Monday, September 14, 2009

Interview with #1 NY Times Bestselling author of Wings, Aprilynne Pike

I recently had the pleasure of chatting with a fellow AbsoluteWriter turned #1 New York Times Bestselling author, Aprilynne Pike. First, here’s a bit about Aprilynne’s debut, Wings.

Wings, is the first of four books about a seemingly ordinary girl named Laurel who discovers she is a faerie sent among humans to guard the gateway to Avalon. When Laurel is thrust into the midst of a centuries-old battle between faeries and trolls, she’s torn between a human and a faerie love, as well as her loyalties to each world. In this extraordinary tale of magic and intrigue, romance and danger, everything you thought you knew about faeries will be changed forever( HarperTeen)

From following your Twitter, I know you’re now working on copyedits for book two. I know you’re not allowed to divulge many secrets from the sequel, but can you give us some hints? Most importantly, will we see more of the yummy Tamani?

Here are the four things I am telling people about book two. First, in book two Laurel gets summoned to the Academy of Avalon to learn how to be a Fall faerie, so readers get to go with her right into Avalon for the first time! While there, you’ll see more of Tamani and get to know him as a person rather than just in his role as Laurel’s sentry. On the human side, you’ll get to see Laurel and David as a couple, since we really didn’t get to see that in the first book. Also, Chelsea is going to step forward and take a stronger role, and I’m really excited about that.
Wings is one of a four book series. How far are you into books three and four?

I am about 55k into book three and, as you mentioned, just turned in copy-edits for book two. Book four is still simmering away in my brain.:)

Writers often draw on their real life experiences. Is there a little of Aprilynne in Laurel? Or are there other people in your life who influenced David or Tamani?

There is a little bit of Laurel in me in that I moved schools twice during my freshman year of high school and was the new girl in both a huge school and a tiny school, and became very familiar with the challenges those both entailed. I really don’t have anyone who influenced either Tamani or David. I set out to make two different versions of the perfect man. Everyone always asks which guy is my husband, but I’m afraid my husband is yet a third version of the perfect man.:D

*Sighs. Aprilynne is a lucky woman…literary success and the perfect man!

You were a part of the Supernatural Summer book tour with Melissa Marr. Can you tell us a little about the tour?

The tour was awesome! I didn’t actually get to tour with Melissa as we were on different legs, but I did get to tour with and meet Kim Harrison, Kelley Armstrong, and Claudia Gray. It was so cool to do a group signing; to be able to feed off of each other and combine fan bases. I hear we are doing another one next year (I don’t know who exactly is involved yet) and I am so excited to find out more!!

When I first started on AW, I stalked—er, followed, your blog religiously. What has blogging meant to you and to your writing career?

Blogging is a way to more intimately share my journey with readers. And not even always readers. A lot of my blog followers are aspiring authors who may or may not have read my book. I started out as a new writer with no credentials and one contact who recommended me to her agent who promptly lost my manuscript. Now I am a (it still feels weird to say this) bestselling author with a movie in the works and sales to 20 foreign countries! Holy s*&^!! I have blogged from the very beginning and I am hopeful that other aspiring authors will see that if I can do it, they can too. It takes work. Usually a lot of work, but it can be done–I’m living proof. And so are several of my blog readers now, which–although i know I did not contribute directly to them being published–makes me very proud!

There seems to be a booming population of Mormon’s in the YA Fantasy genre. As a spiritual person whose faith sometimes bleeds over into her work, does your faith influence your work, or do you keep it entirely separate?

I try to keep it entirely separate. I keep religion out of my novels because I don’t want my readership to be limited by their religion. Teen experiences are teen experiences, no matter what you faith or lack thereof dictates. I tend to make my main characters either non-religious or religiously-apathetic.

Wings wasn’t your first novel. You originally started out with adult novel, which sounded awesome by the way. Is that novel trunked, or do you plan on resurrecting it?

laugh* It has been ages since someone asked about my adult novel! My first two novels were a first book and sequel in a high fantasy that involved a system of magic where opposite magical people had to work together to use their gifts. But working with someone bound you to them for the rest of your lives, both in a physical sense as well as an emotional sense. And things get rather shaken up when a brother and sister accidentally bond and have to work together to fight and old family enemy who now threatens the entire world.

Wow . . . that off the cuff paragraph is way better than my query letter was. Ha!

Even in your wildest dreams, could you fathom the success that Wings has garnered?

Never. I knew that Harper had big plans for me–that was enough of a surprise. And since I really wanted writing to be my career, I knew i wanted to make a splash. But never, ever, even in my pipe dreams, did I think I would hit number one with my first book, or that I would sell movie rights so soon, and in such a star-studded way. I am meeting goals now that I did not even consider meeting until several books down the road. It has been one amazing surprise after another!

You are mom to three beautiful children. How do you balance your writing with your motherly duties?

I have a stay at home husband! At least for the next six months. Then he has to get on with his own life. Seriously though, he makes all the difference. He watches the kids when I travel and when I write for about six hours a day. But when I am done writing, I’m done writing, and then it is kid time. I have to devote the rest of the hours of the day because otherwise I become a part-time mom, and I am just not willing to do that.

Stephenie Meyer is a friend of yours. Although there is a rabid and vocal fan base of Twilight, there are also those who are very critical. How do you handle critical reviews? Is it hard for you to hear criticism of fellow writer friends?

I am a firm believer that a certain percent of readers in this world, are going to be haters. I have lots of haters. But I turn that around and say that I have lots of haters because I have lots of readers. I also get a lot of really wonderful fan mail and that helps to balance out the two.

Critical reviews–those, in my opinion, are not hard to handle. Truly critical reviews are smart and well-thought. They point out flaws in your book and–if you are honest with yourself–make you think, hmmm, they are probably right. I have tweaked issues in book two because of smart reviewers who saw somethign that I didn’t. And I am grateful to them for pointing it out! Then there are reviews where the book simply didn’t speak to the reader, it wasn’t their thing. Those are okay too. Different strokes for different folks as they say. I certainly don’t expect everyone to like my book. I don’t like every book that I read either. The ones that tend to bother me are the ones where the reviewer clearly either wants to hate your success (usually these reviewers who are aspiring authors and you can just see them going, “But, but, but MY book is better than THIS!”) or have a friend who is “in competition” with you (I have several of those too.) Those reviews are not fair, and they tend to be louder and more publicized. But even when I run into something like that, I just have to shrug and move on and remember that they fit into the haters percentage too. They are just more verbal.:)

It probably harder for me to see people hating on books that are writen by friends than my own because I have discovered that I am, for some reason, better at shrugging off haters than most of my friends (and waaaay better than my husband; he is my knight in shining armor.:)). So when I read a really hateful review of a friend’s book, I know that it hurts them and it makes me want to lash out. I don’t . . . usually, but it’s the Mama Bear instinct in me.:)

What can you not live without when you’re writing?

Diet soda. Well, some kind of snacks in general. I have this hand to mouth thing and tend to chomp rather voraciously when I am writing a difficult scene.:)

And for fun: Peanut or plain m and m’s?

Plain. I am all about plain chocolate.

Myself, Krista, along with all of us here at OPWFT want to thank Aprilynne for her generosity in taking the time out of her VERY, VERY busy schedule to chat with us. Can’t wait to the sequel!!!

Originally published on Old People Writing for Teens. To view the original post and reader comments, please click here.

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