Tuesday, August 24, 2010
The Near Witch
Day Two of Featured Writers Week!!!
Today's Featured Writer: Victoria Schwab
Debuting her novel The Near Witch in August 2011
The PM listing makes me smile, simply for using the phrase “darkly romantic fairy tale”, but here’s the slightly longer pitch:
There’s an old ghost story in the town of Near. It tells of a Witch that lived on the edge of the village, and gobbled up all the darkness, and sang the hills to sleep, and loved the children almost as much as the garden she kept beside her house.
Sixteen-year-old Lexi Harris has heard the stories her entire life, first from her father, and then from old Magda and Dreska Thorne, the two Witches who live on the edge of Near. Everyone loves to tell the story, but everyone knows a different ending. Some say that the Near Witch blew away on a gust of wind. Others tell of darker things.
To Lexi, they’ve always been stories, nothing more. But when a strange and silent boy walks into the village of Near, and then the wind begins to lure children from their beds at night, she starts to wonder if there’s any truth in the tales. Why are the children vanishing? Who is the newcomer? And could the Near Witch be more than a ghost story?
1. So have you always written in the YA ghost story genre or did this story just kind of fall in your lap?
All my stories fall into my lap, I think, but the thing they have in common is a desire to reinvent. I like to create a new mythology rather than relying on existing ones. I also have a thing for doors/boundaries. In-between spaces, lines between worlds, these things show up a LOT in my stories.
2. Are you a fan of ghost stories, or do they scare the pants off you? Or both!? I know I love a good ghost story but they can sometimes terrify me!
I actually have NO tolerance. I can’t watch scary movies or read super creepy books, because I have a VERY vivid imagination and will scare my own pants off. But for some reason I can write them (mind you, mine are more in the Grimm’s fairy tale vein than the Stephen King one, but those original stories are messed up! :p) perhaps because I know the ins and outs, so it doesn’t scare me.
3. So how do you find your characters, do they speak to you, do you create Character Collages, research baby names?
Characters almost always come with names. I can’t start writing a character unless I know that name, or find it. I have chats with them to the point of outside concern :p I learn most of their details by writing them in situations that perhaps don’t have anything to do with the book, just to see how they respond to stress, change, etc.
4. Do you have any other works up your sleeve?
I do, I do ;) I’m not supposed to say anything about it yet! But I ALWAYS have something up my sleeve. In addition to cookies.
5. I’m sure everyone wants to know, as do I, how long did it take you to snag the perfect agent, feel free to share the story!!! Squee! We love fabulous stories!
I was in college. I wrote a book called THE SHADOW MILE. It needed work. I shelved it. Six months later. I saw a contest (on Nathan Bransford’s blog) and pulled TSM out, dusted it off, entered. It was in the top 3! I thought, “Hey, I should do something with this! I began revising, and querying, and a week and a half later, I signed with my amazing agent, Amy Tipton. (TSM went on sub, had a sickening number of close calls, and then I wrote THE NEAR WITCH because I needed an escape from submission stress. The rest is history).
6. What do you do when you aren’t writing?
I’m almost ALWAYS writing something, either drafting or editing, but when I’m not, I try to read as much as possible (I can only read certain things while I’m actually writing. I’m also prepping for grad school, so I take classes and study. I love to travel, and I’m part of the vlogging group the YA Rebels, so I’m always prepping/filming for that.
Fun & Random Questions
Mountains or Beach: Mountains.
Pizza or Fried Chicken: Pizza.
Favorite Weekday: Is there such a thing? I’ll say Friday!
Pets: I have FIVE. Three dogs and two cats. It’s a jungle and I love them.
Dinosaur or Dragon: Dragon, duh!
Currently Reading: MATCHED by Ally Condie and THE AENEID by Virgil :p …and my CP Myra’s awesome book HOURGLASS, and…this could take awhile.
Favorite Author: Tie between Neil Gaiman and Cassandra Clare
Favorite Book & Book Series: The Mortal Instruments
Favorite TV Shows: The Mentalist, Castle, and Lie to Me
Favorite Writing spot: Coffee shop. I actually love the ambient noise. I’ve written entire books in one location, I get a little obsessive about it, as if I start to associate a level of creativity and focus and story with one place. I get sad when I don’t have a good writing haunt.
Added: FAVORITE BAKED GOOD! CUPCAKES!
You should visit my website. I did it myself! I supposedly have a degree in design! From a university! And it might be the worst degree to have as an author because you almost never have creative control, or even input, but there you go :p
And thank you so, so much for having me, and for putting up with my emoticon addiction. I promise THE NEAR WITCH is emoticon-free.
Isn't she AWESOME!!! So for more of Victoria be sure to visit her website and blog!