Denise Grover Swank has got this author thing down to a science. The Lee’s Summit resident will celebrate the holiday season with the release of her latest work, “There,” a young adult science fiction novel that is the second book in a three-part series she’s titled “On the Other Side.” Scheduled for release Dec. 24 “There” is the follow-up to “Here,” a tale about a 16-year-old girl who buries herself in guilt after killing her best friend in a car accident. The girl awakens in the hospital with a broken leg, a new talent for drawing and false memories of the accident, in which she dies and her friend lives. “Here” spent time on barnesandnoble.com’s top-selling science fiction fantasy list and Swank is hoping to enjoy the same success with “There.” Swank sat down with the Journal and discussed her writing career, how it has morphed into a business and the anticipation of her next project.
Journal: You are also an author of urban adult fantasy books (a four-part series entitled “Chosen,” and another three-part series entitled “The Rose Garden Mysteries”). What made you write a young adult series?
Swank: I had a 13-year-old daughter who asked me to write a book her and her friends could read. I had written my first two books, and she said, ‘would you write a book me and my friends could read?’ I said, ‘OK, but I get to pick what it’s about.’ Then she said, ‘will you name the character after me?’ So, I named the (main) character (in “Here” and “There”) after my daughter, Julia. And she wanted a love triangle, and I said ‘that’s the only input you have everything else is on me.’ She read it as I wrote.
Journal: How many books in the “On the Other Side” series to you plan to write?
Journal: What will be the title of the third one?
Swank: I don’t know yet. Everyone keeps asking if I’m going to call it “Everywhere.” Probably not. I don’t know.
Journal: Tell us a little about “There.”
Swank: It’s the second book in the series. It’s a continuation – I’m trying to figure out a way to tell you without giving away the plot. (Julia) is in an alternate universe. She’s been taken to an alternate universe in the first book. Her alternate self died and so her boyfriend in the alternate universe came to find her.
Journal: How did you get into science fiction writing and fantasy writing?
Swank: Most of my works always have some sort of fantastical elements and there’s usually some kind of romance. And there’s usually some kind of mystery that unfolds even if it’s not a true mystery. There’s always some sort of ‘what’s going on?’
Journal: When and what was your first published book?
Swank: The first one I published was “Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes” and I published that in July of 2011. I had written three books trying to get an agent and I came pretty close, but they said they wouldn’t sale…. I decided self-publishing is new, so I’m going to try it. So, I tried it with the first one because no one wanted that. And it sold better than I expected. So, I said I’m going to publish the other two… I’ve sold close to 200,000 books (out of seven titles).