Today we’re interviewing OneFourKidLit author Natalie C. Parker, whose young adult southern gothic BEWARE THE WILD released yesterday!
About BEWARE THE WILD:
It’s an oppressively hot and sticky morning in June when Sterling and her brother, Phin, have an argument that compels him to run into the town swamp — the one that strikes fear in all the residents of Sticks, Louisiana. Phin doesn’t return. Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out, and now Sterling is the only person in Sticks who remembers her brother ever existed.
Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp’s done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance — and loner boy Heath Durham might be the only one who can help her.
This debut novel is full of atmosphere, twists and turns, and a swoon-worthy romance.
NKT: What a compelling pitch! What was the inspiration for BEWARE THE WILD?
NCP: Such a hard question. I imagine inspiration is very like a rain storm. It may seem to arrive all at once, but really it’s been building for a while, traveling great distances, and waiting for all the right conditions to let loose. Which is my way of saying….I really don’t know. I suspect it was something to do with spending much of my childhood in the south, especially during the long, hot summers, and also with a preoccupation with the idea of gatorgirls and boys.
NKT: What kind of things can we expect from your main character, Sterling? What kind of person is she, and what drives her?
NCP: Sterling is devoted, stubborn, and impulsive. She goes after what she wants and doesn’t always wait to consider if she’s chosen the best course of action. This tends to get her into (and sometimes out of!) tight spots.
NKT: Do you have a favorite scene you can tell us a little about?
NCP: Oh, the cruelty of this question! Fine. I will tell you which of my children I like best. I will always, always come back to that opening chapter as one of my darlings. I love meeting Sterling in the context of her beliefs about her brother and the swamp. I love the moment she watches a girl climb over the split-rail fence behind her house. And I love the moment Sterling’s world shatters around a single word… “sister.”
NKT: Do you have any other books in the works?
NCP: I do, indeed. But I don’t think I’m allowed to share much. Suffice to say that there is more to say about this small, swamp town.
NKT: Intriguing…! Tell us about your book’s journey from first draft to publication. Did it undergo any major revisions?
NCP: Oh, did it ever. After signing with my agent, Sarah Davies, I rewrote the whole thing from scratch. After it sold, I rewrote it again for my editor. That time, though, I only rewrote half of it completely from scratch. The rest was more like a face lift.
NKT: What has surprised you most about the publication process? Any words of advice for our Fearless Fifteeners?
NCP: Not much has surprised me about this process, but I have learned that being kind to yourself becomes a tricky thing when you are surrounded by ambitious, talented people. There is this pressure to squeeze writing into every spare second you can find, but life is a lot bigger than publishing. Practice dismissing the guilt you will inevitably feel for doing the things you love. It won’t make your writing less.
NKT: Great advice! And finally, as this community is fearless, we’d like to know something you’re afraid of and something you’re not afraid of.
NCP: Something I’m afraid of: JELLYFISH, UNHOLY SPAWN OF UNHOLY THINGS
Something I’m not afraid of: Dead Jellyfish
Thanks so much for the interview, Natalie, and congratulations on your debut!
Natalie C Parker grew up in a Navy family where having adventures was as common as reading fairy tales.
She graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a degree in English, then went on to earn her MA in Women’s Studies at the University of Cincinnati. Continuing her efforts as a lifelong scholar, she currently works on a project studying climate change at the University of Kansas where she eavesdrops on the conversations of brilliant scientists gathering fodder for future novels.
Though still baffled by having ended up in a landlocked state, she lives in Kansas with her partner in a house of monsters.
|As a freshman at the University of Colorado, N.K. Traver decided to pursue Information Technology because classmates said “no one could make a living” with an English degree. It wasn’t too many years later she realized it didn’t matter what the job paid—nothing would ever be as fulfilling as writing. Her debut, DUPLICITY, a YA cyberthriller pitched as BREAKING BAD meets THE MATRIX, will release from Macmillan/Thomas Dunne Books March 17, 2015.