LitStack Interview with Phoebe North

Last year, in our Emerging Author segment, we had the Northpleasure of interviewing Phoebe North, whose debut novel, Starglass has just been released. Recently, I sat down with Phoebe to discuss the first installment of her YA SciFi duology, her experience as a newly published author and what she hopes the future will bring.

Be sure to check out my review of Starglass here and don’t forget to pick up your copy today. You won’t be sorry! Thanks to Phoebe and her publisher, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers for giving us the opportunity to chat.

TST: Thanks for joining us again on LitStack, Phoebe and congratulations on the release of Starglass. Last year when we chatted in your first interview, you had just inked your book deal and were beginning the editing process. What has the publishing process taught you about yourself as a writer?

 PN: Becoming published has challenged me in so many ways! I can be a pretty prideful person, but the publishing process has taught me that the industry is filled with consummate professionals who really want to see good books make it to print. My editor and my agent pushed me to my creative limit with every round of revisions. I frequently doubted my capacity, but in the end, I’m beyond proud of the book that Starglass became.

TST: What has been the biggest surprise about readying your novel for publication?

PN: The reactions of readers frequently delight and surprise me. Their insightful perspectives on my novel have really challenged me to dig deeper and be a more thoughtful writer.

TST: Every Sunday on your blog you host a “Poetry Sunday.” I know that your concentration for your MFA was in poetry. Having written in so many genres, do you have a personal preference?

PN: Young adult sci-fi, definitely. If you’ve read my “Poetry Sunday” poems you’ll notice that even when I was an MFA, I frequently wrote about children and adolescence–and often my poems had speculative themes. My deepest hope was always to change the lives of twelve-year-old readers, as I was once changed by the works of Anne McCaffrey, Mercedes Lackey, and others. The easiest way to do that is to write books that speak directly to them, about their lives.

TST: Last year at BEA you went in as a writer meeting with a potential agent. This year, you attended as a debut novelist. How did those two experiences differ for you?

PN: When I first attended BEA, it was mostly as a blogger; though I’d been querying, I still had no idea if my book would ever make it to the shelves. Attending as a new author was very exciting. It was so great to encounter people who had heard of me and were excited about my book!

 TST: Okay, let’s talk about Starglass. You know that I have loved this story since those early draft days. How did the novel changed over the course of rewriting and were your expectations for the final draft realized?

PN: For one thing, Starglass is now about 25,000 words longer than the original draft!  It’s much deeper and richer, and many of the themes are better realized. I wouldn’t have been able to anticipate a lot of the changes that came to fruition; they were mostly the result of insight provided by my agent and editor.

 TST: What would Terra’s “happily ever after” include?

PN: Ooh, you’ll have to wait until the second book to find out!

 TST: Can you talk about the sequel to Starglass? What can your readers expect and do you have a release date yet?

PN: The sequel to Starglass is called Starbreak, and it’s due out in summer of 2014. This volume concludes the duology, so the most important thing I wanted to provide to readers is closure. They’ll also get to explore a whole new setting, meet new characters, and see Terra grow pretty significantly as a person.

TST: What do you hope your readers believe about Terra as a person and you as her creator?

PN: Oh, I’m happy to let readers draw their own conclusions about Terra. I do hope they keep in mind that, while I think that Terra is an *interesting* person, she’s certainly not intended as a role model. I don’t agree with all the choices she makes–I merely report them!

 TST: You’re career is in its infancy and there are so many possibilities open to you now. What would be your idea of career fulfillment?

PN: I would love to have a book a year, and to explore other age categories like middle grade or adult.

 TST: We have to geek out a little bit. What did you think about the past season of Who and if you could pick the next Doctor, who would you choose

PN: I thought the past season of Doctor Who was okay, but I’m curious to see where it goes in the future. As for the next Doctor, well, my deepest wish is to see a woman at the helm of the TARDIS!

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