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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Interview and Giveaway: Aaron Galvin, author of Salted

I'm so thrilled to have author Aaron Galvin stopping by today! Aaron recently released his first YA book, Salted, which spent time on Amazon's Top 40 Hottest New Releases list.Check out our Interview below and enter the Giveaway...

(Salt Series #1)
by Aaron Galvin

Life isn’t better under the sea.

Lenny Dolan is all too familiar with this reality. A Selkie slave in the realm beneath the waves, he has no choice when charged with leading a crew ashore to capture an elusive runaway. If unsuccessful, the loved ones kept behind will pay for his failure with their lives.

But when their target leads Lenny and his crew to deeper, darker secrets, the Selkies are faced with a moral dilemma. Secure their own freedom at the expense of others, or return empty-handed to face the grisly consequences?

How Lenny and his crew answer the question will teach them the harshest truth of all. Only through the loss of innocence does one become Salted.

What three words best describe Salted?
Next. Big. Trend.
(haha. A guy can dream, right?)

Grab a copy of Salted and answer the following:
favorite chapter?  Garrett’s 5th chapter.
favorite page? Print version, page 201. Kindle version, the 3427 mark, or 55% of the way through.
favorite setting/place? Crayfish Cavern
flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentences teaser:
The surrounding water refused to be held at bay any longer. It rushed in to flood his nostrils and throat, desiring nothing more than to fill the now vacant space in his lungs that oxygen had once occupied.

What inspired Salted? How did the story come to be?
You could say my mom gave me the initial idea. I had written a different book that received numerous rejections and was moping around her one day because of it. She told me to suck it up. Write something new. For about an hour she gave me various prompts.
“Wizards!” she’d say. 
“Harry Potter,” I’d reply.
“Vampires! Werewolves!”
“Twilight, Mom.”
Finally, she said, “How about mermaids?”
I didn’t have an answer for that. This was back in 2009 when I admittedly hadn’t been reading much. Too busy chasing my other dream, acting. Anyway, I couldn’t think of any mermaid books at the time. The only response I could come back with was that mermaids were for girls. And what guy wanted to be seen reading about mermaids anyway? They weren’t cool!
Then Mom said something I’ll never forget. “Find a way to make them cool.”
That changed everything. I’m a pretty competitive person. Suddenly I had a challenge. How could I make mermaids cool for guys like me? How could I make them different? 
Salted is the result of that. It took me five years to reach this point, but I like to think I accomplished Mom’s challenge. Readers will decide if that’s true.

In Salted you’ve explored and incorporated mythological creatures, such as do your mythological beings compare and contrasts to those of lore?
Traditionally, most stories paint Selkies and mermaids as female. Selkies are seals who can shed their skin. If a fisherman finds the sealskin, he keeps the Selkie from returning to the sea. The fisherman and Selkie usually wind up married and have kids, but the woman is sad because she misses the sea. Many stories end with the Selkie finding her sealskin and fleeing back to the sea. Occasionally she takes her children. I’ve also found most Selkies are depicted as being strictly Common Seals.

In my book, Selkies are slaves in the realm beneath the waves, which they call the Salt. Unlike the traditional stories, my Selkies cannot take their sealskins off at will. It’s more like a wetsuit, or hooded onesie. By donning their hood and picturing their Salt form, Selkies transform into whichever type of seal or sea lion suit they’ve been made to wear.

The Selkie suits come in a variety of shapes and size to both reflect the varying size of humans wearing them, as well as the type of animal they transform into. For example, one of my characters, Paulo, is a big guy. Built like a linebacker. He wears a mammoth Southern Elephant Seal because he’s a brute and deep diver. Another character, Racer, is thin and reedy. He can transform into a sleek, elegant California Sea Lion because he’s a sprinter.
As for mermaids, I’ve most often read about them as having scaly fishtails. Most people I’ve spoken with imagine Ariel from the Disney classic. I wanted to put a different spin on that too. I can’t really say more without giving away spoilers. You’ll just have to check out the book. I will say don’t expect my merfolk to have scaly or glittery fishtails.

Do you have an absolute favorite character to write and explore in Salted? What do you love about him/her?
It’s a tough question to answer because they all have some part of me in them. If I had to choose, I pick Lenny. He’s really a good guy at heart, but he can come across as grumpy and cold. He’s a product of his environment and trying to figure out the right thing to do.
The core of Salted is about making choices and living with the consequences.

For instance, Lenny is both slave and slave catcher. It’s a fascinating dynamic, to me at least, because he’s sent to recapture slaves who’ve runaway and bring them back. Yet if he refuses, fails, or tries to escape, his father will be killed.

I love exploring that and deciphering how would people react if put in that situation. It’s a tough spot Lenny and his crew are in. Like any group, not all of them have the same mindset either.

As well as being a writer, you’re also an actor...can you tell us a bit about your experience as an actor? What’s your favorite acting project you’ve worked on?
I’ve always wanted to be an actor and have had the good fortune to see that dream realized on a modest scale. I grew up in Indiana where there is virtually no film work so I moved to Chicago after graduating from Ball State University. I landed the lead role in an indie feature the first day I moved there. I was on top of the world. Thought it would be the start of something huge. While it was a great experience, little came from it.

A few months later, I was starving, freezing, and didn’t have enough money to pay the rent.
Then, Mr. Clint Eastwood came to town with his film, Flags of Our Fathers.

I did a lot of extra work on that film and became known as dependable in the casting director’s eyes. Anyhow, they put me in a scene with the main actors. It’s where the train is pulling into Union Station. I was a porter that swings off the side once the train stops to help people exit onto the ramp. It was an incredibly small role but the editing gods smiled on me. For a few brief seconds, I’m the only one on camera. Haha.

The whole experience was incredible. Mr. Eastwood even spoke directly to me a few times. I’ll never forget it. It was just before we filmed the train scene. He had been giving direction to the actors, with me holding my position between them. Mr. Eastwood looked at me. Pretty sure he saw a twenty-something kid about to pee his pants at the sight of a living legend standing right in front of him. Anyway, he kinda grinned at me and then said, “Make it look good, kid.”

I about died on the spot. I went home that day telling anyone on the train who would listen that Dirty Harry had called me kid.

I’ve done a lot more acting work since then. That’s definitely been one of the highlights though. Not just because I met Mr. Eastwood, but that he was everything you hope a legend to be. He was kind, humble, and had an inner confidence that made him standout in the crowd without his even trying to. He is an amazing man and I hope to have the chance to meet him again someday.

How (if at all) has your acting experience influenced or helped your writing?
Everyone knows an actor’s job is to don the character’s skin. Make you believe what you’re seeing is real. The trick is to find the character’s motivation. What are they after? Why? How do they obtain it? How do they react if they don’t?

That way of thinking and questioning has been especially helpful to me as a writer. If I know what my character’s motivations are and the means they employ to accomplish their goals, then I know how to thwart them.

That’s what makes it fun for me to write about and, hopefully, for you to read.
Another influence is nobody views themselves as a villain. For instance, in The Dark Knight, the Joker wouldn’t consider himself a bad guy for killing people. He’s just having fun. His acts are horrifying to those of us in the crowd judging him though.

It’s the same with my Selkie slave catchers. It’s easy to sit back, point the finger, and say they’re wrong for recapturing slaves and returning them to a life of servitude, but what would you do in that same instance? If that were forced on you to save your loved ones lives, would you think of yourself as a bad person? Or would you rather say you saved your mother or father’s life?

It’s all a matter of perspective. You can’t play it all good or all evil. Otherwise it’s not real and the reader/audience sees right through it. It’s the same with writing characters.

Fill in the blanks:
I’m really awesome at being humble. It’s probably my best quality. (see what I did there?)

I’m really embarrassed to admit that I could probably sing-a-long to the entire Wicked and Frozen soundtrack.

The last great book I read was Wool, by Hugh Howey.

If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by Salted, what would it look and taste like, and what would you call it?
First, I’m man enough to admit that I ROCK at baking cupcakes. Just sayin’.
My Salted inspired cupcake would resemble one of my favorite characters, Chidi (pronounced Chee-Dee). She wears a Ribbon Seal coat. The coat, or suit, is cream-colored with white swatches that resemble, (wait for it), ribbons.
Anyway, I’d name my cupcake a Silkie Sweet.
It’s delivered to you on a small, violet plate with raised edges.
Hmm. That’s neat. You think. Looks like coral.
The bottom and top layers have a golden hue and you read on the menu that the batter consisted of a heavy dose of cream cheese and buttah’. The middle has a vanilla wave to give the ribbon vibe. Oh, and the greenish icing with little black flecks?
Must be mint. It looks delicious! You take a bite.
It’s not.
The icing? Pureed seaweed. Oh, and those little flecks? Roe.
The worst of it is the fishy taste in your mouth, mixing with what your mind tells you should’ve been a sweet, delectable cream cheese cupcake.
None of it matters now though.
You’re choking.
That’s because the center is laced with chopped pufferfish.
Not that you care at this point. You’re in the middle of passing out as the group of servers surrounds you. They’re already revealing the hoods they’d tucked away because they know you’ll be out cold soon.
See that’s the thing about the Salt world. Nothing is as it seems. Innocence is stamped out.
Later, when you wake up in the dark, cold recesses of Crayfish Cavern, dressed in a sealskin suit you can never take off, you’ll know you’ve just been Salted.

Thank you so much for the awesome interview, Aaron!

Salted is Aaron Galvin's debut novel.
He first cut his chops writing original stand-up comedy routines at age thirteen. His early works paid off years later when he co-wrote and executive produced the 2013 award-winning indie feature film, Wedding Bells & Shotgun Shells.
He is also an accomplished actor. Aaron has worked in Hollywood blockbusters, (Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, and Clint Eastwood’s Flags of Our Fathers), and starred in dozens of indie films. 
Aaron is a proud member of SCBWI. He lives in Southern California with his wife and daughter.

Win 1 of 5 ebook copies of Salted!
Aaron has generously offered up 5 ebook copies of his book.
-open INT
-ends 5/11
-there will be 5 winners
-must be 13+, one free entry per person
-winners will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
Fill out Rafflecopter form:

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