Sep 25, 2009

Author Interview: Aprilynne Pike

A Q&A with NYT bestselling author Aprilynne Pike!

"Fifteen-year-old Laurel has led a sheltered, homeschooled life in a very small town, so when her parents decide to move and enroll her in high school, she has trouble getting used to her new life. A life, as it turns out, that's not at all like those of other kids. One clear sign is winglike blossom that blooms on her back. Oh, and her new best friend, the scientifically minded David, reveals under a microscope that her cells are more plant than animal. But it takes an encounter at her old home with the handsome but decidedly different Tamani to convince her she is a faerie. She also learns it's up to her to save her land from the evil influences that are trying to take it away from her and her family. . ."

Rambling to Interviews: When and how did you decide that you wanted to write this book?

Aprilynne Pike: In the summer of 2007, I was in kind of sticky position. I had an agent, but the book she had been shopping was going nowhere. So I knew that if I wanted to continue with my dream of being a writer, I needed to write another book, and basically start the process over again. So I was trolling agency sites one day, and I found an agent's blog who had reported that Barnes and Noble was expecting faeries to be one of the new trends in YA lit. I felt like I had been hit by lightning. I have always loved faeries, for as long as I could remember, and I love YA. I don't know why I had to get thunked on the head with the idea of putting those two loves together before I made the connection. But I remember sitting there staring at the computer screne thinking, "Faeries? Oh my gosh! *I* want to write a book about faeries!!!" and something in me knew that I had to do it Right. Now. I turned the first draft of Wings into my agent six weeks later.

RI: This wasn't you first novel. Your website states you had written three novels before Wings, which were all rejected by agents. Was the second round of agency rejections easier or more difficult?

AP: *laugh* No this certainly was not my first novel. But honestly? By the time I started querying my second novel, I had racked up over 100 rejections, so I think I was actually used to it by then. It did help, however, that I had a much higher request rate with my second book. Mostly, I think, because I learned how to write queries better.:D

RI: Many authors assume it's easy to land an agent. Could you share with us how many rejections (queries, partials, fulls) you faced before finding yours?

AP: Wow, those are some dusty numbers! Let's see, on my first book I sent out about 140 queries (I queried *everyone*), I had probably 20 requests for the partial and 7 or 8 requests for the full. For the second book I sent out about 40 queries and had about 25 requests for the partial and I think four requests for the full. Eventually, I signed with my agent with my first book. 

RI: Are any of your characters based on real people?

AP: Only one, and I didn't mean for him to be more than a two or three line character. There is a character in the first book named Ryan who is based on my brother-in-law, Jared. Mostly because I picture him and very tall with dark hair, just like my brother-in-law. However, now that Ryan figures pretty heavily in the second and third books, I still sometimes have to pause and think, "Ryan, not Jared." In fact, even into the second round of revisions my editor found a place where I had typed the wrong name. 

RI: Did you have a favorite book growing up?

AP: It's really hard for me to pick just one, because I read so much as a kid, but when I read the question, the first book that popped into my head was Avi's The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. I still read that book about once a year. 

RI: Do you plan on working on more books in the future?

AP: Oh, absolutely! I have simmering idea for my next series as well as two stand-alones, and I have a non-Wings book that is currently in negotiations at Harper, which is really exciting to me! I'm a fairly prolific writer, so I am always working on something new!

RI: Do you have any advice for young writers?

AP: Read! You will learn more about writing from reading than any other single thing. Also, finish a book. As in, finish writing a book. Being able to say, "I finished a book!" is such a huge thing. Because if you can do it once, you can do it twice, and three times, and that--ultimately--is what it takes to be an author. Finishing books. 

RI: What’s the one question no one ever asks you, but you wish they would? (Plus the answer!)

AP: I always want someone to ask me about Orick (the town where Laurel's cabin is.) It's a fascinating little town that literally is in this pocket of land just off the road in the middle of Redwood National Forest. It's a neat little place and no one ever asks about it. 

3 Quick Facts:

3 things that make you feel better-

Hot baths, chocolate, working out.

2 things that are considered weird-

I love vinegar. Rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar, Balsamic vinegar. Love it!!! I also love broccoli.

1 thing that you can't go a day without doing-

This may sound sappy, but kissing my husband. I have a really special relationship with my husband and even after being together for almost ten years, I still miss him when he leaves the room. 


Anonymous said...

great interview

Anonymous said...

Hey, It's Angelique/Angel(I answer to both, and a list of other names) from AW. This is great start for a blog. It's sad that I never thought to interview authors, though I might steal you idea one day when I have the time. Hope you don't hate me for it.

This really was a great interview by the way!

Robyn Russell said...

I just finished Wings last night! What a unique take on faeries.

Thanks for bringing us this interview, Ash!

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