Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Guest Post: CHEMISTRY - What’s the Formula? By Anne Osterlund

I'm pleased to welcome Anne Osterlund, author of Salvation. Anne invited me to be a part of her blog tour for Salvation after I added her book to Goodreads. The first thing that came to my mind when saw the cover for Salvation was how do you get chemistry right between two characters? Anne wrote a wonderful guest post where she has a conversation with her two main characters, Beth and Salva, about chemistry.

CHEMISTRY - What’s the Formula? By Anne Osterlund

“Salva! Beth!” I call into the warm breeze. It’s cottonwood weather in my head. (A major plus of being an author is occasionally having the power to control the weather).

There’s a sudden rustling by the cottonwood trees, and both the main characters in my new novel, Salvation, look up from a space by the creek bank. There is no space between them.

“I need your help,” I say.

Beth starts to scramble up. She’s wearing jeans, which are no problem, but she also has on a white blouse she must have picked up at Goodwill yesterday in preparation for Valentine’s Day. (Neither Salva nor I dared tell her the holiday is still a month away). The blouse has these long ties that are dangling loose and catch under her knees as she rolls over them, then tries to stand.

“Espérate.” Salva fishhooks her and pulls her back down. “For what?” he asks me.

Beth folds in against his chest, as though involuntarily.

“I’m supposed to make an appearance on Cari’s Book Blog,” I explain.

“Of course,” Beth blurts. “How can we help? What do you need? A book cover jpg? An author photo? I could borrow a camera—”

“I was wondering if you would both appear with me,” I say.

“Of course we—” Beth starts to disentangle herself.

But Salva keeps his arm around her waist. “To talk about what?” he questions. Warily.

“Well . . .” I hesitate.

His eyes meet mine.

“Chemistry,” I say.

“Oh”—Beth’s head whips toward Salva, banging into his chin. Science is definitely his department.

His arm remains around her waist, his gaze still on mine. Unwavering. Waiting for clarity.

“Cari was wondering if we’d talk about writing,” I explain, “ . . . and getting the chemistry right between two characters.”

“Oh!” Beth turns scarlet. Her gaze flies toward the creek as if her composure might be hiding beneath the water’s surface.

“I think,” Salva says to me without blinking, “that you signed up for this one and you should go it alone.”

“B-but . . .” I stammer.

“Tell Cari the key to chemistry is to respect your characters, listen to them. And never push them into a situation they aren’t comfortable with.”

His hand slips down and clasps Beth’s, which I have failed to notice is trembling.

“OK,” I tell him, then turn around to head back to my laptop.

And leave them both to enjoy the cottonwood weather. Alone.

Anne Osterlund is the author of four young adult books, including Aurelia and its sequel, Exile. Her second novel, Academy 7, won the OCTE Spirit of Oregon Award and was an ALA/YALSA Popular Paperback nominee. Anne works as a full-time author and presents for schools, conferences, and writing events. She grew up in the sunshine of eastern Oregon and earned a BA from Whitworth College, where she majored in elementary education with Spanish and English teaching fields. Anne lives in a cute little yellow house with her new feline friend, Simba, and her own library of young adult books. She and her characters can be found on her website at www.anneosterlund.com. Salvation is her fourth novel, and she has dreams of many more in the future.

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