ONE FOUR KIDS: Interview with Natalie C. Parker, author of BEWARE THE WILD

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Today we’re interviewing OneFourKidLit author Natalie C. Parker, whose young adult southern gothic BEWARE THE WILD released yesterday!

About BEWARE THE WILD:

Beware The Wild - Natalie C. Parker

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.

AMAZON | B&NINDIEBOUND | GOODREADS

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! 

About Natalie:

Natalie C Parker

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.

WEBSITETWITTER | FACEBOOK

NK TraverAs 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.

ONE FOUR KIDS: Interview with A. Lynden Rolland, author of “OF BREAKABLE THINGS”

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Today we’re interviewing OneFourKidLit author A. Lynden Rolland, whose young adult paranormal OF BREAKABLE THINGS released yesterday!

About OF BREAKABLE THINGS:

Of Breakable Things

A captivating debut about the fragility of life, love, and perspective.

When Chase dies tragically, Alex embraces her own mortality. What she didn’t expect was that she’d have to make a choice: forget the years of pain and suffering once and for all, or linger as a spirit and get another chance at life and love.

Alex doesn’t hesitate to choose; she’d follow Chase anywhere. But the spirit world is nothing like she expected, and Alex finds she’s forced to fight for her life once more. For even in a world where secrets are buried much deeper than six feet under, a legacy can continue to haunt you—and in a place this dangerous, no one is resting in peace.

AMAZON | B&NINDIEBOUND | GOODREADS

NKT: This pitch gives me chills! What was the inspiration for OF BREAKABLE THINGS?
ALR: I can’t pinpoint one thing that inspired OF BREAKABLE THINGS, but I had an idea that wouldn’t leave me alone. I thought about how much we love things. How much we hate things. How much knowledge we gain in a lifetime. I couldn’t imagine that when the body died all of the mental energy just disappeared. So I started thinking that maybe those emotions and that intelligence could come alive into a projection of a person. Mind, body, and spirit without the body. Imagine if we could latch on to our emotions and thoughts, and then we could exist adjacent to the living.

In OF BREAKABLE THINGS, the afterworld is something the mind can manipulate. People see things they want to see, and that molds their perception. My main character can walk down the street one day and see a single building. The next day she might see five buildings, a set of stone stairs leading to nothingness, and a boat rowing through the fog. She sees what she is ready to see. If she isn’t looking for it, her mind won’t catch it.

NKT: Your main character, Alex, has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Can you explain what that is, and why you chose it for Alex?
ALR: Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is a tissue disorder. Alex has vascular EDS. Her tissues can’t properly support her organs, so they can rupture easily. Her bones break frequently, and she bruises and dislocates all the time, which is unfortunate because her best friends are boys.

I needed something unique for Alex, and I needed her to be physically as breakable as most of us are mentally. She carries her fears into death with her because her flaws are imprinted upon her personality. She’s more apprehensive and questioning than the average person. She’s been sheltered by her friends, especially Chase. He tries to hide the ugly truths of the world from Alex because he loves her and thinks she deserves the best of everything. He doesn’t realize this hinders her.

NKT: Do you have a favorite scene you can tell us a little about?
ALR: Some of my favorite scenes are the flashbacks to Alex’s childhood with the Lasalle brothers. Playing cops and robbers, ghost hunting, bonfires, mischief and mayhem. They playfully terrorize the town in a way that makes me wish I had known the Lasalle boys and Alex as a kid.

NKT: Do you have any other books in the works?
ALR: OF BREAKABLE THINGS is a series, and the sequel is underway. It’s still pretty raw, but it’s getting there, and I’m excited to share more twists and turn in the afterworld. Book 2 gets into the flaws of the world itself – politically, socially, psychedelically. The characters might be dead but they certainly are not angels.

NKT: Tell us about your book’s journey from first draft to publication. Did it undergo any major revisions?
ALR: Oh my goodness, yes. I actually didn’t set out with the intent to publish. I was an English teacher who took a leave of absence when my first son was born. I had time on my hands and a story in my mind, and I just wrote and wrote until the story was finished. It was originally 800 pages!! When I made the decision to pursue publication, I obviously had to cut more than half of it.

NKT: What books/authors have most influenced your writing?
ALR: Madeleine L’Engle, C.S. Lewis, and J. K. Rowling.

NKT: What has surprised you most about the publication process? Any words of advice for our Fearless Fifteeners?
ALR: The camaraderie. My advice is to have each other’s backs. Support each other. Promote one another. Writers are a wonderful species, and I realize how much I enjoy the company of other writers.

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.
ALR: Something I’m afraid of: Dark water. If I can’t see what’s around/below me, I’m not getting in the water.
Something I’m not afraid of: Heights… or doing flips and handstands on heights. I’m a former competitive gymnast.

Thanks so much for the interview, Amy, and congratulations on your debut! 

About Amy:

A. Lynden Rolland

Photo courtesy of Gianna B Photography

A. Lynden Rolland was born and raised in Annapolis, Maryland, a picturesque town obsessed with boats, booze, and blue crabs. As a child she spent much of her free time compiling dramatic stories of tragic characters in a weathered notebook which she still keeps.

As a former high school English teacher, she enjoys visiting classrooms to discuss reading, writing, and publishing. When she isn’t chasing her two boys around town or arguing about sports with her husband, she moonlights as a writing tutor and gymnastics instructor.

WEBSITETWITTER | FACEBOOK

NK TraversAs 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 Entertainment in March 2015.