Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Interview with Aviva Orr

Today we're chatting with author Aviva Orr about her novel, THE MIST ON BRONTE MOOR.

Welcome to We Do Write, Aviva! Tell us a bit about yourself.

I was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, and I currently live in Southern California with my husband, two daughters, and two Yorkshire terriers (Lucy and Branwell). I love to travel and one of my favorite places to visit is England. I am fascinated by its history and its literature. When there, I try to explore as many literary sites as possible. A trip to the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth inspired me to write The Mist on Brontë Moor.

How long have you been writing?

I started writing as a teenager but never completed any manuscripts. At college, I studied literature and became immersed in academic writing. After graduating with my master’s degree, I turned to writing fiction once again.

Tell us about THE MIST ON BRONTE MOOR. What’s the story about?

The Mist on Brontë Moor is literary fantasy, in which a young girl goes back in time and meets the Brontës before they became famous.

Here is the synopsis:

When fifteen-year-old Heather Jane Bell is diagnosed with alopecia and her hair starts falling out in clumps, she wants nothing more than to escape her home in London and disappear off the face of the earth. Heather gets her wish when her concerned parents send her to stay with her great-aunt in West Yorkshire. But shortly after she arrives, she becomes lost on the moors and is swept through the mist back to the year 1833. There she encounters fifteen-year-old Emily Brontë and is given refuge in the Brontë Parsonage. Unaware of her host family’s genius and future fame, Heather struggles to cope with alopecia amongst strangers in a world completely foreign to her. While Heather finds comfort and strength in her growing friendship with Emily and in the embrace of the close-knit Brontë family, her emotions are stretched to the limit when she falls for Emily’s brilliant but troubled brother, Branwell. Will Heather return to the comforts and conveniences of the twenty-first century? Or will she choose love and remain in the harsh world of nineteenth-century Haworth?

Such an enchanting cover! How did the idea of the story come to you?

I’ve always loved the Brontës and visiting their home in Haworth, England was an awe-inspiring experience. The Brontë Parsonage Museum is so well maintained that when you are there, it is not difficult to imagine yourself going back in time and meeting the Brontës. Since I couldn’t make that happen, I did the next best thing and wrote about it.

Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?

I belong to a fantastic online critique group consisting of eight writers, so I receive plenty of feedback on each chapter. In addition, my publisher, WiDo, provided me with a wonderful editor and two copyeditors.

Are you a planner or a pantser?

A pantser. I start with an idea or an image and then I write. Once it’s written, I revise. I am a compulsive reviser.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

Letting the manuscript go. I always find something to tweak.

What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

Aside from my laptop, the only thing I need when I write is quiet. I can’t concentrate in a noisy environment (although I don’t mind music). For this reason, I tend to go to the library a lot or write late at night when everyone in my house is asleep.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

I’d love to be able to snap my fingers and transport myself to any place in the world. Going back in time would be fun too.

What's the weirdest thing you've googled?

The components that make up a tooth sealant. Not that interesting, but I wanted to know what the dentist was putting in my child’s mouth.

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: mortgage, define, and horse-drawn buggy.

Bella hesitated before accepting the gnarled hand that extended from the horse-drawn buggy, unable to define exactly how she felt about the task that lay ahead, and the vital role it played in saving her family from the mortgage collector.

Finish this sentence: If I'm not writing, I'm probably ...

on the Internet.

Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.

A huge thank you goes out to my husband and two daughters. Also to my sister, Tamara, for her endless reads of my manuscript. My amazing critique group, Out of the Blue, for their years of support. My brilliant publisher, WiDo, who have been fantastic to work with. And the Brontë Parsonage Museum for answering my questions and for inspiring this story.

And finally, where can people find you and your book online?

Thanks for stopping by the blog today, Aviva. I'm looking forward to reading your book!

1 comment:

Aviva Orr said...

Thank you, Dorothy!