Aprilynne Pike is a fresh new author, and her debut novel Wings has enchanted young and adult readers alike (just read my review). With Wings debuting on the New York Times Bestseller list then taking the #1 spot for Children’s Chapter Books during its second week on sale, and with rights sold to Disney for a movie adaptation (with tween juggernaut Miley Cyrus named as a casting choice), it’s been a pretty good year for Ms. Pike.
Today, this talented new author joins us to talk about her inspirations and influences, why she started writing Young Adult lit, and who some of her favorite YA authors are.
Ladies and gents, we give you Aprilynne Pike!
This guest post from Aprilynne Pike is the third author spotlight in our SUPERNATURAL SUMMER book feature from Harper Teen. This week we will bring you five different books by five different authors, including interviews, articles and giveaways.
Thanks so much for having me here on The Book Smugglers!
Writing Wings was quite a journey for me. I knew I wanted to be an author back in college when I switched my major from Human Biology to Creative Writing. (Yes, I’ll wait while you laugh.) But actually discovering my niche took a lot longer. Years longer. One night—about two years after I graduated college—I was reading a really bad romance novel. I kept expecting it to get better and it just got worse! So I skimmed the end and threw the book across the room and told my husband, “I can do better than that!” So I started.
And about 100 pages in I discovered that writing was hard and took work. So I did what any sane person would do. I quit.
A couple years later, the writing itch returned and I started writing again. A high fantasy this time. I did manage to finish that one. Powered through it, actually. And that book was my first sojourn into publishing. I wracked up a lot of rejections, but while I was querying, I decided I liked writing books. So I finished the sequel to the fantasy, and even went back and completed that first romance. After a lot of edits and cutting about a million words (it felt like a million at the time!) I got an agent! Whoo-hoo!!
Except that my book didn’t sell.
But while my book was not selling, I woke up one morning with a perfectly formed first chapter in my head and a boy’s voice in my ear.
A high school boy.
So I started writing a YA. I didn’t have a plot to go with my voice and first chapter, but hey! It was fun!
When it became obvious that my first book wasn’t going to sell, I sat down and decided that I needed a new book. A better book. But I didn’t know what to write! I had an adult-level high fantasy, a Romance, a dead-ended YA, and an agent who repped almost everything. I could go anywhere! So I was trolling agent sites one day and found a blog that mentioned, almost in passing, that faeries were expected to be a new trend in YA.
I felt like I had been hit by lightning!
I have always loved faeries. For as long as I can remember. And I had been enjoying my no-plot YA so much! I don’t know why I had to get whacked over the head with the idea of putting those two together before I got it. All I know, is I sat looking at that computer screen thinking, “A YA faerie novel? I want to write a YA faerie novel!” And my next thought was, “And I have to do it right now!”
And I did. I wrote furiously for six hours a day while my husband watched the kids, and then I stole every spare moment I could to work on Wings. It had become my all-encompassing passion and I finished it in six weeks . . . I paid for it when edits came around, but I did finish the initial draft quickly.
Everything just clicked when I decided to write YA. My agent loved the idea, my husband thought it was perfect, and I was just so excited to do it. I’m not sure why it took me three books to try it, but I love it and have no intention of leaving the genre any time soon. And when I started writing YA, I started reading more YA too. And what a world I have discovered! I always loved books like The Giver by Lois Lowry and The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi, but these days there is so much depth in the YA genre! I have gotten to be all fan-girly over staples like Stephenie Meyer and J.K. Rowling, and small but amazing authors like Saundra Mitchell (Shadowed Summer) and Christine Fletcher (Ten Cents a Dance). I’ve been the last to discover old favorites like Scott Westerfield (The Uglies Trilogy, Peeps, Midnighters) and Meg Cabot (The Princess Diaries, The Mediator, Allie Finkle), and the first to unearth some amazing newcomers such as Megan Frazer (Secrets of Truth and Beauty) and Sarah Cross (Dull Boy). And don’t even get me started on the upcoming releases I am excited about! James Dashner (The Maze Runner) and Suzanne Collins (Catching Fire) and… I could go on for pages!
But I won’t, don’t worry.
But that does make me look to the future of YA and the role I hope to play in it. I am currently working on the third of four books in my Wings series. And remember that no-plot first chapter? It grew a plot and is now a standalone paranormal with a rather bratty ghost. And just being shelved between Tamora Pierce (Alanna, Beka Cooper) and Cindy Pon (Silver Phoenix) for many years to come is enough motivation to write the best I can, for as long as I can.
It’s been a pleasure!
Aprilynne Pike has been spinning faerie stories since she was a child with a hyper-active imagination. At the age of twenty she received her BA in Creative Writing from Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho. When not writing, Aprilynne can usually be found at the gym; she also enjoys singing, acting, reading, and working with pregnant moms as a childbirth educator and doula. Aprilynne recently returned to Arizona with her husband and three kids in Utah; she is enjoying the sunshine.
We are giving away a copy of Wings to one lucky reader! The contest is open to residents of the US and Canada, and will run until Sunday July 26 at midnight (PST). To enter, simply leave a comment here. Good luck!