Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Author Interview: Andrea Cremer

Author Interview: Andrea Cremer

Andrea Cremer has always loved writing. But she only recently plunged into the deep end of the pool that is professional novel writing. And how well she's done!

When she’s not writing, Andrea is a professor of history at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. We want to know if she's as awesomely strong-willed as her main character, the werewolf leader Calla.

Check out her new release, Wolfsbane, and read our interview below before meeting her at YALLFest!

What inspired you to write Nightshade, your debut novel?

Nightshade was inspired by Calla's character -- who I knew was a girl and a wolf, but I don't like traditional werewolf mythology because I find wolves to be beautiful, graceful, and intelligent. Most werewolf stories feature lycanthropy as a disease or curse. I wanted to create a new mythology where shifting was a gift and something the characters reveled in, not wanted to be rid of. I also drew on my interest in the history of witchcraft -- an area that I teach in my work as a historian.

By day, you are a history professor. Why did you decide to write a book for teens by night?

My writing career started literally by accident. I’d always loved writing, but I never thought it was something I could do professionally. In the summer of 2008, I was in a horseback riding accident that left me with a broken foot and orders to stay off my feet for 12 weeks. With nothing to do but sit, I decided to try writing a novel – a dream I’d always had but had never given myself permission to try. As soon as I began writing, I fell completely in love with the process and knew I wanted to make fiction writing a full-time part of my professional life. I knew nothing about the publishing world so I did research and learned about querying and finding an agent. I signed with InkWell Management in the spring of 2009 and we sold Nightshade to Penguin that summer.

We’re all excited that you’ll be at YALLFest! What would you most like to know about Charleston?

The history of course -- and particularly the architecture of the old South. I've never been to Charleston, and being from the far north, I think it will seem like an entirely foreign place!

Have any of your experiences as teenagers, or people you knew at the time, made it into your books?

The only character in my books based (accidentally) on a real person is Calla's younger brother, Ansel. I was in the midst of writing Nightshade and realized that Ansel was very much my own little brother at 15. :)

Did you get along with your parents when you were a teen?

My family is very close, so I'm fortunate that I got along nearly all the time with my parents. We did have arguments about curfew, using the car, and swimsuits (I desperately wanted a bikini when I was 16, and my mom said NO!). But nothing major.

Are your characters modeled after your own experiences growing up?

Not the characters, but my love for wolves and the wilderness is a huge part of Nightshade's world.

Are you as supremely tough as Calla?

I think I'm strong willed, but I don't have her kickass fighting skills or her stoic nature. I'm a dreamer and romantic, much more like Ansel.

The Nightshade series has a gripping love triangle. Does Shay or Ren receive more fan mail?

In total honesty, the fans are split 50/50 between the boys. I get emails, tweets, and Facebook messages in support of either of them all the time!

Your next book forays into steampunk. Why that genre?

Because it blends my two passions: history and fantasy. I love reimagining the past and adding new twists that make impossible ideas possible :)

See you at YALLFest!

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