14 February 2014

First Line Fridays: Whitney A. Miller

Welcome back to First Line Friday.

Today's Guest is Whitney Miller, author of The Violet Hour, coming March 8 from Flux Books.

Each Friday I invite a guest author to share the opening line from their book and their favorite books. 

Whitney A. Miller lives in San Francisco with her husband and a struggling houseplant. She’s summited Mt. Kilimanjaro, ridden the Trans-Siberian rails, bicycled through Vietnam, done the splits on the Great Wall of China, and evaded the boat police in Venice. However, her best international adventures take place on the page.Whitney is represented by Jennifer Laughran at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

Her upcoming The Violet hour has been called a "delicious thrill ride" and Kirkus reviews calls the premise "interesting" and "gruesome."

Gruesome? Sounds like a fun Valentine's day! So let's get started:

What are the opening lines of your book?

Purity. Death.

Our train neared Harajuku Station. A frisson of electric anticipation rolled through our group. Pressed between the throng of mid-day commuters, the Ministry kids trembled like grape clusters on the vine. All of us had reason to be nervous, but only I had reason to be afraid.

Oh, these are great! Right from the beginning we get chills!

Where these lines set from the first draft? And if not, how many times do you think you've changed them?

They're not exactly the same, but this was always the opening scene. I was at a writing retreat when I wrote the first pages of the first draft. Someone threw out a challenge - first person to use the word "frisson" and get it in a published draft wins, so I tossed it in there as a joke. But then I liked it and it stuck! (P.S. I win!)

I hope it was a huge prize!

Why do you think this opening is perfect for your novel?

I love these lines because they create the promise of the book - high anxiety, foreign adventure, something dark and dangerous lurking just out of reach!

Give us your favorite opening line(s) from a favorite book, and tell us why you love them:

"Walking to school over snow-muffled cobbles, Karou had no sinister premonitions about the day. It seemed like just another Monday, innocent but for its essential Mondayness, not to mention its Januaryness." - Laini Taylor, Daughter of Smoke and Bone

I love these opening lines for SO many reasons. I mean, snow-muffled cobbles? Hello, genius. And don't even get me started on Mondayness and Januaryness! More important than the clever use of language, though - these lines create a contract with the reader. This is going to be a blue-gray trip through some magical contradiction. Beautiful yet horrible. Dark yet light. Fun yet frightening. Taylor infuses these words (and all the rest!) with such layered feeling that you simply must pause and admire. 

These are some of my favorite, too. Taylor's imagery in the opening scene is just so lush and the irony of the utterly normal Monday that starts off such a fantastical adventure for Karou is brilliant. Plus I love inventing words.

Thanks so much for joining us today, Whitney!

Be sure to add The Violet Hour to your Goodreads shelf! And check out Whiteney's Website.

And don't forget to PREORDER The Violet Hour

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