Monday, August 23, 2010

Interview with Kiersten White, Author of Paranormalcy!

I am super excited to present my interview with Kiersten White, author of Paranormalcy - which is coming out NEXT WEEK!! And I'm lucky enough to go to her book launch party since she lives in San Diego. Kiersten is a total sweetheart and in person she is exactly like she sounds on her blog. What, you aren't a follower? Go check it out.

Here's the synopsis for Paranormalcy:
Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.

But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.

Where did the idea for Paranormalcy come from?
I had been wanting to write something with more of a fantastical aspect than I'd previously been working with. I started thinking, if you had a vampire and you wanted to neutralize it without killing it, what would you do? That led me to the idea for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, which led me to wonder why they would have a sixteen-year-old girl working for them, which led me to Evie and her glamour-piercing eyes. Once I got her voice in my head, the rest of the story spun itself out from there!

How long have you been writing? Was it always a passion or a craft you slowly grew to love?
I've been writing seriously for about six years now. It's definitely always been an interest of mine, but only in the last three years when I started writing YA did I get really serious about the craft--learning and improving and actually pursuing publication. I started out trying to write middle grade. And I was really good at it, too, if you like incredibly boring books! Which, oddly enough, few people do...

My writing has certainly evolved, with less obsessive first drafting and more careful writing, but I want to do it for the rest of my life. I can't imagine writing anything other than young adult novels, though. I love the category and I love the audience!

We do too! But tell us, is there anything special you do to motivate yourself to write or conquer that infamous writer’s block?
When I'm in the middle of a story, just writing is enough of a motivator for me. It's a very nice break from reality. I don't have to make myself write because I have so very little time to do it that when I get a chance it's kind of like a reward in and of itself.

As far as writer's block, I find being able to talk about the plot with my husband or critique partners is usually enough to get the wheels turning and help things click into place. Except my husband always suggests I kill Evie, the main character. Fortunately I haven't taken him up on that suggestion yet.

That's great you have a built in critique partner, but no killing off major characters :) Can you tell us a little about your writing process and how long it takes you to write your novels?
I'm not very big on outlines. I usually have an idea of The End, and then what needs to happen in the next chapter or two from where I am, but if I have a story entirely plotted I get bored and don't want to write it!

I used to be a very, very fast first drafter. Paranormalcy took me just three weeks from when I got the idea to when I typed the last sentence. (Don't hate me--I edited it for four solid months, with at least eight or nine drafts before it ever went on submission. Promise.) However, with all of the new pressures and obligations that come with writing books under contract, I've slowed way down. Now it takes me a few months to have a working first draft, although I'm a faster editor than I used to be.

Wow. That's fast. I'll try not to hate you, but wow! That's amazing. We'd love to know, what’s your impression of the publishing world so far?
I've had such a great experience. I'm very fortunate in that my editor is very warm and friendly and brilliant; she's a joy to work with. The whole team at HarperTeen is incredible and savvy, and my agent, Michelle Wolfson, is the best possible partner for the business end of things.
It's also been really fun connecting with other authors. The young adult community is amazing--so many fun, dynamic, and incredibly generous people, united by a passion for creating stories for teens. Plus, I get to say "awesome" and "dude" as much as I want.

Speaking of Michelle, how did your relationship begin (traditional query, conference, referral) and what value has she added to your publishing experience?
It was a traditional query--no connections at all. I absolutely credit Michelle with my success. She gave me the confidence to write Paranormalcy while another book was on submission, and when that first book didn't sell, she was just as supportive and enthusiastic about going out with Paranormalcy. I have no doubt whatsoever that I got the best deal possible because of her incredible efforts. I consider her my partner and friend, and don't know what I'd do without her!

What a great relationship. Now for our last Oasis question. If you were stranded on a desert oasis, what book/author would you want to be stranded with and why?
Neil Gaiman. Who wouldn't want to listen to him tell stories for months and months?


  1. It's always great to hear that someone without connections was able to get such a fantastic book out. Martina won an ARC of the book and I can't wait to get my hands on it next!

    Thanks for an awesome interview!

  2. I have to agree. Nice to see someone come out of the slush pile with amazing results. Congrats to Kiersten and I can't wait to read the book.

  3. Wow! That was some fast first-drafting! Thanks for sharing this interview with Kiersten White. Paranormalcy is on my can't-wait-to-read-it list. :)


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