Hi Wren, just want to start of the interview with a massive thank you for stopping by the blog today for an interview!
First of all can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Thanks for having me today.
Hmmm… what would I say about myself? I guess I’d start by saying that I’m an unusual girl. Even my quirks have quirks. People have told me that I’m funny. The most interesting example was when I gave birth to my first minion (the most loyal minions are born, not made). I was 19 at the time and I was lucky enough to have one of the quickest, least painful labors ever. So I dealt with the expulsion of a living person from my down there the way I deal with every weird thing that happens to me: lots of lame jokes. All the nurses stayed past their shifts to hang out because they found me so amusing.
I fight a constant battle between my extreme extroversion and reluctance to leave my nerdcave. The internet has been an amazing compromise. I can socialize to my heart’s content without putting on pants. Wins all around.
I dream of someday making enough money from my books to open an art supply store where I’ll sell all the wonderful toys I enjoy playing with myself. Another goal of mine is to make enough money to build an epic indoor play structure like you see at McDonalds. But mine would be adult sized. I’m not entirely sure I plan to share with the minions yet.
Your debut novel I Wish… hasn’t long been released, how do feel about seeing it out there for people to buy and read?
It’s really been the most incredible feeling. Whenever someone takes a minute to leave a review or tell me on Twitter what they thought of the book it thrills me. The idea that someone cares enough about something I wrote to send me a note asking about the sequel still amazes me. I hope to keep entertaining people for many books to come.
Tell us a bit about your book I Wish…?
I Wish… is the story of Thistle Nettebottom, a girl who’s grown up traveling the country with her secretive mother and Ramona, her overbearing author grandmother. She knows that her life isn’t like anybody else’s life, but she’s made peace with it. Still, she can’t help wanting the chance to settle down in a real house and put down roots. So when she finds out that her family is moving to Desire to care for her sick great grandmother, she’s thrilled.
Unfortunately for Thistle, Desire isn’t a normal town and she’s trading in one strange life for another. She finds out soon after they arrive that she’s not an ordinary teen at all, but the latest in a long line of witches. She struggles to come to terms with her new found power while trying to figure out who keeps trying to kill her in a town full of people who’d love to see her dead.
How did you come up with the idea of a secret town full of witches in the book?
The idea of a matriarchy was based on my dad’s mother. Growing up she was a really strong influence on me. She never did typical “girly” things. She always took us camping and fishing and she served several years as her work union’s president. But at the same time she wasn’t very affectionate or soft. Now I’d never say grandma is as calculating or ruthless as Ramona is, but she was a big inspiration for that character. I don’t think it’s inaccurate to say that she ran her own matriarchy among her kids (there were 4) and all of us grandkids.
The idea that this society should be witches was inspired by LJ Smith’s Secret Circle books. If you love the idea of witches, you should check out those books. They were published in the early 90s when I was a teen and even now, 20 years later I still reread my copies about once a year. Her witches have a different flavour than mine, but it’s still a great read and I can’t recommend the books enough.
What was the inspiration behind the character Thistle?
Thistle was easy to write. The things she says and thinks are, for the most part, the same things I think. In a lot of ways she’s the person I would have loved to be. Her family life isn’t the best, but I would love to have the opportunity to travel the way she has and have these awesome learning experiences.
What made you decide to write a YA novel?
I wrote the kind of book I love to read. I have the best used bookstore in town where I’m able to find a lot of the same books I read as a kid. I buy all the books I loved for my minions and end up rereading them myself. I’ve read a lot of more recent YA books as well and love the fact that these kinds of books can be so much edgier than they used to be. The stakes are higher now.
In the old days nobody really died. If a book lead you to believe someone was killed, they always ended up being stashed somewhere and rescued by the end. Anyone who’s read The Hunger Games knows that’s not the case anymore. People die now, they’re addicted to drugs, they have sex… It’s an exciting time to be writing for a younger audience because we can finally acknowledge that bad things happen sometimes and it’s reflected in the books kids are reading.
You wrote I Wish… in just two weeks, how did you manage that? Did it not take up your whole life for those two weeks?
There are two factors that contributed to being able to write I Wish… as fast as I did. The first is that I worked from a really complete outline. I can’t stress enough how much easier that made the actual writing. I never had to stop and try to figure out what came next.
Secondly, I don’t work outside of the home so I was able to work several hours every day. I’d write some in the mornings, pick the littlest minion up from school, work more while he napped, and then finish up in the evenings after he was in bed.
I am pretty sure that anybody who tries those two things, working from an outline and squeezing in the writing every time they have a spare minute, will find that their writing time decreases dramatically. Make a word count and stick with it. I’m going to have problems with this myself in the future thanks to my growing Twitter addiction, but that’s the pitfall of having such easy access to social media.
Why did you decide to self publish?
If you’d asked me a year ago if I’d ever self publish, I would have said no. When I thought of self publishing I thought of vanity presses and scammers. I never dreamed that you could publish a book and get it into the hands of real readers, let alone make a living at it. Then one evening I was checking out the “also boughts” of a YA novel I was considering and I stumbled onto Amanda Hocking’s page. Her author bio said she made collages and I was intrigued enough to look at her blog because I also enjoy mixed media collage.
Looking at her blog and seeing that she was having pretty dramatic success even then (this was back in January) inspired me. I followed her link to JA Konrath’s blog and read back through the last year or so. It was the kick in the pants I needed to finally write a novel. I’ve always wanted to, but didn’t see much point since everyone knows it can take years to finally find someone to publish your book and even then hardly anybody can live off their writing income.
But with indie publishing writers are reaching their audience within days of finishing editing. The readers can contact authors directly and there’s so much back and forth communication. That’s exactly the kind of situation that I’ve always dreamed of, but never thought would actually come to pass. Since I published I Wish… I’ve talked with fans through email, Twitter, and Facebook. I’ve answered questions and responded to feedback. It’s been an amazing adventure.
I would recommend indie publishing to anyone. It’s been a really positive experience. There is information available to help you through every step of the process. And if you ever find yourself stuck, then contact me and I’ll do my best to answer your questions or to find you an appropriate resource.
What are you working on now? Can we expect the second book in the Witches of Desire to be released anytime soon?
Ah, this is a fun question. If I would have answered this yesterday I would have said I was working on an adult romantic comedy while I took a break from the series, but so many people have requested the next book that I’ve decided to start working on it as my next project. The outline is already nearly complete. I anticipate being finished sometime in mid July.
I’ve also agreed to participate in a couple of different short story projects so those stories might beat the sequel (titled Your Word is my Bond) to publication. And I have plans to release several short companion stories that explore some of the secondary characters from I Wish… and give more of their stories from their perspectives.
Thanks so much for your time today Wren! I hope you stop by the blog again soon!
Thanks again for having me. This was a fun interview!