Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Interview with Adam McOmber and Giveaway - September 12, 2012

Please welcome Adam McOmber to The Qwillery as part of the 2012 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The White Forest was published yesterday. Read Adam's Guest Blog - Inspector Francois Vidocq - here and my review of The White Forest here.

TQ: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Adam:  I’d say my most interesting writing quirk in The White Forest is that I attempted to adopt a nineteenth century style of writing, while still making the work accessible and engaging for a twenty-first century audience. It was great fun to inhabit Jane Silverlake’s eerie voice. I thought a lot about the tone of Poe and Hawthorne and Henry James (in his ghost stories). Giving myself this challenge produced a unique tone on the page—an interesting hybrid voice that is antiquated and somehow contemporary at the same time.

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Adam:  I have so many favorite writers. I’m highly influenced by Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Isak Dinesen (her Seven Gothic Tales is amazing), Henry James and M.R. James. As for contemporary writers, I love Stephen King, Cormac McCarthy, Donna Tartt, A.S. Byatt and Kazuo Ishiguro. I read a lot of nonfiction as well. Peter Ackroyd is wonderful for history. Works about psychology or spirituality are of interest to me as well.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Adam:  I’m a little of both. I like to know where a book is going—what the end is going to be. But I also like to surprise myself along the way. There were many things that happened as I was writing The White Forest that came as a complete surprise, and I love that. The act of writing for me should be as much fun as the act of reading.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Adam:  I really enjoy writing. Sitting at my desk and entering another world is one of the greatest pleasures of my life. One challenge though is that I want to make sure everything in a novel happens at just the right time to create the perfect amount of suspense. This takes a lot of revision. I really want to create serious tension so the reader feels like he or she just has to turn the page.

TQ:  Describe The White Forest in 140 characters or less.

Adam:  Jane Silverlake, Victorian super hero, loses her beloved and must use her powers to find him. She enters an underground cult that wants to use her for illicit purposes.

TQ:  What inspired you to write The White Forest?

Adam:  A lot of things came together to inspire The White Forest. I’d been writing short stories for my book This New & Poisonous Air, and some of the ideas in The White Forest arose from those stories. What really set me off on my journey though was a vision I had one day while coming home from work. I saw a woman in a dark nineteenth century dress walking alone across an open field. Her head was down. I couldn’t see her face, but I knew she was troubled. Something had happened that upset her greatly. I knew, at the same time, that she was dangerous. She wasn’t to be trifled with. And I wanted to find out all about her story. She became my main character, Jane Silverlake.

TQ:   What sort of research did you do for The White Forest? 

AdamThe White Forest was rigorously researched. I did my best to present an authentic version of Victorian London. I wanted the reader to trust the setting, so I could play around with all of the supernatural effects inside that setting. I also read countless Victorian ghost stories as research. I wanted The White Forest to have the flavor of one of those wonderful old ghost stories that are meant to be read in a dimly lit room by a roaring fire.

TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?

Adam:  Jane, the main character of The White Forest was certainly the easiest to write. I got to the point where I could literally think in her voice about any subject. As I mentioned before, she has this quiet, eerie tone, that’s also strong. It’s a great deal of fun to think her thoughts.

The most difficult character to write was Ariston Day, the leader of the underground cult in the book. I wanted him to be very smart and to have philosophical reasons for all the apparently evil things he does. It took a lot of research to write that character, and I also wanted him to seem menacing enough so the reader is worried for Jane.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in The White Forest?

Adam:  My favorite scene is when Jane punishes one of the cult members for something he’s done to her. He thinks he’s stronger, simply because he’s a man. She proves him wrong.

TQ:   What's next?

Adam:  I’m working on a new novel that I’m very excited about. I can’t say too much about the plot right now because I’m in the act of writing the book. It’s a fast paced novel with a unique supernatural aspect and many interesting twists. I think my readers are really going to enjoy it.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

The White Forest

The White Forest
Touchstone/Simon & Schuster, September 11, 2012
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

In this hauntingly original debut novel about a young woman whose peculiar abilities help her infiltrate a mysterious secret society, Adam McOmber uses fantastical twists and dark turns to create a fast-paced, unforgettable story.

Young Jane Silverlake lives with her father in a crumbling family estate on the edge of Hampstead Heath. Jane has a secret—an unexplainable gift that allows her to see the souls of man-made objects—and this talent isolates her from the outside world. Her greatest joy is wandering the wild heath with her neighbors, Madeline and Nathan. But as the friends come of age, their idyll is shattered by the feelings both girls develop for Nathan, and by Nathan’s interest in a cult led by Ariston Day, a charismatic mystic popular with London’s elite. Day encourages his followers to explore dream manipulation with the goal of discovering a strange hidden world, a place he calls the Empyrean.

A year later, Nathan has vanished, and the famed Inspector Vidocq arrives in London to untangle the events that led up to Nathan’s disappearance. As a sinister truth emerges, Jane realizes she must discover the origins of her talent, and use it to find Nathan herself, before it’s too late.

About Adam

Adam McOmber teaches creative writing at Columbia College Chicago and is the associate editor of the literary magazine Hotel Amerika. Stories from his collection, This New and Poisonous Air, have been shortlisted for Best American Fantasy and nominated for two Pushcart Prizes in 2012. Visit

Website : Blog : Twitter

The Giveaway


What:  One commenter will win a hardcover copy of The White Forest generously provided by Touchstone!

How:  Leave a comment answering the following questions:

Do you have any favorite time period settings for novels? Which?

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1)   Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2)   Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

There are a total of 3 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry) and Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry).  This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook or Twitter mentions. You MUST leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Wednesday, September 19, 2012. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*


  1. Wow, this sounds really good!

    I like the Victorian age, it must have been such a weird time to have lived in. So strict and stiff while at the same time there were major changes due to the rising industry and such.

    +3 comment, follower, retweeted

  2. I really enjoy the literature from the 1890s! The Yellow Wallpaper and A Rose for Emily...Poe. But when I read fiction that is being currently written I can't really say I have a favorite. I'm pretty open to reading just about anything.

  3. Being a Follower of The Qwillery

    I'm following as Laura Kay

  4. Thank you for the interview and giveaway, it really sounds interesting!

    As far as time periods go, I get all giddy when it's something medieval or Victorian England. There's no particular reason why, but they just appeal to me and are pretty fascinating setting, I think.

    +1 comment
    +1 follower



    I tweeted giveaway

    Laura Kay

  6. My favorite time period? Any time other than now. I love the feel of being somewhere/when else. Plus it is fun to learn about things through fiction!

    GFC follower: April V.
    april dot vrugtman at gmail dot com

  7. As my love of paranormal began with historical romances I still love reading about Victorian era (hence my love of steampunk) and Georgian era, when so much happened to change European history.
    +1 comment
    +1 gfc follower
    +1 twitted:

    impy80 at hotmail dot com

  8. I prefer recency historicals. However, I read just about anything including bios, war stories, ecational, etc. Best wishes with your book. I would love to win a copy!!

  9. I love the future. edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOtcom GFC Krystal Larson

  10. Thanks for a great post and congrat to Adam on the new release! I've been reading such awesome reviews for this book it as already on my "want" list :) I truly don't have a fav time period. I'm pick up what sounds interesting to me and I figure, I'm a long for the ride and I'll go where ever and whenever an author wants to take me :) I'm just looking for a great story and characters I can connect to.

    +1 comment
    +1 gfc: erin

  11. Regency period is really one of my favourite!

    GFC reading mind

    aliasgirl at libero dot it

  12. I am a follower and email subscriber. I like the time period of King Arthur and Camelot.

  13. i love gothic novels and the early 1900's

    +1 comment
    +1 gfc: rogier
    +1 tweeted ;

    student dot caprino at gmail dot com

  14. i like urban fantasy and historical novels from the mid-1800s england
    +1 comment
    +1 gfc:Caitlin Rahm
    katerahm at gmail dot com

  15. I don't have a favorite time period for books.

    I follow the blog.


  16. At the moment I am fascinated by WWII.

    GFC: Mary Preston


  17. I like ancient Egypt time period.

    I've added this to my wish list.

    +1 comment
    +1 follower

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  18. I like present day set novels the most. eclairre(at)ymail(dot)com