Visiting the blog today is Kiera Cass. She is the author of the soon-to-be released young adult novel, The Selection.
I have been following Kiera for a while on Twitter and YouTube - where she posts some fun, creative and very entertaining videos. (After reading this interview, check them out! - you won't be disappointed).
About your book:
What was your inspiration for The Selection?
I’m not quite sure why these two things combined in my head, but I was thinking about Esther and Cinderella. I always wondered if Esther had her heard set on someone before she was shipped off to marry this king that it seems she got along with but didn’t deeply love. Did she care for someone else, and have to let that love die? And Cinderella never asked for a prince; she asked for a party. What if she ended up unhappy with this prince, or the job she got simply from taking a night off?
I knew I wanted to write a story about a girl who was poor but would get the attention of a prince. However! She wouldn’t want him because she was already in love. And I knew she would participate in an event (which is the Selection) and that it would lead to way more than she was prepared to deal with.
Somewhere in there, America was born, and The Selection is her story.
If you could write your own cover blurb for The Selection, what would it be?
I couldn’t! I’m terrible at writing blurbs (which is why the review system on my website relies on a candy rating) and I don’t summarize very well. I’m still trying to figure out how I got an agent.
Who would be America Singer's literary best friend? What would they do on a Saturday night?
I think I might have said this before, but I think it might be Rhine Ellery from Wither. Not that their situations are the same at all, but I have a feeling they would understand each other very well. Also, they both seem to have a bit of a rebellious streak. If they both existed in the real world, today, I think they’d be stealing Slim Jims from the local 7-11. To share with their families, of course.
Have you always been a writer? Did you keep a journal or write stories or poetry when you were younger?
Actually, I did write poetry when I was in high school. I can safely tell you it’s ALL TERRIBLE! Of course, it was ground-breaking at the time, but now it’s just embarrassing. It all lives under my bed. I also got great grades in the classes where things depended on papers, and I was crazy about my journals. I guess the desire was waiting there all along, and I just wasn’t smart enough to notice it.
But I wouldn’t way I always wanted to be a writer. The way I fell into it is a bit of a long story. I’ll spare you that for now. Short version: it saved me.
How did writing your self-published novel, The Siren, differ from the process of writing The Selection?
Well, the writing process in the beginning was very similar. Things changed when I got my agent and got into the traditional publishing process. With self-publishing, everything is in your hands. I chose the cover art, I kept in everything I wanted, I wrote what’s on the back, I edited it… These are not necessarily gifts of mine. With traditional publishing, I have an agent who is always seeking to find the best opportunities for my book, an editor who knows how to make the story shine, a design team that made an AMAZING cover, and a marketing team who know how to make it stand out.
That’s where things are really different. I get to simply be a story teller, and that is what I’m good at. It’s also what I love.
How long do you think about a story or characters until you finally decide what you want to write about it/them?
Not long at all. In the case of The Siren, it was less than five minutes before I absolutely had to start writing something down. I think The Selection came slowly, but I remember being in the car and coming up with the name of the country, and once I knew where she was, I had to get started.
When crafting your story, do you write it in sequential order or do you write the story as it comes to you and then piece it together?
All of the above. It just depends on what comes to me first.
What is your favorite writing environment? Is it also your most productive?
Pretty much anywhere my two-year-old son isn’t crawling on me! Sometimes I work at the kitchen table, sometimes bookstores, sometimes coffee shops. I’ve learned to work pretty much anywhere, but I have plans for my own workspace someday.
About books and reading:
Searching for new books to read is a small part of my love for books. What are some determining factors when you are selecting new books to read?
I have a test: I read the first line. If I like it, I read the first paragraph. If I like it, I read the first page. If I like it, I buy the book. If it doesn’t pass any of those marks, I just sit it down. Writing it out, it sounds so mean! But I don’t think it’s ever really let me down.
Do you judge a book by its cover?
Absolutely. You eat with your eyes first. If something looks sketchy, you don’t bite. Same thing with books.
Do you have a book that you like to read over and over again (what I would call a comfort read) because you know that it will make you feel good after reading it? Is it a book that you turn to because you know that it will make you laugh or does it remind you of how you felt when you first read it (a sense of nostalgia)?
Actually, rereading books is a coping mechanism for me. When I get stressed, I go into familiar worlds. I love going over Harry Potter or Twilight books. They’re both fun in their own ways, and even their sad moments are comforting because I’ve been through it before.
Your novel doesn't come out until April 2012 - what books would you recommend to read until we can get our hands on The Selection?
Well, there’s a crazy line up of books out with HarperTeen. They are my home, so I do tend to read them first, but you can’t go wrong with:
The Paranormalcy series by Kiersten White
Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Catch up with Kiera at:
youtube channel youtube.com/user/kieracass
The Selection will be available April 24, 2012 from HarperTeen.
And if you can't wait until then, Kiera's short story "In the Clearing" will be in Brave New Love: 13 Dystopian Tales of Desire - available March 6, 2012.