Cover art by Kaytalin Platt
Me: Welcome! Tell us a bit about your book.
Enita: Thank you for having me! My book, The Messenger, is a YA Paranormal novel about Alexis Forsyth who, after losing her mother in an accident, moves to live with her older cousin in the Puget Sound. It’s not long before she meets Cougar, and learns about his curse. He’s a skinwalker, and named for the ancient animal spirit which possesses him. With shapeshifting (among other) abilities, he’s one of four skinwalkers in the Puyallup tribe; the others being the badger skinwalker and “chief” Benjamin Beran, the reckless grizzly bear Dante Beran (Ben’s son), and the Aztec golden eagle Caleb Dorado. They all have immense powers from their animal totems, but the spirits also bring with them a lingering grudge that makes Alex a target. While Cougar struggles with the conflict between his friendship with Alexis and the emotions his curse inflicts on him, the two will also have to deal with the other skinwalkers, who see Cougar as a traitor and Alex as an enemy.
Me: Is this your debut work?
Enita: This is my debut novel! I’ve written other stories before, but this is the first one I really pursued publication for.
Me: How long did this book take you, from draft one to ready to submit?
Enita: Months, if you don’t count the time I spent just letting it collect dust. A few years, if you do count that time. The Messenger was written on-and-off for about a year, with a period of brainstorming and plotting beforehand. When I was done, I kind of let it sit, not thinking to actually submit it. So when I did, it had been sitting on a USB for a year or so.
Me: As an author, who has influenced your work the most?
Enita: I started writing pretty young, so keep that in mind when I say I started writing after reading the Warriors series by Erin Hunter. It’s a children’s fantasy about feral cats, and the voice caught my attention and really held me there as a kid. Even now, many years later, I have the first of those books on my iPad and still read it occasionally. I learned to write when I was younger by copying the writing style of that author, then deviating from it once I was comfortable and creating my own. So I’d have to say the people who have influenced me most (as an author, at least) are the team behind the Erin Hunter books, because they got me interested in writing.
Me: Random question time: If your main character were marooned on a desert island, what three items would s/he bring and why?
Enita: Depends, there’s two main characters, Alex and Cougar. Alex would bring, first of all, a water distillation system (even though she knows that answer’s no fun), because she likes to, you know, live. Then she’d bring her camera and tons of film, because, duh, her digital camera would run out of battery before she’s rescued, leaving her no chance to wander and take photos. Lastly she’d bring a (really long) book to pass the time when she’s done with her film.
Coug’s a whole different story. He’s pretty good at surviving on his own, so he’s not going to worry about the same things Alex would. He’d bring his dreamcatcher necklace, firstly, because it helps him stay in control of himself, and that’s important even when he’s alone. Then he’d bring a gallon jug of water to last him a couple days. I could also see him bringing along something childish like a toy or a coloring book to keep him entertained. The reason he chose such limited items is because, with his telepathic bond to his “brothers” back home (one of which can fly) he doesn’t really plan on staying marooned very long.
Me: Here's my favorite question to ask authors: "Do you believe in the dreaded Writer's Block?" If so, how do YOU get past it?
Enita: No, I don’t believe in it. I only believe in writer’s laziness, but that’s not to call people lazy. It just happens, sometimes we’re bored with our writing and we lose interest. I’ve found that if you push right through, you can manage to write something half-salvageable down. If you leave it alone and come back to it when you’re feeling more up to it, that tends to work, too.
Me: Care to tell us anything about your current work-in-progress?
Enita: I do have one in place, but only in a very early, brainstorming stage. It’s something of a fractured fairy tale, with the working title BOOTS. I’m playing with a few ideas, but the basic idea is that a girl inherits a chartreux cat named Boots in her grandmother’s will, but the cat turns out to be a cursed seventeenth-century French servant. He was cursed to live nine human lifetimes in the body of a cat as a punishment for betraying his original master, and now he has to “serve selflessly as a servant should,” in order to return to a human form. I think I might already have said too much about it, actually, so I’ll leave it at that.
Me: And last but not least: Do you have any words of wisdom for new and aspiring authors?
Enita: It’s been said time and time again, but only because it’s true: Don’t give up, keep trying! Also, you’re never too young to be an author. Don’t let other people’s ideas get you down.
Me: Thanks so much for your time! Best of luck to you with your writing future. May it be full of much fun and success.
About Enita: I was born in Northern California, and moved to Washington State around the age of ten, which is also around the time I began writing. 2012 will mark my return to California to attend college there.
You can visit Enita at her blog: http://www.enitameadows.blogspot.com