In addition to my new look here at The Unlocked Diary I have something else that is fabulous! An Interview with Ottilie Weber! Ottilie is the author of a sweet, easy read titled Family Ties and she is also a college student. But she isn't majoring in writing... nope. Uh- Uh. What is she majoring in? Read the interview. You won't be sorry!
So let's get on with the interview! And directly after I will be posting my review of her fab book! So check it out!
Here she is:
Now let's find out more about her:
1. Family Ties is a really great fantasy/fairy tale. What inspired you write this book?
Aw thank you! I wrote Family Ties when I was 16 years old. I have an overactive imagination especially when I am home alone. I was home from school with an empty house and I jumping about on the stairs and I thought about someone being locked up. Between that and my unknown side of my Dad’s side of the family the story started to form. My dad’s side of the family is from Germany and I really don’t know much about that side of the family other then the fact that my Great Great Grandfather was a baron himself. So I sat in front of the family desktop at the time and let the characters unfold the tale.
2. What is your favorite fairytale of all time?
Now you are talking to a girl who still goes to theaters to watch Disney movies in addition to bought the complete works of Brother Grim, and Hans Christian. Some of my favorite over the years have been the Twelve Dancing Princesses, The Frog Prince, Beauty and the Beast (one of my top Disney movies ever!), Cinderella, Thumbelina, and the The Tin Solider, to just name a few…but possibly my all time favorite fairy tale ever written has to be Rapunzel. You can’t imagine how excited I was for the movie Tangled when it came out. I don’t know why the tale is my favorite, it is pretty twisted if you think about a child reading it, but at the end after being locked up, than banished into the desert separated from her love who was blinded by a thorn bush. Yet the two end up finding each other despite the odds. The idea that love can find a way no matter what the problems are is pretty amazing no matter how bad things get. I guess it’s where the root of all my stories come from.
3. Do you think that you are like your main character Abby?
I would say Abby and I are both fiery and sarcastic. However Abby is more verbal about it then I am. I’m pretty sarcastic, but she is more outspoken, says what I would only think, I could really use her backbone at times though.
4. Would you rather date a vampire or a werewolf??
I should have known werewolves would pop up! I would have to say even though I have a thing against furry men, werewolves. I have this thing where I have bad circulation and werewolves sound warmer then a living dead boyfriend vampire. Plus I don’t have to worry really to fall asleep and waking up to being another species with a werewolf. Their biting history seems less of an issue. Vampires I could have to change my sleeping pattern to see him, that’s not fun! With a werewolf I could hang out during the day and take a nice stroll at night to sing to the moon.
5. You currently attend college. What is your major?
Prepare to laugh because people seemed shocked when they are told that I write and have this major. I am a History Secondary Education major. People’s eyes always widen, surprised that I’m not an English major. My dad is a history junkie and it rubbed off on me a little after all the years of hearing the History Channel in the background.
6. What’s the best thing about writing?
Oh I could babble about this forever. I’ll try to limit this so that the readers don’t have to suffer. I really enjoy thinking of these weird plots that end up being tales that someone potently might read one day. Seeing the development of a story really makes me feel accomplished. However my favorite thing about writing, and I say this countless occasions, I love the characters that come alive through my words then I do with the actual plots. My friend Taylor jokes that I talk about my characters as if they are real. One of the few jobs that lets you be creative and be okay to have the extra voices in your head! It is fun to get into the characters’ minds.
7. How long did it take you to find a publisher for your book?
Now this is actually a funny story! At the time I was sending countless (60+) query letters to agents for my book End of the Line because I didn’t like the company that the book was with. I was pretty upset with an unprofessional rejection letter I had received and I had just finished revisions on Family Ties. I was talking on a thread on Goodreads, I wish I could remember which one. I posted about End of the line some time not too much later I had gotten an email from Bruce who runs Bucks County Publishing. He had read through my sample of End of the Line that I have posted on Goodreads and my blog, and if I was interested in his publishing company to send him a query letter with a sample of Family Ties to him. I have that email printed out and saved next to the congratulations of Family Ties being picked!
8. Would you rather stay up late and get up early or go to bed early and get up late?
See here is the thing, I love sleep, however my body on the other hand likes going through cycles where I can’t. My body and I never see eye to eye. To top it off my whole life I’ve been prone to getting nightmares. The more sleep the better if you ask me, so I’d say go to bed early-ish (I already do…) then get up late. I like getting into pjs then being a bum before bed so that I can relax then in the morning lying in bed all comfortable prolonging the busyness that I make out of life.
9. Where is your favorite place to hang out?
Hands down, no question about it, my favorite place ever would be the beach. I go whether it is daytime or night time. If I can I hope to stay near the beach the rest of my life. I’ve been going to the beach since I was six months old. I love the sand between my toes, the salt air seems to just open up my lungs, to be able to look up to a fully starred night. The beach is fun to go with friends during the day, hoping in the waves, laying on the sand soaking up the sun, the blond strands appreciate that. To be able to go at go at night skipping around in the sand, sitting in the sand to talk beneath the starry night or even walk around on the jetties.
10. Are you going to dress up for Halloween? If not, when is the last time you dressed up and what were you?
The last few years dressing up for Halloween if I did so has been a close to last minute thing. I don’t know what I’m going to do for Halloween this year I have a couple of costumes I could wear. Last year I wore a ball gown, because I was going to a ball, I know I’m not helping the Cinderella references from forming or some other jokes from that. That in itself is a long story. However two years ago I was Alice from Alice in Wonderland, people think I look like her, and have a big curiosity side.
11. You are dyslexic. Does that make it more difficult to write?
Um, sometimes with the spelling I do. There will be times where I spell a word so wrong spell check gets mad at me and gives zero suggestions! That is when I get real resourceful to find spelling like Google, start typing and hope something pop out underneath or my favorite! I will through Facebook, AIM, or text message one of my friends going ‘I will send you a sentence and you can guess the right spelling!’ There are times, more then I wish, that I will change the word I want to use because I get so frustrated and just can’t find the spelling no matter how much I out loud sound out a word. I really try to push through that disability, always have. I was in the resource rooms for English from second grade till sixth and in those years I had some pretty awesome teachers that really pushed through the work. That I shouldn’t let something like dyslexia hold me back.
12. Heels or sneakers?
Heels are pretty to look at, and can be fun to wear depending on where I’m going. All throughout middle school and high school I wore the same white Keds sneakers everyday. Now these days though I’m a flats and sandals kind of girl, but overall a barefoot person, if I can get away with it. Not sure if that really answered your question…
13. How long did it take you to write Family Ties?
Um I’m trying to remember, but I’m sure it was a few months. I use to be able to come home from high school, do a little homework and write every night. I periodically went through Family Ties and edited it, back than I wasn’t really settled on a title, I mostly called the story ‘Abby’ then briefly ‘Because of’, but last summer I did a major comb through, fix things up, added a character with a character twist I had fun.
14. What is your best marketing tip that you use to sell your books?
I really wish I had a better answer for this then what I’m about to say! I’m figuring this part as I go along. I’ve done a giveaway on Goodreads which helped those numbers going from 6 people to over 200 adding my book to their to-read list. I’ve done a couple of interviews on blogs, whether the interview was with me or with Abby in addition to asking for a couple of blogs to do reviews. Over the summer I created a Book Trailer for Family Ties which was interesting to figure out since I am not the most tech savvy person. I’ve done a book signing and hope to do more when school lets out again. I’ve donated a copy of Family Ties to my county library and tried to do the same to my high school, but never heard back from them so I’m going to try again during the next couple of months. Overall I stay personable and take any advice I can. I’m on Facebook, Twitter, and a few other sites in addition to my blog, I try to be accessible for readers!
15. Who was the hardest character to write in your book?
For me I wanted Abby and Emma to be similar, but I was also trying to make them not so similar that they were the same character. Abby was a lot of fun to write, like I mentioned before she is more out spoken than I am so I had an easy time putting myself into that, that and I have hit some people with my shoes before…
16. Tell us where to get your book here:
You can find Family Ties at:
Bucks County Publishing:
17. Do you have any last minute words of advice for our readers today?
Surely! I’ll try not to babble too much here also. Do a little research about different companies, agents, traditional publishing verses Indie publishing just so you know what is out there before you jump into the publishing world for anyone to take a chance to take advantage of you. As bad as my curiosity is patience is a helpful tool because you are working with yourself, and whoever may come your way with whatever route you pick, and the amount of query letters you might send out. Keep an open mind; you’ll either meet some pretty awful people or some pretty amazing ones with your reading or writing journey. I’ve been given several chances to meet some of the nicest men and women on this writing path all of which we share our ideas and advices with each other. Love what you are doing this is your life, live it, if you don't love writing, the idea of revising, and creating, it shouldn't all be just a career, but something you truly deep down love otherwise the words will fall flat. If writing is what you do, don't let anyone, or any disabilities hold you back, follow your dreams. Lastly never stop asking questions part of life is growing and curiosity just expands life in addition to makes things interesting!
Isn't she great?? :) You can also hear a more in depth interview with Ottilie this Tuesday night at 9 pm Eastern time on JournalJabber a blog talk radio show (that I happen to co-host).
here's the link: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/journaljabber
It is going to be tons of fun so join us!
Also be sure and check out Ottilie's awesome blog! You can even watch the trailer for Family Ties, which is really great! Here's the link: http://www.ottilieweber.blogspot.com/
Now here's her book:
Title: Family Ties
Author: Ottilie Weber
Publisher: Bucks County Publishing, 2011
Genre: Young adult/Fantasy
Format: Paperback, Ebook
Once upon a time Abby’s great-grandmother was a handful. She lived in Germany and her family was rich. It wasn’t as great as people might think though because Emma was sold off into a marriage that she didn’t want. Rather than stay and live a life sure to be torture, she runs away to America where she can be the master of her own destiny.
Fast forward many years later to Abby. She had heard the tales of her great granny since she was a small child, and she thought she knew everything there was about Emma until her boring, ordinary summer was interrupted.
By her being kidnapped.
Turns out the least of her problems were that her BFF Cory was checking out the other hottie waitresses where they both waited tables.
She is forced into a car and then onto a private plane where her life is hi-jacked by some dude in Germany who thinks she needs to own up to ol’ great granny Emma’s mistakes.
And how exactly will she repay Emma’s debt?
By marrying the descendant of the man Emma was supposed to marry.
She is taken to a beautiful castle in Germany and given gorgeous dresses to wear. Correction: she wants jeans but is ordered to wear the gowns. Ugh. And to top it off when she steps out of line or even appears to be thinking for herself she is punished.
Meanwhile, back home, Cory is eaten up with guilt over his lost friend and her parents are wondering what happened to their little girl.
Family Ties is a light, fun read. It’s a new twist on a classic tale for anyone who enjoys a fairy tale. I really enjoyed the POV shifts between Abby, Emma and Cory. I think that writing the story in that way made it possible to really get to know the three main characters very well in the story. I also enjoyed the parallel between Abby and Emma. How very much alike these two women were. Sometimes genetics just don’t lie. They were both strong characters that had the guts to stand up for what they believed in and not shrivel every time a guy did something they didn’t like.
To that I say, You go girl! (Or girl’s in this case)
Cory was your typical teenage guy trying to figure out girls and himself. I liked how he seemed to learn about his feelings gradually (or come into them) about Abby. And even though he was just a kid, he still went after Abby to get her out of that castle.
Way to man up, Cory!
There was some repetitiveness to the writing that sometimes threw me off but the enjoyment of the story was not lost. I would say that it is a good summer read. A happy ending amongst bad stuff and two really kick ass girls.
Grab the book and take a break from life, isn’t that what fairy tales are made for?
So there you have it. My opinion.