Author Of The Week: Chat with Chelsea Bobulski (The Wood), Plus Giveaway!
Welcome to our weekly special feature post, Author Of The Week!!
Each week we will be interviewing a different YA author and highlighting their upcoming release!
We will also be hosting a giveaway of the book we are highlighting!!
Introducing Chelsea Bobulski, YABC's Author of the Week!!
Chelsea Bobulski was born in Columbus, Ohio and raised on Disney movies, classic musicals, and Buckeye pride. She graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in history, and promptly married her high school sweetheart. As a writer, she has a soft spot for characters with broken pasts, strange talents, and obstacles they must overcome for a brighter future. She now lives in Northwest Ohio with her husband, her daughter, and one very emotive German Shepherd/Lab mix. Her debut young adult novel, THE WOOD, will be published by Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan on August 1, 2017.
Meet The Wood!
Winter didn’t ask to be the guardian of the wood, but when her dad inexplicably vanishes, she’s the one who must protect travelers who accidentally slip through the wood’s portals.
The wood is poisoned, changing into something more sinister. Once brightly colored leaves are now bubbling inky black. Vicious creatures that live in the shadows are becoming bolder, torturing lost travelers. Winter must now put her trust in Henry–a young man from eighteenth century England who knows more than he should about the wood–in order to find the truth and those they’ve lost.
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
This book was very different from other books I’ve written in that it kind of chose me, not the other way around. I was in the middle of working on a really tough round of revisions on a book that ended up not going on submission at that time, and I really needed to work on something on the side that would remind me how much I loved writing. So, I sat down at my computer, poised my fingers over the keys, and just started to type. No plot, no characters, no setting. Nothing. Just total free-writing. And what came out ended up being the first chapter of THE WOOD.
I continued working on this project on the side with no intention of it actually becoming anything. Every day I would sit at my computer with nothing whatsoever planned and just write whatever came to mind. Fifty pages later, I realized I had a book on my hands, and I better sit down and actually plot it out! So that’s what I did. ☺
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
My main character, Winter, for sure! I do love my other characters so much, especially Winter’s love interest, Henry, and her best friend, Meredith, but Winter’s voice popped into my head out of thin air when I most needed to be reminded why I love to write, and she guided me through a tough time in my career when I wondered if writing was really what I was meant to be doing. I also love her strength, and her sass! She’s exactly the kind of girl I wanted to be when I was a teen, and who I still want to be now! She’s smart, strong, and can handle anything that comes her way.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel, definitely! I’m not great at titles, and when I tried to think of a title for this book, the only thing that I felt could do it justice would be to name it after the wood in which the book is set, especially since the wood, aside from being the setting, is really its own character, with its own thoughts and feelings.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
I don’t think there’s really a scene I’m more proud of than others. I certainly love any scene that features Winter and Henry, especially when she’s explaining how the modern world works to him (Henry is from the eighteenth century), but I think because writing it was such a therapeutic exercise for me in so many respects, I’m really just proud of this book as a whole.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
Oh wow, that’s a great (and tough!) question! I think writing, just like any skill, only gets better with practice. THE WOOD may have been my first book to get a book deal, but it was the fifth book I’d written in my pursuit of publication, and the amount of growth that happened between that first manuscript to THE WOOD—well, let’s just say I hope no one ever sees that first manuscript! Talk about embarrassing. But I needed to write it, and all the books in between, to get to that first book deal. I’ve now written two books since selling THE WOOD, and with each new book I continue to grow as a writer. So, I think most writers would agree that, looking back, you can always see how much you’ve grown as a writer with each book, and how much growing you still have to do. I’m nowhere near where I want to be as a writer, and I hope I never stop growing. In other words, the most important thing I’ve learned is to keep pushing, and keep striving to get better with every word, every chapter, every story.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I am head over heels IN LOVE with my cover! It portrays the beauty and the magic and the mystery and the darkness of the wood. I couldn’t have asked for a better cover for this book. I also love how the leaf pops against the white background!
YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2017?
Oh gosh, another hard question!!! There are so many. I read ARCs of CARAVAL by Stephanie Garber; DAUGHTER OF THE PIRATE KING by Tricia Levenseller; and YOU DON’T KNOW MY NAME by Kristen Orlando, and loved them all so much. I’m also really looking forward to THE LOVE INTEREST by Cale Dietrich.
YABC: What was your favorite book in 2016?
A GATHERING OF SHADOWS by V.E. Schwab, the second in the SHADES OF MAGIC series, was not just my favorite book of 2016, but one of my favorite books ever. In fact, I don’t know if I’ve ever loved a second book in a series more than I loved the first, but that was definitely true of AGOS (and that’s really saying something, since the first book in the series, A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC, is pretty great!).
YABC: What’s up next for you?
Nothing to officially announce yet, but I am working on a couple different projects behind the scenes. Hoping to have more news to share soon! ☺
YABC: Is there anything that you would like to add?
I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who’s been supporting this weird little book of mine! I know it’s a bit different, probably because I’ve had so many different influences throughout my life, and I feel like there’s a little piece of each one of those influences in this book, so it means so much to me to see it find a home on so many bookshelves and in so many hearts.
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
The end of the book, for sure. I don’t know if I can go into more detail than that without giving too much away, but there’s a lot of strong emotions at the end of the book.
YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
Probably Uncle Joe. I’d always think I had him all figured out, but when it came time to write him, he never played by the rules on the page. I think that was just an extension of his character though, which just goes to show that, to a writer, when these characters are fully fleshed out, they really do become living, breathing people inside of our heads, to the point where their characteristics, such as following the beat of their own drum no matter what you have planned for them, can very much affect the writing process.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
I love them both for different reasons. There’s so much freedom in drafting, but it’s messy, and it can be hard sometimes to remember that you’ve made a semi-decent book before when your first draft is full of adverbs and clichés and little notes that say things like, “make this more interesting” or “DO BETTER.” Revising uses a whole different section of your brain. If drafting is free-painting on a blank canvas, revising is putting together an 80,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. It’s challenging, but also so rewarding as you see your vision start to slowly come together. The best part about revising is the end, when you finally feel like you’ve written a semi-decent book again. That’s when you pat yourself on the back and let yourself savor the feeling, because you know you’ll be writing a crappy first draft again soon.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
Well, I was pregnant with my daughter while working on the first revision of THE WOOD for my editor, and I often joked with my husband that I had a super sense of smell, which had to be the most useless superpower of all time. The smell of red peppers was especially nauseating for me, and I could be in the basement and smell someone eating a red bell pepper on the first floor. My husband was astonished by this.
While not pregnant, I would say my superpower, again thanks to my daughter, is time management. I don’t always get everything done in a day that I want to, but I’ve learned to balance my work life and my personal life in a really great way (I was a bit of a workaholic before my daughter was born, so to have that balance has become a huge life saver, and it’s made me enjoy all aspects of my life so much more).
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
Honestly, there are so many, and they really all boil down to championing any cause that spreads kindness and compassion to those who are hurting. One organization I am particularly in awe of currently is the White Helmets, the volunteer rescue force working to save so many lives in Syria, putting their own lives at risk to do so. They are true heroes, and they need our support in any way we can offer it.
By: Chelsea Bobulski
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: August 1st, 2017
Three winners: One winner will receive a hardback copy of THE WOOD along with swag;
two other winners will receive book swag.
~ (US Only) ~
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*