We welcome both Kara Leigh Miller and David Jemal, authors of our newest young adult release, Warped Remains.
Tell us a little about yourself.
David: After graduating college with a major I created in finance and culture, I jumped into the world of sales and thus began crisscrossing North America. When I’m not writing the many stories taking up residence in my mind, I enjoy sports, reading, and growing my connection with God. I live in Brooklyn with my wife and family.
Kara: I’m a stay-at-home mom to 4 kids, 4 pit bulls, and 6 cats—I’m proudly on my way to Crazy Cat Lady status! I’m the Editorial Director here at Anaiah Press, but when I’m not editing, I’m busy writing, binge-watching Netflix, going to the gym, and spending time with my family.
How did you hear about Anaiah Press?
David: Through Kara Leigh Miller. After being politely rejected for a book (if we can even call it a book!) that had no right being subbed out, I asked the editor, Kara Leigh Miller, if she could give me guidance on how to become published — my ultimate dream. After going back and forth, I asked point blank: “I have a great idea that will be a winner. I can’t do it myself, so would you like to co-author it with me?” To my disbelief, she said yes. The rest, as they say, is history.
Kara: I work here. LOL. Several years ago, I met Eden Plantz (Anaiah Press’s Executive Director) at a different publisher, who eventually went defunct. Shortly after, Eden shared her vision for Anaiah Press and asked me to join her. And I’ve been here ever since 😊
What was your first encounter with the writing world?
David: As they say, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step!”
Kara: It was with a very small, secular romance publisher. It wasn’t the best experience and not something I like to talk about. Let’s just say I’m glad God showed me a different path.
What does your writing process look like?
David: Together with the best co-author out there, we would brainstorm Warped Remains chapter-by-chapter. Each brainstorming chapter would be 3-5 sentences. From there, we would just write—in my opinion, creativity and world building happen when you imagine the next scene being played out, the next line being thought, and the next words being said. Plus, it helps to have Kara Leigh Miller—you can never go wrong with that.
Kara: I’m very much a sit-down-and-write type of author. Unless I’m working with a co-author, I almost never plot anything because once I do, I feel like I’ve already told the story and so then I lose the desire to actually write it.
What’s more important: characters or plot?
David: To me, plot is much more important than characters. The reason they are, is because plot is the driving force of the story. Once you have a road, you can begin to tailor your characters to that specific need/road.
Kara: Characters! The best plot can fall completely flat if the characters are well-rounded and likable. I need to fall in love with the character(s) first; otherwise, I simply don’t care what happens to them. Now, as an author, my stories usually start with a plot idea, but even that doesn’t become fully developed until I have strong characters in place.
What do you do when you experience writer’s block?
David: I work out or play basketball. When I sweat and challenge myself, I usually think my most creative after because my mind is clear of all the clutter of the writer’s block.
Kara: I usually read, or binge-watch TV. If that doesn’t work, housework usually does. LOL. I tend to get un-blocked while washing dishes. And exercise is always a good option, too.
Provide us with a two-sentence description of your book.
In order to survive a plane crash, inhabitants who want to kill them, and people who would do anything to cover up their secret, Emily must find her faith through God.
Emily Sheffield’s parents are the worst. Okay, maybe Emily has been erratic and her behavior a little reckless lately, but shipping her off to live with her grandparents in Alaska is so much worse than she deserves. At least she gets to spend her layover with the cute boy on the same flight. If she has to leave everything and everyone she knows, she might as well make some new–and cute–friends, right?
For Aiden Cohen, life in Alaska is perfect—good grades, great friends, an awesome church, and work he loves. There’s just one thing missing: his mom. Desperate to know her, Aiden sets out to find the woman who abandoned him at birth. But a disastrous first meeting with his birth mom, leaves Aiden stunned and ready to go back to his ordinary life in Alaska. And with fate finding Aiden and Emily on the same flight, he couldn’t be happier. If only he can convince her that God is real, everything would be perfect.
Everything seems to be going well—until a confusion on the runaway prevents the plane from landing. Circling the runway should have been simple, but when the plane hits a bad patch of turbulence, throwing it off-course, the pilots lose control. The plane crashes, leaving Emily, Aiden, and two dozen other passengers stranded on a creepy island. Surviving and hoping for rescue are their primary goals, but the least of their troubles. They aren’t the only ones on the island, and it’s now a race against time for someone to find them before the island’s inhabitants do. But there are people willing to do anything to keep the island’s true purpose a secret—even if it means sacrificing the lives of the survivors.