In the summer of 2005, while walking the shores of Lake Simcoe, and then down a woodsy trail in Jackson’s Point, Ontario, writer Diana Petkovic had a sense that she was somewhere special. It wasn’t until a few months later, that she realized she’d been in the perfect setting for her first novel, Presenting. Now, a decade later, the four books of The Presenting Saga are complete. They tell the story of young Kaylee Ward, who discovers the existence of magic and Immortals in a small cottage town. It is a discovery that changes her life, and leads her to find love, family, friendship, and no small amount of danger, in an adventure that takes her around the world.
Today, to celebrate the completion of the series, and coinciding with the free ebook giveaway of Presenting (from Amazon Kindle, July 4th to 8t), Petkovic has shared her answers to some fan questions. Enjoy!
Amy M: What is your favorite scene in the series?
Diana: There are actually two scenes that I’m most fond of. The first one is in Presenting, when Will sends little stars into Kaylee’s room to wake her, and then flies her into the forest to meet him. I’ve always found that image of a boy standing under a girls’ window, and calling up to her, very romantic. The idea led me to wonder how a supernatural boy would handle that moment. It’s this scene that came to me first, and the rest of the series grew from it.
My second favorite scene is quite short, but I held off until For Keeps to write it. I’d imagined Ryder standing on a hill at sunset, and playing his guitar into the wind. The idea struck me so emotionally that I waited for the exactly right moment to bring it in. I’m very glad I did, because when the story came to a place where I could use the idea, the final result made me cry.
Nicole D: I have two questions. 1) Kaylee starts the first novel, almost as if she is lost and is looking for a place to call home. Do you feel like she found this in the first book or is it something that she has to find, as the series progresses? 2) The first book has a lot of action and many smaller stories that blend into one. If there is one thing you could have readers take away from this novel, what would it be?
Diana: In Presenting, Kaylee is at a point in her life that I think many people can relate to, in one way or another. She’s definitely not a child anymore, yet she’s not fully an adult yet. It feels like being stuck in limbo, and she desperately wants to get to actually living her own life. Yes, she is looking for a place to call home, but what she discovers is that feeling of home is not a place; it has more to do with the relationships she builds with the people around her, and ultimately with how she defines herself. That journey is a progression through all four books, but she makes important strides every step of the way. I wrote Kaylee to be a relatable character, who does have self doubt, and does make mistakes, yet she learns from these instances, and moves on. I guess that if there is one thing that I hope readers take away from her story, it’s that stumbling blocks are not an end, they are just part of a road that can lead to something great.
Natalie H: Where do you find your inspiration when writing? Or in other words: when writing what inspires you?
Diana: This might sound strange, but when I’m writing, my biggest inspiration comes from the story and the characters themselves. I do have a story arch and a general plan, and yet sometimes when I’m working on a scene, where I intended to go with it doesn’t end up sounding right. Inevitably, when I step back and look at the scenario, something that makes much more sense comes to mind. For me, these surprises are one of the things I enjoy most about writing.
Bronnie H: Which of your characters is most like yourself and have you based any characters on real life people? Also, why specifically did you choose YA writing, or did it just turn out that way?
Diana: I’d love to say the CeCe is the most like me, but the truth is, I wish I could be more like her. The carpe diem attitude that defines her life is, I think, very special. I know I could never be completely like her, because she does tend to be a little aimless, but she I do think it’s important to stop and smell the roses whenever possible. Otherwise, there’s probably a little bit of me in each of the characters, but none of them are based on any real person.
With regards to choosing the YA genre, I guess I chose it because it’s really what I enjoy most as a reader. I find that in YA the scope seems to be a lot broader. You have romance, adventure, fantasy, humor, intrigue etc. Life doesn’t happen in one tone, and I love that YA stories often reflect that.
Cindy R: There is a lot of music in your story. Do you play an instrument, or is there anything you like to listen to when you’re writing?
Diana: I don’t play an instrument, but I was in choir for four years at school, and did play a part in 2 school musicals. Although I didn’t continue with vocal studies, those years left me with a fondness for musical collaboration, and music as expression in its own right. As for what I listen to, I like a wide range of music; but, I listened to Hedley’s ‘The Show Must Go’ album quite a bit while writing Presenting. Since then, their song ‘Amazing’ always reminds me of Will and Kaylee.
Jeanette D: I could picture everything that happened in these books so well, that I kept thinking they should be movies. Will they be?
Diana: *laughs* Well, I’d love to see that myself. Hollywood hasn’t come knocking yet, but I’ll answer the door if they ever do.
The four books of The Presenting Saga (Presenting, Imm Tricks, For Keeps, Bonds and Alliances) can be found on Amazon, and Kindle. Diana Petkovic can be found on Goodreads, Twitter, and on her own blog.