Friday, March 02, 2007

What's Fresh with Niki Burnham's Do-Over

Girl meets prince, Girl loses prince. Girl gets prince back -- right?

Well, that's what Valerie Winslow is hoping. She's back in Schwerinborg after spending time with her mom (and mom's girlfriend, Gabrielle) in the good ol' U.S. of A., and she's hoping the sparks will fly between her and Georg. At first it looks like everything is fabulous, but a ski trip to the Alps brings out Val's not-so-nice side, and what should have been a romantic weekend turns into a very bumpy ride.

Hi Niki, it's so great to chat with you! Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

Niki: My path to writing for teens wasn't exactly linear! I used to be a lawyer, and I started writing articles for bridal magazines on topics such as "How to Negotiate Your Wedding Contracts." Eventually, I quit practicing law and worked exclusively as a freelancer for magazines. While freelancing, I worked on a romance novel, and eventually sold to Silhouette Romance. I wrote six books for Silhouette Romance, and now write YA books for Simon & Schuster. (I'm much happier than when I was practicing law, though the stress level hasn't changed!)

So glad you made that career change! Readers and writers often like to get a behind the scenes peek of an author's writing routine. It would be great if you could please share your typical writing day schedule.

Niki: I'm not as good as I should be about writing during particular hours. However, I set daily and weekly page goals. Sometimes I finish those pages by noon, other days it's not until two a.m. But I do work hard to make deadlines and haven't missed one yet (picture me furiously knocking wood here...)

Please tell us about your latest novel, Do-Over (Simon Pulse, Sept. 2006), and what we can expect from your characters.

Niki: Do-Over is the third in a series (following Royally Jacked and Spin Control) about a high school sophomore named Valerie Winslow. Val's parents are in the midst of a divorce, and in Do-Over, Val must deal with the idea of seeing her father--with whom she's very tight--dating a new woman. Val's boyfriend, Georg, doesn't understand why this is a big deal, and it leads to some strife between them.

The story also involves strudel, skiing, and a German disc jockey named Helmut. As you've probably guessed, it's a romantic comedy!

I really enjoyed Royally Jacked and Spin Control, so I definitely have to pick up Do-Over! What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.

Niki: I have two projects coming out in the next few months. The first is a romantic short story called "Night Swimming" that will appear in an anthology from Scholastic called Fireworks. The other authors (all with great stories!) are Erin Haft, Sarah Mlynowski, and Lauren Myracle. Fireworks comes out in April.

Then, in May, I have a story coming out called Goddess Games. I'm really excited about it. It tells the story of three girls--one a struggling born-again Christian, one an elite athlete and Army brat, and one the daughter of an Academy Award-winning actress--who are forced to live together when they take summer jobs at a resort in the Colorado mountains. They all learn how to deal with each other, as well as how to deal with the guys in their lives. Goddess Games will be released in May 2007. The cover is up on my website and on It's gorgeous!

I have to agree about the cover, Niki. It's stunning! Thanks so much for chatting and I wish you the best with your future novels. Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Niki: Read! I learned a lot about writing just from reading broadly. I still spend more time reading than I do writing. It's the best way to learn what works, what doesn't, and why. Spending time in bookstores and libraries also helps you keep up with what's going on in the market.

Niki Burnham is the RITA award-winning author of several books for teenagers, including Royally Jacked, a Teen People pick. She lives in Massachusetts. Her online home and bulletin board can be found at

2 fresh comments:

TinaFerraro said...

Great interview, Kelly!

And hello again to you, Niki. You might remember we met last year at the NECRWA.

I love your books (as does my teen daughter) and I will be sure to pick up Do-Over, as well.

And...I have it on insider authority that you're going to be appearing soon in an article about YA writing in the Australian RWA magazine. (My source? Well, I'm one of the other authors they interviewed.)

Thanks for visiting us here at YA FRESH!


Kelly Parra said...

Thanks, Tina! How cool is that you guys are both in the article. Great! =D