2012 YA Debut Interview: UNDER THE NEVER SKY by Veronica Rossi (+Giveaway!)

My favorite part about a new year (besides building a wobbly tower of unrealistic expectations for how much I’ll write in the coming year, yay!) is the thought of all the new voices I’ll get to discover. There’s a whole crop of debut YA novelists coming out with books in 2012, and I can’t wait to read them! So, to share my excitement with you, I’m doing a new series of short interviews on this blog.

From December 5 through December 16, I’m featuring ten Winter/Spring 2012 debut authors who wrote books I want to read! Look for giveaways accompanying these interviews—as well as a chance to win a pre-order of your choice at the end of the series.

Read on to see how Veronica Rossi answered my questions about writing Under the Never Sky and more (and if you comment on this post, you could win a signed ARC!)…

2012 YA Debut Interview:

Veronica Rossi, author of Under the Never Sky (HarperCollins, forthcoming January 3, 2012)

I’ll start with the dreaded question you may be hearing already from strangers on elevators, long-lost family members, and your doctor while you’re sitting on the examination table in the paper gown during your next checkup: “So what’s your book about?”

Under the Never Sky is about teenagers from completely different worlds who are thrown together by chance, and have to overcome their differences in order to survive. It’s an adventure-romance set in a future world. Here’s a bit more:

EXILED from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland—known as The Death Shop—are slim. If the cannibals don’t get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She’s been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild—a savage—and her only hope of staying alive.

A HUNTER for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile—everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria’s help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must learn to accept one another to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.

In my experience, every book wants to be written differently—and each one behaves differently from the one before it. Some novels like it out of order, and some rigidly insist on being written from start to finish. Some novels come out fast; others are excruciatingly slow. Some novels torment you, and some sing you to sleep. What did your novel want? Was there ever a moment when it misbehaved?

This novel absolutely wanted to be written. I had very few missteps with it. The second book of the trilogy is proving to be more surprising. My characters are misbehaving a little bit and it’s making the journey tougher, slower. That said, the rewards have also been greater.

What is the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?

The only thing that kept me away from the writing of this book was a very good distraction: my family. I have two young sons, so I try to keep my schedule balanced. I’m quite fond of my children, and my husband too.

Tell us about the place—as in the physical location: a messy office, a comfy couch, a certain corner table at the café—where you spent most of your time writing this book.

All of the above! The only constant in the writing of this book was my laptop, Leo. I like to change locations when I write. I find it keeps me inspired.

What was the moment when the upcoming publication of your novel felt “real” for the first time—when you got your editorial letter, when you saw the cover, when you held the ARC in your hands… or something else? Or if it doesn’t feel “real” yet, when do you think it will?

All the moments you mentioned have been like a lead-up to what I think will be the “realest” moment: seeing my book in a bookstore. One of the best “real” moments has been to see books by friends of mine in stores. I still can’t get over it. I am constantly snapping pictures on my iPhone and emailing them to people with messages like this: “Look what I just saw!” So I suppose it will really feel REAL when I can do that with my own book.

Dream question: If you could go on book tour anywhere in the world, with any two authors (living or dead), and serve any item of food at your book signing… where would you go, who with, and what delicious treat would you serve your fans?

I love this question! But such a tough one! I’d really love to talk with Tolkien about world-building and Jane Austen about character. A train tour through Europe would be lovely, and I’d serve beautiful, delicate sweets with coffee—something delectable and luxurious, so we could linger.

It would be amazing, but I’m so tempted to cheat here… I would really love to meet JK Rowling, and Stephen King, and Libba Bray is hysterical, and I’m such a fan of Laini Taylor’s and… Gah! Now I’m going to be thinking about this all day.

How do you plan to celebrate your book’s birthday on January 3?

I plan to take my kids out of school (Yes, boys. You heard right.) and spend the day doing fun things with them and the rest of my family. Maybe bowling? A movie? We’ll go where the wind blows us, I suppose. We’ll have a proper book launch party a few days later, but for that day, my goal is to hug the people I love and have them close. Close close close. It’s been an amazing journey—and it belongs to all of us.

Veronica Rossi writes fiction for young adults and adults who know that being young is possible at any age. Her debut novel, Under the Never Sky, will be published in over twenty international markets and film rights to the trilogy have been optioned to Warner Bros. She lives in northern California with her husband and two sons.

Visit Veronica at  www.veronicarossi.com.

Read Veronica’s blog at  www.veronicarossibooks.blogspot.com.

Follow @V_Rossibooks on Twitter.

Do you want a chance to win Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi? Veronica is giving away a signed ARC to ONE LUCKY COMMENTER on this post. Just comment below and you’re entered to win.

(If you tweet about this giveaway you get +1 extra entry… just let me know you did.)

RULES: One winner will be chosen randomly. The giveaway to win a signed ARC of Under the Never Sky ends Wednesday, December 14 at 5:00 p.m. EST. To win this giveaway, you must have a US mailing address. Be sure to include your email in the comment form (it is private and only I will see it), so I know how to reach you if you win.

And stay tuned for the end of the 2012 Debut Interview Series—for a chance to win the pre-order of your choice out of all ten featured authors!

What is the next Winter/Spring 2012 debut novel I’m looking forward to? Come back tomorrow to find out.

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