Night Shade by Andrea Cremer is published by Philomel and released on October 19th 2010. To learn more about this wonderful upcoming novel while anticipating to get our hands on it, I have been lucky enough to get a chance to interview author Andrea. Here it goes !
Nightshade is the story of Calla Tor - on her upcoming eighteenth birthday she’ll become the alpha female of the next generation of Guardian wolves who have fought for centuries on the front lines of the Witches’ War. But her predestined path veers off course when she saves the life of a wayward hiker, a human boy. Startled by her own violation of the law she’s sworn to uphold, she hopes the stranger will soon be a distant memory. When the boy turns out to be a new student in her school, Calla’s random act of kindness spirals into a whirlwind of deceit, hidden histories, and forbidden love.
Surprising! I'd spent my whole life writing, but I never pursued publication. Then two summers ago I was in a horseback riding accident where I ended up with a broken foot. I couldn't walk for eight weeks, so I decided to finally go after my dream of writing a novel. I was hooked instantly and knew there was no going back. I wrote two "practice" novels that will live forever in my desk drawers and then I wrote Nightshade. I knew from the beginning it was "the one," and I began querying agents. Charlie Olsen, my phenomenal agent at InkWell, requested the full manuscript and called me to say he loved it in March 2009. I did more revisions with Charlie and we went on submission in the summer of 2009, receiving a pre-empt from Michael Green at Philomel shortly thereafter. It was amazing - and in the publishing world, it happened at record speed.
Nightshade is Calla's story and she was the inspiration for the book. I tend to write from characters and Calla was floating around in my head for a week or two before I started putting her story onto the page. I knew she was a girl who was also a wolf. I knew she was strong, but also in serious trouble. I couldn't figure out how someone so powerful could be in that sort of a fix. That's where Nightshade's world emerged, it was all about building a history and society that explained Calla's predicament.
Friends who knew I was a vampire girl presumed that meant I love ALL forms of paranormal, so they’d push werewolves at me enthusiastically. I wasn’t interested, and I couldn’t figure out why. After all they were fierce, strong, magical – all things I liked. So what was the problem? And then it hit me – I didn’t like werewolves because I love wolves. That’s right – I’m a wolf girl, but a real wolf girl. I grew up so far North in Wisconsin that it’s practically Canada. Wolves roamed the forests of my homeland. I also loved National Geographic specials even more than cartoons. So by age 9 I could rattle off biological and ecological info like a pro. Wolves to me were beautiful, intelligent, social, and graceful. Werewolves seemed to be none of these things. The werewolves I’d encountered on page and screen were hideous – half man/half beast, usually ugly, often unintelligent, driven only by rage or bloodlust. And worst of all: they didn’t want to be wolves. Lycanthropy occurs as a curse, or a disease. The endgoal of most werewolf tales was to kill the wolf or free the affected person of the wolf curse. I couldn’t come to grips with that idea. If someone asked me – hey wanna turn into a wolf? I’d say “heck, yeah!” Wouldn’t you rather be a wolf? From what I know of wolves, the answer is indisputably YES. Nightshade’s Guardians are my way of coming to terms with my love of wolves and my trouble with classic werewolf tales. Calla – the alpha female who narrates Nightshade – is powerful and revels in her life as a wolf.
My journey has been an odd, wondrous trip. It started when a horse jumped on my foot in the summer of 2008, setting me on crutches for eight weeks. I couldn't do anything so I decided I'd finally try writing a novel - something I'd always dreamed about doing but had never given myself permission to try. Once I started writing I couldn't stop - and I knew there was no going back. It was terrifying - knowing I had a dream that I wanted so much and yet had no idea how to make it happen. I was a complete publishing "n00b." There's a myth among aspiring writers that you can't get published without connections. It really is a myth. When I made the commitment to publish Nightshade even if it took everything I had, I didn't know anything about that world. I did research. I learned about agents, practiced writing queries. Submitted to the agencies that seemed the best fits for my work. And my ms was pulled out of the slush pile. No connections whatsoever. To get published you need patience, an iron will, and belief in the value of what you've written.
I wrote the first draft between Thanksgiving and Christmas of 2008. I did revisions on my own in January. My agent requested the full manuscript in February and offered representation in March. I did more revisions with my agent that spring and we went on submission in the summer of 2009 and the book sold shortly thereafter.
I did a couple of rounds of revisions with my agent in the spring of 2009 and after Penguin purchased the book I did another couple of rounds with my editor in September. None of the characters changed, but I added more of Calla's internal thoughts and emotions as part of the revision - which was a challenge because Calla likes to keep her feelings to herself!
Writers who’ve had a major influence on my thinking and writing are Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, Barbara Kingsolver, David Eddings, and Marion Zimmer Bradly. A few of the many YA authors I admire are Cassandra Clare, Maggie Stiefvater, Richelle Mead, Laurie Halse Anderson, John Green, and Libba Bray.
I really love Anne of Green Gables because she is smart, feisty and constantly imagining fantastic worlds around her.
Nightshade (bella donna) is a deadly herb. It's the name of Calla's Guardian pack - the book was originally titled "Guardian" but my editor and I agreed that Nightshade was a more evocative word that fit the story well, so the title changed. I like it much better so I'm really happy we made that switch!
Wow ! Sounds awesome? Yeah, I can't wait to read this book too !
Coming Up Next, I have reviews on Evernight and Hourglass by Claudia Gray as well as an interview with the author herself ! Oops, not to mention another international giveaway ! Yep, you heard me right ! International !