27 Nov 2013

A chat with humorous paranormal author Audra Middleton

Title: Hitchhiker
Author: Audra Middleton
Genre: Humorous Paranormal Thriller
Length: 178 pages approx
Publisher: Burst Books ( a division of Champagne Books)

Supernatural abilities haunt her. Brainiac students taunt her. The FBI “Freak Squad” wants her. Will she abandon her extra sensory talents in favor of freedom, or will she hone them to help catch crooks?
Former army brat, Ainsley Benton, may have finally found her place in this world, and it’s among the freaks. This small town art teacher has the ability to see, hear, and feel what other people are experiencing, and now the FBI’s freak squad wants to use her “human bug” abilities to catch bad guys. Despite her fear of commitment, failure, and responsibility, Ainsley temporarily agrees to join this team of misfits, and ends up risking her life to investigate a conspiracy that may only be one of her schizophrenic coworker’s paranoid delusions.
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Can you tell us a little about your Hitchhiker?
Hitchhiker is something like a backward X-Files. It is about a group of FBI agents solving normal crimes with their paranormal gifts. My main character, Ainsley, has a supernatural ability that makes her a human surveillance device. She’s being recruited by this FBI freak squad, but is hesitant to join them due to her laundry list of insecurities.

What inspired you to write it?
I had spent years writing my first novel, a fantasy, and I was looking to write something a little lighter, set in modern day USA so I didn’t have to create a whole new world. I decided to start by ‘writing what I knew,’ so I made my main character a sarcastic middle school teacher (I used to be one once), and then for fun I gave her the ability to hitch a ride in other people’s central nervous systems. Naturally, with a talent like that the FBI would be interested in her. It just kept going like that, one idea building on the last until I had myself a quirky little novel.

If it was made into a movie, who would you like to play the main characters?
Zooey Deschanel would be a good choice to portray the lovably sarcastic persona of Ainsley, and I can see Jesse Eisenberg as Dove, my schizophrenic genius. I always picture Jack, the smarmy conman, as Matthew McConaughey. Who doesn’t like to picture Matthew McConaughey?
I know, right Audra? Swoon! lol

Why do you write in this genre?
Honestly, I write in any genre my characters take me to. I enjoy this genre because I get to balance my humor with some creepy paranormal elements and conspiracy theories.

What made you want to become an author?
I’m a daydreamer. I write down my daydreams in order to share them with others, because I enjoy entertaining people.

Name one of your all-time favourite books?
Ramona the Brave is one of my all-time favorites. Beverly Cleary’s characters are so well-crafted. When I first read Ramona the Brave, I swore that woman had reached in and stolen my eight-year-old soul. I want to write characters like that, steal people’s souls.
Wow... it must be some book!

Who, or what, inspires you?
I’m inspired by people’s quirks, issues, flaws. Being well-adjusted may be healthy, but it’s not nearly as interesting as the alternative. Whatever my main story-arc may be (solving a crime, saving the world, etc.), the real story is how my characters deal with their own baggage.

Where is your favourite place to write?
I can write pretty much anywhere, anytime – while my monkey boys are bouncing off the walls around me, driving them to baseball games, in the waiting room of the doctor’s office. Even if I don’t have a computer in front of me. I prefer to write in my recliner, though, laptop at hand, coffee nearby, family all around.

What is your favourite movie that was based on a book?
I loved the Lord of the Rings trilogy by Peter Jackson, but I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of watching The Princess Bride.
Who doesn't LOVE that movie? It's awesome! Great choice :)

Who is your favourite author (s) and why?
I enjoy Stephen King‘s scary tales, I admire Truman Capote‘s metaphors, and am in awe of Tolkien‘s imaginary world.

If you could have a dinner party with any authors from any time in history, who would you choose and why?
I would invite Edgar Allen Poe, Truman Capote, and Stephen King. Poe and King for their creepy stories, and Capote because I’m fairly sure he knew how to party.

Tell us a random fact about yourself.
I still remember my high school locker combination, but I can’t keep my own kids’ names straight.

Who would play you in the movie about your life?
Photo credit: david_shankbone via photopin cc
Not sure that’d be blockbuster material – but I’d like to think someone like Sarah Jessica Parker could do something with the role.

Tell us something interesting about the area where you live.
The movie Always was filmed here. I wish I had a better answer than that!

Thanks for letting me stop by!
It was an absolute pleasure, Audra!!

Author Bio
Audra's love of writing began in the third grade, when she was chosen to go to a young author’s conference based on her story, "The Dragon Cookie,” which is about a giant cookie that comes to life. She continued writing, and was sometimes asked to write stories for friends as birthday gifts.
Audra went to college thinking she would go into journalism, but opted to go into publishing instead, and even took an internship at Yale University Press. She married right after college and was unable to find a publishing job where they were living in Seattle. Audra took an office job. After helping put her husband through law school, she went back to school and got her teaching degree. Audra enjoyed teaching, but once her oldest was born, she chose to stay home. At the encouragement of friends she started writing again, the result being her first novel, Watcher, which was released in January of 2013.
Audra and her husband now live in a small town in Eastern Washington with their three boys. They also have a black Lab named Benji who eats shoes, gophers and packages left on her front porch (thanks Fed-Ex). She recently went back to work as a Kindergarten teacher, but she still writes, dabbles in on-line shopping and plays Texas Hold ‘Em with her friends as often she can.
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