1) Why young adult? Did you choose this genre
or were you ‘chosen’ by it?
A little bit of both. I always wanted to write for teens
(and younger someday, hopefully) but I always figured
I'd start in adult and work my way over.
That seemed to be how
it was done. Of course, I do everything
backwards so I should have realized I would go
about it the other way.
My first novel happened to come out
as a YA book and that's the kind of publishing
house that picked it up
and quite frankly I couldn't be happier.
Writing for teens is pretty amazing.
2) Is there an author, living or dead, who inspired you particularly?
Lots of authors, really. I don't know if one
inspired me more than the other.
Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, James Howe,
Ursula K. Le Guin, Anne McCaffery,
Stephen King, David Eddings, Christopher Moore,
Jasper Fforde, Kelley Armstrong...
it's a really long list.
3) Please, tell us about your last book and, if you can,
about your future projects.
I'm not sure if you mean Hold Me Closer, Necromancer
(which is the last book I published) or Necromancing the Stone,
which is the last book I turned in (and comes out in September! Yay!)
so I guess I'll talk about both. Hold Me Closer, Necromancer is a
humor-based horror/urban fantasy story about a fry cook named Sam
who discovers that he can raise the dead. Unfortunately for Sam,
this means he's not very well liked by the supernatural set,
especially a psychopath named Douglas Montgomery, who is also a
necromancer. There's a zombie panda and a skateboard gets used as
a weapon, so it's pretty silly. Which is good. I like silly.
Necromancing the Stone takes place about six weeks after HMC,
N and mostly deals with the aftermath of book one. It is also silly
and contains a lot of gnomes. Battle gnomes.
And a Bigfoot named Sexy Gary. So there's that.
I'm now working on something new in the hopes that my publisher
will take pity on me and buy another book. I don't want to say too
much about it except that I'm trying to put more explosions into it
because everyone knows that more explosions = a better story.
4) How was your writing journey? Was it difficult to find an agent
and get published?
Actually I was freakishly lucky--I got an agent right out of graduate
school (I have a master's degree in fiction). HMC,N was my thesis to graduate.
My thesis advisor, a lovely writer named Amanda Boyden, asked her agent if he
knew anyone who handled the kind of writing that I was producing (Amanda doesn't
read much genre stuff, so she wasn't sure) and he mentioned that one of the
agents in his office did. So I emailed it to him--his name is Jason Anthony.
A few days later Jason called me and we talked about changes and revisions
and then I hung up and realized that he'd never actually said he wanted to
represent me. I had no way to call him back, so I had to wait a few days
to ask him. Obviously, he did. This was in May or so while I was graduating.
We revised it for a few months while I moved cross-country back to Seattle, WA.
He sent it out to various publishing houses. We got a lot of nice rejections
and a few were interested enough to chat with me on the phone, but it was
Henry Holt that picked it up. So we sold it by October.
The whole process seemed a bit whirlwind to me.
I sold HMC,N and Necromancing the Stone at the same time.
I've been really happy at Henry Holt--I know a lot of writers who have
publishing horror stories, but I have been extremely lucky. The team at Holt have been very supportive and kind to me.
5) What’s your opinion about this E-book revolution?
Would you consider the indie route?
Well, I think it is sort of filling a gap. Some publishers are hesitant to risk a lot
of money on new authors that they aren't sure of. Ebooks give those authors a chance
to prove themselves and sometimes they get picked up later by bigger houses.
There are lots of ways to publishing and I think keeping as many routes open as
possible is a good thing. Yes, a lot of crap gets published that way as well, but
it's not like traditional publishing doesn't produce it's own swill on occasion.
Ebooks help some writers find their readers, and as a reader and a writer, I think
that's a good thing. I also like that some established writers sometimes offer up
additional content for free in that format to reward their fans. Basically, I think
Ebooks are just a different tool and it depends on how you use it. That being said,
I prefer to read books in paper form. I spend enough time staring at a screen,
you know? And as a writer...I need an editor. And the idea of handling all the
things that come with publishing gives me a headache.
6) Nowadays many publishers expect their authors to use social media a lot
to promote their books. Many authors, on the other hand, would prefer to
write only, without being distracted by digital trivialities: what are your thoughts?
I understand both camps--media can be distracting. It can also be overloading
and it can be a time-suck. I lose a lot of time replying to things, posting
things, doing a very limited blog. I'm not the best with blogging.
So yeah, you lose writing time. Also, you have to consider your audience.
Are your readers the kind that spend a lot of time on the Internet?
Are they Tweeters, facebookers, blog-readers? If the answer is no,
then spending hours online feels like a waste.
I, however, write mostly for teens. That means my time spent online
will probably be worth it.
I have to be careful how much time I spend though--like I said,
it can be overwhelming. I think it also depends on how you're
using social media. Maureen Johnson wrote a great post (you can find it here:
http://www.maureenjohnsonbooks.com/2010/06/08/manifesto/ ) on using social media
to connect, and I think it's bang-on. I love the fact that I can answer
questions and chat with librarians, bloggers, teens and other writers online.
I've met so many awesome people that way. I've made new writer friends.
Let me tell you--there are some amazingly sweet and kind YA writers out there.
They've been so great and welcoming and wonderful to me.
I love building that community. So for me it's very useful.
Even if it means I have to answer the same question 1, 304 times,
I still love it. So for me, it's worth the exchange.
When my first book came out, I joined Twitter for some blog tours
that I was doing and I got a tweet from a teen--we will call him J.
I can't remember what the message was about, but I answered him and
he said something like, "I don't think you've got the hang of being famous yet.
You're not supposed to actually respond."
I told him I wasn't famous and anyway, why would I join Twitter
if I didn't want to respond? Then I would be simply talking to myself.
That's boring. He was just going to have to deal with the fact that
I was going to talk back to him and accept it. J and I still chat
on Twitter. He's one of my favorites and I know he'll respond anytime
I mention monkey butlers or hobos, and I love that.
Info about the author:
Lish McBride was raised by wolves in the Pacific Northwest.
It rains a lot there, but she likes it anyway.
She spent three years away while she got her MFA in fiction
from the University of New Orleans, and she liked that too,
although the hurricane did leave much of her stuff underwater.
Her main goal in going to college was to become a writer so she
could wear pajamas pretty much all the time. She enjoys reading,
movies, comics, and preparing herself for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.
Currently, Lish lives happily in Seattle where the weather never actually tries
to kill you, with her family, two cats, and one very put-upon Chihuahua.
She is slowly building her garden gnome army.
To know more, please visit her website: http://www.lishmcbride.com
To buy her latest book, simply click on the cover below: