Monday 19 May 2014

Countdown to 5th June and Blog Tour- Essence by Lisa Ann O'Kane

Hey, today I have two exciting things. Well, one exciting thing

for two reasons- we’re kicking off the blog tour for Lisa O’Kane’s Essence, and being the next stop on the Countdown to 5 June tour organized by Jim at YAYeahYeah which has been generally fabulous over the past few weeks, and will continue to be so. So here, my interview with Lisa.

1. What emotion or feeling would you think drained Essence the most?

I drew inspiration for the concept of Essence from the Taoist belief that every light must have a dark and every good must have an evil. Therefore, Centrists believe positive emotions are just as dangerous as negative ones, and they try their best to repress everything.

That being said, I know I have personally felt my most incapacitated in times of great loss and sadness. These emotions were almost always due to my attachments to other people, so I’m sure the Centrists would probably say I shouldn’t allow myself to feel things so deeply.

2. Would you rather live in the security of the Centrists or the freedom of the Community?

Easy. I would much prefer the Community and the freedom to make my own choices, even if I ended up making some bad ones.

I think one of the best ways to grow is to take risks—and to fail from time to time! Our struggles keep us humble, and they make us appreciate our victories in a way we couldn’t otherwise.

I know I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t been given the opportunity to find my own balance. As John Augustus Shedd once said, “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”

3. What was your favourite thing about writing Essence?

I am very analytical and organized by nature, so I initially approached ESSENCE the way I would approach any other project: I analyzed, categorized, structured and dissected it. Unfortunately, the story fought back, and it died on me every time I tried to control it.

The moment I dropped the reins and finally allowed the story to tell itself is the single most terrifying and exhilarating moment I have ever experienced as a writer. I will never forget the electricity of that feeling.

4. Who would be in your dream cast of Essence?

I am a very visual person, so I have spent a lot of time thinking about my characters’ appearances. I haven’t picked celebrity doppelgängers for everyone, but I definitely have a short-list of actors and actresses I think would be perfect for my dream ESSENCE cast:

Photo Courtesy of Anomoly1101
Photo Courtesy of Etlfc1999

Photo Courtesy of MyCanon

Photo Courtesy of LGEPR
Photo Courtesy of MingleMediaTV  

5. What do you want people to get from Essence?

The biggest thing I want people to know about ESSENCE is that it is not a traditional dystopian novel. It is a novel about cults, and although cults inherently have dystopian qualities, ESSENCE is instead a very personal account of one girl’s experiences as she escapes from one cult only to find herself accidentally joining another. 

The theme of ESSENCE is balance: between right and wrong, between too much and too little, between feeling everything and feeling nothing. I hope readers will find its message empowering, and I hope it will inspire them to question things and to be true to themselves while they search for their own personal balance.

6. What's your favourite thing about being a YA author?

I have always considered myself a people watcher. I love exploring the dynamics of interpersonal relationships, so my favorite thing about being a YA author is the opportunity to create characters and allow them interact with each other.

7. How do you write? Do you have any rituals/specific things that need to be in place, or can you do it anywhere?

I am definitely the hare, not the tortoise. My muse is fickle and hard to catch, so I often have periods of intense creativity followed by stretches of intermittent spurts and droughts.

When my muse is active, I can write pretty much anywhere. If she’s a little more hesitant, I do have a few rituals that usually help jump-start me. My favorites are Nag Champa incense, a strong cup of chai tea and any music by Bob Dylan, the Shins or Bon Iver.

8. What other books or authors would you recommend that are coming out on 5 June?

I am so honored to be in the company of so many incredible authors! I am particularly excited about TAKE BACK THE SKIES by Lucy Saxon, LIES LIKE LOVE by Louisa Reid, and TRUST GAMES by Simon Packham. This is going to be a fabulous summer for UK fiction!

Essence will be released as an ebook from Strange  Chemistry and can be bought from the following places:
Amazon (U.S.):
Amazon (UK): (This is a link to my author page. The link for my eBook won't show up until my release date, apparently.)

Here’s the blurb: Autumn escaped a cult, but now she realizes she's fallen into another.

Growing up in San Francisco’s Centrist Movement, sixteen year-old Autumn Grace has always believed emotions—adrenaline, endorphins, even happiness—drain your Essence and lead to an early death. But her younger brother’s passing and a run-in with a group of Outsiders casts her faith into question.

Ryder Stone, the sexy, rebellious leader of the Outsiders, claims Essence drain is nothing more than a Centrist scare tactic -- and he can prove it.

Autumn follows Ryder to his Community of adrenaline junkies and free spirits in Yosemite National Park, and they introduce her to a life of adventure, romance, sex, drugs and freedom. But as she discovers dark secrets beneath the Community’s perfect exterior, she realizes the more she risks in search of the perfect rush, the further she has to fall. 

Here’s Lisa’s other links- site, twitter and facebook. Check on Tez Says tomorrow for a post from Lis a on plotting.

As for the Countdown, check tomorrow on Debbie’s site Snuggling on the Sofa for something with Lucy Saxon. 


  1. Great interview, I'm really intrigued by the concepts here and can't wait to read the book!

  2. First of all, LOVE the name of this blog. Totally awesome. Love the design, too.

    Second- CAN'T WAIT FOR THIS BOOK! ESSENCE sounds amazing. The cast photos make me even more excited.

  3. Woot! This is gonna be awesome!! I love the dream cast--especially Tyler Posey <3


  4. Good GAWD! Can I please, please, PLEASE be on the set of this movie?! I will do whatever they ask me to do: Kraft services, wardrobe, key grip (what the heck is that, anyway?) There is just SO MUCH HAWTNESS there.

    Also, this answer: "Unfortunately, the story fought back, and it died on me every time I tried to control it.

    The moment I dropped the reins and finally allowed the story to tell itself is the single most terrifying and exhilarating moment I have ever experienced as a writer. I will never forget the electricity of that feeling." Is so perfectly stated--and so essential to understanding this madness that it is to be a writer. Beautifully stated.

    So excited for this book to hit the world
    (and if this comment (or something nearly identical to it) posted twice--so sorry. User error #blonde #fail)

  5. Great interview girls! Can't wait to add this to my Kindle! :D

  6. Love the cast and this interview! Can't wait to read ESSENCE!! :)

  7. Awesome interview, can't wait for the book. Was hoping to be able to send hard copies out as gifts, probably will send digital books instead. A movie would be very nice :)

  8. Awesome interview...can't wait for the book to come out. I was hoping to give hard copies as gifts. Probably will send digital copies. The idea of a movie sounds great.

  9. Love this interview, and the fact that you listen to Bob Dylan to coax out your muse only makes me adore you more! Also, that is a VERY hawt cast, gals included. ;)

  10. I've been following Lisa's ups and downs since before she wrote ESSENCE, before she was agented so it's AMAZING to see all her hard work come to fruition. CAN'T WAIT to get my hands on ESSENCE!

  11. Really enjoyed this interview! Essence looks really, really awesome. I must look out for that!:D


Thanks for taking time to read this!
Comments are much loved.
Nina xxx

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