Sunday, May 26, 2013

Interview with Katie Williams, author of the YA paranormal, Absent and US/Can giveaway!

Absent Guys, I loved this book, and the author is super cool! Read the interview and enter to win this great book!

Goodreads Book Description: Forever is a long time to be stuck in high school.

Seventeen-year-old Paige is dead, the victim of a freak fall from the roof during Physics class. Now she’s a ghost, permanently bound to the grounds of her high school. It isn’t all bad, she can find out everyone’s secrets, which can be amusing—for a while. But then Paige hears something that isn’t amusing at all: the rumor spread by the most popular girl at school that her death wasn’t an accident—that she supposedly jumped on purpose. Paige is desperate to stop the gossip, but what can a ghost do? Then Paige discovers something amazing. She can possess living people when they think of her, and she can make them do almost anything. Maybe, just maybe, she can get inside the girl who’s responsible for the stories. . . and have a little fun turning the tables while she’s at it.

Katie Williams’ second novel is a suspenseful page-turner full of eerie wit and a touch of the otherworldly

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Author Blurb: Katie Williams is the author of *Absent* (forthcoming May 2013), *The Space Between Trees* (2010), and many short stories for teenagers and adults. She grew up in Michigan, went to school in Texas, and now lives in California, with her husband Ulysses. She likes orange cats and cinnamon ice cream.

Author Interview
1. Can you tell us a little about your journey to becoming a writer and how you came to write YA?
I suppose the beginning of my journey is that I've always loved to read. When you love to read and you go to college, you often end up becoming an English major, which leads to many adults telling you how nice your English degree will look on your law school applications. But I was not law-school bound. Each semester, I signed up for as many creative writing classes as I could. In fact, I almost didn't graduate on time because I hadn't taken enough "proper" English courses. Then, in graduate school, teachers and classmates kept suggesting that I might write YA novels, I think because my protagonists are usually teenagers. Me, I'm ambivalent about the term "YA"; on the one hand, there are things I expect from YA stories--immediacy, a vibrant voice, coming-of-age storylines--but on the other hand, I find that well-written YA fiction isn't much different from well-written adult fiction, so I'm not always sure about the distinction. If there's any one thing I'd say about writing YA, it's that I consider it a privilege to write books for people who are (as I did when I was younger) first owning that title of reader.

2. I love the hook of your story. I don't know if you are a Buffy fan, but the premise reminds me of an episode where people kept getting killed in the high school after playing out a tragic love story between teacher and student, and Buffy has to break the cycle. Of course, this plot is totally different, but I wondered where you got the idea for the story?

Well met, fellow Buffy fan! Joss Whedon is one of my storytelling idols because he doesn't throw magic into his stories just to jazz them up, but rather uses the magical elements to express things about his characters in a way that reality can't quite capture. That's interesting that you were reminded of the episode "I Only Have Eyes for You" (had to look that title up!). I can see that. If there's one episode that crossed my mind while writing *Absent*, it was "Out of Mind, Out of Sight" where a girl at school is so often overlooked that she becomes literally invisible.  

But I digress. The idea for *Absent* actually came from the setting. I wanted to write a novel that took place in a contained space. When I was in high school, my friends and I were allowed to stay late sometimes to work on projects, and we'd come down from the library into a nearly vacant school. It was so strange being in this now-empty place that was usually bustling. So, I started with that: A group of kids in an empty high school. Then, I thought, 'What if the kids are dead?'

3. I absolutely love your characters, especially some of the supporting ones. Did you have a favorite? Did any of them refuse to mold to your will and become someone else?
Thanks! I have a particular fondness for Harriet who essentially wrote herself. My favorite moment in the book is when she wipes away the smudge on the athletes' trophy case. And then I always love my villains, but I think I shouldn't say anything more about that right now.  

4. For our aspiring writers, can you tell us about your relationship with other YA authors? Has this been intimidating, helpful, or useful in any way?
Well I'm perpetually intimidated by other authors' work, but this is just because I'm a spaz. I was lucky enough to present at a conference with Holly Black a couple of years ago, and every time I talked to her I would do something like trip or spill food on myself or snort when I laughed. Holly was entirely nice of course. Everyone has been nice. If there are diva YA authors, I've yet to meet one.

5. What is your favorite YA book of all time, and what was your favorite read in the past year?
*Graceling* by Kristin Cashore used to be my clear favorite, but it now has competition from her latest book, *Bitterblue*. These are linked fantasy novels with overlapping characters, so if you read one, you'll likely read the other. Cashore does the same thing Whedon does; the magic in her novels is essential to who the characters are. And then *Bitterblue* also has a mystery, a romance, secret codes, and the librarian Death, who may be one of my all-time favorite characters. Okay, maybe *Bitterblue* claims the title after all.
This book didn't come out last year, but I recently read *The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks* by E. Lockhart, which is a really smart story about a girl who takes on the power structures at her boarding school. It reminds me a bit of one of my other favorite boarding school novels, *Prep* by Curtis Sittenfeld. For a book published in the past year...hmmm...*Seraphina* by Rachel Hartman or *Code Name: Verity* by Elizabeth Wein.
6. If Paige could meet any character from a book, movie, or TV show, who do you think she would be best friends with? Worst enemies with?
What fun! Paige would hang with pretty much anyone in Veronica Mars's circle. The Hogwarts sorting hat would put her Ravenclaw, from where she'd maintain an unfair disdain for all Hufflepuffs. She'd choose Gale over Peeta, but partly because she'd be afraid that Katniss would kick her butt. Not that she'd ever admit that. 

7. Can you tell us a little about some of your other books?
I have one other novel, *The Space Between Trees*, which is about a girl who, through a series of lies, inserts herself into the aftermath of a classmate's murder. She and a friend start playing at being detectives, and, well, things don't go as they expect. It's sort of an inside-out mystery like *Absent* is an inside-out ghost story.  

8. What do you have on the horizon? Any new YA books that we can be excited about?
I'm working on two new projects now. The first is a novel set in 1885 San Francisco about a young woman who writes correspondence for mail-order brides, but then something goes wrong with one of the brides and she is sent out to set things right. My guess is that this one will end up as an adult novel. The new YA novel I have brewing is near-future science fiction that focuses on the cast of a reality television show.  

This interview was absolutely terrific! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us, Katie, and now, everyone, please sign up to win this fantastic book!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Another great giveaway! I can't keep up :)

  2. Fab interview, Christina! I finished Absent about a month ago and really enjoyed it, so it was nice getting to know more about the author and the book! It's cool how Harriet was the character who wrote herself, because she's such a small character in the book and I never really thought much about her.

    Great interview, you two. :)

  3. this book sounds really good!! Great interview too!! Thanks for the giveaway!!

  4. This sounds like a really cool book, and it seems like we have pretty similar taste, so I'm sure I'll like it! Hugs, Roxy.

  5. I too LOVE Buffy!! It's so cool that these awesome shows with awesome creators and writers inspire more amazing novels:)

    I'd love to win this book, it sounds so good:)

    Thank you:)

  6. Thanks for the give away! This is great! I really hope I win - the book sounds amazing!! Thanks again!!

  7. This sounds like a wonderful book! I love paranormal stories! :)

    (Veronica Vasquez)

  8. Sounds like a great book. My TBR list is growing!!

  9. Holy buckets! I love the premise of this book. It starts out innocent(ish--I mean, as innocent as death can be) but it looks like it so quickly turns really really creepy and eerie. I'll definitely have to check it out.


  10. I like the cover a lot. Plus, it sounds great, and the concept is fascinating.

  11. This book seems really good. I like the entire concept. Plus, the cover is flawless.

  12. I have it on my list. I'm waiting for it to be on sale to buy it :-)