T.S. Welti has been extremely gracious to stop by the blog and answer some questions concerning her debut novel, The Fifth Specter, and her writing process. So, without further ado:
The Fifth Specter, the first novel in the series, is a really cool debut novel. What led you to write this novel? What were your inspirations for the novel, if any?
I’ve been writing stories since the age of eight. Before I began writing The Fifth Specter in 2005, I’d written dozens of unfinished manuscripts and screenplays. I never followed through with any of those other story ideas because of lack of confidence. I even stopped writing altogether from age 25-28. A few days after my 28th birthday, and a few weeks after the death of my boss, I was sitting in my car awaiting a call from the office when Parker’s name popped into my head. Luckily, I had a pen and paper with me and I soon had the bones for the entire first book written down. The following week, the idea for the entire series formed in my mind. I believe the combination of not having written anything for three years and going through the sudden death of my boss is what inspired me to stick with this story idea.
Did you find it difficult to write The Fifth Specter?
Yes. I was, and still am, a single mom. Working full-time and being a full-time single mom meant I had very little time to myself. I had to sneak in snippets of writing time here and there. It wasn’t until I was laid off in November of 2010 that I was finally able to finish The Fifth Specter. Aside from time constraints, the task of building a new fictional world and plotting out a five-book series is definitely difficult.
What character do you identify with the most in The Fifth Specter? Why?
I think I identify with all my characters, as they were all born in my mind. However, the character I identify with the most would probably be Norah. She’s a bit cynical yet she’s still quite sensitive. She has a power that many would kill for yet she sees it as a curse. She’s also pretty smart, but she doesn’t do well in Chemistry, which gets her in a bit of a pickle in book two.
Are any of your characters or stories based on aspects of your own life?
There’s a lot of me in The Fifth Specter, particularly in the first few chapters. The enormous elm tree in Parker’s neighbor’s yard is inspired by the enormous elm trees in my own backyard. Jacqueline’s obsession with her weight and her strained relationship with her father is inspired by my relationship with my father as a teenager. Parker’s trek through the forest when he runs away is inspired by my experience hiking through the woods in Northern California. Overall, Parker’s story arc is inspired by my journey coming into my own as an adolescent.
What do you hope readers take away from your novel?
I hope children and adults alike will take away the idea of letting go. There are people and events in our past’s that have the power to hold us back, but only if we let them.
Why did you choose YA literature as a starting point? Did you always want to write for this age group, or did it just happen?
As I said before, before writing The Fifth Specter I had written multiple manuscripts. Most of those were books for kids and teens. I look back on the books I love the most and those are the books that changed me in some way. It’s rare for a book to change you once you reach adulthood. It’s usually the books we read as children or young adults that have the most impact on our lives.
What is the writing process like for you? Do you have a special place that you like to write, or any special rituals that you go through before/during the writing process?
Well, right now I’m answering your interview questions from a table in a café. I prefer writing in cafés because there are less distractions here. I do have an office at home, but I have trouble locking the door and shutting the world out. I have ADD, so I’m very easily distracted. You would probably cry if you saw the surface of my desk.
Do you have a playlist in mind for your novel? If so, what music would you recommend a reader listen to while reading?
Well, it took so many years to write The Fifth Specter that I listened to hundreds of albums in the process. However, there are two particular albums that always make me feel wistful when I hear them, as I had them on repeat for many writing sessions. Those are X & Y by Coldplay and the Jurassic Park soundtrack by John Williams. My fifteen-year-old daughter once told me that every time she hears “A Message” by Coldplay she thinks of Parker.
Do you have a favorite author or novel that you recommend your fans read? What are you reading right now?
I highly recommend 1984 by George Orwell and The Giver by Lois Lowry. They are both quite similar in theme, but they are very different stories. They both hold a special place in my top ten favorite novels. As for what I’m reading now, I always have a stack of four or five books on my nightstand or in my Kindle queue. Right now I’m reading a few novels by author friends and I’m also reading One Day by David Nicholls.
As The Fifth Specter is the first in a series, what can readers expect from the next novel and the remaining books in the series?
In book two, readers will see Parker and his friends using their powers much more often now that they are sophomores. Readers will also see Parker get a bit of a crush on someone. In addition to more superpowers and a possible romance, the attempts to break Asteroth out of prison are intensifying.
Do you have any plans for a new series at this time?
I have another series I’m planning after the Parker Chance series. The new series will center around a 17-year-old boy and his eight-year-old sister who are separated from their father during a natural disaster. They are taken in by a community of street people who are not what they seem.
And now for the GIVEAWAY!
To read my review of The Fifth Specter, click HERE.
All you have to do is enter your name and email to win, but there are extra entries options if you’re interested!
To enter you must:
-Be 13 years or older (or have parent/guardian permission)
-Fill in the form with your name and email (extra entries optional)
This contest is open internationally and will end at 11:59pm EST on October 10th. Please only enter once. The winner will be announced on this page on the 11th of October, and will receive email notification! Please read my giveaway policy and leave me a comment!