ALL FOUR KIDS: An Interview with R.C. Lewis, Author of STITCHING SNOW

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Today we’ve got the delightful R.C. Lewis here on the Fifteeners blog talking about her debut YA Sci-fi STITCHING SNOW. It’s a gritty retelling of Snow White (in space!) with one of my favorite heroines ever. (And just look at the gorgeous cover!)

Princess Snow is missing.

Her home planet is filled with violence and corruption at the hands of King Matthias and his wife as they attempt to punish her captors. The king will stop at nothing to get his beloved daughter back—but that’s assuming she wants to return at all.

Essie has grown used to being cold. Temperatures on the planet Thanda are always sub-zero, and she fills her days with coding and repairs for the seven loyal drones that run the local mines.

When a mysterious young man named Dane crash-lands near her home, Essie agrees to help the pilot repair his ship. But soon she realizes that Dane’s arrival was far from accidental, and she’s pulled into the heart of a war she’s risked everything to avoid. With the galaxy’s future—and her own—in jeopardy, Essie must choose who to trust in a fiery fight for survival.

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MK. I adore the idea of a bad-ass cage-fighting princess! What sparked the idea for STITCHING SNOW?

RC. This is the one story idea of mine where I know the exact spark! I was driving home from work and heard a line in a Florence + The Machine song (“Blinding”) about Snow White stitching up a circuit board. That was the spark, and the whole story grew from there.

MK. Not only does STITCHING SNOW feature a badass main character, but you also crafted a wonderful cast of supporting characters, including my personal favorite, Dimwit, one of the seven drones. If this were a reality show, what would the drones say about life with Essie in their one-on-one camera moments?

RC. Here’s a transcript of what a few of them would say in their confessionals.

Ticktock: Essie’s performance of critical maintenance tasks falls within acceptable parameters ninety-one-point-four percent of the time.

Dimwit: Essie Cusser fix Cusser.

Cusser: $#@!*, Dimwit.

MK. Do you have a favorite scene you can tell us a little about?

RC. There’s a scene near the end where Essie has to make a split-second decision, not knowing what the outcome will be, what price will be paid. Her fear and pain and desperation in that moment became “real” to me very quickly.

MK. STITCHING SNOW is a reimagining of the fairy tale Snow White – did you encounter any particular challenges taking a classic character into space? Any tips for those who might be considering penning their own retelling?

RC. The main things I had to decide were which elements to incorporate literally, which to twist figuratively, and which to leave out altogether. A core idea of the original fairy tale is that Snow is very passive, naïve character, and that’s one thing I did NOT want. After that decision, it was a matter of, “How can I make this still Snow White, but my take on it?”

MK. Lastly, as this community is fearless, we’d like to know something you are afraid of and something you are not afraid of.

RC. I’m afraid of speaking in front of a bunch of adults. I’m not afraid of being in front of a crowd of teenagers. Go figure.

Thank you so much for stopping by, RC!


ABOUT RC LEWIS

R.C. Lewis teaches math to teenagers—sometimes in sign language, sometimes not—so whether she’s a science geek or a bookworm depends on when you look. That may explain why her characters don’t like to be pigeonholed. Coincidentally, R.C. enjoys reading about quantum physics and the identity issues of photons. Her debut novel Stitching Snow is a sci-fi retelling of Snow White, releasing October 14, 2014 from Hyperion.

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MarcyKate Connolly is an author and nonpofit administrator who lives in New England with her husband and pugs and writes weird little books. She’s also a coffee addict and voracious reader. She blogs about all those things and more at MarcyKate.com, and can often be found on Twitter. Her debut upper middle grade fantasy novel, MONSTROUS, will be out from HarperCollins Children’s Books on 2/10/2015.

ALL FOUR KIDS: INTERVIEW WITH ADRIANNE STRICKLAND, AUTHOR OF WORDLESS

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Hey, guys! Today we’re celebrating the release of AdriAnne Strickland’s awesome debut, WORDLESS!

wordless-final-cover“The Gods made their Words into flesh, giving privileged individuals the powers of creation …”

In Eden City, a member of the illiterate wordless class would never dream of meeting the all-powerful Words … much less of running away with one. So when a gorgeous girl literally falls into his lap during a routine trash run, seventeen-year-old Tavin Barnes isn’t sure if it’s the luckiest or worst day of his life. That girl is Khaya, the Word of Life, who can heal a wound or command an ivy bush to devour a city block with ease. And yet she needs Tavin’s help.

By aiding Khaya’s escape from the seemingly idyllic confines of Eden City, Tavin unwittingly throws himself into the heart of a conflict that is threatening to tear the world apart. Eden City’s elite will stop at nothing to protect the shocking secret Khaya hides, and they enlist the other Words, each with their own frightening powers, to bring her back.

It’s a smart, kick-ass, fast-paced sci-fi adventure, and you can get it RIGHT NOW!

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Congrats on the release of Wordless, AdriAnne! We have the official synopsis above, but could you give us your own two-sentence description? (The “elevator pitch,” if you will?)

Thank you! And, of course: In a world where the masses are illiterate, seventeen-year-old Tavin Barnes, a wordless trash collector, must do everything he can to stop a ruthless group that knows how to control the “Words”—an elite few with the power to turn their words into reality. After helping Khaya, the Word of Life, escape from Eden City, Tavin joins her on the run, attempting to prevent her captors from using the Words for world domination.

The world you’ve conceived of in Wordless is brilliant. What was the first seed of an idea that inspired this world and, more generally, the entire novel?  

Again, thank you! While researching a previous book, I came across the biblical line, “And the Word was made flesh.” It made me wonder… what would “a word made flesh” look like (if not in the religious sense that the original line intends, of course)? What if there were people called Words with power over that particular word? And if there were Words, would that stratify the social classes along literacy lines? That was the seed that grew into Wordless.

Seventeen-year-old garbage collector Tavin Barnes is such a likable, scrappy hero. Is he inspired by anyone, either fictional or nonfictional?

He isn’t really inspired by anyone fictional, but to tap into my inner teenage boy, I channeled my older brother. A lot of Tavin’s sarcastic, yet self-deprecating mannerisms came from him.

And sort-of-dumb sub-question: Tavin Barnes loves Captain Crunch. Do you share this love?

Captain Crunch was my brother’s favorite cereal. I definitely ate it as a teen (though I preferred the “Crunch Berry only” version), but now I eat healthier and try not to vacuum up so much sugar on a regular basis. (It’s hard; I have a sweet tooth.)

Because Tavin is illiterate, the moments when he sees letters as just symbols are truly disarming, making us appreciate our ability to read even as we’re in the act of reading. How much of your writing process was a conscious effort to emphasize the power of reading and how much just sort of happened naturally as the story unfolded?

It was definitely a conscious effort to put myself in the position of someone who couldn’t read, and to remember all of the things one could or couldn’t do, and to show that words–not just “Words”–are powerful in ways that people don’t even realize. I didn’t want to be preachy about it, so sometimes I almost had to de-emphasize it!

What are some of the works that inspired or influenced the writing of Wordless

There’s not much that influenced it directly, but Scott Westerfield’s Uglies, Patrick Ness’s The Knife of Never Letting Go and Holly Black’s White Cat no doubt had their impact.

At this point in your journey, now that publication day has arrived, what’s one piece of wisdom or advice you would share with a debut novelist? 

Really take the time to celebrate the exciting moments, because a lot of the stressful moments can take away from them. Don’t miss out on the good stuff!

And, finally, since we’re the Fearless 15ers, we’d like to know something you’re afraid of and something you’re not afraid of.

I’m afraid of heights for other people–it really freaks me out when someone, especially my husband, stands too close to a perilous drop (which he often seems to do). I’m not afraid for myself, as evidenced by the fact that I’ve been cliff jumping, bungee jumping and skydiving.

Thanks so much for the great interview!

Thank YOU, AdriAnne!
AdriAnne Strickland author photo - smallAdriAnne Strickland was a bibliophile who wanted to be an author before she knew what either of those words meant. She shares a home base in Alaska with her husband, but has spent two cumulative years living abroad in Africa, Asia, and Europe. While writing occupies most of her time, she commercial fishes every summer in Bristol Bay, because she can’t seem to stop. Her debut YA sci-fi/fantasy, WORDLESS, is out now from Flux Books. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook.
Lance Rubin is a New Jersey native who has worked as an actor and written sketch comedy, including successful runs of The Lance and Ray Show at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. He’s also co-writing a new musical called Annie Golden: Bounty Hunter, Yo! Lance lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son. He loves Pixar, the Knicks, and Back to the Future. His debut novel DENTON LITTLE’S DEATHDATE is coming April 2015 from Knopf Books for Young Readers. You can follow him on twitter @lancerubinparty.