My interview with Jon F. Merz went so well I have decided to make 13 Questions a regular feature here at McAfee Land. I get to talk to some wonderful authors this way, and both of my readers get to learn more about prominent figures in the writing community. It’s win-win. Well, except for the authors, who probably have better things to do with their time than be bothered by li’l ol’ me.
For those of you who don’t know, WINGS is about a 15 year old girl who discovers that not only is she a faery, but an entire world is relying on her to save it. Talk about pressure! It’s a wonderful book, and those who are interested can see my “review” (you can read that as bragging, if you want to) here.
You folks ready? OK! On to the interview:
Before I begin, Aprilynne, I just want to say thank you for doing this. My entire family (myself included) adores WINGS. We are anxiously awaiting book two. It’s such a great and cute book. My favorite character is David (and no, not just for the name) because he’s just so darn sweet. Ordinarily I’m not big on YA, but I couldn’t put this book down. Congratulations on such a wonderful story and on your tremendous success with it!
OK, now that that’s out of the way, on to the questions.
1. Probably one of the questions writers are asked most often is where ideas come from. I never seem to have a good answer for that one, so I thought I’d see if you could explain the creative process a little better than I can. Where did the inspiration for WINGS come from?
Actually, I came up with the idea for WINGS on purpose, strangely enough. I already had an agent and she had been shopping a book that clearly was not going to sell. So I knew that if I wanted to keep her as an agent, and, more importantly, continue pursuing this dream to be a writer, I needed another book. A better book. I didn’t know what to write about though. So one day I was trolling industry blogs and came across one where an author had said, almost in passing, that Barnes and Noble was expecting fairies to be one of the new trends in YA literature. Now, I have always loved faeries; I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t love faeries. And I have also always loved YA. So I don’t know why I had to get hit over the head with this idea before I put the two of them together. But I remember very clearly sitting at my computer thinking, “Oh my gosh!! A YA faerie book!! I want to write a YA faerie book!” and my next thought was, “And I have to do it RIGHT NOW!” Luckily, my husband had just gotten out of school for the summer, so he watched our kids for six hours a day and I wrote during that time and any other time I could steal throughout the day. I finished WINGS in about six weeks. (I paid for writing it that fast in revisions though.;))
2. WINGS is very kid-friendly; did you write it with your children in mind? What I mean is, could you picture them reading it as you wrote?
Not MY kids. I actually was thinking about other people’s kids. I wanted my book to be something that parents could feel comfortable giving to their kids as gifts. It is a teen book, but it’s clean enough to give to kids as young as about ten. Now that it is done and my daughter has started to get into fairies I DO think of her reading my books, but originally, she was just to young to consider that much. (She was four when I wrote WINGS.:))
3. Do you have any favorite authors? I know that’s a hard question because there are so many great books out there, but if you had to pick a few authors who really speak to you, who would they be?
Lois Lowry, Neil Gaiman, JK Rowling, Stephenie Meyer, Mary Higgins Clark, and then several of my friends whose books I love including *koffkoff* David McAfee, Saundra Mitchell, James Dashner, Megan Frazer, Carrie Ryan . . . wow, THAT list could go on for about twenty more names.:)
NOTE: See the bolded name above? Sound familiar? I swear I didn’t pay her to say that, but since she did I’m making sure y’all see it! Heh heh. Actually, Aprilynne read 33 A.D. long before it was accepted for publication by anyone, and it was her comments on the book that helped me to not give up on it. Thanks, Aprilynne!
4. What is a typical day for Aprilynne Pike?
I get up with my kids, make breakfast, attempt to get us all clean and dressed, and—depending on what time of the year it is—get my daughter off to school. I try to get my web business done in the morning before my son takes his nap. I play with my kids and get them lunch, then it’s nap-time. Nap-time is writing time (or revisioning, whichever I happen to be doing at the moment.) Then my son wakes up, daughter gets home, and it’s homework and kid-time. I like to cook and generally spend about an hour in the kitchen making dinner. After dinner I take the kids and go to the gym so I can get some work-out time, the kids can get time to play with other kids, and my husband can have some quiet time. After we come home it’s generally bed time and as soon as the kids are asleep it’s adult time! My husband and I will chat, work, watch a show, etc. for a few hours before we go to sleep and get ready to start all over again!
5. I know you are on a book tour right now, can you tell me what cities you have been to and which stop thus far has been the most memorable?
I have been to Phoenix, Los Angeles, Chicago, Idaho Falls, Salt Lake City, and San Francisco. I am sitting in my hotel in Portland right now and will be in Seattle tomorrow.
I think Phoenix was my most memorable city. It was the day my book was released and, since I am from Phoenix, tons of friends and family came. I had several friends come who have known me since I was about five years old! It was so fun to see so many familiar faces!!
6. I note that WINGS is now officially a #1 NYT Bestseller. Has that sunk in? How does that make you feel?
In the beginning? Terrified. Seriously. For about three hours after I got the news I was afraid to tell anyone because I had this irrational fear that either, it really was a joke and the more people I told, the more people would be able to laugh at me the next day. Or—even more irrational—that if I told too many people it would STOP being real! (I’m weird, I know.) Telling people in those first few hours made my stomach ache.
But once it really sank in, I was so thrilled! I don’t really know how it happened, I suspect it was a really, really slow week in publishing.;) But that number one label is something you get to keep your whole career! In fact, Harper was working on the cover for my paperback that comes out next year and my editor called them up to make sure they left space to put “#1 New York Times Bestseller” on there!
7. How has your family reacted to the news?
With enormous support and enthusiasm. I have a great family on both sides!
8. What is your favorite part of being an author? Is there a downside?
Getting paid to do something I love! Some days I just can’t believe it. This whole experience seems like something I should be paying for! And for some reason it’s the other way around. Very strange.
There are downsides. Well, one in particular. Having a really strong debut, especially with hitting number one, makes some other authors bitter. I’ve lost people I thought were friends. It makes me hold on tighter to the people who are still my friends. *holds on to David* 😉
9. How is the second book coming? I know you had portions of it posted for review, how did that go? Do you have any idea what it will be called or when it will be released?
*note to David: I had parts of it posted for review?? I don’t remember that part? *shrug*
-note- I thought I read something on Facebook that you had put up a chapter or two, but it may have been something else entirely (or all the lead chips I ate as a kid have finally kicked in and my brain has gone wonky!) Either way, my bad. Sorry.
The second book is essentially finished. It has been through two rounds of edits with my editor and I suspect all that is left is some line edits and then copy-editing! The title is still up in the air, but it will be released next May.
10. As an author who is about to inspire millions of girls to write, what words of advice would you like to pass along to aspiring authors?
Three bits of advice that all go together. Read, write, and finish a book. Reading teaches you to write. Seriously. I don’t know a single author who is not also a reader. Read, read, read!! And write. Write whatever; poetry, articles, stories. Just write. It’s all practice and we all need practice. And lastly, if you are aspiring to be a novelist, I suggest you finish a book. Finishing a book is hard. Especially that first one. But knowing you can do it is amazing! And then you know that if you did it once, you can do it again. And again. And again. So even if you don’t think your book is going to get published, I still suggest finishing it so you know you can.
11. Here’s a weird question for you, do you find yourself bombarded now with requests from other authors to provide blurbs or feedback?
Um. Yes. And, unfortunately, because of not only the amount of requests that I get, but also because of liability, I can’t review uncontracted manuscripts. I am open to reading books for blurbs, but I already have several requests, so I know time is going to become a big factor in that.
12. Do you have any hobbies? How does Aprilynne Pike relax after a long day?
Stereotypical, I know, but I love long baths. That is not only a great way to relax, but I also tend to get great ideas while I’m soaking!
I have several hobbies. And not enough time to devote to them all. I love to sing and though I’m not very good, play the piano. I like musical theatre and am very passionate about childbirth. I also like to draw and find that the more time I spend drawing the better I get . . . however, that has also had to take a back seat. I like too many things!!!:)
13. OK, and now the burning question that is on everyone’s mind; is the Character David named after Yours Truly? KIDDING, just kidding. Seriously, with a #1 NYT bestseller, a major book tour, a second, third and fourth book to write, three children, and untold amounts of email to reply to, you must be pretty busy, so tell me what’s next for Aprilynne Pike. What can we expect to see from you in the coming years?
LOL, that’s actually a funny story. David’s name was originally Glenn. And as I was writing I found myself mistyping Glenn as David. Yeah, I know, that’s a HUGE mis-type. And being the in-control author that I am, I said, “No! Your name is Glenn! I’m the author and I say your name is Glenn!” But I kept mis-typing. After a while I was typing David more often than I was typing Glenn. So I threw up my hands and said “Fine!!!” and I replaced Glenn with David. And, I kid you not, I never mistyped his name again. So, yeah, David named himself.
NOTE: Yeah, we Davids are like that. 🙂
What’s next? Oh, I have exciting things coming up! I have a stand-alone ghost story I just turned into my editor that hopefully Harper will want. I have exciting film right stuff in the works that I can’t talk about *pout* and should have a second book cover to unveil in the next couple of months. I have also been selling a bunch of foreign rights and am excited to start seeing those pop up!
And there you have it, folks. #1 NYT Bestselling Author Aprilynne Pike stopped by to see me. Isn’t she great? WINGS is available everywhere. seriously, Target has it, even! So there’s no excuse. Go buy it. Read it. Love it. Also, make sure you swing on over to Aprilynne’s Blog and say hello. She’s very nice, and you’ll be glad you stopped by.
More stuff is coming in the future, including news about my own work, as well as maybe a contest or givaway. How will you know when it’s happening? Simple: