on her official blog here. Don’t read it unless you’ve already read the whole series!

My favorite quote from Roth during the explanation is “I wasn’t thinking about any readers when I wrote this book; I was thinking about the story, because trying to meet the expectations of so many readers would be paralyzing. There’s no way to please everyone, because that mythical book with the ending that every single person wants can’t exist—you want different things, each one of you. The only thing I can do, in light of that fact, is write an honest story as best I can.”

I agree with Roth – as authors we want honest but bold stories. If anything, The Akasha Series is bold, and I wanted an ending that was just as bold. For those of you that have read the series, please be sure to ask about the bonus short story collection. There is one story in there that takes place 20 years into the future, and it may give you some comfort.

Although I have just released ‘The Rising’ and am hard at work on the second book for that series, I have some exciting promotions planned for The Akasha Series in December!  Please stay tuned, and if you haven’t already, be sure to sign up to follow my blog by email!


‘Water’ Now Available as an Audiobook

Very exciting news!  ‘Water, Book One of the Akasha Series’ is now available as an audio book via Amazon, Audible, and iTunes!  The rest of the series is already in production.  You can purchase or listen to a sample of ‘Water’ right here.

audio water picture

I want to send a special thanks to my narrator, Emily Gittelman, who was patient enough with a newbie to get me through the process, then take on three more books!  I am so impressed, I decided I had to share her with you all! Below is Emily’s interview – and seriously, let me know what you think about the audio book!

gittelman.e.72.2Terra:  Thanks so much for doing the interview with me!  I know you are busy – speaking of, what keeps you busy these days?

Emily: Audiobooks keep me very busy. I started out doing it part time last year, but it’s become my full time job. I’m also an actress, so I sometimes have auditions to go to and projects I’m working on.

T: Which job(s) do you enjoy doing best and why?

E: I’m lucky that I love all my jobs. I can’t think of anything better than making a living doing what I love: acting and narrating audiobooks.

T: As if being a narrator/actress/author doesn’t keep you busy enough, what do you do in your spare time?

E: I’m an avid reader, which is what drew me to audiobooks in the first place. I like to be informed, so I read four newspapers every day. I love to travel, though I haven’t been able to recently. I spent most of 2010 traveling in Europe. I lived in London and Prague each for four months and went on weekend trips to other countries for a total of 23 countries in Europe. I kind of miss it, but traveling that much is exhausting. I also spend time with my wonderful boyfriend, who lives with me in Los Angeles. And I occasionally LARP on weekends (I’m a bit of a nerd).

T: You are finished with narrating ‘Water, Book One of the Akasha Series’ and are gearing up for the rest. Maybe you can tell us a little about why doing audio books, even for Indie authors, is a good idea?

E: Well, I love listening to audiobooks myself. There’s something about having a book read to you that just makes it come alive (with the right narrator). For me, narrating audiobooks is just acting with my voice. I love scenes that are really emotional or dramatic because it allows me to really get into the moment and express the emotions the characters are experiencing with my voice.

T: Any advice to give authors when they are ready to do an audio book – or even what to keep in mind as they are writing their novels?

E: Make sure you find a narrator who brings your imagination to life. This is especially important with a first person narrative, where the narrator’s voice is the character’s voice. Also, if you can, try to put together a budget for your project. Most of the more professional narrators won’t do a royalty share unless the book is selling really well. For the sake of quality, it’s worth raising the money to pay for a decent narrator.

T: Now the fun stuff – tea or coffee, Coke or Pepsi?

E: Er… None of the above. I don’t drink caffeine or soda… sorry!

T: You live in New York (right?)? What is life in the Big Apple like, especially for your line of work?  Give us all the glamour and the down and dirty!

E: I grew up in NY, but I moved out to Los Angeles about a year and a half ago. I very much enjoyed living in NY. It has a certain energy to it that you can’t find anywhere else. And I loved being able to walk almost everywhere. The thing I miss most about NY is public transportation. Traffic in LA is awful.

T: Favorite TV shows/movies/plays?

E: I’m not a big favorites person. I don’t usually have one thing that sticks out above all others. HOWEVER, I do have a favorite TV show: Six Feet Under. It was on HBO from 2001 to 2005 and in my opinion, it’s the best show that has ever been on television. It’s heartfelt and profound, full of substance, while still having moments that make you laugh, and some that make you cry. It asks really important questions that leave you thinking for days afterward.  I wish there were more shows like it! (HBO didn’t pay me for that. Promise. Though they’re welcome to if they see this.)

T: Do you have any funny stories about narrating? Or even in some of your other jobs?

E: … Not that I can think of? Sorry. That’s so boring.

T: Finally, tell us more about your books!

E: Well, this question has two answers depending on what you’re asking.

I’ve narrated dozens of audiobooks. Mostly teen or young adult fiction. I’ve done a lot of books with author Morgan Rice, including books three through eight of The Vampire Journals series, books one and two of The Survival Trilogy, and books one and two of The Vampire Legacy series (which will be released soon!). The other books I’ve done have been mostly fantasy or romance (or a combination). Lots of vampires.

While I was in college, I co-authored a few books with my dad, Steven H. Gittelman. Literally since the month I was born (August 1989), my dad has been volunteering at the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum in Centerport, NY. Because of this, I volunteered there from the age of eight until I moved to Los Angeles at twenty-two. Our life-long association with the museum inspired us to write several books about the Vanderbilts. The first two books my dad wrote on his own and I’m credited as chief editor. Those books were Willie K. Vanderbilt II: A Biography and J.P. Morgan and the Transportation Kings: The Titanic and Other Disasters. The former is a biography of the Vanderbilt who owned the mansion at which we volunteered. The latter details a conspiracy between J.P. Morgan, the Vanderbilts, and other tycoons to dominate global shipping and transportation circa the turn of the twentieth century. After, that, we wrote two books together. The first was Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt: The Unlikely Hero of the Lusitania. Alfred was Willie K.’s cousin, and his story is one of lust, power, and tragedy. He was basically a playboy who, at the age of 22, inherited a huge amount of money. For sixteen years he behaved like any playboy would, resulting in the tragic suicides of at least three women. Then, he gets on the Lusitania and spends the last eighteen minutes of his life saving women and children. It’s such a great story, I’m currently working on a screenplay version that I’m hoping to get produced. The publisher keeps pushing back the release date, but right now it’s set for June 24th. The other book we wrote together was a historical novel inspired by Willie K. Vanderbilt II’s second circumnavigation of the globe in 1933. That one is being privately published by the museum, and will hopefully come out soon.

The works I’ve authored, edited, and narrated, can all be found by searching my name on amazon.

About Emily:

Emily Gittelman grew up in New York and received her BFA in drama from New York University in 2011. Shortly after graduation, she moved out to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting under the name Emily Lawrence. More information about her acting career can be found on her website at In the last year, Emily has narrated dozens of audiobooks, which can be found on audible and amazon. In addition to this, she’s also a published writer and editor of mostly non-fictional works. She writes creatively in her own time, but hasn’t worked up the nerve to publish any of it yet. Maybe one day!

New Adult Blogger Interview

navaeh photoTime for another interview with another great book blogger.  I met Navaeh through the New Adult Book Club on Goodreads.  Then…I met her in person. Crazy, right? But yes, in this virtual world of blogs and electronic books and uploads and downloads – we sat down and had coffee and talked face to face.

Neveah runs a New Adult Book Blog, be sure to check it out! Her book reviews are packed with wonderful extras; a sense of humor, songs that remind her of the book, pictures, short samples of text – I love perusing her blog!

Anyway – on with the interview:

Terra: First thing is first – how did you get into book blogging?

Neveah: I read a ridiculous amount of books and found that I needed an outlet to express my feelings about those books, as well as keep track of who’s who and what happened in which book. I also love to discuss books I’ve read and have few friends who enjoy the same type of books I do…now I have tons! Also, I wanted to get into the daily habit of writing so that I might actually get something published someday myself. I have found that it is a double-edge sword though; I am writing every day now, but mostly reviews and find little time for writing anything else. Hopefully, I’ll learn to balance my time better soon.

T: Tell me more about Nevaeh’s New Adult Book Blog.

N: The blog was borne out of my resolutions for the new year, and is one of the few that has made it all the way until March ;o). I realized that most of what I have been reading could be considered “new adult” (NA), and after reading about the rising popularity of books in this genre, I decided to focus my blog reviews here. Not that I don’t read some YA and adult literature, but unless it crosses over and can also be considered NA, I don’t review it on the blog. There are plenty of YA blogs out there, and far fewer NA blogs. Most of what I review is contemporary romance, but I love to throw in a little dystopian, paranormal, and fantasy just to keep it real ;o).

T: White wine or red?

N: Red, definitely. After living in Argentina, I grew to love Malbecs but love a good Cabernet as well.

T: OMG – Malbecs are my favorite!  I think it’s because they remind me of meat, and I am a total carnivore.

N: And that is really funny because I a vegetarian. A native Texan who lived in Argentina, both locales known for their beef, and I decide to go veggie. Go figure.

T: What is your favorite part of the ‘job’?

N: I have really enjoyed “meeting” authors, reading their work (many of which are debut novels), and sharing their work with others, who might not have seen or heard of their books otherwise. It feels good to be a part of getting the word out about those who are deserving of a chance to have their stories be heard.

T: What is your not-so-favorite part?

N: Technology. I am admittedly not tech-savvy and have no desire to be, but obviously that is part of the blogging “business”. I love reading and writing, but it’s definitely a challenge to make myself learn how to actually build a better blog.

T: I think the term is tech-tard. At least, that is how I refer to myself. It’s like we have to be multi-talented when we barely have time to use one talent. How many hours would you say you spend on reading? How many hours on reviews and your blog?

N: Way too many but also not near enough ;o). Between reading and writing the reviews, I probably spend at least five hours a day (most of which is spent reading). I’m a night owl and operate on very little sleep, and have horrendous self-control when it comes to putting down a good book.

T: Tell me about the New Adult Genre.

N: Although some argue it isn’t a genre, and maybe it isn’t yet, I do feel it should be. To me, there is an obvious distinction between NA and YA books. New adult literature tends to have more explicit sex, significantly more swearing (and use of “harsher” swear words), and often deals with extremely mature issues (ie. sexual and/or physical abuse, suicide, illegal drug use and abuse). Characters tend to be in the age range between 18-25, though sometimes one of the main characters is older or younger. In the libraries, these books are often mixed in with YA books (since there isn’t currently a New Adult section), and I hate the thought of 12 and 13 year-olds coming across them, when they really aren’t geared toward them. Fortunately, many authors of new adult books have been responsibly putting a warning at the beginning of their books, warning that the content is more suitable for ages 17+. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that younger kids aren’t picking them up and reading them anyways.

T: I have to say, I wasn’t aware of the NA genre when my books first came out (not sure if it was around then), but I’ve grown to love it. I feel like it’s what I’ve been looking for all along! What kind of book is worthy of five wine bottles?

N: One that I never want to end. One that tugs on my heart strings, makes me laugh and maybe even shed a tear or two. One where I prefer their reality over my own, even if mine is easier. One where I say to myself, “Damn, I wish I would have written that book!”

T: Perfect answer – I agree! Who are some of your all-time favorite authors and series? What about your favorite movies?

N: In the New Adult genre, I love anything written by Colleen Hoover (Hopeless, Slammed, Point of Retreat…all incredibly written). Rebecca Donovan’s “Breathing” series (Reason to Breathe, Barely Breathing, and the yet-to-be-released Out of Breath) is ultra-intense; definitely “five-wine bottle” books. Jennifer Armentrout (also writing under the name J. Lynn) is very good, as well as Jessica Sorenson, Jamie McGuire, Abbi Glines, and Tammara Webber.

There have also been some fantastic YA series (some that border on NA). For example, The Mortal Instrument series by Cassandra Clare, Divergent series by Veronica Roth, the now world-famous Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and of course, Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling.

Let’s see…movies. That one is trickier because I’d pick a good book over a movie any day (and most often I do). Really anything with a good love story and a happily-ever-after ending. I guess if I had to pick a favorite I would choose Pride and Prejudice (the Keira Knightley version)….love that Mr. Darcy!

T: What is next for you?

N: I am hoping to concentrate more time on bettering the blog, both in appearance and content. I have focused almost solely on review writing and would like to do more interactive posts, with giveaways, interviews, etc. Outside of the blog, I’m also hoping to write something other than reviews and be published (self or otherwise) by the end of this year; that’s the goal anyway. I’ve been working on a book in the new adult genre and another novelette is begging to see the light of day.


Thanks, Navaeh for your time – it was wonderful meeting you in person and I look forward to many more of your blog posts!

Be sure to check out Navaeh’s blog!

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