1. Tell us about your latest book.
The Silent Sounds of Chaos is a psychological thriller. It follows the lives of Finn and Snow, two children who grow up mysteriously hearing one another’s thoughts but never meet in person. When they are older, Snow is abducted and Finn hears the entire attack in his head, and he sets out on a journey to find her, led only by her whispered thoughts as Snow floats in and out of consciousness. Along the way, Finn begins to realize not all of his life is as it seems, and people he once thought he could trust may be his biggest enemies.
My goal in writing the book was to give readers a novel that kept them guessing, but written in a way that, by the time you get to the end, you can look back to everything you read previously and have that, “Now it all makes sense” moment. I hope I’ve succeeded!
2. Where did the idea for the book come from?
The book actually began with just the title (which is my favorite title of all my books). I had the title in my head for a few years because I came up with a story worthy of it. I also always had a basic idea of two kids who heard each other’s thoughts and grew up talking to one another, but never meeting. Eventually the story and title merged. I don’t really know where they came from. The title just popped into my head and the story developed over a few years.
Originally I had a different ending, but when I told it to my husband, he replied if I ended the book that way, then the entire story was pointless. After getting over my initial stubborn pouting, I realized he was right. So I thought more about it, and eventually came up with the new ending, which is 1,000 times better.
3. Who and what inspire you to write?
This sounds bad, but I’m not really sure. I’ve always said writing is the only thing that makes sense to me, and it’s what saved my life. I write for me, first and foremost, because I have to. But my readers do inspire me, because I love giving them a book they enjoy.
All I know is that when I wake up every morning, the first thing I want to do is turn on the computer and tell more stories. I don’t know where that drive comes from and I’ve never really questioned it. I just do it.
4. Each author has his or her own inspiring journey. How did you begin writing?
I’ve been writing as long as I can remember. I actually started with poetry and short stories until middle school, when I wrote my first novel, The Helping Hands, which was published my senior year of high school. My mom was a huge support all my life and she kept me going even when I thought publishing was an impossible dream.
My first contract in 2004 was, in some ways, a mistake. I was young and didn’t know the industry, and it was before self-publishing was really a thing. So I signed with a bad company and was definitely taken advantage of. I actually stopped writing until the contract was up, publishing Beyond the Western Sun in 2010 myself via CreateSpace.
However, I try to look at it as a mistake-turned- blessing, because it did get my foot in the door. People knew me from that first book, and they still do. The Helping Hands is more widely known than a lot of my other novels, so good things can come from bad situations! Sometimes you just have to look a little harder for the silver lining.
5. What has been the most pleasant surprise about writing? How about an unexpected downside?
Pleasant surprise – having people actually like my books. I tend to write against the mainstream and I don’t follow any one genre, which are two no-nos in the industry.
So it always surprises me when people actually like the stories. I’ve had readers tell me they love that I write different genres because they “never know what to expect.”
Unexpected downside – It’s time-consuming, especially when writing on a deadline. Normally this doesn’t bother me, but there are definitely days when I’m just exhausted and don’t want to write, but I have to get a book done for the publisher so I can’t go out anywhere, just have to buckle down and shut myself off from the world for a while. It’s worth it though!
6. Do you have any writing rituals?
Not really. I’m pretty simple. Plop down on the couch, grab my favorite couch blanket, find something good to watch on TV, and I’m happy. Easy writing from there!
7. Do you write your books in order?
Sometimes. It depends on the book. For my first draft I like to go through and write what I call the skeleton draft – the bare bones of a story – and go back to fill in the guts later. But I might get stuck somewhere in the beginning and skip ahead to a scene I know will happen in the middle. Other books I plow right through, beginning to end.
8. What is on your writing playlist for this book?
Nope. I’m actually not much of a music person. I typically only listen to film scores and soundtracks. I watch movies while writing rather than listen to music. I’m a HUGE movie fan.
9. Any favorite writing snacks?
Doritos and Mr. Pibb! Or chips and salsa. I’m definitely a chips kind of girl.
Write what you love, what interests you at any given moment, not simply what’s popular or what you think readers want. You’ll be happiest when your stories are ones you personally connect with and enjoy.
Also, don’t listen to the naysayers. There are always people saying you can’t be a writer for this reason or that, people who don’t want to believe in you. Screw ‘em. Believe in yourself and your stories, and that’s all you need.
11. Are you working on anything new right now?
Soon I’ll be promoting my new horror series, which releases this fall 2016. There are 5 books in the series that will come out August – December. I’m also working on a new YA novel.
12. Who is your favorite character in your current book?
In The Silent Sounds of Chaos, definitely Finn. He is a tormented soul and one who is trying to find his way through life. Beautifully broken, loyal to those he loves, the kind of man who will fight for you or die trying.
13. What is your favorite book of all time?
Of my own books, it’s a toss-up between Fragile Creatures and The Never. Fragile Creatures because I got to write about Duke and PJ, the giraffe and goat I worked with at the zoo. The Never because it’s my own retelling of Peter Pan.
Of books in general, Peter Pan by JM Barrie. Pan has been my idol and inspiration for as long as I can remember.
14. Tell us in one sentence why we should read your book.
The Silent Sounds of Chaos takes you on a psychological journey into the minds of two children as they grow up relying solely on one another, until one of them is ripped away – and the fight for survival that follows will keep you guessing at every page turned.
Finn was just a kid when he first heard Snow’s voice inside his head, two children in need of a friend and finding one in mysterious strangers. Never meeting in person, the pair grows up as opposites – Finn the boy who loves to get in trouble and works for the toughest drug lord in town, Snow the good, sheltered girl who wants to be a doctor.
The bond built upon a strange ability to hear each other’s thoughts is threatened when Snow is abducted, her screams for help consuming Finn’s mind until they disappear completely, submerging him in a terrifying silence he’s never known before. Now it’s up to Finn to save her, led only by Snow’s sporadic thoughts as she floats in and out of consciousness.
But the search for Snow leads him to a truth he isn’t prepared to face, a truth that has the power to unravel his entire world. The people he thought he knew, the life he thought he’d made, the best friend he thought he could protect – all point toward a brutal reality should he fail. And as Finn struggles to find Snow before she slips away, he must fight to keep that reality out, lest he let the chaos in.
Her latest series, The Whisper Legacy, features Beyond the Western Sun. This book is what all fantasy adventures must strive to be: a complex, intricate examination of human emotion set within the context of worlds known only in our imagination. Melding fantasy and legend in an epic quest, this series signals the arrival of Kristina Circelli as a master storyteller and an important voice in Native American literature.
A descendent of the Cherokee nation and niece of a Cherokee elder, Circelli holds both a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in English from the University of North Florida, where she teaches creative writing. She also heads Red Road Editing, a full-service editing company for independent authors and commercial clients.
She currently resides in Jacksonville, Florida with her husband, Seth, and cats, Lord Finnegin the Fierce and Mr. Malachi the Mighty.
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