It's going to take me a bit to get up to speed with all the writing I need to do and meeting my writing deadlines. So I hope you understand if I'm not stopping by your blog quite as much as usual.
And I have a winner to announce:
The winner of A WICKED THING is Valentina!
Congrats! E-mail me your address so I can send yo your book. Please e-mail me by the end of Wednesday or I'll have to pick another winner.
Today I’m thrilled to have debut author Victoria Aveyard here to share about her YA fantasy/dystopian RED QUEEN that released on February 10th. I loved the mix of fantasy and dystopian and the conflicts between the Reds and the Silvers in the world Victoria created. And Mare is such a fantastic character trying to sort out who she is, not being quite Red or Silver. And there were twists in the plot I didn’t see coming. Always love those.
Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:
To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.
Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.
But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?
Hi Victoria! Thanks so much for joining us.
1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.
“Becoming a writer” was never a conscious decision for me. My parents are huge readers and movie lovers, so I’ve had stories around me for as long as I can remember. Beyond that, I’ve been telling stories, in backyard games or with poorly spelled crayon words, since I physically could, and the compulsion never went away. I wrote all through childhood, middle school, and in high school, I figured out I could turn my love of stories into a college major and hopefully a career. When I was accepted into the University of Southern California’s screenwriting program, I knew I had to go. While there, I wrote a mess of screenplays, my first finished works, and by the end of my senior year, I realized I had matured enough as a writer that I might be able to finally finish a novel as well.
2. I bet learning how to write screen plays really helped when you wrote your novel. Where did you get the idea for your story?
After I decided to start brainstorming ideas for a novel, RED QUEEN really kicked off when I pictured a teenage girl who could control lightning. It really entranced me, and I constructed a world, story, and characters around servicing this visual and making it possible.
3. I’ve read that you love world building. And I loved the world you created with the Reds and the Silvers. And all the powers the Silvers possess. Share about your world building process.
My worldbuilding process on RED QUEEN was actual the least amount of work I’ve ever done for any attempted novel. It’s no coincidence then, that this was the first I’ve finished. I had to rein myself in and maintain a spark of inspiration, rather than use it all up worldbuilding. But I do have about ten pages of hard building, detailing the different abilities, houses, locations, characters, and backstory. There are some maps as well, my favorite part of the worldbuilding process. As for more intensive novels (I’ve got another fantasy series on the backburner), that one has whole journals and folders of work. So it really depends on the project, and how much energy I need to keep up for the story itself.
4. Wow! You definitely put a lot into your world building. I’ve also read that you’re a combination of plotter and punster. And that this is the first manuscript you completed. Wow! What’s your plotting process like?
I always go into a manuscript, or screenplay, knowing my first and third act down cold. The second
5. I like to know the general idea of those acts too. I can’t quite decide the genre of your book. It has a fantasy and a dystopian feel. What genre do you think it is? And what advice do you have for other authors about mashing together more than one genre into a story? It’s something I always enjoy reading, but am not sure how to tackle.
I think this is a fantasy with dystopian flavor. The dystopian angle is, at this point, window dressing. It’s a setting, but not the story, in my opinion. But I won’t presume to dictate what anyone else takes from the work. As long as you’re entertained, you can call it a Western for all I care. As for genre mashing, I’m a huge cheerleader. It’s hard to do, but so much fun, and such a treat to experience. I’m indulgent, more is more with me, so I usually end up melding genres in my work. I guess my advice would be to take from your genres, but not to try to honor both too closely. That’s nearly impossible. Find the tropes you love, twist them, make them work for you.
6. That's great advice. Your road to publication is really unique. You pitched this for a movie first and it sounds like it’s optioned. And you didn’t really query and landed one of my dream agents Suzie Townsend. Tell us all about your road to publication and what’s going on with the movie option.
RED QUEEN was never pitched as a movie. I imagined it as a novel, pitched it as a novel, and wrote it as a novel. I was, however, in contact with an LA-based management company, and I worked in the entertainment industry beforehand, so I basically came through the process backwards. I started on the film side and ended up on the lit side, and now go back and forth. After finishing the original RQ manuscript, my management contact sent it along to a friend in publishing, who gave it to his colleague who happened to be Suzie Townsend. From there, the road turns traditional. We edited, she signed me, we went on submission, and HarperCollins bought the manuscript. After that, the film side went to work and we’re currently optioned by Universal Pictures. A screenplay is in development, written by the dream that is Gennifer Hutchinson, and now that the book is officially published, we can start moving forward.
7. That's an amazing road to publication story. So your book was published about a month ago. And I saw on your website that you did a number of book signings. What was that like and what advise do you have for the rest of us on book signings and marketing a debut book in general?
I’m probably not the person to ask about marketing a debut since HarperTeen really took the wheel on that one, and did a smashing job. Most of my marketing work is on Twitter, and that is shaky at best, since I mostly just talk about television, football, and waiting for Star Wars VII. I do some self-promotion, but try and fail to keep it from being overwhelming. But the book tour was so much fun, of course. We were exhausted by the end, but every stop was worth it just to meet readers and be able to chat with them. I’m not one to get mushy or emotional, but it was really rewarding to see readers face to face.
8. Awesome how your publisher did so much of the marketing for you. What are you working on now?
Book 2 in the RED QUEEN series is about to go to copy edits, and I’ve kicked off outlining book 3. There’s the aforementioned fantasy series still kicking around, and I’m also a working screenwriter, so I’ve always got a mind open for my next screenplay. Oh, and House of Cards Season 3 is out this week, so I’ll be working on that too.
Thanks for sharing all your advice, Victoria. You can find Victoria at:
Here's what's coming up:
On Wednesday I have an interview with agent Alex Slater at Trident Media Group with a query critique giveaway. And he has great advice for self-published and small press authors too!
On Friday I'm participating in the Lucky is Reading Giveaway Hop. I'll have lots of great new releases for you and an Amazon gift card if you don't like my choices.
Next Monday, I'm interviewing debut author N.A. Traver and giving away DUPLICITY, her YA cyber thriller.
The following Monday I have a guest post by debut author Stacey Lee and agent Kristin Nelson with a query critique giveaway by Kristin Nelson and an ARC giveaway of UNDER A PAINTED SKY, Stacey's YA historical fiction novel.
Wednesday that week I have a giveaway of FLUNKED FAIRY TALE REFORM SCHOOL, a MG fantasy.
And the Monday after that I have an interview with debut author Erin Entrada Kelly and a giveaway of BLACKBIRD FLY, her multicultural contemporary MG novel.
Hope to see you on Wednesday!