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Attention surprises 'Nine Lives' author

nine-lives-of-chloe-kingWhen E.O. Smith High School graduate Liz Braswell saw advertisements displaying the name of one of her book series and heard people express excitement, it was a new experience.

Braswell said she has received fan mail before but authors do not typically get the level of public exposure or response she has received since ABC Family debuted its TV show “The Nine Lives of Chloe King,” based on her book series of the same name, two weeks ago.

“It’s crazy, it’s really bizarre,” she said, adding she overhears people talking about the show and her books in public.

The three books have been released together and have reached the New York Times Best Sellers List for children’s paperbacks.

Braswell wrote the three-volume series, which was originally released in 2004, under the pen name Celia Thomson.

The series is about Chloe King’s life as an everyday teenager with “cat-like superwoman powers,” according to its web site.

She said ABC Family, which airs the show at 9 p.m. on Tuesdays, contacted her in January about turning the show into a television series.

She said the fact some of her literary work was becoming a TV show “took sev­eral months to sink in,” but soon noticed the amount of support ABC Family was put­ting behind the show.

“The amount of mar­keting ABC has put into it is insane,” said Braswell, who now lives in North Brooklyn, N.Y., and has even seen ads placed on public buses.

Braswell was born in England but grew up in Mansfield and graduated from E.O. Smith in 1989 before going to Brown University to focus on Egyptology, or the study of Egypt.

She also had in interest in com­puters and decided when she graduated to work as a video game producer until 2002.

But she also said she has always had a love for reading and writing, never giving up writing during her time as a video game producer.

“As soon as I learned how to write, I’ve written stories,” she said.

Braswell got her first book contract in 2002 on the exact same day she was laid off from her job as a game producer.

“It was great, I got to switch gears imme­diately,” she said, although she admitted she sometimes misses the gaming industry.

Braswell said she had an outline and a few chapters of her first book completed when she got the contract, but it took her nine more months to write the book.

It also took a few months for editing and other work before her first book “Snow,” written under the pen name Tracy Lynn, was released in 2003.

She was also one of a team of writers, who shared the pen name Rob Kidd, who wrote a series of books based on the character Jack Sparrow from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie series.

Braswell said she is often working on multiple books at one time, some of which take longer to complete than others.

“It’s not easy. You don’t go into (writing) because it’s easy,” she said, adding she has been working on one book for 10 years.

She said the “biggest misconception” other people have about writing is the amount of work that actually goes into writing a book.

Braswell, who has two children, said she also sometimes needs to find the time to write, but finds it rewarding when she does. “It’s both refreshing and it’s hard,” she said.

Braswell’s work tends to target young adults, a group she said is “much more accepting” of new ideas, while authors targeting adults often specialize in one genre.

“At that age, kids just want to read anything and everything,” she said, adding she first fell in love with reading as a teenager.

Braswell said she prefers to write about fan­tasy and the supernatural, but she has also writ­ten about other topics.

And while the ABC Family TV series has sparked a new level of interest in her work, suc­cess is nothing new for Braswell.

“The Stolen” and “The Fallen,” both part of the Chloe King series, were named American Library Association Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers in 2005.

“The Fallen” was also named one of the New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age.

Braswell also said she has always received fan mail, and added it is “humbling” to hear positive feedback from fans after spending so much time alone developing her characters.

“I always get a little embarrassed,” she said.

Posted 7-5-2011

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