Name : Parker S. Huntington (Pen Name)
Where are you from: Orange County, California
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc.: I come from a family of 5 kids—3 sisters and 2 half-brothers. I have four parents—biological and “step”—that are all best friends, and we grew up vacationing together as a massive family unit. I have a B.A. in Creative Writing from the University of California, Riverside. I am currently working on a Master’s (ALM) in Literature and Creative Writing from Harvard University.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Asher Black, my debut novel, will be released on April 21, 2017. It is currently available for preorder.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing when I was 2, though I’d tell my parents stories, and they’d write them for me. I’d color in the pages, and BAM! I’d have my very own picture book. I decided to pursue writing my second year of undergrad. I went in as a Bioinformatics and Genomics major, but after talking to a TA for a Creative Writing course I was taking, I decided that this is something I can do, that I want to do. So, I chose to follow my dreams rather than what others have dreamed for me.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Ha! I don’t know if I’ll ever consider myself a writer. I’ve been writing for most of my life, and it still feels new.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
While Asher Black is the first novel I’m releasing, it’s not the first book I’ve written. Kennedy Carter is, and that was inspired by Tijan’s Fallen Crest Series. She’s awesome.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Nope. I float from genre to genre and tone to tone. This is something I was able to develop at UCR, courtesy of the diverse writers I’ve studied under.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
It’s the name of the main character’s love interest.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Lucy, the protagonist, struggles with bravery. She runs away from all of her problems until Asher becomes one of them. She’s not necessarily cowardly, but she hasn’t had anything worth staying for until now. So, this is the first time she’s fighting through her problems, and with that experience comes a lot of messages about courage and things worth working for. For Lucy, that’s an education, safety, love, and friendships.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
In terms of realism, the novel is fairly realistic. I mean, I don’t think I’ll ever accidentally call the cops on the mafia’s fixer, but I suppose it could happen. Lucy’s education is based on my own life and the value I place on learning. I can’t see myself ever writing about a character that doesn’t value an education. That’s just not a message I’d like to spread.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
All of Tijan’s books are huge influences, along with Elle Kennedy’s, Erin Watts’, and Blakney Francis’. I went/am going to school for writing, so I’ve had a lot of mentors, particularly at UCR. Most notable ones are Charmaine Craig, bestselling author of The Good Men; Jane Smiley, whose novel A Thousand Acres won a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and was adapted into a film, staring Jessica Lange and Michelle Pfeiffer; and Juan Felipe Herrera, a former U.S. Poet Laureate.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I sound like a broken record, but I love Tijan’s work. She’s hands down my favorite author, because she’s able to portray angst so well. Jane Washington is an up and coming author that is quickly becoming a favorite.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My boyfriend is my rock.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes. Ideally, it’ll be the career I’ll pursue, but it’s also very risky. Not many people make it, and I may be one of those that don’t. I don’t like to think about it, but I do have a plan B. I’m getting my Master’s and then a Ph.D., so I can teach English or Creative Writing at a university.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, mainly because I still have the opportunity to do so, but haven’t.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’ve always loved books. I learned to read when I was two, because my dad was a single dad at the time and therefore enrolled me in school early, while he worked. My teachers there really fostered my love for all things creative.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Asher Black is about Lucy Ives, a 20-year-old that has aged out of the foster care system. She spent the last two years volunteering abroad and has finally made her way to NYC to go to college. On her first night there, she accidentally calls the cops on Asher Black, a former fixer for the mob. When he tracks her down, he asks her to be his fake fiancé, which is where their love story takes off. I really like Lucy—she’s surprisingly brave, funny, and quirky.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The general outline is so hard for me to do, but I need to in order to start the book. I get a headache just thinking about outlining.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No, I’m a student, so I’m pretty stuck in one place.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Finding the time to do so. It’s hard to balance schoolwork and writing. I thought I could do it, but I’ve learned the hard way that pursuing a Master’s is far more difficult that pursuing a Bachelor’s.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Yes—I’m funnier than I think I am.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I can see Cindy Kimberly as Lucy Ives and Nick Bateman as Asher Black.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
I’m going to have to quote Shia and say, “Just do it.”
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I hope you enjoy Asher Black! You guys were on my mind the entire time I wrote it!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Sin by Kelly St. Clare
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
My first chapter book was the first book in the Junie B. Jones series.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Everything. I’m an overly emotional person, so I’m usually either laughing, crying, or angry.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
President Obama. In so many ways, regardless of whether or not people believe in his politics, he is an incredible person. I truly admire the man. Whenever I’m lacking motivation, I go back and listen to two of my favorite of his speeches—his New Hampshire Primary Speech and his 2004 speech at the Democratic National Convention.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
Oh, goodness… That’s a sobering thing to think about at my age. But in Asher Black, Lucy says, “My tombstone could read, ‘Here lies Dumbass: horny, lonely, and not entirely right in the head,’ and it wouldn’t be wrong all.”
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Reading! It’s hard to be a writer without being a reader!
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I like all films, but I have an obsession with DC and Marvel films. I also love most shows, but I really, really like Impastor, The Mick, and Superior Donuts. Oh, and 24 is my life! I named my dogs after Jack Bauer and Chloe O’Brien.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Foods: anything out of a sous vide; Colors: black, red, blue, and gray; Music: Punk, Pop, Screamo, Rock, Country, Indie, etc. (so pretty much everything)
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I’d be a professor, which is still my backup plan!
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Preorder Asher Black: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XRMLG69