Thursday, October 4, 2012

Audrey's Guide to Witchcraft Q & A and Giveaway

I have been honoured with the opportunity to read Audrey's Guide to Witchcraft and to do a Q & A with Jody regarding the book and her writing in general.

1.When did you start writing?
I attempted my first "novel" when I was eight. It was actually a very long letter sent to my best friend, a fantasy about us riding around on our flying dogs. For me writing fiction has always been about visiting imaginary worlds. I still tend to think of novels as long love letters—to a place, a time in my life, a person, a feeling. 
2.  What inspired you to write Audrey’s Guide to Witchcraft?
I just really love the topic: witchcraft. I'm totally a pagan at heart; even as a kid, I sensed a mysterious power running through the natural world. I think witches know how to interact with that power, and that appeals to me. Growing up here in Northern California, I was lucky enough to meet some people who practiced witchcraft, so it wasn't that foreign to me. I wanted to explore what I knew about real witches but also create a world where their power could be even more breathtaking.
3. How did you come up with the title?
The title on the very first draft was The Witch Next Door. That was such a different book, you wouldn't even recognize it. Later it became Audrey's Guide to Better Living Through Witchcraft. When we started to design the cover I realized just how unwieldy that title was, so I shortened it.
4. What kind of research did you have to do for this book?
I read all kinds of witch books; for a somewhat complete list check out my entry about it on my blog.
5. Did you design the cover for Audrey’s Guide to Witchcraft or any of your other published works?
Yes, my husband and I designed the cover for AUDREY. We had a blast doing it, but it wasn't easy. All of my other book covers have been designed by major publishers like Penguin. While I love having creative control over the look, I also have fresh appreciation for what the pros go through, balancing one's creative impulses with what seems most appealing to book buyers.
6.Who are the people who support you the most?
My family has always been supportive, which makes me feel very lucky. My father and my husband are my first readers, because even though they're not in my target audience (neither one is female or a teenager, obviously) they generally think I'm a genius. That's so important when I'm working on early drafts, just to be adored. Later I need critique and guidance, but in those tender first stages of building a book, I need love. I also have a writing group, and they're great at giving feedback as well as talking me down when I get nasty rejections or bad reviews.
7.What interest do you have outside of writing?
Playing guitar and writing songs, making amateur movies, doing yoga, windsurfing, seeing theatre and thrift-shopping are a few of my passions. I also really love coffee, tea, hummingbirds, chocolate and pistachios. Oh, and I like to travel. I used to speak Japanese, but I've gotten a bit rusty over the years.
8.Can you tell me a little about your current project?
I'm ridiculously superstitious about works-in-progress, but I am planning a sequel to Audrey's Guide to Witchcraft (and a third book after that, if all goes well. It's supposed to be a trilogy.) The working title for the second book is Audrey's Guide to Slaying Zombies and Breaking Hearts, though recently I've been thinking about shortening it. Do you sense a pattern here?
9.Who is your favourite character to write about from Audrey’s Guide to Witchcraft?
Naturally, I kind of love all my characters, but Sadie was my favorite person to create in this book. I'm intrigued by her relationship with nature, and I admire her willingness to mentor Audrey even though she's pretty clueless about Audrey's actual power. I also really dig Megan even if she can be a brat. She's so charismatic in front of a crowd, which I'm really not but I wish I were. Sometimes characters let us live out a fantasy.
10.What was the hardest part of writing this book?
It took me quite a few years before I found the right protagonist to tell this story; in fact, it took me seven years on and off writing many, many drafts. Audrey was the trickiest character for me to find. She started out as a totally different person--literally, with a different name and history and everything. Once I finally found her voice, the story started to gel.
11.  If you could change anything would you?
Honestly, I can't think about that too much or I'd go crazy. Once a book is done, it's done. Seven years is long enough to tinker!
12. Are there any books or authors who inspire you?
So many writers have influenced me at different times in my life. Some of my favorites in the realm of “classics” are Nabokov and the Brontes (especially Charlotte). Southern writers like Ellen Gilchrist made a big impression on me when I was in high school. I love funny contemporary British writers like Helen Fielding, Nick Hornby and Sophie Kinsella. I read a lot of YA these days and some of my favorite writers in that world are Beth Fantaskey, Nina LaCour, Maggie Stiefvater and Katie Crouch.
Thank you again for the opportunity to be able to do this Q & A. It was a lot of fun. Now last and certainly not least is the giveaway. There is one signed copy available to win for US/Canada residence only and the e-book version  is open internationally. 

Here is some links if you would like to check out Audrey's Guide to Witchcraft and Jody's other books.

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