Today we're excited to chat with Lana Popovic, author of Wicked Like a Wildfire. Read on for more about Lana and her book, plus a giveaway!
Meet Lana Popovic!
Lana studied psychology and literature at Yale University, and law at Boston University. She is a graduate of the Emerson College Publishing and Writing program and works as a literary agent with Chalberg & Sussman, specializing in YA.
Lana lives in Boston, subsisting largely on cake, eyeliner, and aerial yoga. She'd happily spend all her waking hours hanging out in silks, and may very well be upside down right now. Just ask her about it (depending on your tolerance for high enthusiasm and hand-waving). Lana is represented by Taylor Haggerty at Waxman-Leavell.
Meet Wicked Like a Wildfire!
Fans of Holly Black and Leigh Bardugo will be bewitched by Lana Popovic's debut YA fantasy novel about a bargain that binds the fates—and hearts—of twin sisters to a force larger than life.
All the women in Iris and Malina’s family have the unique magical ability or “gleam” to manipulate beauty. Iris sees flowers as fractals and turns her kaleidoscope visions into glasswork, while Malina interprets moods as music. But their mother has strict rules to keep their gifts a secret, even in their secluded sea-side town. Iris and Malina are not allowed to share their magic with anyone, and above all, they are forbidden from falling in love.
But when their mother is mysteriously attacked, the sisters will have to unearth the truth behind the quiet lives their mother has built for them. They will discover a wicked curse that haunts their family line—but will they find that the very magic that bonds them together is destined to tear them apart forever?
A Chat with Lana:
1.) What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
I often start with a single image, and in this case, it was the visual of dangerously beautiful sisters with scented ribbons in their hair, out in a small, seaside town with some seductive imperative in mind. I worked outward from there--what were the ribbons for? What did they smell like? Why were the sisters so lovely, and why was there such a sinister undertone to their beauty?--but that image was the heart of the story.
2.) Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel! The book was initially called Hibiscus Daughter, and the final title came after three very hefty revisions, which reworked the original story into something much more fantastical and elaborate. The initial story was a sort of magical realism road trip with the witchy twins, featuring about a quarter of the cast that appears in the final version.
3.) What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
Without risking spoilers, at a certain point in the book, the sisters pit their gleams against each other with good intentions. I'm not sure if it's precisely pride or very possessive love that I feel toward that scene; it was one of my touchstone moments while writing, the ones that light the way for "discovery" writers who don't outline extensively. I looked forward to it for weeks before I wrote it because it was so vivid in my mind, and writing it was so euphoric. It was also inspired by my favorite scene in my favorite musical--the epic Defying Gravity in Wicked.
4.) Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
Before Wicked Like a Wildfire, I wrote a book that didn't sell--it was called Covenant, and there were definitely sort-of vampires in it, and I love it still--and the process of writing both books and going through submissions with them reinforced what I always annoy my own author clients with, which is to never stop writing! It takes just one editor (with the ability to get her team on board) who really gets you and your story to launch it into the world.
5.) What do you like most about the cover of the book?
Lisa Perrin is a dazzling genius, and I'm so grateful to her for giving me a cover I could love so hard. There are little gems and secret clues tucked throughout, but my favorite is the intricate little moth in the lower right corner, for Reasons.
6.) What’s up next for you?
I'm working on a standalone novel that I'm envisioning as a sort of YA reworking of THE CRAFT meets AMERICAN GODS, about five angsty teenagers in central Florida who draw down divine assistance--along with much darker forces--for a variety of reasons. Though the setting is super American, some of the characters are the first-generation children of Serbian immigrants (there are really vibrant Eastern European communities throughout Florida) because I can't resist talking about Serbian foods. All the cheese pies and little cakes, all the time.
7.) Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
I have a solid frenemy relationship with revising. On the one hand, I love it, because it gives you the chance to rework the story into its best self. On the other hand, my stories' best selves tend to be pretty far removed from the first draft, and I usually end up rewriting about two-thirds of the original draft and then adding at least another third--which adds up to some complicated fractions that show exactly why I didn't go to math school. The restructuring, refining, and ultimate streamlining can be a pretty grueling process that swings from "THIS IS IT OH YAS I'VE GOT IT LIKE A BOSS" to "please someone dredge me from this woeful swamp of despair" in the span of hours. I use Track Changes, and I've often found myself staring, baffled, at a word document that's entirely red and green, but with a word count that's only changed by a couple thousand. It's a weird and not very glittery kind of wizardry.
8.) What would you say is your superpower?
Definitely my ability to pull work all-nighters as if this is an acceptable activity for an adult human. I often utilized this power as an undergrad student, and somehow I never outgrew it? Once, I wrote for twelve glorious and horrible hours straight, for three days in a row. (Do not do this at home, because it's extremely unpleasant. Unless you really, really have to, and there are spring rolls in the fridge that someone else ordered and you can sneak off with because your brain has lost the functionality required to obtain food on your own.) My hope is to gradually shed this superpower and never use it ever again.
Wicked Like a Wildfire
By: Lana Popovic
Release Date: August 15, 2017