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 Lauren DeStefano, YABC's Author of the Week!!
|It's impossible to pinpoint the moment I considered myself a writer. It's more poetic for me to believe that writing was something encoded into my DNA from the moment I first existed, that it hid quietly in my bloodstream and waited patiently for me to learn my ABC's so it could strike.
My mother always carried a pen and paper in her purse to keep me entertained during car rides or long waits at restaurants, and one day I began writing on the back of the kids' menu at Friendly's, filling the leftover pages of my school notebooks with stories to keep myself amused. It never occurred to me what I was doing, only that I enjoyed it.
In the fifth grade, I was blessed with a wonderful teacher who assigned enough writing assignments to make the class groan with dread. Every class has a student like me--You know the one, who writes three pages (front and back, no less) in response to a one-page writing assignment, and then subjects a room of fidgety elementary school students to sit quietly as those pages are read aloud. I even made up a fake book report or two.
It was my fifth grade teacher who introduced the idea that writing could be more than a hobby for me.
At first I thought she was kidding.
"Is writing even a real job?" I asked. To which she replied, "Of course. Someone has to write all those books."
Looking back, this moment was both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it made perfect sense at an age in which so few things make sense, and a curse because that was the day I promptly lost interest in virtually everything else. My grades plummeted. I was a girl obsessed.
The obsession has never died. More than a decade after that fateful day with my fifth grade teacher, I am still wholly devoted to my writing. In high school I won the first and only writing contest I would ever enter: The Thornton Wilder Award, to which I submitted a short story entitled Orange Blood (it's buried deep in the dusty tomes of my notebook pages, perhaps never to be seen by daylight again). I received a check for my efforts, and the opportunity to hear my work read aloud. When my parents asked what inspired me to write such a piece, my response was, "I wrote it during math class."
I won't tell you what my math grade was that year.
College did amazing things for my writing. I majored in English with concentration in Creative Writing, and so many wonderful professors at Albertus Magnus College helped me to hone my writing on new and more challenging levels. Finally, a place for me to spread my writerly wings and focus on my one true passion. I looked forward to the roundtable workshops, critiques, peer-editing, and yes, even the red pen marks. It was in my late college years that I began my first novel. Though I'm still unsure if that novel will ever see the light of day, it taught me what I needed to know: I was capable of starting and finishing a whole body of work.
In 2007 I graduated and left the college world behind me. My writing is represented by Barbara Poelle of The Irene Goodman Literary Agency.
Meet The Glass Spare!
Wil Heidle, the only daughter of the king of the world’s wealthiest nation, has grown up in the shadows. Kept hidden from the world in order to serve as a spy for her father—whose obsession with building his empire is causing a war—Wil wants nothing more than to explore the world beyond her kingdom, if only her father would give her the chance.
Until one night Wil is attacked, and she discovers a dangerous secret. Her touch turns people into gemstone. At first Wil is horrified—but as she tests its limits, she’s drawn more and more to the strange and volatile ability. When it leads to tragedy, Wil is forced to face the destructive power within her and finally leave her home to seek the truth and a cure.
But finding the key to her redemption puts her in the path of a cursed prince who has his own ideas for what to do with her power.
With a world on the brink of war and a power of ultimate destruction, can Wil find a way to help the kingdom that’s turned its back on her, or will she betray her past and her family forever?
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
It's always so hard to pick a favorite character in my stories, because I spend so much time bonding with everyone! I would probably say that my favorite is Espel; she was my biggest challenge, because our personalities are so similar.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel came first. There were millions upon millions of rewrites, so a title I had picked at the beginning no longer applied to the final draft. After some brainstorming with my team, we came up with The Glass Spare.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
In the first act of the book, there's a scene in which Wil and her brother Gerdie fight of an attacker together. This scene is the result of about ten thousand rewrites, and so much feedback from friends who were kind enough to read it. I think it shows the bond those two have, and how much stronger they are when they've got each other's backs.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
The most important thing I've learned is that I work best when I set all of my personal feelings aside when I'm writing. A lot of people assume that, as a writer, I channel my anger/sadness/joy/etc into that day's writing, but I try not to. I may be having a great day, but my character is currently losing hope. Or I may have just been dealt a personal life blow, but my characters have a kissing scene to look forward to. In a weird way, distancing myself from my writing brings me closer to the story.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I love the colors! I also think the birds are a nice touch.
YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2017-2018?
The sequel to Marie Lu's Warcross and the final installment to Kiersten White's Conquerer's Saga. If anyone has an early copy just lying around...
YABC: What was your favorite book in 2017?
This is a tough call because I have read and loved so many things; it was a great year for books, but I'm going to say it was a tie between Warcross by Marie Lu and Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
YABC: What’s up next for you?
My approach to writing is the same as my approach to adopting cats. I always wonder how there's room for even one more, and somehow end up with four.
YABC: Is there anything that you would like to add?
Wil's mother, the Queen, has OCD. This is something I've been dealing with myself since early childhood. I can't remember a time my day-to-day wasn't ruled by compulsions, ranging from very minor to so severe they inhibit my ability to go outside. When I was a kid, I didn't understand what was happening to me because I had never seen it reflected in any books or shows I turned to. This character was the first opportunity I've found to put it all down on paper in a way that made sense to this story. If there are any readers out there going through this too, I hope it makes them see they're not alone.
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
The scenes between Loom and Espel were a real challenge for me (and also among my favorite to write). They're siblings who grew up in the same palace, and yet they were raised to be enemies. Of course they're cautious and guarded around each other, but under all that is their sameness: they know that, had their lives gone differently, they would have loved and protected each other. I like to think that love and desire to protect is in there somewhere; they just have odd ways of showing it.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
The ability to worry about literally anything.
The Glass Spare
By: Lauren DeStefano
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: October 24th, 2017
One winner will receive a SIGNED ARC of The Glass Spare (Lauren DeStefano) ~ (US Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*