Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Interview with Angie Smibert

Why did you become an author?

Remember that scene in Sister Act 2 where Whoopi is explaining to Lauryn Hill (of all people) that she’s a singer? Sister Mary Clarence gives her wayward student a copy of Rainier Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet. In it, Rilke tells a young man that if all you can think about is writing then you’re a writer.

So it’s kinda like that.

I’ve always been a huge reader. I can remember coming home from the library with a paper grocery bag full of books, dumping them out on my bedroom floor, and then diving in (figurative and possibly literally). I also devoured good stories in any form: movie, TV, plays, etc. My grandmother used to like to tell the story of how she found me glued to Splendor in the Grass on her black-and-white TV when I was, oh, about 10.

And I’ve always made up stories to entertain myself. As a kid, I’d take characters and worlds from books and TV –and then mash them up in my head with original stuff. (Imagine a little bit of Star Trek meets MASH with a dash of Emergency! and Dune or The Hobbit thrown in for good measure.) I thought everybody did that. So I didn’t really starting writing that stuff down for many, many years. (Until I got bored on my first real job, actually.)

But, ultimately, how could I not become a writer?

How has life changed since your debut novel?

Not much really. I’ve met some cool people and been to some cool places, but I’m still sitting here contentedly typing away on my laptop. (I am quite jealous of those people at ComicCon, though!) All in all, I’m quite pleased and grateful to have three books out in the world now.

I think the major difference between now and my debut book is the stress / excitement level. Nothing beats when your first book comes out. Everything is all new and sparkly and stressful (but mostly in a good way). After a few books, you figure out what not to stress about. (And you stress about a whole new batch of things.)

If you could spend the day with one of your characters who would it be and why?

Winter. I’d have her show me how to make amazing, wacky, and beautiful things, like her kinetic sculptures. I admire but don’t necessarily share that ability, which is why I guess I like to create those kind of characters.

Do you ever re-read your early novels and do you think about changes?

Nope. I actually haven’t re-read the first two books since they went through final copyediting. During the writing, revision, and editing process, you read your own book so many times that it all becomes this blur of words. There are probably things I might like to change, but there’s a point where you need to let it go and move on.

Do your short stories influence your novels?

Certainly. I wrote many, many short stories before I published my first book. That used to be how genre fiction writers broke into the market. Writing short stories—particularly flash fiction (1000 words)—teaches you to pack a lot into a few words and to get to the good stuff quickly. That is reflected in my novels. My prose is pretty lean. I try to make words do double and triple duty, and I work the exposition into the action wherever possible.

And for me, I often think of an idea as short fiction first and then see how it might develop into a novel. (btw, Memento Nora started off as a short story, which you can read on my author site: www.angiesmibert.com.)

When do you write?
I treat writing as a job. I sit my butt down from 10-5ish and work. (Actually, I’m there earlier tutoring for a few hours every morning.) I do, of course, take breaks for copious amounts of coffee and tea, going to the gym, cleaning up after the elderly dog, “researching” online, and just staring out the window.

What books are on your nightstand?
I just got Ruta Sepetys’ new book, Out of the Easy, from the library. On my electronic night stand (aka, Kindle), I’m reading The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker. I recently finished Neil Gaiman’s Ocean at the End of the Lane, which I loved, and I finally read John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. (Imagine a Nerdfighter salute here.)

Are there any plans or ideas for other genre books?
My WIP is a fantasy, but I don’t want to jinx it by saying more than that. ;)

Angie is the author of several young adult books, including the Memento Nora series from Skyscape: MEMENTO NORA (2011), THE FORGETTING CURVE (2012), and THE MEME PLAGUE (releasing August 2013). She has also published many short stories, for both adults and teens, and is a frequent contributor to Odyssey magazine; Memento Nora began as one of those stories. Angie lives in Virginia and when she's not writing (...or reading), she enjoys yoga and playing on a local trivia quiz team. Angie is also a contributing member of the League of Extraordinary Writers, a blog of debut young adult dystopian writers: http://leaguewriters.blogspot.com/.

THE MEME PLAGUE (Memento Nora series - Book 3) by Angie Smibert

It’s time to finally say Enough!

In a world where corporations not so secretly control the government and the police use fear tactics to keep everyone in line (sound a little familiar?), Micah and Nora take charge of their memories—and the truth—in this breathtaking series finale.

In THE MEME PLAGUE, the final book of the Memento Nora series, Micah and his friends have each lost something—a parent, a relationship, a home, maybe even their own identities as they remembered them to be. But together, they can make sure some things are never forgotten. Election Day is coming, and Mayor Mignon is certain to be elected to Congress. It’s time to build a new electronic frontier (MemeNet), one that’s not controlled by the mayor and his cronies. It’s time to get out the vote and shake up the system. Will they succeed before it’s too late?

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