INTERVIEW : Audrey Greathouse, Author of ‘The Neverland Wars’

About Audrey

Audrey Joy Greathouse is a footloose author from the west coast who has been writing science-fiction and fantasy novels ever since her 2008 NaNoWriMo victory. She published her YA science fiction novella, Dr. Derosa’s Resurrection in five serial installments with Mad Scientist Journal in 2013 and is currently working on her YA fantasy trilogy, The Neverland Wars, and writing avant-garde fiction through Hooked.

 

1. Tell us about your latest book “The Neverland Wars”.

The Neverland Wars is a YA fantasy novel and modern-day continuation of the Peter Pan story. When eight-year-old Rosemary Hoffman is abducted by Peter Pan, her big sister Gwen must chase after her to bring her home…but ends up a teenager stranded in Neverland. Unfortunately, a coalition of adults know about Neverland, and want to harvest its magical resources for their own purposes…like fixing the budget crisis and pushing the information revolution further. Gwen is faced with many decisions when she discovers this brewing war, and she confronts a war-like conflict inside herself between the child she was and the adult she might be growing into.

2. We heard that your writing career actually kick-started with your NaNoWriMo  (National Novel Writing Month) victory in 2008. Describe your journey right from the beginning.

Yes! I’d only written shorter stories and attempted a novel once before that. I tried NaNoWriMo even though I was afraid of not reaching the 50,000 word goal… and ended up writing 70,000 words that month! I was just fifteen at the time, but from that point on I knew this was what I wanted to do with my life… and I knew that I could do it. I’m a quick drafter and wrote lots of “practice novels” where I tried new things and forced myself to grow as a writer. I’ve got twenty-some books stashed away in my closet from every NaNoWriMo and other project since then. I’m glad one of them is finally making its way out into the world!

3. What actually got you into the field of writing?

The realization that I had no acting or musical talent. Hahaha…I always had a lot of story ideas in my head, and writing a novel with my own sense of determination seemed easier than roping people into filming a movie or collaborating in another medium. I owe a large part of my professional success to the student marketing organization DECA, and my teacher Mr. Rockwood, who spent three years teaching me everything he could about how to succeed in business. Publishing a book is a lot like starting a business, and getting into the “field” of writing took every ounce of those business smarts.

4.Describe your connection with our country India  !

India intrigues me, and is high on the list of countries I hope I can visit someday. One of the first short stories I ever published, Mirror, was in the second issue of India-based e-zine, Miracle. Shortly after I published that piece, the magazine starting looking for a columnist and I got the position. I wrote science-fiction and fantasy pieces on their issues’ themes for about three years, and it was a fun and professional introduction to the global literary scene. The internet is really breaking down boarders. Some of the people I know from India are incredibly well-versed in Shakespeare because their school systems are even more interested in teaching western classics than my high school in the USA was! I have an idea for a historical young adult story that takes place in the Maurya Empire and explores some of the interesting superstitions that existed during that time, but I’m going to have to do a lot of research before I’m in a position to write it well!

5. Coming from USA , the land of some of the most popular authors, did the threat of tough competition ever bother you?

Not really…I’m always more concerned for my friends from other countries who want to write in their native languages! So much of the book market is for English language books or the translations of extremely popular USA authors, and it poses an incredible challenge to someone who wants to write a book in, say, Dutch. I feel lucky that there is such a demand for authors from the USA!

6. Which book, would you say, inspired you the most to write your debut novel ?

…Is this a trick question? I have to say Peter Pan, hahaha! Here’s a little secret though: I didn’t actually read J.M. Barrie’s classic children’s novel until I was seventeen. My dearest friend from grade school, Alison, lent me her copy and I read a chapter here and a chapter there all through my senior year of high school, trying to stay sane as I faced the reality that I would be all the way grown-up very, very soon. The story of The Neverland Wars incubated in my head for about a year and a half after that, before I finally started drafting it in NaNoWriMo of 2013.

7. Which author is your role model?

Neil Gaiman best fits the description of my “role model,” since he writes such compelling fantasy that bleeds into and back out of reality with such style. His wife, Amanda Palmer, wrote The Art of Asking about how she built her artistic career and intimate fan community, and I really admire her work and attitude toward art too. Right now, she has set up an account with the website Patreon where fans can give her money to make art, and then she releases the digital content of all her pieces for free. I love that, and hope someday I have a fanbase that is willing to support my stories enough that we can always release the ebooks for free, challenging the sterile seller/buyer relationship with a more involved and community-driven patronage model.

8. Any advice for budding authors?

Write a lot, and finish a lot. Be okay with writing a book that you’ll never want to publish, so long as it helps you grow. Write short stories, and try to publish them; people will take your novel more seriously if you’re already a published author. Find good beta readers: nothing is better than another budding writer or heavy reader who can see what needs to change in your manuscript. When it comes time to send out query letters, always make sure you are writing something new. It is a lot easier to take rejection letters if you can go sit down and remind yourself that you write because you love to write, and won’t stop writing until you succeed.

9. Rapid Fire
a) Favourite sound

Has to be the sound of rain! (Can you tell I’m from Seattle?)

b) That one quote which always keeps you going?

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do” -Mark Twain (and that includes sending out untold numbers of query letters for your book, trust me)

c) Favourite author and book?

Neil Gaiman is my favorite author, but my all-time favorite book has to be Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli.

d) Perfect escape?

A hammock in the woods. I love the back-and-forth rocking  feeling, and the comforting feeling of trees around me.

e) Favourite blogs?

Ooph! Too many to count! Several of my favorite are hosting a Lost Children blog tour for The Neverland Wars including, Seeing Double in Neverland, PaperType Adventures, and Reading is Better with Cupcakes. Also, I have to mention The Mud and Stars Book Blog since I’ve never found anyone who read so deep into the themes of YA for their blog reviews as Jess.

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