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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Ten Tantalizing Questions for Kiersten White, Author of Paranormalcy

Want to learn more about your favorite authors?
Ten Tantalizing Questions showcases exciting new books on the horizon and provides a glimpse into the personalities of the authors behind them.

"There are thousands of thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen and writes." ~William Makepeace Thackeray


Weird as it is working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, Evie's always thought of herself as normal. Sure, her best friend is a mermaid, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals' glamours, but still. Normal.

Only now paranormals are dying, and Evie's dreams are filled with haunting voices and mysterious prophecies. She soon realizes that there may be a link between her abilities and the sudden rash of deaths. Not only that, but she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

1. Paranormalcy is a story about Evie, a girl who helps paranormals become productive members of society. Can you tell us a little more about the book, and perhaps share with us a favorite line, scene or

Evie works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency.  Turns out all of those creatures of legend and myth are, in fact, real, and it's her job to make sure that humans get to live in blissful ignorance of the nightmares around them.  But bagging and tagging paranormals is a big job for a sixteen-year-old who dreams of boys and dating and high school.

So when someone unlike anyone she's ever met breaks into the Center where she lives and a dark faerie prophecy promising death to all paranormals seems to revolve around her, she's got to figure out which world she belongs in: normal, or paranormal.  Or maybe somewhere between...

In the interest of secrecy, I'll give you one of my favorite lines out of context:

"I'm perfectly happy!" I said, frowning.

2.What three words would you say best describe Paranormalcy?

Rectangular, hardcover, paper.

Oh, you mean the story?  Hmmm...that's much harder.

How about:

Funny, romantic, intense

3.  In Paranormalcy, Evie can see through glamours of paranormalcreatures when most people can not. If you had Evie’s ability, which type of creature would you be the most dangerous to cross paths with?

Do you mean I'd be dangerous to them, or they'd be dangerous to me?  I can't really see myself being very dangerous to anyone at all.  I'd be most nervous about meeting up with either a hag (a creature who lives in streams and ponds and pulls you under to drown and eat you), or a faerie (who are incredibly beautiful and dangerously amoral).

4. Can you share with us some of the challenges you faced to publish Paranormalcy? Is there anything about the process that you would do differently, knowing what you do now?

The main challenge with Paranormalcy is what it took me to get there.  It was my fourth novel, actually written while another novel was on submission with editors.  Going on submission and not selling was a very frustrating and devastating process.  But I dove right back into work, editing Paranormalcy, which sold very quickly and in the best way possible.

So, no, I wouldn't do anything differently!  If that first book had sold, who knows when I would have edited Paranormalcy?  I shudder to think of it!

5. If Paranormalcy was to be made into a movie, do you have certain actors you envision in the lead roles or do you think unknowns would be best suited to play them?

Based solely on physical looks, I've thought of AnnaSophia Robb, Dakota Fanning, Diana Agron (from Glee), Amanda Seyfried if she were a little younger, or Taylor Swift.  Most important would be a blonde with light eyes who can do both tough and funny!

Evie's really the only person I've even considered actors for.  I'll admit that I don't see my characters very clearly while writing them!  I like that they're going to look however someone imagines them.

6.Evie works with all manner creatures for the International Paranormal Containment Agency. If you had the opportunity to be one of them for a day, which one you select and why?

Oh, gosh, I don't really envy any of them!  But even though they're vaguely evil I'd probably pick a faerie so I could use the Faerie Paths to go anywhere I wanted in the whole world.  And I'd promise not to kidnap any innocent people during my day as a faerie.

Okay, fine, maybe one or two.  But I'd take them home at the end of the day.


7. If you could inhabit the life of one literary character and dive into their world for just one day, who would you choose and why?

I'm gonna have to go with Hermione.  It's a credit to J.K. Rowling that she created a world so wonderful most people I know harbor secret regrets that they didn't receive an owl post inviting them to attend Hogwarts.

8. What were you like as a teen? Were there any books in particular that were your favorite?

Teenage me was sarcastic, sweet, and lonely.  It was an odd combination.  I absolutely loved O' Pioneers! by Willa Cather, but there weren't many YA books that I read in high school.  I discovered those when I went to college. 

9.There seems to be an ever increasing demand in YA for books involving paranormal creatures such as vampires and werewolves. Why do you think people continue to love stories involving these creatures so much?

As teenagers, the opposite sex is such a mystery that they become "other" in our mind--something so foreign that we may never understand them, as much as we obsess and desperately want to. 

I think that paranormal creatures function as a magnification of that obsession with "the other."  We take that initial divide--boy/girl (assuming heterosexuality, but really we could just say person/person since we don't ever really understand other people)--and blow it up to epic proportions.  It's no longer a matter of trying to get to know each other and overcome little difficulties, it's now a matter of life and death--trying to overcome opposition of the highest supernatural degree just to have a relationship.

Fundamentally we all respond to--and root for--these relationships because in them we see our own struggle to understand and be able to love someone whose mind we will never be able to fully comprehend.

That, and it's just plain fun.

10.What can we look forward to from you next? Any new projects or upcoming series in the works?

I'm currently finishing up edits on the first sequel to Paranormalcy, which should come out in 2011.  I'll start drafting the third and final book of the series this winter.  I also have a novel (about ghosts! and Florida! and love and obsession and murder and kissing!) I've nearly finished editing and hope to sell this fall.  Other than that, I've got a new series floating around in my head that I will hopefully find the time to write the first book of this fall as well.

Assuming my kids ever let me sleep.

Which is a very dangerous assumption to make...

Kiersten White has one tall husband and two small children. She lives near the ocean, where her days are perfectly normal. This abundance of normal led her to a fascination with all things paranormal, including but not limited to vampires, faeries, and pop culture. She is the author of Paranormalcy .
Official Website & Blog 


Ivy Hawthorn said...

Awesome interview!

toryaslim822 said...

Great Interview!!!

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Awesome interview! I would totally opt to be Hermoine :)