Mundie Moms

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Author Interview: Scott Westerfeld Talks AFTERWORLDS, NaNoWriMo, The Young Writers Program & More

I am so thrilled to have Scott Westerfeld on Mundie Moms today! Along with AFTERWORLDS, his upcoming release (which hits shelves on 9/23), Scott and his lovely wife, Justine have been working on an amazing project to support young writers. Now I don't know about you guys, but I wish there was something like this when I was a teen!

Recently I had the chance to talk to Scott about NaNoWriMo, the Young Writers Program he and Justine are raising money for, and his upcoming release AFTERWORLDS.

I love the support authors, such as yourself, are to young writers. Both you and Justine have given some great advice to writers who have taken part in NaNoWriMo, something you're a huge supporter of. For those of us who have felt intimidated by NaNoWriMo, could you please tell us briefly what it is, and why young writers benefit from taking part in it?

National Novel Writing Month is a month-long (November) celebration of writing the first draft of a novel. It's writers supporting and motivating each other to write without self-judgement, and to save the editing for December. It's a great way to push past writer's block, sloth, and one's inner demons. 

As a teen, I always wanted to write novels, but everyone told me that I was supposed to write short stories. Nano helps those young writers who are naturally marathon runners, who probably don't have anyone at school telling them to let their inner novelist free.

I love that you're raising money for the Young Writers Program, which for those who don't know, is a wing of Nano that assists teen novelists. How did you get involved with this, and how can we support your cause? 

This year, NaNo is focusing on better supporting teen novelists. The Young Writers Program will be updating their website and their already great course materials, which they give to over 2000 schools for free. YWP is also reaching out to schools halfway houses and juvenile detention facilities, because writers are everywhere.

I'm matching any donations made in June, so you'll be doubling your money.

I'm really looking forward to reading your upcoming release, AFTERWORLDS. In this book, readers get to see your teenage character's adventures in writing. Readers will see Darcy's struggles with writing, what influences her writing, as well some of the ins with publishing. Why was it important for you to give your readers a realistic look inside the life of a writer and the publishing world? What do you hope they take away from reading AFTERWORLDS?

In Afterworlds, Darcy has already written her first draft, so she's rewriting. And, as many have said, it's that second draft where the magic happens. That's when you know enough to really see the shape of your story and characters. 

Afterworlds contains both a full-length novel about Darcy and the entire book that she's writing. So you get both her fictional world and her "real" one, and you can see how the two influence each other. It's about all the ways that we storytellers steal from reality around us to make our novels.

I loved the comment you made in your interview with Publisher's Weekly about AFTERWORLDS, that you "Wanted to chronicle a bit of how silly and awesome we all are." What do you feel is one of the common things that both writers and publishers have that makes you silly and awesome?

We care an awful lot about these made-up places and people, which is certainly silly (because they aren't real) and awesome (because they ARE real). There's something magical about putting squiggles on paper to create characters that we can love, hate, celebrate, and mourn. The conversations about that magical process works are some of my favorite parts of my real life, and also my favorite parts of Afterworlds.

I hear you have been working on a writing guide for young adults, "How To Write YA", which will be featured on your blog beginning in June. Can you please tell us a little bit about it? 

There's a lot of writing advice online, but it tends to be boiled down to the most easily digestible ideas, because that's what gets linked to. I wanted to talk about the stuff that we writers really talk about when we're together. (Spoiler alter: we don't spend a lot of time saying "show don't tell" to each other.) I've been putting together all the writing advice I've given to young writers over the years, especially since teaching at the Alpha Writing Workshop last summer. Hopefully whatever wisdom I have will inspire young writers, if only by giving them something to rebel against. 

Thank you Scott for stopping by Mundie Moms today!

To find out more about YWP, please click here.
To make a donation to NaNoWriMo's Young Writers Project, please go here.

About Afterworlds

Published by Simon Pulse
To Be Released on: 9/23/14
Pre-Order it from: Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads

Darcy Patel has put college and everything else on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. Arriving in New York with no apartment or friends she wonders whether she's made the right decision until she falls in with a crowd of other seasoned and fledgling writers who take her under their wings… 

Told in alternating chapters is Darcy's novel, a suspenseful thriller about Lizzie, a teen who slips into the 'Afterworld' to survive a terrorist attack. But the Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead and as Lizzie drifts between our world and that of the Afterworld, she discovers that many unsolved - and terrifying - stories need to be reconciled. And when a new threat resurfaces, Lizzie learns her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she loves and cares about most. 

Watch the book trailer

About Scott Westerfeld
Scott Westerfeld's teen novels include the Uglies series, the Leviathan and Midnighters trilogies, and the so-called "NYC Trilogy": So Yesterday, Peeps, and The Last Days. Scott was born in Texas, and alternates summers between Sydney, Australia, and New York City. His next book, Afterworlds, comes out September 23, 2014. (via Amazon)

Find Scott via his Blog | Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

The Return by Jennifer L. Armentrout, Waiting on Wednesday #216

By: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published by: Spencer Hill Press
To Be Released on: 2/2015
Series: Titan #1
Add it to Goodreads

It’s been a year since Seth made the deal with the gods that pledged his life to them. And so far, the jobs they’ve given him have been violent and bloody – which is kind of all right with him. But now Apollo has something else in mind for Seth. He’s got to play protector while keeping his hands and fingers off, and for someone who really has a problem with restraint, this new assignment might be the most challenging yet. 

Josie has no idea what this crazy hot guy’s deal might be, but it’s a good bet that his arrival means the new life she started after leaving home is about to be thrown into an Olympian-sized blender turned up to “puree”. Either Josie is going insane or a nightmare straight out of an ancient myth is gunning for her.

But it might be the unlikely attraction simmering between her and the golden-eyed, secret-keeping Seth that may prove to be the most dangerous thing of all.

SETH!!! I know! He's the one everyone wanted to hate in the Covenant series, but I always knew there was something more to him, even if at times I couldn't stand him. By the time the series end I totally loved him, and I'm so excited Jennifer is writing his story. I have a feeling his story won't disappoint. 

What book are you waiting on?

New To My Shelves #174 - The Catching Up Edition

 Welcome to this week's edition of New To My Shelves (previously known as In My Mailbox (IMM) / Stacking the Shelves (STS) or My Weekly Round Up in the Stacks. This week's posts features the goodies that have recently arrived, or I've purchased over the past few weeks. You can check out all the goodies that have arrived via my Instagram account. 

For Review

Harlequin Teen
Penguin Teen
Delacorate Press
Simon & Schuster
Epic Reads / Harper Teen 
I am beyond excited about this! When my pre-ordered copies of both the LUX: Beginnings and LUX: Consequences came, I found a HUGE surprise on the back of the hard covers..... MY QUOTE! 
I can't even tell you guys how much I fangirled over that. I absolutely adore Jennifer, and have since I read the arc for her first book. To be quoted on the back of her book is such an honor. 

Also, I LOVE the hard cover editions!! They are totally worth spending a couple extra dollars to get!! 

This lovely surprise was in the paperback edition, which I also picked up. I love seeing quotes from some of my friends in here!

Thank You to Harlequin Teen, Penguin Teen, Epic Reads/Harper Teen and Stacey O'Neale for these fabulous reads!

What goodies have you recently added to your shelves?