Welcome back to my Fall 2012 YA Debut Interview series! I’m excited to feature these debut novels from the fall season, and I hope you’re as intrigued to get your hands on them as I am. Today’s YA debut author is Vahini Naidoo—her first novel, Fall to Pieces, comes out October 2 from Marshall Cavendish / Amazon Children’s Publishing. Read on to see how Vahini answered my Q&A…
…And be sure to enter the GIVEAWAY for a chance to win a pre-order of the book!
Nova: 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?” (Feel free to use the jacket copy, or describe in your own words. Up to you.)
Vahini: To be honest, I usually say something along the lines of, “Um…” Accompanied by a nervous laugh and shifty eyes. Which gets me some weird looks in response. I’m pretty bad at pitching my work in person. If pressed a bit more, though, I’ll usually say that it’s about a girl committing suicide in front of a garden gnome and how that affects her best friends.
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? How did you appease it? Did it ever misbehave?
Fall to Pieces wanted to be written nearly nonstop during a crucial exam period in my senior year of high school, which was a bit bratty of it, really. I appeased it by giving it its way—what can I say, I’m a bit of a pushover—and it rewarded me by drafting itself in a period of three weeks. Unfortunately, the bratty streak returned during revisions and I had to smack away at the manuscript until it would behave.
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. Now imagine the writing spot of your fantasies where you wish you’d been able to write this book… tell us all about it.
I wrote most of Fall to Pieces while lying on my bed. I’m one of those bizarre people that likes to eat, sleep, study, read, write, play, etc. all on their bed. I do also write in cafes quite often, and if I wasn’t supposed to have been studying for exams and I’d had more money as a seventeen-year-old, I would quite like to have written the manuscript at a quiet, charming cafe with an interesting clientele and an excellent cappuccino.
Imagine you’re on the subway, or the bus, or sitting in a park somewhere minding your own business… and you look up and see the most perfect person you could imagine devouring your book. This is your ideal reader. Set the scene and describe him or her (or them?) for us.
Well, obviously my perfect reader is the most attractive person about. They’re decked out in gear that would make even the most ironic of hipsters shed a genuine tear of jealousy. He/she is sitting right up the back of the bus, and there’s a book in their hands. The book is anything but Fifty Shades of Grey or Freedom and they’re concentrating intensely enough that there’s a tiny furrow between their brows. They’re so lost in their story that they don’t even register that the guy beside them has farted and the entire bus has taken on the smell of rotten eggs.
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?
It felt a lot less surreal when I first held the ARC in my hands, but I still don’t think it feels entirely real. I think it will feel entirely real once it’s realised. Or, if not, then when a friend gives me their likely overly candid thoughts on the 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?
Ooh, I’d like to tour all of the US, road tripping with Christopher Marlowe and JK Rowling and serving chocolate, orange and chilli tart at all book signings.
If you had to pick one sentence, and one sentence only, to entice someone to read your book, what would it be? (I almost hate myself for asking you this question and making you choose! Almost.)
“Sometimes when I fall, I don’t just remember. I forget.”
Fall to Pieces comes out October 2, 2012, from Marshall Cavendish / Amazon Children’s Publishing. Read on for a chance to win a pre-order of the book!
Vahini Naidoo is a University student from Canberra, Australia. She spends inordinate amounts of time consuming instant noodles and novels. Her debut, Fall to Pieces, will be released by Marshall Cavendish in Fall, 2012. You can read more of her rambly thoughts on her blog.
Follow @VeeNaidoo on Twitter.
NOW ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!
You could win: a pre-order of Fall to Pieces!
How to enter:
1. Just leave a comment on this post, or
2. Fill out this entry form.
If you do both, you will be entered TWICE!
And to gain another entry, just tweet about this interview and giveaway—and let me know you did in your comment or on the form—and you’ll be entered THREE TIMES.
This giveaway is open internationally—to wherever the Book Depository wil ship. This giveaway closes on Wednesday, September 26 at 8pm EST. Good luck!