By Grace Ann Brew
Bibliophiles of NoVA, get ready to curl up with your Kindle and jump into fictional worlds with witches, psychics and Hollywood drama. These are just a few of the topics that authors Jessica Spotswood, Dahlia Adler, Lindsay Smith and Miranda Kenneally explore in their latest fiction novels for young adults.
Join these authors on Aug. 6 at One More Page Books for a panel during which they will speak about their books. We spoke with Spotswood, Adler, Smith and Kenneally to discuss their works, their careers and their advice for aspiring writers.
Her story: The book is called “Sisters’ Fate,” which is the third book in my historical fantasy trilogy, The Cahill Witch Chronicles. It’s set in an alternative version of 1890s New England where magic has been outlawed by a group of priests, the Brotherhood. My main character, Cate Cahill, and her sisters are witches.
Her inspiration: I think every book in the trilogy has a different inspiration. I had a dream that my sisters and I—like my heroine, I am the oldest of three sisters—were fighting over a magical locket from our mother. The idea stuck of writing about that sort of complicated mix of love and sibling rivalry between sisters.
Her advice: My biggest piece of advice is to read a lot because nothing teaches you how to put together words better. Also I think it’s really important to get used to sharing your work and being able to take constructive criticism on it because that is such a huge part of being a writer.
Her story: It’s called “Under the Lights.” It’s a companion novel to my 2014 release called “Behind the Scenes,” but it can be read independently. It’s a dual narrative between two teen actors in Hollywood, one of whom is a straight white male and one of whom is a Korean-American female who is discovering that she likes girls. It’s about the ways that gender, race and sexuality play into Hollywood and the way the rest of the world treats and views you.
Her inspiration: I used to blog about TV, and I was reading a lot of entertainment news. You start to think about the people behind the news and that’s really what influenced these books. Also, the desire to have increased diverse representation in books has definitely been inspirational.
Her advice: Read a lot, and do not quit. There are a lot of ways to convince yourself out of finishing a book. When you comfortably revise your first five pages or talk yourself out of writing a certain storyline because you think it won’t get published, that’s you not giving yourself a shot. Give yourself a shot.
Her story: I’m going to be discussing my series. The first book in the series is called “Sekret.” The sequel, the most recent book, is called “Skandal.” They are young adult spy thrillers about a group of psychic teens in 1960s Soviet Russia. They are being forced to use their psychic abilities to spy for the KGB.
Her inspiration: Ultimately, I get ideas from all sorts of weird places. Usually, it comes from hearing about a situation in the news or in history and so on, and then just asking myself a bunch of “what if” questions about it. For example, “What if during the Cold War there was also a psychic powers race?”
Her advice: If you’re just starting out, absolutely try to find writing partners who will help keep you honest and encourage you. Don’t be afraid to write something wrong because you can always go back and revise it.
Her story: It’s called “Jesse’s Girl.” It’s about a girl who for her school’s career day writes down that she wants to be a musician when she grows up. She expects that she’ll have to go to Wal-Mart and work in the electronics section, but her principal arranges for her to job-shadow his nephew, who is a big country music star. The book is about how they change each other’s lives after they get off to a really rocky start.
Her inspiration: It’s based on something I did in high school. I wrote down on my career day form that I wanted to be a country music singer when I grew up. Whenever I’m coming up with a book idea, I try to come up with a really strong hook. Once I have a good hook, I try to come up with a plot to go around it and characters and a love story—all my books are love stories.
Her advice: To read and read and read as much as you can. Figure out what you like and what you don’t like. Everything and anything you can get your hands on will help you perfect your craft.
One More Page Books
2200 N. Westmoreland St., Suite 101, Arlington
Aug. 6, 7-8 p.m.