Home Interviews Cecil Castellucci for Lost in Young Adults

Cecil Castellucci for Lost in Young Adults

by Louisa Klein
1) Why young adult? Did you choose this genre 
or were you ‘chosen’ by it?
I’m not the first author to talk about
how teenage characters are experiencing
everything for the first time and what a
compelling that is to explore for a writer.
The feelings! The thrills!  The ups and downs!
But more than that I think that it’s about a voice
that you have and following that to its truest place.
When I sit down to write a novel,
the voice that comes is a teenage voice.
That voice is
different for other creative things that I do,
like when I write a play or a song or a libretto,
but when I’m writing a novel, it’s Young Adult that
feels the most right.
I suppose that means that I was chosen by YA.
2) Is there an author, living or dead, who inspired you particularly?
I’ll tell you right now that I fell in love with Jane Austen when I was a teenager.
I don’t know that she is the only one that inspires me particularly, but her stories
informed me and the writer I became  because they were written in the kind of
narrative code that spoke to me and made me fall in love with stories.  Knowing what
kinds of stories you love helps you to find out what kinds of stories you want to
write.   I don’t write Jane Austen books, but I do like a happy ending.
3) Please, tell us about your last book and, if you can, about your future projects. 
My last book was called First Day on Earth.  It’s about a boy named Mal who thinks
he’s been abducted by aliens and starts going to alien abduction support group where
he meets a man who may or may not be an alien.   My newest novel comes out this May
22nd and it’s called The Year of the Beasts.  It’s a hybrid novel made up of
alternating prose and graphic novel chapters.  The prose story tells the story of
two sisters, the boys they like and the summer they have together.  The graphic
novel is about a girl who is a Medusa whose parents have turned to stone and she
doesn’t know why she’s not a girl.  The comics are illustrated by the wonderful
artist  Nate Powell.   After that, next year I have a book for little kids called
Odd Duck.  It’s about two ducks.  It’s illustrated by Sara Varon.
4) How was your writing journey? Was it difficult to find an agent and get published?
The thing about a writing journey is that it is different for everyone.   I wrote
three books which never saw the light of day before I sold Boy Proof which became my
first published novel. I’d been rejected everywhere!  So don’t get discouraged
people who have not sold their first or second book!  I had joined the Society of
Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and that was enormously helpful to me when
I was first starting out trying to get published. I had gone to one of their working
writers retreats and there I met the editor Liz Bicknell from Candlewick Press.  She
had passed on my previous books that I’d submitted to her for consideration, but she
read ten pages of Boy Proof at the critiquing and then asked me to send along the
whole novel to her so she could pass it on to her colleague Kara Lareau who
eventually bought the book.  She felt that Kara and I would be perfect match, and
she was right.  We went on to work on four other books together.   So, you never
know who is going to be your cheerleader.
5) What’s your opinion about this E-book revolution? 
Would you consider the indie route? 
I am all for it if that’s what you want to do!  I come from an indie rock background
where I played in bands and put out my own records.  I also made an indie film, so I
have no trouble with the idea of DIY (do it yourself.)  I am pretty happy with my
publishing choices, but I did put out a short holiday story last December called
Frost and the Snowman.  It was a fun little thing to do and I was glad for the
option of putting something out on my own.  My feeling is that the more ways you (or
I)  can get work out there, the better.   But as with all DIY stuff, it’s super
important to still get your work critiqued, edited and polished up.
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’m a gal of the modern world so I like the internet.  I do what feels comfortable
to me and I don’t do what feels weird.  I twitter, I tumbl, I facebook and I’ve got
a website.  My publishers just expect me to be myself and they’ve never pressured me
to do anything.  But when it comes right down to it, my job is write stories.  So
that always takes precedence and priority.  Social media is kind of like a
Merry-go-round.  There’s always another horse, so pick the one that you think is

Info about the author:
 Cecil Castellucci is the two-time MacDowell Colony fellow
and award winning author of five books for young adults including
Boy Proof (Candlewick, 2005), The Plain Janes (Minx/DC Comics, 2007),
and Beige (Candlewick, 2007). This year she also accepted a position
as YA and children’s books editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books,
a newly launched online magazine. Cecil Castellucci's books have been
on the American Library Association's (ALA's) BBYA, Quick Pick for
Reluctant Readers, Great Graphic Novels for Teens lists,
as well as the NYPL Books for the Teen Age and the Amelia Bloomer list.
Born in New York City, Cecil lives in Los Angeles.

To know more, please visit Cecil's social media:

To buy her latest book, simply click on the cover below:

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