Published September 13, 2012
Published by Stonehouse Ink
Published September 13, 2012
Published by Stonehouse Ink
“I’ll grow wings all by myself.”
Mary is a young artist about to enter a new chapter in her life. After years of waiting and searching, she has finally found true love. She’s also just discovered that her fiancé Joshua has inherited his father’s rundown countryside mansion. To add to the rising pressure, her wedding day is so close she can practically hear the music. All she has to do is accept what the future holds. Accept…and be happy.
But something’s missing.
As the seasons change, her doubts turn to fears, and her fears become reality. Through struggle and loss, the love she once possessed for Joshua transforms into contempt. When Mary is confronted with a magical escape, the life she has and the life she dreams of will collide, awakening a mysterious change within. But no choice comes without cost, and each one will draw her closer to the truth.
At times both beautiful and haunting, Winter Sparrow dares you to step into a world where eternity is a moment and every breath is a second chance. The fantasy begins…
Cats or Dogs? Laptops
The Mortal Instruments movie or The Host movie? Haven’t gotten a chance to catch the Mortal Instruments movie yet, but The Host was eh. I liked certain parts, liked the actors, but just didn’t feel absorbed into the story. Honestly, I’ve felt the YA books to films have been hit or miss lately, but maybe I’m just a hard critic. I liked Hunger Games and am interested in Catching Fire, hoping it tops the former, considering it has the uber awesome Philip Seymour Hoffman. Plus, I’m excited for Divergent because Shailene Woodley is a great up and coming talent. There, that was probably wayyyy longer than you expected. You sorta opened Pandora’s box with that one.
Celebrity Crush? Genesis Rodriguez. I saw Man on a Ledge, and I didn’t even really care if Sam Worthington made it off the roof safely. Ha She totally stole the show. She’d be my sugar momma and would totally bring out the Latin lover in me. She’s like…my…Channing Tatum.
Favorite TV show? Supernatural. I love randomly quoting Dean Winchester. Oh, and b-
t-dubbs…I really miss Smallville.
Current favorite song? The entire new self-titled album from the band Nothing More. A solid rock record with an occasional melodic tune thrown in. Go check it out!
What one book got you into reading or writing? Three authors who got me hooked were Stephen King, Ted Dekker, and Edgar Allen Poe. All very dark and awesome. Plus, when you read ’em, you get a decent look at the soul. I model my writing after that.
If you could be transported into any book, which one would you choose? When I was a kid, I always used to be like, “Man, it would be so cool being the hero in some crazy time where everything I believe in is illegal and people are hunting me.” What the heck was I thinking? I must’ve thought it was tough or something. Looking back, I realize that was a tad insane, and I’m kind of a chicken. I love books that get to the nitty gritty and make you question what you think and feel, but those books, and those journeys tend to have dark conclusions, which I’m not entirely sure I can handle. If I had to choose, though, I think I’d like to be a part of Hearts in Atlantis, the story with Bobby Garfield. I think it’d be so cool to have some random stranger with special powers enter my life and totally flip my world inside out. It’s dangerous enough to make me feel like my life is intriguing, but safe enough to where I don’t see myself dating a guillotine anytime soon.
If you could cast anyone to play some of the main characters in your book, who would you choose? As far as Arson, I had always envisioned Anton Yelchin or Logan Lerman for Arson and Chloe Moretz or Emma Roberts for Emery. For Sparrow, I’d pick Brit Marling to play the role of Mary. I think she’s phenomenal and could totally handle the weight of that character. I haven’t given enough thought to Joshua and Lucas, because they’re both complex characters, and you have to choose right, and maybe I’m just too indecisive to narrow them down. I am open to suggestions, though, so feel free to sound off below.
Did any music inspire you while writing Winter Sparrow? Not particularly, but music always inspires me in general. With this book, I was more inspired by the story of enduring love, set in motion about 2,000 years ago. In my opinion, love is the greatest emotion we humans get to feel.
What was your favorite scene to write in Winter Sparrow? This is such a hard question. I think I have three favorites. That’s allowed, right? The beginning, a middle spot, and the end. Some people may not know, but WS was supposed to be a short story. I wanted to tackle the idea of love, which I should’ve known wouldn’t be able to happen in just 10 pages. It’s such a big topic, you know? But the first time I sat down to write it, so many pages just kept coming, and I was being introduced to the way Mary felt, or better yet, being reintroduced to aspects of my own nature. One thing about writing is that every time you write, if you’re honest, parts of you are exhumed, some parts you intended to let out and others you didn’t. The beginning really set the stage for the characters and shaped the overall conflict and tone of the story. Then there’s a middle spot, where Joshua finds a deer on the side of the road. It’s one of the most powerful and poignant parts of the story because of what it means at a deeper level to their marriage. And then I also love the end, because…aw, well, you just gotta read it. Yeah, I’m totally that guy. (smirk, smirk)
Out of all of you books, which one is your favorite? A tie between Arson and Winter Sparrow. Selfishly, I love Arson. So much of my teenage feelings and beliefs were in that book and so much questioning and hurt breathed out of those characters. I mean, I was 17 when I started the thing and 21 when it came out, so I did a lot of growing up between when I started it and when it was released. My heart was on those pages, and it is very human and very vulnerable. But with Winter Sparrow, I wanted to communicate with more than my heart. I wanted to give you a glimpse into my soul, my spirit. If you don’t believe in the spiritual, you’re just not gonna get WS, so all skeptics are invited to suspend your disbelief for those 190 pages, because it’s worth it, I promise. I often wonder what God might ask me if I get to Heaven. Would he be proud of my work? Would he care? So as an artist, I realize some things are much bigger than my circumstance, bigger than I am. And to be perfectly honest, that’s WS. If I died tomorrow and God asked me which one I was most proud to have given the human race, I’d say Winter Sparrow.
If you could spend the day with any of your characters from any of your books, who would you choose? Arson. I suck at mini golf, but maybe we could do Lazer tag or something. No powers.
What are you going to be for Halloween? A JD Salinger zombie. And don’t you dare come to my house for candy, ’cause you ain’t gettin’ none.
What would one of your characters be for Halloween? Arson would be Iceman from X-
men. He’d shrug and say he was being ironic, but no one at the party would get it. And Emery would be Michael Myers’ vertically-challenged step-sister. When questioned about her inferior terror-inflicting abilities, she’d chuckle sarcastically and proceed to poke them with her cardboard knife. The two star-crossed lovers would drift throughout the party in search of pumpkin pie, then they’d catch a half-
hour of The Ring, and conclude the evening with a late night stop at Mickey D’s for some quality McFlurry action.
BY ESTEVAN VEGA
So…this was supposed to be simple….
I wanted to tackle a story about love. But not the 50 Shades kind of love. The real deal. The kind that endures whatever comes. I thought it was just gonna be about a husband and wife who would somehow come to the realization that their love was valuable after a few hiccups had enlightened them. Oh, and I wanted there to be a “deeper meaning” as well, because with me, that’s sort of a given.
So I went to the library and wrote, about 10 or 12 pages. I figured it would be a short story, and it couldn’t end up being much longer. But then I wrote again, and more just kept coming. I realized that maybe this story was bigger than even I thought. I was beginning to get a glimpse into Mary and Joshua’s life, and I understood I had a lot to learn. I think sometimes people tend to think that writers have it all figured out. Maybe that’s true if said writer used to be an engineer, but my reality is a lot more like this:
Bradly Cooper from Limitless
Disorganized, a little unkempt, but full of awesome. Beneath this dangerously attractive exterior lies a creator who can empathize, sympathize, and recognize what binds us all together: our humanity. I never really bothered with outlines. Maybe I will someday, but so far, my blasé attitude has allowed me to write 6, going on 7, novels, and they’ve turned out okay. (On a side note, I was actually talking today to someone about my process, and he was shocked I didn’t have an outline to which I adhered. He viewed it as slightly chaotic. I shrugged, thinking that on the contrary, I wasn’t sure I could perform under such intense structure.) I prefer to let the story guide me, and with Winter Sparrow that definitely happened.
Once I “got the big picture,” I broke up the story into seasons. I thought it’d be cool to have a themed plotline. I explored this without even knowing it in my When Colors Bleed collection. But the seasons are actually a mirror into where Mary and Joshua are at in this season of their lives. It sort of foreshadows the experiences to come. It was so fun trying to capture each sentiment, but the challenge was in figuring out which emotions, and how much of them, could go in which particular season.
Fall and winter were where I had to get most creative. I had not intended the story to be as grand as it had become, so I knew the ending had to fit into the world I had created. I also threw in some deliberate twists, which you know is how I do. The story is very intense, and you get that raw, uninhibited emotion most in fall and winter. Everything before it is set up into who these characters are, and everything that transpires during these seasons defends the foundation and allows for a glimmer of hope to pierce through the darkness. But there will be consequence, and there will be sacrifice.
Enter the world of Winter Sparrow. But be careful…you may discover it looks quite like your own.
I’m a writer. Well, technically an author, because they say that you magically become an author (i.e. true creative) if you’ve published something, and you’re a writer if you haven’t (you know those closet aspiring geniuses who just scribble stuff into notebooks and hide it from the world?). But I still call myself a writer. I’m one of 4 brothers. The middle son. I guess that’s supposed to make me uber weird and dysfunctional, but the jury’s still out on that one. I love mint chocolate chip ice cream. Like, really love it. Watching movies and going to rock shows are 2 of my favorite pastimes, and I am addicted to telling stories.
It all started because a 5th grade teacher decided to become a meddler in my life. That’s right, one of my least favorite authority figures at the time assigned us to write these 1 page short stories for class. We had the freedom to create whatever we wanted (within reason), but the assignments were do every day, and upon completing the school year, the plan was that we’d all bind them to compile a book. Well, at the time I hating reading, hated writing, and wanted to be a comic book artist. I figured I’d one day work for Marvel or Disney or something. And I was pretty good at sketching too. But I always found it hard to create my own characters, and I often just settled for copying somebody else’s masterpiece.
Something was missing.
Well, then a 2nd meddler enters the picture. My pops. He starts helping me with the stories. And by helping me, I really just mean I was there more as a consultant and a constant nuisance, ensuring proper grammar was employed. He was the real writer, in my mind. I just wished I could be him. My teacher started grading the stories, and I was floored to see A+ after A+. And she liked my stories enough…ahem, our stories enough, to read them in front of the class. The response was terrific. My classmates actually gave a crap. They wanted to know what happened next. So I turned 1 story into about 12 or so, and made a little book out of it. Looking back, it’s probably terrible. But the point is…I was hooked on the game.
My father and I began discussing book concepts until finally, in 6th grade, I set out to write a “real” book, all by myself. 3 years later, Servant of the Realm was born. It was so under the radar it wasn’t even funny, but I was just stoked to have my book searchable on the internet. It’s a pretty cool feeling when you’re 15. 3 years later, I released The Sacred Sin, a much darker story about a detective on the hunt for a serial killer who can steal souls. (THE FORSAKEN is the revamped version. I literally rewrote every page, and added about 100 more pages to the story. So if you haven’t picked that baby up, you might wanna.) 3 years after that–I know, 3 is the magical number, it seems–ARSON was unleashed. This story is closest to my heart because it came from a very unique place and time in my life. It’s like I grew up while writing it.
Flash forward to now. I’ve got 5 novels and several short stories out. I’ve been interviewed on TV, radio, and the internet. I’ve done several blog tours, have my own Youtube channel, twitter page, FB page, so quite frankly, there’s really no reason for you not to stalk me. I’m still that sort of college kid looking for his path while already on a path. I love to write. I love to ask the big questions, to create raw, flawed characters who do incredible things. And I’m reminded every day why I do what I do, why I write, why I tell stories…because of you. Because of something greater than myself. Because if I didn’t, I’d probably go insane.
Welcome to my dysfunctional world.
(1) Signed paperback of Winter Sparrow
(1) e-copy of When Colors Bleed full short story collection.
(1) signed copy of Arson
(1) e copy of my short story Music Box
(1) Custom Arson t-shirt in their size (small thru xl)
free digital hi-five.