I have been participating in the Asp of Ascension‘s blog tour and got the the chance to do a Q & A with the author, BR Myers.
CKC:1. Did you base Maude Sanchez the III off of someone you know?
No one specifically, but I think Maude is a combination of women in my life whose qualities I admire. Most notably her enthusiasm and sense of individuality with the confidence to stand out from the crowd.
CKC:2. How come Zach plays basketball instead of football, because it seems that most high school jocks play football?
That’s such an interesting distinction. I didn’t consciously choose which sport Zach should play, he just came to me as a basketball player.
CKC:3. Which character in The Asp of Ascension do you find the most relatable?
Oh! What a great question. I hope most of the characters are relatable to the reader on some level or at least interesting, whether it’s Terry’s desire to be invisible, Zach’s pretense to hide his disability or Maude’s strategy to deal with bullying. Each have their own struggle that they try to keep private—except for Fraser. He seems totally together, doesn’t he? He was a lot of fun to write.
CKC:4. Why did you choose to write a mystery about Egypt while still writing about someone who’s struggling to fit in at High School?
I grew up reading my older brother’s comic books and my favourite stories were how the underdog stumbled upon powers and became a hero … or a villain. As I wrote Asp of Ascension, I played on that theme. For me, story ideas come in the form of a scene I can’t stop thinking about. I kept imagining the burglary scene in the museum, which I composed as a prologue then edited out and eventually threaded into the last part of the book. Terry’s past and the role of the asp developed as I wrote.
CKC:5. What made you choose Terry’s leg to be affected by the explosion in the cave as opposed to any other part of her body?
That was how I saw her—a girl with a limp who was trying to hide under her sweatshirt hoodie. Terry was grieving with many levels of loss; her mother, her mobility, and her identity.
CKC:6. Why did you choose to have Terry’s life mirror Cleopatra’s as opposed to any other Egyptian monarch?
Cleopatra remains one of the most iconic figures in ancient history, her very name brings forth images of splendour and conspiracy. During her height of power she ruled over more land and had more wealth than any modern day leader. Naturally, she was the first figure I thought of and as I researched her life there was so much incredible material to draw from.
CKC:7. What were the steps you took to plan and then write out your mystery?
Once I decided to turn Asp of Ascension into a full length novel, I outlined the story with the help of Blake Synder’s beat sheet. This gave me a basic road map of where the story was going. However, as I wrote, the characters sometimes took the story line in another direction. So even though I knew how I wanted the story to end the plot did take a few detours.
CKC:8. How do you come up with the basics of a mystery?
A mystery follows the same guidelines as outlining any story, except that you have to drop subtle hints for the reader so they can play detective along with the main character.
CKC:9. Do you ever regret anything you write that actually gets published?
I’m sure I’ll look back and wish I had changed some sentences or fixed a few phrases, but I think regret is a waste of energy. As a writer I realize my craft will improve and that means not everything will be as perfect as I thought it once was.
CKC:10. Is there going to be any sequels coming out any time soon?
All I can say at this time is there is plenty of material left for these characters. Thank you so much for these great questions. I loved your insight and thoughtful analysis. I truly appreciate the opportunity to connect with a reader.
Thanks so much to BR Myers for taking the time out of your busy day to answer my questions!
Asp of Ascension comes out July 21.