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.

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!


vic caswell said...

oh my goodness! i ADORE victoria schwab!! her YA Rebel posts are super educational, funny, and have THE BEST analogies (and the most chocolate)!!! i've been looking for THE NEAR WITCH on amazon, but it's probably just too early to find it... great to read the jist of it though!!! wonderful interview jen!

Diana Mieczan said...

She is really cool and lovely...and she loves cupcakes and pizza:) That is always a plus...hahahha...I cant wait to check out her blog and read the book:)
Kisses,sweetie pie...
Btw: I cant get Tully out of my mind...hahahah

Christine Danek said...

Sounds like a great book. I will check out her website.
Great interview.

Megan said...

I really enjoyed this post. Thanks for sharing it with us. I loved reading the interview. :-)


Renae said...

Great interview Jen! I can't wait to read this book! I love how you sneak in the what else are you working on...I'm always dying to know what a writer will be coming up with next.

Christina Lee said...

YEAH Victoria!!!!! I always wondered what your "story" was. Near Witch sounds AMAZING!

Lindsay said...

Great interview Jen. I've been looking forward to The Near Witch for a while now. Like Victoria I have no tolerance for scary either. Which may be why I want to write one. lol.

Jaydee Morgan said...

Another great interview and another book to add to my list!

Candyland said...

Sweet. There seems to be a lot of stories out there that are close calls but never make it. Good for her for sticking with it and writing something else(but never giving up).

Summer Ross said...

This was a great interview, I love finding out just how real and how much in common I have with published authors. thanks Jen

Theresa Milstein said...

Great interview!

I agree, ghost stories and horror movies terrify me. But I can read scary books, as long as they aren't too gory. I love writing and reading fantasy, so this book sounds like something I'd want to read.

Kittie Howard said...

Great interview, Jen! I also liked how you asked what Victoria was writing next. I also liked how Victoria could write scary stuff but couldn't read/watch it. Understand totally!

Jemi Fraser said...

Great interview - I'm off to check out her site :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for hosting me on this fabulous blog, Jen! It's been an absolutely pleasure.

Aspiring_x, yes, the book is not up on Amazon, but it should be soon! I know ARCs will be printed late this year.

Thanks Diana! I do love both :p

Thanks Christine and Maggie!

Renae, I always love to hear what people are working on, too! As a writer, I only wish I could share more of what's next :)

Christina, your enthusiasm makes me smile, and I'm so glad I could share a little of my story.

Lindsay, I am fascinated daily by my lack of tolerance for reading scary, but my love of writing it! Ah, issues of control!

Jaydee, I hope you enjoy!

Candyland, I think that is the major difference between the majority of published authors and those close calls, that they didn't give up. We're just a stubborn breed.

Summer, I'd say you have 99% in common :) Published and unpublished are separated by a very thin line that is mostly luck. Hang in there.

Theresa, right there with you. And I hope you enjoy it!!


Anonymous said...

Thanks Kittie and Jemi!! This interview has been so much fun!


Laura S. said...

Victoria's novel sounds fantastic!!! I can't wait to read it!

I love her story about how she found an agent. That's so awesome!

Emily White said...

Ooh! I can't wait to read this! Great interview, Jen!

Jillian said...

Jen!!! You have the BEST interviews. this book sounds too enchanting for words. I can't wait to see what's next!!!!

happy Tuesday!

Amy Saia said...

Another great interview. I really enjoyed her writing style shown in the snippet. Really interesting!

Bish Denham said...

Excellent interview! And it sounds like an awesome book. Looking forward to those authors yet to come!

Matthew MacNish said...

Man this sounds like an awesome story. Great interview. Thanks Jen and Victoria!

Talli Roland said...

Great interview, Jen and Victoria! Thank you! I'm happy to see someone else can't watch horror films or read scary books without scaring themselves senseless!

Ashley Stone said...

Great interview!!! xoxo

Lisa Gail Green said...

AWESOME interview!!! I can't wait to read the book!

Kara said...

Great interview! Sounds like a fun book :)

Sitting Behind Homeplate said...

I like the sound of the story. I'm looking forward to reading it.

Jen, you are introducing me to so many new YA authors. Thanks.


j.leigh.bailey said...

Oooh, I need to start following her blog. Her book sounds great. Thanks for introducing her to me!

Southpaw said...

Oh another book to add to my to-read list! It sounds wonderful.

M. said...

I cannot wait to read this one!!!

Talei said...

Oh my goodness, loved the blurb at the beginning. Definitely got me! I'm of the Grimms Fairytale background, grew up with them.

Thanks ladies for a great interview, I'm adding this to my booklist! ;)

Terri Tiffany said...

What a fun interview! I loved reading how she got her agent! Good for her for stepping out and entering the contest:)

Carrie Harris said...

Fab interview! Although now I'm hungry. :)

Amy Holder said...

Awesome interview! Victoria's imagination sounds amazing. I'm looking forward to her book.

PS: Yay to cupcakes and pizza!!!

TerryLynnJohnson said...

WOO! Love this interview. I really can't WAIT for this book to come out. Such an interesting story how the agent came to be. Thanks so much for posting this.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the interview! The Near Witch sounds great, and Victoria's website is adorable!

Kimberly Franklin said...

I can't wait to read The Near Witch! the premise of the story is so interesting to me. Kind of creepy sounding. Love it! Great interview, guys! And Victoria's website is awesome!

Unknown said...

Lovely interview, and awesome premise for a book!

Kristin Rae said...

OOO This sounds good.
And I find it interesting that she can't write a character until they have a name first... I sometimes write a character with one name and change it halfway through! :)

Lenny Lee said...

hi miss jen and miss victoria! thanks for a cool interview. that book sounds pretty scary. i like scary stuff! it cool how you said stories just fall in your lap and i like how you pick neat names before you get going. i think names are real important. i like catchy ones. wow lots of cats and dogs. i love animals and pizza too.
...smiles from lenny

Vicki Rocho said...

Another great one. I've always liked witches for some reason.

Anonymous said...

Oh wow, there's so many wonderful comments here I don't know what to say!

To those who liked the website, thank you! That's what happens when an author is waiting for edits and apparently has a degree in design/illustration.

To those who liked the premise, hooray, and I do hope you enjoy the book! It *is* creepy, but not scary, if that makes sense. It's very close to my heart obviously, and we've been working on it a very long time to get it just right :)

To everyone, for stopping by, for saying hi (my brain is a little addled having just finished MOCKINGJAY) thank you. Because writing is nothing without readers, and you all are the reason I do it. Maybe not the writing bit. I do that for sanity, but certainly the ten months of editing! I hope you all enjoy the book.

And thank you, Jennifer, for being a fabulous host and making my time here on the blog an absolute delight.


Robert Guthrie said...

"All my stories fall into my lap." I love that. For me, it's the best way. If I've struggled to pull it down... then it's not the one.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Great interview, Jen. It's always great to get inside an author's head.

Rose Cooper said...

Wow! Near Witch sounds amazing!!! This was the first I've heard of this books, so thank you Jen for bringing Victoria to your blog. And Victoria, your interview was terrific! I seriously can't wait to read this book!!!