You know the old saying, "you can't judge a book by its cover?" Yeah, well, we all know that isn't true. I mean it is as far as it relates to people, but when it comes to actual books the cover says something. (Not that it can't be wrong but you know you look at that cover and judge.) When I saw the cover to The Girl Who Could See I knew I had to read that book. I mean it's so pretty!!! (Scroll down and look at it and then scroll back up, I'll wait...See what I mean? PRETTY!!! Also I have read it and it is so good and my review will be posted on Amazon for you to check out.)
Anyway, enough gushing over its gorgeousness. I was honored to be invited to join the launch team for TGWCS and support its release. I am always happy to support other authors and I am excited because today I get to interview Kara Swanson. EEK!!!
Tell us a little about yourself.
I'm a twenty (almost twenty-one!) year old who enjoys walks in the mountains and watching a good Marvel movie. I like my coffee cold--and very sweet!--and my ideal day is spent at a Barnes and Noble.
I tend to seem to spend a lot of time in remote places, which I suppose just feeds my wild imagination. I spent my childhood (sixteen years) overseas in the jungles of Papua New Guinea. My parents were missionaries. I was homeschooled, which added fuel to the fire of my love of words. And with raising eight wallabies, going barefoot on hikes into dense tropical areas, and playing tag with ebony-skinned children on our grass airstrip, I was not at a lack for story ideas. Although I write YA fantasy/sci-fi, my unique childhood has definitely been woven into my stories. :)
How did you get started writing?
Since I was young, it's just been something I've always done. I love to create--worlds, characters, plots. Being homeschooled, my Mom was able to cater a bit toward my aptitude for the written word. It wasn't till I was seventeen, and ended up co-authoring a fantasy novel (Pearl of Merlydia-- Available on Kindle) with a fellow missionary kid, that I finished a full-length novel. It showed me that I could do this, And I haven't stopped since.
Tell us about The Girl Who Could See, what inspired this story?
Two lines that popped into my head one day, begging to be told:
They say every child had an imaginary friend.
Mine never left.
(If those two lines weren't enough to peek your interest in TGWCS the full blurb is below. But seriously, those two lines are epic.)
Fern is caught between two worlds so to speak, but she wants to be normal. I think we can all relate to feeling different? How do you think Fern's struggle with her "hallucinations" affects her view of herself? How does that help and hinder her finding and living out her purpose?
Fern has a very low view of herself. She's very hesitant, but still strong. She's afraid to ever fully trust in something, because it could be taken from her. She's desperately afraid of standing out. Of being different. Becuase all her life being different has equaled pain. So she tries as hard as she can to blend in. To float along and just survive. I think that's a defense mechanism we've all used at some point. Pulling into ourselves, head down, not speaking out. Doing whatever it takes to be invisible, because the alternative could be so much worse. But, throughout the unfolding of the novella, Fern comes to realize what I did--that just because she's breathing doesn't mean she's living. That her whole life has been governed by other people's view of her. When they told her she was crazy, and worthless and hopeless, she believed them. But, when she is put in a position where she can no longer hide, when she has nothing left but to embrace the impossible, then she realizes that those words were only words. They didn't define her, until she let her heart believe them. When Fern embraces the very things that make her different, she comes to realize something--those differences are the very things that make her feel alive. They're what give her life purpose. And those differences are what make her exceptional.
What do you think we can learn from Fern about how to #LiveChosen?
Blind faith is one of the biggest things that I think Fern has taught me. The kind of faith that invades every area of your life. That gives you a solid foundation when the storms come, that shapes your view of yourself and the world. Fern thought she was broken because that's what her parents and everyone she met had told her. But when someone comes along who sees her differently, who tells her she's actually whole and she has the blind faith to believe him, it totally changes her entire perspective. Of herself. Of her world. Of her purpose. Becuase she's no longer living just to survive, just for herself. She's now living for so much more.
You grew up with missionary parents, how did that affect your view of yourself, life, your purpose? Were there struggles that made it difficult to find yourself/ your purpose? Were there things about that kind of childhood that made living chosen come more readily?
Well, I think in some ways growing up surrounded by ministry, immersed in it, I knew what my purpose was. To glorify Jesus. To spread His truth. That's what my parents poured their lives into doing, and that's what I tried to mimic. But, at the same time, it made it difficult to determine what exactly God had gifted me for. Sure, I could find lots of ways growing up in the tribe to try and glorify Him. But that's because I'd practically been born there. It was natural to follow in my parent's footsteps--but less natural to branch out on my own. To find out what I had been called--chosen--to do. What path I had to tread myself. My love of unique worlds and finding unusual ways to spread His truth soon morphed into a passion for creating speculative novels for Young Adults. To use my words and draw people into a new perspective of themselves and their world. I also work at a camp for abused foster kids, and have a huge heart for troubled teens, which has definitely been impacted by living in a third world country and being very familiar with abuse, neglect and poverty. So I am hoping to be able to somehow pursue a ministry in that way as well. To be able tor each out with His lasting Hope to those who feel like they've never belonged. Moving as much as I have, I can understand the struggle, and hope that the lessons and hope He's given me can be shared to them :) I'm also planning on becoming a journalist! Another way my story can touch hearts :)
What does living chosen mean to you? How do you #LiveChosen in your life?
Well, my super long answer above kind of answers that :) For me, to #LiveChosen is to give my everything for the One who gave everything for me. To live unabashed, unafraid in the knowledge that He has a purpose--a miraculous, vivid, life-changing purpose--for me. To use my brokenness, and my scars to heal others. To remind them that He can use anyone. No matter how broken. How incompetent. How you may feel like you don't fit in. Like you're not enough. Because you are--He CHOSE you. His choice. His view of you is all that matters. His strength changing and using you. In His eyes, you are more than enough.
And that changes everything. :)
If you, and/or Fern, could give readers one piece of advice on living for your purpose on purpose what would it be?
Cut loose everything slowing you down. The things that won't ultimately matter--their opinions, trying to fit in, trying to please them. And step into the new light of living dangerously for Him. Take every opportunity to #LiveChosen--to change a life. To speak out. To walk through the doors He places in your path. To live fearlessly. Trusting when you fall, He will catch you. Because you have been chosen for a purpose, so don't let the meaningless things slow you down. Trust that wherever He takes you--to a jungle far away, your next door neighbor, or behind an editor's desk--that He will use you to change lives. If you'll let Him ;)
All her life Fern has been told she is blind to reality—but, what if she is the only one who can truly see?
Fern Johnson is crazy. At least, that's what the doctors have claimed since her childhood. Now nineteen, and one step away from a psych ward, Fern struggles to survive in bustling Los Angeles. Desperate to appear normal, she represses the young man flickering at the edge of her awareness—a blond warrior only she can see.
Tristan was Fern's childhood imaginary hero, saving her from monsters under her bed and outside her walls. As she grew up and his secret world continued to bleed into hers, however, it only caused catastrophe. But, when the city is rocked by the unexplainable, Fern is forced to consider the possibility that this young man is not a hallucination after all—and that the creature who decimated his world may be coming for hers.
CONNECT WITH KARA:
Find Kara online at karaswanson.com
Facebook: Kara Swanson, Author
(Release Day/Blog Tour Kick Off Post) Kara Swason @ readwritesoar.com
Tabitha Caplinger @ Tabithacaplinger.com Castin Chamberlain @ earthlyvine.blogspot.com
Jebraun Clifford @ jebraunclifford.com
Emily Kopf @ zerinablossom.com