Friday, January 4, 2013

Feature Friday: Victoria Schwab

Victoria Schwab is the author of The Near Witch--which Kirkus praised for its “shivery horror tang” and “extraordinary sense of place”--as well as several upcoming novels. Victoria suffers from a wicked case of wanderlust, but when she's not haunting Paris streets or trudging up English hillsides, she can usually be found tucked in the corner of a coffee shop in Nashville, sipping tea and dreaming up monsters.

The Interview:

A.L.:
What piece of advice would you give to a budding author?

Victoria:
Be brave. Putting your work, and by extension yourself--out there is terrifying, and you must make sure your want always outweighs your fear, at least by a little.

A.L.:
What's your favorite book and why?

Victoria:
I couldn't pick one, but my favorites tend to be those that blur the line between the magical and the mundane, the ones that make me wonder about the world I think I know.

A.L.:
Where did you get the idea for The Archived?

Victoria:
I actually had the setting first. I wanted to write a story about a family moving into an old hotel-turned-apartment building, and I knew I wanted the family to be struggling through something awful. From there, I knew I wanted the main character to hate the building because of what it was, and realized she disliked it because it was old, and old things had more memories. When I asked myself why she'd dislike it for that, I found the bones of the Archive, a world that revolves around memory. It all kind of spooled out in my mind from there.

A.L.:
Did you hit any snags while writing The Archived?  What were they and how did you fix them?

Victoria:
Hahahahahaha. Maybe one day I will be able to answer this question with real words. For now, the nervous laughter will have to suffice (says the girl currently being crushed by the sequel).

A.L.:
Which one of the characters in The Archived is your favorite and why?

Victoria:
It's a tie between Roland--who is based on David Tennant--and Wesley, my guyliner-wearing boy. Wesley is very important to me, because he's an inversion of many of the tropes in YA, even though I didn't set out to make him that way.

A.L.:
Can you tell us a little bit about your journey as an author?

Victoria:
It's been a ride. I started writing fiction in college, and kind of plunged into the deep end without knowing much about swimming. I'd played with poetry, and micro-fiction, but never anything even close to book-length. I wrote a book, and it was very lovely, but had no plot, so I put it away for awhile. I ended up digging it out and revising it six months later, and while it was interesting enough to land me an agent, it wasn't the book that sold. About 7-8 months into being on sub, I started writing THE NEAR WITCH, and that sold the summer after I graduated college. That was three and a half years ago, and I've been going ever since. Many highs--selling more books, seeing my work on shelves--and many lows--changing agents, writing a sequel that might never see the light of day--but it's an adventure.

A.L.:
What are you working on now?  Sequel?  Something new?

Victoria:
Right now I'm working on the sequel to THE ARCHIVED (I can't reveal the title yet) as well as a series of short MG books for Scholastic. I'm also playing with an idea for a new adult book.

A.L.:
Mac, your lead character in The Archived, is charged with keeping violent Histories from coming back to life.  How did you go about constructing a character like her?

Victoria:
See #3 :)

A.L.:
You grew up with an interesting combination of family/location.  Do you think that has greatly influenced your taste as a writer?

Victoria:
I got my wanderlust from my mother, to be sure. For those who don't know, my dad is from SoCal, my mum is from England (my grandmother is from Scotland, which is obviously how I got my stubborn blood), and I think that, in addition to traveling quite a bit as a kid, growing up surrounded by the English accent gave me an early flow/cadence, one that permeates my more lyrical work. And yes, I do tend to lean toward English authors because of it.

A.L.:
You've got two books coming out this year, plus you just had The Near Witch published in 2011.  What are your favorite aspects of each world/set of characters?

Victoria:
THE ARCHIVED has been such a journey (as you can probably tell from the mixture of nervous laughter and rambling answers above). It's just been such a CHALLENGE, bringing that world to life, asking a lot of very big questions, and many of them hard to answer. I think the size of that world, and its potential, is my favorite part.
I can't say too much about VICIOUS yet, but I've always, always wanted to write a book about superpowers, one that played with the notions of classic comic book heroes and villains, so it was a total joy.


The Giveaway:
Oh my gosh, guys I'm so excited about THE ARCHIVED that you're lucky Victoria is not giving away a copy of the book, I'd compete against you for it, LOL.  Victoria is giving away a pretty awesome little THE ARCHIVED swag pack.  (See below.)  I've also attached the book information for THE ARCHIVED, as per usual, but keep in mind that the giveaway is not for the book.  I've changed up the entry options and point system for the rafflecopter, so please make sure you pay attention so you don't miss out on possible points.



The Archived: Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn't just dangerous-it's a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da's death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption.


Read Goodreads reviews.
Buy on Barnes and Noble.
Buy on Amazon.

How to Enter:
Enter the giveaway using Rafflecopter. Hit the arrow buttons, follow the prompts, and hit the enter buttons when you're done. (You may have to log in using Facebook to do this). There will be one winner (selected by Rafflecopter). I will contact the winner via email. This contest is open to US entrants only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway