Kiersten White has been kind enough to take time from her evergrowing schedule to provide us with this lovely interview! Isn't that nice of her? (I'm trying to be polite here, guys, stop screaming with joy or else she'll go deaf. What kind of impression will that leave?)
Be sure to visit her site, and her blog. They're both pretty snazzy places to be on the interwebz, I'm not gonna lie, and I suggest looking at them. But only after you read this pretty, shiny interview first.
Okay, first off, it's the question every author has had to answer a thousand and two times; will you tell us about your book Paranormalcy?
Paranormalcy is about a sixteen-year-old girl, Evie, who works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency. Being the only human alive who can see through paranormal glamours, she's invaluable to them. But a life of bagging and tagging vamps, werewolves, hags and the like isn't exactly what she dreams about.
However, when her dreams start revolving around a faerie prophecy promising death to all paranormal creatures, she's got to figure it all out before the world becomes completely normal. After all, normal is overrated.
Was there a point where you felt like giving up trying to get an agent or getting published? Why didn't you?
I think everyone has their low moments when they think, "Why am I doing this to myself??" It's a long road, filled with rejection, and it can get really disheartening. But at the end of the day, this was what I wanted. Getting published had always been a dream of mine, and I figured that if I worked hard enough and pursued it long enough, it'd work out. And it did : )
How did you decide that you'd like to write for the YA genre?
It's pretty simple: YA lit is just plain more fun. You can tell better stories and have more freedom to play around with genres and storytelling methods than I feel like exists in the adult market. Plus, most of my favorite novels are YA!
In your own opinion, do you feel that the plot is more important to the success of a story, or the characters and their interactions with one another?
I don't think you can divorce the two. It really frustrates me when I read a book and I feel like the only reason the main character existed was so that the story could happen to her. I don't want to feel like characters are just tools for plot--but I also don't want to read a book with awesome characters where nothing happens. There always needs to be a balance. Give me characters that would be interesting even if they didn't bag and tag paranormal creatures for a living, and then give those characters a plot worthy of their personalities!
How do you balance out time for writing and time to spend with loved ones?
1) I am always, always, always tired.
2) I am not a very good friend.
3) I never write as much as I want to.
The way I see it, you've got to make sacrifices on both ends--give up personal and leisure time to write, and give up potential writing time to make sure your family know they are your first priority.
How does blogging affect your writing and reading habits?
I find out about more books than I would otherwise; other than that, not much. If I didn't enjoy blogging, I wouldn't do it, plain and simple. However, blogging led me to each of my fabulous critique partners, so that in and of itself has had a tremendous impact on my writing. I credit my crit partners with pushing me to a level where my writing was good enough to get published!
I think it's obvious to everyone that your cover is beyond amazing. How much input did you have in the design?
Almost none, actually. They sent me the plans, which both shocked and amazed me, and then they sent us (my fabulous agent Michelle Wolfson and me) the image when it was nearly complete so we could offer any suggestions. But really, here's how I see it: am I an expert in design and the YA book market? Nope. I write. That's it. I'd much rather let the people at Harper who ARE experts take over. And I still can't believe what an incredible job they did!
What would be the best advice you could give a teen who would like to have a future in writing?
1) Live life. It's almost embarrassing how much I draw on experiences and emotions from when I was a teen for my writing. I also draw on stories other people have told me from their teen years. Should you be writing every spare minute? Nope! You should be writing, yes, absolutely. But don't forget to get out there and actually have fun, have friendships, have relationships. You're going to have the rest of your life to write--stock up on good stories and emotions now!
2) Practice. Write something every day. Practice describing people you see. Practice writing setting. Practice writing scenes. If you can't write a whole book right now, write chunks. The only way to get better is to work through it, to practice, to study, to keep moving. Don't let any perceived lack of ability stop you--you're only going to get better!
And finally, the most difficult of the list: Cats or dogs?
Allergic to cats, but I did have a pug growing up who was my best friend!
Thanks so very much Kiersten!!
Paranormalcy hits shelves September 21st!
(This is me very quietly saying that you should pre-order it.) (I'm just sayin'.)