This month’s Author Spotlight features Quoleena Sbrocca whose novel Rayne: Luminescence (Rayne Trilogy #1) is released today!
Interview with Quoleena Sbrocca
1. Please tell us a little about yourself?
I am a Denver native. I live in the city with my husband and our two boys, age 10 and 2. I went to San Diego State University where I was a dance major. 10 years later, I earned an MFA in photography from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. I’ve always loved creative writing. By the time I was a senior in college, I knew I wanted to write a book. It was sort of on my bucket list, because I never had a idea for one until the summer of 2014. Now I’ve published my third!
2. When did you first start writing?
The first creative writing I did was an illustrated book in 4th grade. It won a school prize, and they had it professionally bound for me. I still have it.
3. Do you outline your novel before you start writing or do you prefer to just begin and see where your ideas take you?
For this one, I had the basic concept and world building in notes, just to make those ideas tangible. I knew how the book was going to start and end. I also had a couple plot points planned. Beyond that, I just sat down and typed and let it flow wherever it wanted. My original ideas and the first draft are very different from the finished product, and I love that. Since this was fantasy, I thought that writing it free like this and let the story go where it wanted fit perfectly. For my first two novels, in addition to all the historical research, I knew how it would begin and end. I also plotted each chapter as I went along, hitting some plot ideas along the way. I think I prefer the freedom of writing it and seeing where it goes. I’ll definitely do it this way again for the second book in the Rayne trilogy.
4. Do you set aside a specific time to write each day?
I’m usually able to devote time each day to writing. Some days I spend a few hours, others I only have time to write a few pages. If a day passes without working on my book, it means I’m either super busy or super exhausted.
5. Tell us a little about Rayne: Luminescence?
This is the first book in a true trilogy. It covers one week of Rayne’s life. When we first meet her, she has no community purpose in life, because she has no higher ability. In their society, everyone’s job relates to what their ability is, whether they use it directly or not. Since she has no ability, her colony has no idea what to do with her. In actuality, it wouldn’t be too difficult for them to figure it out; it’s really a matter of her being so incredibly different that they choose to ostracize her instead of embracing her. To them, she’s more like the Homo sapiens. They consider themselves a more advanced species because they have these abilities. Since she doesn’t, she’s beneath them, and they don’t want anything to do with her. Of course, not everyone in her colony thinks this way.
So the book is all about Rayne discovering a new reality for herself and needing answers as to why it’s all happening 15 years late. We learn about her world as she goes from place to place. I think teenagers have a tendency to experience their world in terms of their surroundings or learning about it in school. I wanted to play on that, so the world opens up as she goes from one place to another.
By the end, she knows what she needs to do to learn the reasons for all this. Whether her path to do so is direct or not, I suppose is a good question. By the end of the book, we’ll have a good idea of where book two will go. It’ll be a completely different book than Luminescence, and I can’t wait to get cracking.
6. How long did it take you to write Rayne: Luminescence?
I started writing it in August 2015, and I completed the final version in February. My first book took 6 months as well. Once I start writing, I’m obsessed, and I spend all my free time on it. The first two drafts take the longest of all the rounds of revisions/editing – around six week each.
7. Who is your favourite character?
My favourite Luminescence character to write was Rayne’s dad, Roman. I didn’t want him to be just distant with her. I wanted to hint at layers and good intentions beneath his attitude and to show that perhaps he’s distant with her because someone else tends to get in the way of him bonding with her (her only friend, Rafe). My favourite character overall might be Sir Theo. I’d love to have a sort of mentor like that. Diamond was fun to write, too. I wonder what secret she’s keeping!
8. What can we look forward to next from you?
I will begin working on book 2 of the Rayne Trilogy, “OuterSphere,” this spring. I hope to have it published by the end of the year. After that, I will either complete the trilogy or revisit my time travel series. There’s one book left in that one. I put it on the back burner, because I had an idea for this YA futuristic utopian world. Once both series are complete, who knows what I’ll write next. I stop myself whenever I start thinking too far ahead, because I don’t want to put these on hold for something new.
Quoleena Sbrocca online:
Rayne: Luminescence Excerpt:
As its path circles above me. I sense its essence—his essence. He must be scouting his meal. I imagine stroking the silky feathers and soaring through the clouds, far above everyone I know. Though I know he will not hear me, I close my eyes. A smile creeps to my lips, and I whisper, “Fly to me, Master Eagle. Carry me from this place.”
When I open my eyes, his beak is pointed downward. He appears to fly toward me. I imagine he has heard me.
He must be searching for prey. I sink lower on the branches. He is closer now. His eyes seem to be fixed upon me. I hold my breath and remain still. He dives closer. He grows larger. I am encompassed in the shadow of his greatness.
He dives closer still, and I descend to a lower branch. He flies straight to me as if I am his prey. I hear the sound of my shriek ringing in my ears. I scramble down a few branches. Suddenly, I am terrified.
I hold my breath. He levels his path. A mighty wind parts the leaves, forcing the branches to bow in the wake of his massive, flapping wings.
I am exposed.
His piercing, golden eyes stare down at me. His talons hover above me. I think he means to grab me. I force myself to remain still. Descending will only give him further cause for pursuit.
He lowers himself, flapping his wings to hover in the clearing. His body and wings devour the open space. He stares at me, tilting his head up and down…almost as if he is nodding.
He drifts closer. He is within my reach. My fright shifts to wonder. I do not think. I act.
I lift a wondering hand and graze his silky feathers. He lowers himself further, and I extend my arm. I stroke his plumy chest, and he ruffles his neck feathers. I catch his scent. He smells of the winds and the Earth. He smells of solitude and freedom.
My lips part, and I whisper, “Salvē, Master Eagle. You heard me?”
He ruffles his feathers and dips his head as if he is motioning, yes.
“May I stroke your beak?”
He flaps his wings and lowers himself so his beak meets my extended hand. As I offer a few strokes, I confess my yearning. “I long to soar with you, Master Eagle.”
The tip of his beak grazes my hand when he turns from me. He does not depart. He presents his back, spreads his wings, and jerks his beak to the sky. I understand him. He is granting my wish.
I do not think.
I climb onto his broad back and wrap my arms around him. I close my eyes, and then I drink the wind.
About Quoleena Sbrocca
My name is Quoleena Sbrocca. (If you try to pronounce it too fast, you’ll likely get a brain freeze. Kwo-LEE-nuh Su-BROH-kuh). I’m a Denver native. I went to San Diego State University as a dance major then earned an MFA in Photography from The Academy of Art University. If you’re interested in checking out my photography, you can visit my website: http://www.sbroccaphotography.com.
I’ve always loved creative writing. I realized I wanted to write a book during my senior year in college. It only took 14 years for me to try. Truth is, I never had an idea for one until August 2014. Before I even completed that first draft, I “knew” I only had one story to tell. Then that story became a series, and now I can’t stop writing. The ideas just keep coming.
The obsession is real.