Hello, book lovers! As a special salute to this month’s Q&As with authors of 2016’s BEST YA DEBUT NOVELS, this final February interview includes a special GIVEAWAY of book swag from Kathryn Purdie’s debut novel, Burning Glass. For a chance to win, all you have to do is “like” this post before Saturday 2/27/16. The winner must also be willing to provide a mailing address so I can, you know, send you the swag. 🙂
Today’s Must-Read YA Debut Author Is . . .
Kathryn Purdie who, in addition to her obvious talent for writing, is a classically trained actress. Kathryn was inspired to write the Burning Glass debut trilogy while recovering from donating a kidney to her older brother.
Why Burning Glass is a Must-Read:
An immersive page-turner with luscious writing and a complex heroine. Because of Sonya’s unique ability to physically and emotionally feel what those around her feel, she is forced into the employ of the emperor where she must protect him by sensing the intentions of would-be assassins.
Eve: What made you fall in love with your novel?
K.P.: How surprising and flawed Sonya is as a character. She constantly shocked me and delighted me as I wrote her. Her unpredictability is my favorite thing.
Eve: When is your book’s official release date?
K.P.: My book releases March 1st. I haven’t seen the finished copy yet. I’m on pins and needles!
Eve: Many writers also seem to be music lovers. Did you create a playlist for your novel and, if so, what are some of the songs on it?
K.P.: I LOVE music, but I can’t listen to vocal music while I write, or I just want to sing along! So I write to soundtracks. I wrote almost all of BURNING GLASS to the film score of BELLE by Rachel Portman. The best vocal song that embodies the mood of BURNING GLASS is “Can’t Pretend,” by Tom Odell. I allow myself to listen to it while I revise, because revisions take less brainpower than drafting for me (so the vocal music isn’t so distracting).
Eve: Speaking of music.. . included in your book swag is a novel-inspired song you wrote and performed called “Song for Anton.” Clearly you are a musician. If you were in an all-authors band (like YA authors Libba Bray, Natalie Standiford, Barnabas Miller, and Daniel Ehrenhaft’s “Tiger Beat”), what instrument would you play?
K.P.: I would play the guitar—and I do play the guitar! My dad taught me when I was sixteen. I spent the rest of high school torturing all my friends with renditions of Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind.” One funny thing about my guitar playing is I am the world’s worst strummerMy dad taught me folk songs and how to finger pluck, and that’s still the way I play.
Eve: The best writers are also huge readers. What are some books you recently read that you loved?
K.P.: THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD by Emily Henry (Pure magic and a sweeping feeling of nostalgia, intellect, and true love.)
A STUDY IN CHARLOTTE by Brittany Cavallaro (Awesome twist on Sherlock Holmes. Holmes is a modern girl in this version.)
AN EMBER IN THE ASHES by Sabaa Tahir (Amazing world, execution, and the concept of Masks fascinates me.)
Eve: Having an online presence is a big deal for writers. How do you balance writing and social media?
K.P.: I don’t balance it! I’m still trying to figure that out. I’ve recently downloaded the “Freedom” app to force me to stay offline while I write and revise. Wish me luck!
Eve: In the early days of crafting your novel, were you shy about sharing what you’d written with others?
K.P.: I’m always shy about sharing what I’ve written. I’ve learned that I like to stay very alone with my concept and draft until I’ve made it the best it can be. Of course, I can’t do this anymore since I’m having a trilogy published. I have to discuss my future books often with my editor. But I don’t mind. She loves these books and is as equally invested in them as I am.
Eve: Do you have a critique group and, if so, how did you find them?
K.P.: I met my critique group at the first writing conference I attended a few years ago. We hard core critiqued each other’s manuscripts the first years we were together. Now our schedules don’t allow for us to have time to critique everything (some of us are published and have tight deadlines), so we’re more of a support group now. But these ladies are very special to me and have gotten me through some intense times!
Eve: Who came up with the title of your novel? Was it the same title you used when querying agents?
My editor, together with the sales and marketing team at my publisher, came up with the name, BURNING GLASS. They wanted something moody, atmospheric, and symbolic. It’s not an obvious title. When you read the book, you have to think hard about why that’s the title. That’s why I love it! My original title for the book was AURASEER, which is the type of empath Sonya is in the story. That term remains in the book, but it didn’t stick as the title. 🙂
Eve: Many writers have dark moments while working on their novels, times when they’re not sure they’ll ever finish. If you encountered hurdles like this, how did you overcome them?
K.P.: I didn’t experience this for BURNING GLASS (a rare exception to my norm), but I have for the next book in the trilogy, which I’m still working on. To get through all that, I lean on my support group of author friends and my amazing husband, I get practical advice on things I’m struggling with (like turning off my inner editor), and I cling to a strong vision that somehow I’ll succeed. Writing a book is hard, and it truly takes a village.
Eve: Was there any particular epiphany you had while writing your novel when you said to yourself, “Hey, I can do this. I’m going to publish this thing.”
K.P.: From the moment I had the idea to write BURNING GLASS, I knew this book would be special and different. I had another book planned and outlined, and I set it all aside when this story popped into my head. It flowed out of me with little difficulty, compared to previous novels. In all ways, it really felt “meant to be,” and I had high hopes for it.
Eve: Where can your fans reach you?