February 8, 2013

Casual Friday: Interview with Nicole Wolverton

Happy Friday Guys!

Today I have the honor of interviewing Author Nicole Wolverton. Nicole and I met a few years ago when I read some of her amazing novel in a short-lived crit group. But even then I knew she was destined for greatness! Nicole has a book coming out in March called The Trajectory of Dreams that is an adult psychological thriller, but she's also a YA writer too. Talk about a balancing act! You may also have seen she recently signed with amazing agent Michelle Witte.

Today I wanted to talk to her a little about her writing journey, her new book, and her fantastic agent.

Ok, Nicole, so to get us started, tell us five interesting things about you.

Let’s see: five interesting things. 
1. I love to sky dive, but I have yet to make time to get certified. So far I’ve only done tandem jumps. My goal is to get certified before I turn fifty (which gives me about nine years); 

2. I’m a competitive dragon boat paddler and internationally certified dragon boat steersperson; 

3. I love cheese. I’m not talking about crappy, processed stuff you buy in the grocery store—I’m talking about real cheese. Artisan cheese. The kind of cheese that stinks like bare feet that have been running through a forest for two weeks. I’m getting hungry just thinking of it; 

4. I get obsessed with learning new things. First, it was knitting and spinning yarn, then canning and preserving food, then cheese-making, and now it’s baking French macarons. I look at this way: whether it’s a zombie apocalypse or a nuclear bomb, I’m learning the kind of stuff that makes me a good person to know when the shit hits the fan; 

5. My favorite color is orange. I’m not sure how interesting that is, but there you go.

Sky diving? That's so cool! I'd love to try that some day. So I know you have a really cool Adult Psychological Thriller called The Trajectory of Dreams about to be released in March, but that you also write YA. Tell our fab readers a little bit about your books.

It’s strange to have an adult book as my first published novel—I consider myself predominantly a young adult writer. Not that my writing changes much (if at all) for either audience, but the majority of my ideas are young adult scenarios. The Trajectory of Dreams deals with what is seen and real versus what is unseen and surreal: it’s about a woman with a mental disorder whose carefully crafted world is challenged. A lot of the advance reviews for the novel mention something I’m fond of exploring, which is how well you can really know anyone in your life. Everyone has secrets, some inner thing no one wants exposed that eventually is. Really, when you read something of mine, there’s always a thread of that running through it.   

Let’s talk about your journey to publication. You published The Trajectory of Dreams with a smaller publisher – Bitingduck Press. What has the publishing process been like for you? What has been your biggest challenge? What part have you liked the best?

There’s nothing quite like getting that call or email—the one from the editor making an offer on your manuscript. Bitingduck Press is relatively new, but they merged with Boson Books, a publisher that’s been around for quite some time. I had no idea what to expect, but the editors and editor-in-chief have been really great. Communicative, supportive, and enthusiastic about my novel. From what I understand, there’s a bit more freedom in publishing with a small press: more input into cover and edits and interior layout, etc. There’s no telling what might happen next in terms of where my projects might land, and I’m happy to go with whatever happens. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to explore a wide variety of outlets. This is a great time to be a writer because there are so many options. 

As far as challenges go, the only one I can think of is my own impatience. Publishing moves slow, and I’m your classic Veruca Salt in that I want a golden goose now, Daddy!

You are represented by the amazing Michelle Witte, but you were not represented when you sold your first book. Can you talk a little about how it’s been working with an agent compared to doing it yourself?

So I’m self-directed and motivated, but I also realize there are things I can’t do by myself. Michelle taking me on as a client is one of the best things that could have happened because her strengths are where I lack know-how and ability. Aside from being able to access certain editors/publishers, she’s been great about providing advice about which plot bunny I should be exploring and career guidance. Publishing might move slow, but it moves slow in a very particular way—Michelle is knowledgeable about the industry, supportive of what I do, an excellent editor, and she’s a genuinely nice person.  

That's always huge in working with someone. So great that you guys have a fantastic partnership! I know you host 5 Minute Fiction every Tuesday – can you tell us more about that and how did you get involved?

Leah Petersen is the original organizer of 5 Minute Fiction - a flash fiction challenge. How I started participating is one of those things lost to memory. I love doing timed writing exercises and became a regular at 5 Minute Fiction. Eventually, Leah sold her manuscript and needed to pass 5MF on to new hands so she had time to do all the things that come with doing a book launch. I’ve had the care and feeding of 5MF for about a year, and now that my own book launch is approaching, I’m handing the challenge off to a new person! Wendy Strain is the new caretaker, and I’m excited to see what she does with the challenge. As far as I know, it’s one of the longest running online flash fiction challenges…three years now.

All of us here at YA Misfits are huge fans of writing playlists. What are your go-to albums and artists for inspiration?  

I’m a little bit all over the place as far as music goes. I always make a playlist for whatever it is I’m writing, but I don’t have a particular album or artist that gets included. For the YA project I’m working on right now, I’ve got everything from Cibo Matto to the Melvins, from Scorpions to PJ Harvey. There’s even a bit of Busta Rhymes on the playlist. Yeah, not cohesive, per se, but it makes sense when I’m listening to it.  
So flipping over to reading then. What was your favorite YA book of 2012? 

Er, so I’m about to make an embarrassing confession: my to-be-read list is generally so huge that I rarely read anything the year that it’s published. There are only two YA novels I read this year that were actually published this year. That said, there were some amazing YA novels I read this year that were published in other years, my favorite of which is The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I also really loved the Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness, which I read over the summer.

Is there a 2013 YA book you’re looking forward to?

This is another confession that will likely mark me as a YA outsider: I rarely get into series. So a lot of the novels that others are dying for—you know, the second or third book in a series—aren’t on my radar. Mostly, that’s an issue of patience issues. Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys looks intriguing, as does Canary by Rachele Alpine. I’m also a huge fan of Strange Chemistry, the new-ish YA line from Angry Robot, so I’m looking forward to Pantomime by Laura Lam.

Tell us about what’s next for you. What books do you have coming and any projects you’re working on?

There are two YA novels currently with my agent—one is a Legend of Sleepy Hollow retelling/reimaging (of sorts) set on Long Beach Island, and the other is a thriller set on Mars. The Mars novel isn’t sci-fi, per se, but it involves NASA’s first manned mission, religious fanaticism, and survival in a way that you wouldn’t expect. Right now I’m in the midst of writing a novel about two loners who come close to drowning during a hurricane and find themselves in the middle of drama involving freak shows, star-crossed lovers, and environmental disaster. Good times.

Those sound fantastic! I cannot wait to get my hands on them! So, before we wrap up, anything else you’d like to add? 

Nope! I’m just happy to have the opportunity to share the stories cluttering up my head. I’ve always been a huge reader and have a giant list of favorite books. If any of books end up on even one person’s favorites list, I’ll feel like a success. 

Thanks so much for hanging out with us, Nicole and good luck on your book launch!

Here's the blurb for The Trajectory of Dreams:
For Lela White, a Houston sleep lab technician, sleep doesn’t come easy—there’s a price to be paid for a poor night’s sleep, and she’s the judge, jury, and executioner.

Everyone around Lela considers her a private woman with a passion for her lab work. But nighttime reveals her for what she is: a woman on a critical secret mission. Lela lives in the grip of a mental disorder that compels her to break into astronauts’ homes to ensure they can sleep well and believes that by doing so, she keeps the revitalized U.S. space program safe from fatal accidents. What began at the age of ten when her mother confessed to blowing up the space shuttle has evolved into Lela’s life’s work. She dreads the day when an astronaut doesn’t pass her testing, but she’s prepared to kill for the greater good.

When Zory Korchagin, a Russian cosmonaut on loan to the U.S. shuttle program, finds himself drawn to Lela, he puts her carefully-constructed world at risk of an explosion as surely as he does his own upcoming launch. As Lela’s universe unravels, no one is safe.  

You can add The Trajectory of Dreams to Goodreads.

Preorders available from your local, independent bookshop or Barnes & Noble


A. Lockwood said...

Fantastic interview, and this sounds like a really fascinating book!

Rachele Alpine said...

Great interview, and I'm so excited CANARY is a book she's looking forward too!!!!

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