Jo: Yay! I have Natasha on the blog! I’m so stoked about this interview. Thank you for agreeing to have a chat with me. Are you ready to get going?
Natasha: Hello Jo! Thanks for having me. This is my first official interview. Hope you’ll go easy on me. :)
Jo: Never! *evil grin* Let’s jump right in here. Tell me about the OWFI conference you’re attending in May 2015. What made you decide to go, and what are you hoping to get out of it?
Natasha: I first attended this mid-west based writer’s conference in May 2010 and have been back almost every year since. It’s a welcoming crowd of talented authors. My Top Three reasons for attending OWFI:
- An opportunity to pitch to big name agents, editors, and/or publishers for FREE. You heard me right, free one on one time with an agent/editor/publisher of your choice. For those not brave enough or ready to pitch, there are also opportunities to snag a seat next to an agent/editor/publisher or even a famous author at one of the banquets. This year’s pitch session line up and guidelines can be found here.
- Elbow room and accessibility. I’ve attended conferences where they pack attendees in a room like sardines, usher in speakers through a side door for the presentation, and then rush them out before anyone knows what’s going on. At the OWFI conference, there’s usually a place to set your laptop and plenty of opportunities to mingle with presenters through out the conference.
- This year, I’m OWFI Conference Chair, so I kinda have to go. I’ve worked closely with the OWFI President Dawn Allen, who also happens to be one of my critique partners. We’ve pulled together a wide array of talented speakers for this conference, whose theme is Writing Zone: Craft from the Ground Up. Though, I must admit if I wasn’t on the Board, I’d still go this year. Check out the outstanding faculty, including keynote speaker Les Edgerton, author of Hooked.
Natasha: EDGE OF TRUTH, my first book baby. <3 It’s a dystopian romance with paranormal elements. I’d say the first draft took about a year. My twins were three at the time. When I had time to write, I allowed myself to put the words down on the page without judgment (aka I told my inner editor to shut up so I could work). It took me a while to get it published because I was (still am) struggling with grief. When my mama passed away, I almost gave up writing, but in the end pushed through. Mama never got to see the book in print, but she knew I was close. EDGE OF TRUTH is dedicated to her. This experience taught me never to give up on my dreams.
Jo: Okay, that's super sweet. I'm glad you didn't give up! I see the book has been through a couple of changes. What brought those on, and what did the changes end up doing for the novel?
Natasha: The book was originally published through a small press. I decided to get my rights back and go at it on my own. Hence, the fun new cover [shout out to Carrie Butler at Forward Authority for an awesome job!] and bonus epilogue.
Jo: That's always scary, huh? Awesome that you gave it a go. Brave. Now, I see your bio says you’ve won some awards. Care to tell us about them? What were they for, and how did you feel when you won them?
Natasha: I’ve won writing awards through OWFI and other conferences. It takes massive amounts of courage to enter contest, so when I place, I feel a strong sense of pride and accomplishment.
Jo: Whatcha workin’ on? When can we expect to see it on shelves?
Natasha: I recently finished MARKED, YA paranormal fantasy. My other critique partner L.L. McKinney is brilliant at coming up with Twitter pitches. Here’s how she helped me summarize MARKED, “For the first female warrior in the Brotherhood, lines between enemy and ally are blurred and Lexi can’t see who’s coming for her.” This manuscript is currently out on query submission.
I’m also working on a New Adult apocalypse set in St. Louis, MO. We should have a zombie chat sometime. ;)
Jo: Congrats on landing those queries! Oooooh! Zombies! Yes we should. Hunt me down, woman! You took part in #PitMad on Twitter a couple weeks ago. What book were you pitching, and did you have any luck?
Natasha: I pitched MARKED and got a few nibbles. :)
Jo: That was a great pitch! I'm not surprised you got nibbles. You’re in several anthologies. How did you find them, and what do you feel they’ve done for your writing career?
Natasha: I sought out the anthologies and made it through the slush piles to publication. Personally, I think writing short stories is harder than writing books. The page real estate is so limited, but it’s excellent practice at making every word count.
Jo: Agreed 100%. It's so difficult to write short stories! I notice you do a lot of author interviews on your blog, but I had a dilly of a time finding very many with you as the interviewee. Is there a reason for this?
Natasha: Yes…**hides behind hands** I lean toward the shy side. I’m a behind the camera, type of person. Yours is my first official interview. Thanks for being gentle with me.
Jo: Wow. You call this gentle? LOL! I'm pretty brutal. *wink* Rapid fire question time! Plain or peanut M&Ms?
Natasha: Peanut. No question. And as often as possible.
Jo: I totally knew the answer before I asked. haha! Female or male lead?
Natasha: Depends on what it is…book or movie and what genre it is. In books, I often read ones with alternating female/male leads. I tend to like Sci-fi and action packed movies, which tend to have male leads.
Jo: Sky or ground?
Natasha: Ground. Can’t fly. Too scared. But I can be tempted onto a plane with chocolate when traveling to Nashville for UTopYA!
Jo: YEAH! *happy dances* Time travel question! Come on, you knew this was coming, right? Haha! So, if given a choice, would you go back in time or forward in time, and what would you change or hope to learn from the trip?
Natasha: This used to be a hard question for me, but not any more. I’d go back and spend time with my mama, not to change anything or learn anything. Just to hear her voice, see her smile, and maybe have her cook me something tasty. :)
Jo: I can see how much you miss her. Dang, now I wanna give you a hug. But, instead, talk to me about writer retreats. When was the last one you went on, and what do you get out of the experience?
Natasha: My writer’s group used to do annual writing retreats. We are officially over due. Hint, hint ladies! I LOVE retreats and recommend them to all writers. There are few things better than knowing your only responsibility for the day is to get words on the page or edit/revise material. We usually spend most of the time writing, but also take breaks to stretch our legs (aka people watch) and end the day with chocolate and a good movie.
Jo: That does sound fun. Mayhap one day I'll find the time. *grin* Ever get that gooseberry pie recipe down? How long did it take you?
Natasha: I wouldn’t say I’ve mastered it. My gooseberry pies might be a gooey mess, but they are de-lish!
Jo: I've never had one, but to hear you talk, I should! I’m gonna go a little deeper here. You answered somewhere about feeling strongly about using mixed race characters in your novels. Tell me what you’re trying to bring to light with your choices, and how do you think it will fill the current gap in YA?
Natasha: I’m bi-racial. When I was growing up, I didn’t see many books with girls like me as main characters. As an adult, I read a book called OPPOSITE OF LOVE by Helen Benedict and it resonated with me. I kept thinking it would’ve been nice to see such a resilient character in my young adult years. Now, I’m sure to include diversity in all of my books.
Jo: That's so awesome. I love people who are passionate about their characters. Sadly, we’re out of space! *frowns* Is there anything you’d like to add that I didn’t ask you about?
Natasha: Let’s see… Link is my favorite character on Mario Kart 8. I have a love/love relationship with all things chocolate. I would totally run away with the Doctor.
Jo: Nice! I can’t wait to see you again at UtopYA 2015! Not long now. Maybe we’ll luck out and have a table across from one another again. *grin* Because you know that’s the only way I’m guaranteed to see you. Thank you again for giving me your time, Natasha!
Natasha: I appreciate you having me on your blog. Such a wonderful opportunity to reach beyond my social network!
Now, it’s time to tell you all about the featured book of the week!
Title: Edge of Truth
Author: Natasha Hanova
Genre: YA Dystopian/Paranormal
Length (print): 302 pages
Buy links: Amazon Kindle $2.99 ~ Amazon Paperback $9.99 or FREE with Kindle Unlimited
Citizens who report to work on time, obey the Overlord’s laws, and stay off the Synbot’s radar, live long lives. Long, dull, monotonous lives.
It’s not a bad plan for someone with a hidden, emotion-based ability to trigger earthquakes. In a world pitted against her, sixteen-year-old Rena Moon strives for a life beyond working herself to death at the factory. Seeing an alternative, she risks selling relics from the forbidden lands at Market. It becomes the worst decision she ever made. Someone kidnaps her best friend in exchange for the one thing that would end her oppression.
Driven by loyalty, Rena and seventeen-year-old Nevan Jelani, soulful composer, green thumb extraordinaire, and the secret love of her life, plot to rescue her friend and reclaim her salvage. Still, the thought lingers whether Nevan is a true hero or another thief waiting for his chance at her loot. Events spin wildly, deepening Rena’s suspicions and pushing her limit of control. With more than her chance for freedom at stake, she must decide if she’s willing to kill to protect what’s precious to her. For once, the Overlord isn’t holding all the power, but can Rena live with being reduced to what she’s trying so hard to escape?
While your fingers are in the clicking mode, why not give Natasha a follow on every social media platform I could think of when writing up the template for these interviews (plus some)?
Facebook: Author Natasha Hanova
Goodreads: Natasha Hanova
Amazon Author Page: Natasha Hanova
Win a signed paper copy of EDGE OF TRUTH, an eBook, or $10 Amazon gift card with this Rafflecopter giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
If you have any questions, pop them into the comments below. Mrs. Hanova will be around to answer and/or respond!
Well, that’s all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!