You can read about Night Shade and Andrea here.
Without further chatter from me, here's the interview!
Okay, first off, it’s the question every author has had to answer ten zillion times; will you tell us about your book?
Of course! Nightshade is the story of Calla Tor - on her upcoming eighteenth birthday she’ll become the alpha female of the next generation of Guardian wolves who have fought for centuries on the front lines of the Witches’ War. But her predestined path veers off course when she saves the life of a wayward hiker, a human boy. Startled by her own violation of the law she’s sworn to uphold, she hopes the stranger will soon be a distant memory. When the boy turns out to be a new student in her school, Calla’s random act of kindness spirals into a whirlwind of deceit, hidden histories, and forbidden love.
What was your road to publication like?
Surprising! I'd spent my whole life writing, but I never pursued publication. Then two summers ago I was in a horseback riding accident where I ended up with a broken foot. I couldn't walk for eight weeks, so I decided to finally go after my dream of writing a novel. I was hooked instantly and knew there was no going back. I wrote two "practice" novels that will live forever in my desk drawers and then I wrote Nightshade. I knew from the beginning it was "the one," and I began querying agents. Charlie Olsen, my phenomenal agent at InkWell, requested the full manuscript and called me to say he loved it in March 2009. I did more revisions with Charlie and we went on submission in the summer of 2009, receiving a pre-empt from Michael Green at Philomel shortly thereafter. It was amazing - and in the publishing world, it happened at record speed.
Did you ever feel like it wouldn’t happen? How did you cope?
Absolutely, though knowing what I know now I feel really silly saying that. As I mentioned above, my road to publication was abnormally fast. I didn't know anything about publishing going into the process and I am so grateful for the positive (and fast!!!) experience I've had. My publisher and editor are wonderful people who I consider my friends now. They love Nightshade just like I do and we make a great team! Having said that, when I began querying it was one of the scariest things I've ever done. I knew I wanted to pursue a writing career more than anything else, but I felt like I was jumping into the deep end of a pool without knowing how to swim. At times I was sure I'd never see my dream of being a novelist materialize. Fortunately I have a wonderful husband and family who were always cheering me on.
The general consensus is out; you have a FABULOUS cover. How involved were you in that process?
There’s something about publishing a trilogy that’s confusing to readers. How does an author get a deal for multiple books? You have three planned, as I saw on your blog; did you plan those from the start, or did your editor ask for more?
That's a great question. When I wrote Nightshade I knew it would be a trilogy, but I initially signed with Penguin for a two-book deal. Philomel was a great fit and everyone knew it was just the beginning of a great writing partnership. We inked the deal for the third book in the trilogy and a prequel last month!!
Sticking to planning vein, how do you map out a story when you write? (IE—planning the world to the tiniest detail, or do you just go along and write what you need?)
I'm terrible at planning - I know the answers to the big questions "how does it begin?" "how does it end?," but mostly I write about relationships. What's going on in terms of a character's relationship to his or her self and his or her world is what drives my stories. When I sit down to write I have only a general idea of what's going to happen. One of my favorite parts of the writing process is being surprised by something that happens. I have a lot of "whoa, where did that come from?" moments when I write!
How about family life? Is it hard to balance writing with the people you love?
It is. I work full time as a college professor so I'm not just balancing family life and writing, I pretty much have two jobs. I don't have any children and that helps with free time, but I have to remind myself not to ignore my husband and our dogs when I'm engrossed in a story.
From my limited experience, I know that writing takes a lot of time, plus tons of metaphorical sweat and tears—Well, and sometimes even literal tears. What makes writing worth it for you?
There are definitely literal tears sometimes! Two things make writing worth it for me. 1)Nothing makes me happier or more fulfilled as a human being than when I'm writing. 2) The thought of sharing characters and a world that I love so much with readers makes me want to jump up and down and cheer. I can't wait for everyone to meet Calla and her pack!!
What’s the scariest part of going through the editing process?
Every time I submit something to my editor I have the thought "but what if it's no good??" I think every writer goes through that moment of self-doubt. I have a wonderful editor who is brilliant at taking my strengths as a writer and really making them shine.
A question on the technical stuff; how does blogging affect your writing and reading habits?
I actually think blogging makes me a better writer; any type of writing is a form of practice and learning how to write blog posts that are short, but fun is a nice exercise in the craft. I don't think it's really affected my reading habits at all.
And the final question; like the first, it’s one that I suspect author’s get tired of answering. What would be the best advice you could give a teenager who wants to be an author?
Just keep writing. I'm sure you've heard it a million times before, but it's true. The only way to become a better writer is to write and write and write. Also, be patient. It takes time to find an agent and to find the right home for your writing. Don't take rejection personally. If you're writing for reasons other than love of writing, you should think twice about trying to be an author. At the end of the day it has to be about loving your story and being passionate about writing itself.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, Andrea! I can't wait to read Nightshade!