Last week I posted my thoughts on Swati Avasthi's debut novel, Split (FANTASTIC!), and this week, I'm excited to offer up an interview with the author, and announce a giveaway of one copy of the book!
Hi, Swati, and welcome to YA Fresh. Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?
I started writing when I was five, but took a few detours before returning to it quietly when I was 29. A few years later (when I was still 29), I began taking classes at the Loft and Hamline University. A year later, (just months away from my 30th birthday), I started to call myself an aspiring writer when I received the Loft Mentor Series Award. During the year in the mentor series, I decided to get an MFA, which I did from 2007-2010. (Just graduated!)
Getting an agent and the sale was like riding a water slide -- fast, fun, and exhilarating. Finding an agent took about 8 weeks and the sale was even quicker. Rosemary Stimola, my agent and fairy godmother, took the manuscript to auction three weeks after signing me on as a client and got me a 2 book deal. I was so surprised by the email telling me that several houses were interested in offering me a 2 book contract that I actually had to diagram the sentence to believe it.
Haha! And loved all the years you spent at the age of 29! Now, 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.
My best days are when I can sit at a Starbucks for at least 3 hours in the morning with my coffee and my earbuds in, listening to a playlist designed for the book (See my website for playlists). But that routine varies a good deal based on the needs of my 2 kids and the demands of my job, teaching. So, I'm now trying to make sure I n) revise 5 pages per day, whether at midnight or 9 AM.
Please tell us about your novel, SPLIT, and what we can expect from your characters.
SPLIT begins when 16 year-old Jace Witherspoon drives from Chicago to Albuquerque on the night that he finally hits his father back. He hasn't seen or heard from his brother, Christian, in five years, but Jace shows up on Christian's doorstep, hoping for a brotherly reunion, maybe even someone to confide his secret to. SPLIT is about surviving relationships within a family and outside of family after you've gotten out. Escape is one thing. Rebuilding your life is something else.
What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.
I am almost done with my second draft of BIDDEN. Corey, Holly, and Savitri are looking forward to their summer before college, indulging in free-running and comic book reading when a shooting changes everything. BIDDEN is about how far we will stretch for our friends and whether the bonds we build can withstand the after-effects of violence.
It's been a really fun project because it is a hybrid novel -- part prose, part graphic novel. So I'm learning all about graphic novels, panels, layouts. Just a blast.
Sounds so interesting--and powerful. Would you like to close with a writing tip?
Here's my favorite writing tip: Writing is no place for timidity. Write boldly, write bravely, write every day you can.
And now for those of our readers who would like to entered to win a copy of SPLIT, please leave a comment telling us why! The winner will be randomly chosen and announced on Monday. Best of luck!