Today I am happy to introduce author J.A. George. I also was able to interview the main character from Gifted, Avery Gray (you can read that interview here).
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is J.A. George and I’m the author of Gifted – The Hayven Series. I like to read, write, bake and hang out with my friends, old and new. I love going to the cinema and I love eating out. Nothing too extreme as you can probably tell. I was born and raised in London, England where my family home currently is, but I study in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. I love chocolate.
Tell us about your book.
In a nutshell, it’s all about a nineteen year old university student who meets a woman a little on the strange side, before she meets a young man a little more on the stranger side. These meetings lead to the eventual discovery of Hayven – a city separated from the rest of the world where only those with gifts can go. She makes an eclectic bunch of friends, who, even though I’m biased, are just awesome. But Hayven has its dark side, and they’re called Cliders. Gifters turned rogue, Cliders are determined to see Hayven return to the way it was one thousand years ago when the city was under the dominion of Madrina. Want to know more about her? You’ll have to read GIFTED.
What genre do you write in?
Contemporary YA fantasy. I started off writing a novel because I wanted something to read. I wanted to read a contemporary YA fantasy novel that didn’t feature instant-love, a chosen one or a girl growing up in a dystopian society. I just wanted to read about someone normal, someone I could relate to. Someone who worries about the way she looks, but never says it out loud, has a sense of humour, thinks about the small stuff. Then I wanted to take her and place in a world she never thought existed. I wanted to explore real young adult relationships, friendships and modern-day topics such as, body weight issues and cheating in relationships. Gifted is a lot less sombre than it sounds, I promise!
How do you come up with ideas for your writing?
They tend to just snowball. Since I essentially wrote this book for me, I just write what I want to read about next and stop when I think, hold on, I could save this for book two.
Tell us about your writing process.
I’m a little boring in that department I’m afraid. I just sit at my desk with a bottle of cold water and maybe some chocolate, and type what I’ve already written down.
How do you fuel your writing?
Chocolate. Occasionally I switch it up for something else just as sweet. I tried doughnuts once – things got a bit messy.
Tell us about your main character.
Her name is Ava and she’s the hardest character I’ve ever had to write. In my first edition of GIFTED, I tried to write a novel that everyone would like, until I realised that that was impossible. Long story short, Ava was a bit boring, in my opinion, because I was trying to follow trends I’d seen before, trying to fit her into too many different boxes. So after two years, I made the decision to write for myself. I can’t pinpoint when exactly I made this decision, but I honestly think I just woke up one evening (after a nap) and something just clicked. Now, Ava doesn’t really fit into a box; she’s just…Ava, and I love her.
What would you like readers to take away from your book?
To forget the word “impossible”.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
I’m torn between flight, simply so I could know what it feels like to fly through clouds, or invisibility.
Thank you, J.A., for being here and for sharing your book with us.
Synopsis of Gifted:
There is no chosen one in this story.
Avery Gray was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and happened to make a decision that altered her future forever. It happens to all of us every day.
Avery is a size twelve university student with a penchant for dry humour, and she’s as normal as they come. Up until now, the biggest choice she’s had to make was glasses or contacts? At the moment, it’s stay and save, or leave and be saved.
Allow me to explain. One rainy afternoon, Avery had to make a choice: go through the alleyway or around it. Two possible options. One would have had her future continue on as planned, the other would ensure that her future never remained the same again. She unknowingly went with the latter.
But change is not always bad. Avery meets Theodore-James Connors, an enigmatic young man who takes her to Hayven, a city separated from the rest of the world, where only gifters – ordinary people with extra-ordinary gifts – can go. She soon finds herself in a close-knit group of friends she’d never have imagined herself in. Friends who are diverse in every possible way, from their ethnic backgrounds, to their personalities, from their gifts, to their life stories. Friends who make her laugh, who make her cry, who make her think and who make her…her.
However, change is not always good. The beautiful, golden city of Hayven has its dark side – Cliders. Gifters turned rogue, aka, Cliders are determined to aid fallen Clider, Madrina, return to rule Hayven. They will stop at nothing to make that happen, including harming those Ava has grown to love.
Again, Ava is faced with a choice: spend her days finding a way to inhibit Madrina’s return, or walk away. After all, she isn’t the chosen one. Yet, there exists a third option – rig the future itself and make it work for her.
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