28 August 2011

Author Interview: Victoria Schwab Talks Near Witch and Narwhals!

As many of you already know, I’ve been obsessed with The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab for a very, very long time. And now it is HERE, and I am so happy, I keep hugging my copy and dancing. I hope you are all reading YOUR copies right now.

Before The Near Witch was among us, when I was still a quivering mass of excitement while I waited for its release, I asked Victoria to stop by for an interview, and she was sweet enough to oblige!

Laura: Victoria, thank you very much for agreeing to this interview! I know you're terribly busy and very stressed with touring and edits, so it means a lot that you'd take time out of your schedule to do this. I am head over heels for The Near Witch, and I know I could talk all day about my love for it. What would you like readers to know about The Near Witch?

Victoria: The Near Witch is not really paranormal romance, but it's not really high fantasy either. It's a fairy tale, and fairy tales exist in this odd, wonderful gray space between genres. It's a tale of witches and ghosts, of trust and fear and magic and strangers. I hope people pick up not knowing what to expect. Too clearly these days by the time we've lifted a book from the shelf, we think we know what we're in for. I don't want people to know. I just want them to read. Maybe for a little while, the world goes away.

Laura: What has been your favorite author experience to date, and what part of being a newly-published author are you looking forward to the most?  

Victoria: Oh man, I'm not sure I can pick. It's been so surreal, having authors I respect, and whose work I love, treat me as an equal, chat with me, welcome me into their world. I hope I never get used to it. I will say that I'm a huge Laini Taylor fan, and the first time she spoke to me on Twitter, I might have done a dance in my kitchen.

Laura: I consider myself a student of cover art, which is a nice way to say that I spend a lot of time staring at covers and analyzing them. A lot of time. How well do you feel The Near Witch's cover expresses the story?

Victoria: My favorite part about The Near Witch's cover is actually its lightness. It's by no means a light story, but it's whimsical, even in its dark moments. It's an odd cover, especially for paranormal/fantasy, which tends toward dark palettes, but I love it for that. The Near Witch is different, and the cover is different. There are these faint gloss filigrees you can only see when you get close, and I love that, too. It's meant to draw you in. A little unassuming, perhaps, but up close, layered. I like the think the book is like that, too. Plus, the moorscape on the back makes my heart happy.

Laura: In The Near Witch, the setting is a vibrant and active part of the story. Was Near or the moor inspired by a real place you’ve visited?

Victoria: I've spent a bit of time in England (the north of which is most often associated with moors) but Near was a mix of things. The isolated, airy feeling inherent in fairy tales, the rolling, tall-grass hills that make land like sea, the weedy, unkempt wild and the old stone and wood, stacked-together structures. I wanted the tangled feel of it all.

Laura: Which character came first, Lexi, or the Near Witch, and did one inspire the other?

Victoria: Lexi came first of the two, but Near and Cole preceded both. The first things I knew of the book were the town and the stranger, but I heard them described in Lexi's voice. The Witch came last :)

Laura: projects are you working on now? This is an obvious ploy to trick you into telling us more about your mystery project, Vagabond Puppies.

Victoria: Haha, it will take more than that to get me to spill about Vagabond Puppies. But I'm just about to start edits on my next contracted book, The Archived. The only way we've been able to describe it so far (the mash-up is constantly twisting and changing) is Buffy meets The Shining meets If I Stay. Believe me when I say I CANNOT WAIT to share more. As for Vagabond Puppies... my lips are sealed.

Laura: Do you have a favorite drink or snack for when you’re writing?

Victoria: TEA. Tea and some form of baked good, preferably a cookie, to go with it :)

Laura: Who are some of your favorite authors? And can you tell us which books you think nobody should miss?

Victoria: It is a long, and ever-growing list, but always at the top are Neil Gaiman, Laini Taylor, Suzanne Collins, Patrick Rothfuss...

Laura: You have a whole army of narwhals...what is their mission? Should we be afraid?

Victoria: YES. BE VERY AFRAID. My narwhals wander out into the world and whisper witchy things ;)

Laura: The Zombie Apocalypse has begun: What is your strategy for survival?

Victoria: Eat as much sugar as humanly possible. I've heard zombies prefer salty over sweet.

Laura: That is very good advice... *opens bag of cookies*

You can pick up this brilliant book at Barnes and Noble or Amazon. OR, PREFERABLY, from your favorite indie bookstore! Really, you should order this book last week because it is just that great. I can't stop giving it out at the library.

Thank you again for stopping by, Victoria!

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