Carol Riggs is my longtime writing conference buddy and the author of YA fantasy and Science Fiction novels including: The Body Institute, Bottled, The Lying Planet, and the Junction 2020 series. The Junction 2020 books are set on New Year’s Eve, and so I thought it might be fun to consider spending your New Year’s Eve with Carol and her novels: hence, this Junction 2020 interview with Carol Riggs.
What was your inspiration for the Junction 2020 trilogy?
I think it was because in the 1990s I read a cool trilogy by L.J. Smith, The Forbidden Game series: The Hunter, The Chase, and The Kill. It’s like a paranormal romance with Jumanji elements—the characters get sucked into a board game, and in one part of the book, they have to face what they’re afraid of to get out of that world.
Why did you choose New Year’s Eve to kick off the novels?
New Year’s Eve always feels momentous, a whole new timeline getting ready for new possibilities and fresh beginnings. It’s a nice, dramatic way to kick off a novel. And later I developed it so that New Year’s Eve tied in with what activates the portals (a significant event in the cosmos).
What theme/s play an important role in the trilogy?
I would say facing your fears. Acting brave in the face of danger—and caring for other people as a motivation to jumpstart that courage.
Who is your favorite viewpoint character and why?
Mari, from Book 1, might be my favorite, partly because she started out the whole series, but also because I identify with many of her dreams and fears; there’s a lot of me in her. For instance, I included one of my favorite painters, Maxfield Parrish. I added gross black spiders, hooded Executioners, lack of plumbing or modern conveniences, etc.
How is writing a series different from writing a stand-alone novel?
With a series, some of the character development and the plot elements get stretched out over the course of the books. I’ve also had to keep a detailed document of clothing, personalities, pet phrases, world building specifics, hair and eye color, etc., in order to maintain consistency between the books. Unlike a lot of other authors, I start out each book from the viewpoint of a different character; this feels more fresh to me, enabling me to work on new character arcs.
Of the other novels you have written, do you have a favorite? Why?
I’ve written 3 other published books, as well as over a dozen that aren’t published. Choosing a favorite is like choosing a favorite child (impossible!) but The Body Institute is very special to me because it was my very first published novel. It went through extensive revisions with my agent and Entangled Teen, such as turning it from third person [she, Morgan] to first person [I, me] and from past tense to present tense. I worked hard on it, and I’m pleased with the end result.
Describe your writing routine.
I finish my shower, breakfast, email, and social media, then set to work. All I need is a glass of water and my current novel document opened. I re-read 3-4 pages to get into the flow, making minor changes to what I wrote the day before. Then I continue with new stuff, writing anywhere from half a page (when research or plotting or real life slows me down), to 5 pages on a super productive day. I highlight words or phrases I’m not sure about in red, saving those to deal with later so my flow isn’t interrupted. I use a rough but not strict outline, to allow for “happy accidents” that spring up more organically to the characters and plot.
What’s on your “want to read next” pile?
Goodreads is an excellent way to keep track of books I want to read, such as Crown of Feathers by Nikki Pau Preto, Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano, and Rewind by Carolyn O’Doherty.
What ideas intrigue you and just might show up in future work/s?
I have at least one idea tickling my brain right now, a YA fantasy twist on a classic late 1800’s story, but I don’t publicly tell people details about my future novels because, well, I’m just secretive that way! My ideas are usually weird twists of real life, since I write fantasy and sci-fi.
How can Literate Lives readers help you get the word out about the Junction 2020 Trilogy?
Any exposure is great. Just having people become aware of a book is important, especially with the rise of self-publishing and so many new books appearing on the market. Thank you for inviting me to your blog and interviewing me, Debby!
Thank you, Carol, for joining us here at Literate Lives!
If you would like to learn more about Carol and her novels visit her on her website.
- What is an interesting book you have read this holiday season?
- Could you recommend a novel that also deals with facing our fears?
Please post the title and author for either response in the comment box below so others can find and enjoy your recommendations. Let’s encourage one another in our reading/writing lives.