I am thrilled to have debut author Kristen-Paige Madonia on Fiction Folio today! Kristen-Paige was kind enough to answer some questions I had for her about her debut novel, Fingerprints of You.
|Photo credit to Christopher Gordon
Describe Fingerprints of You in five words or less.
Road-trip, San Francisco, teen-pregnancy, family secrets. Can we pretend San Francisco is one word?
Does Fingerprints of You have a playlist you’d like to share?
It absolutely does – but you’ll have to check my website for that! In celebration of the book’s pub date, Lemon will release lists of all kinds of fun things after the book hits the shelves. Aptly called Lemon’s Lists, her playlist for the Fingerprints of You journey is the first in the series, and she’ll post it on August 7. After that she’ll post one list once a month for the first six months after the book’s release including her booklist and places-to-visit-in-San Fran list! Here’s the link: http://kristenpaigemadonia.com/lemonslist-comingsoon/.
Lemon is such a unique name for your main character – where did it come from?
For me, she was always Lemon, and I imagined the name as soon as I began imagining her character, though I can’t say why. But it’s explained in the novel that her mother, Stella, is a painter, and she picks one color each month to base all of her work on. The month Lemon was born was a pale yellow colored paint named “Lemon” that she found in an art store.
I see on Goodreads that Terry Ribera is listed as the illustrator for Fingerprints of You. Are there illustrations throughout the book, and if so, how did you decide to include images in your story?
The cover art for Fingerprints of You is a custom design by a tattoo artist named Terry Ribera, and my brilliant art designer Krista Vossen brought him in to work on the book. He’s ridiculously talented, and I’ve spent hours looking at images on his website, but I haven’t had the chance to meet him in person yet. The cover image is based on the first line of the novel when we meet the central characters in a tattoo shop, and it represents the coming-of-age theme perfectly. So no, there aren’t actual illustrations in the book, though each chapter begins with an image from the cover, which is absolutely lovely.
Tell us a little about your your ideal writing environment. Anything in particular (drink, blanket, etc) you have to have in order to be productive?
I’m a coffee drinker and usually keep my mug at my desk all day long when I’m working. My ideal environment at home is in my office, which has big windows, a small desk surrounded by bookshelves, and, if I’m lucky, my dog Berkeley tucked at my feet (see photo). But I also do well in unfamiliar locations and wrote most of Fingerprints of You at writing residencies in Key West, New York, and Whidbey Island, where I received fellowships to work on the book - essentially the organizations award artists with the gift of time and space.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers out there that hope to one day be published?
This is one of my favrote questions, and while there are so many ways to answer it, I tend to start with the basics. First off, there are no rules. None. There are techniqes that tend to work and tricks that may help when you’re first starting out, but really there is no one way to do this strange and magical thing we call writing. So no rules. Other than that, I suggest you don’t bother doing it unless your heart is one-hundred percent invested, unless nothing makes you happier than finding that perfect sentence or writing that wonderful cast of characters you want to spend hundreds of pages with. A lot of people will tell you “no,” rejection is inevitably a large part of the process, so you have to be doing it for you, not for “them.” If you’re writing because you’re happiest when writing, then you’re in good shape. And finally, if you can afford it, I always recommend attending conferences or joining a writer’s group or organization. It can be a lonely endeavor at times, and creating a community can make all the difference when it’s time to wade your way through rejection letters or celebrate the good news when it comes!
A huge thanks to Kristen-Paige Madonia for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions! Keep an eye out for my review of Fingerprints of You to come in the next few weeks.