Today it is my extreme pleasure to spotlight the debut novel of a very dear friend of mine - Shifting by Bethany Wiggins. I first read this book several years ago when we first met. She gave it to me printed out in a binder so I could do a crit. After a chapter or so I sort of forgot that I was supposed to be critting and read it straight through, binder cover to binder cover, by that night. And I think my first comment to her was "I can't believe this isn't published yet!"
I love this book. LOVE. It has shifters, but unlike those in other books I've read. It incorporates legends and myths, but some I had never heard of till then. It has romance, mystery, danger - everything I love in a story. Including an amazing main character that I fell in love with immediately.
After bouncing from foster home to foster home, Magdalene Mae is transferred to what should be her last foster home in the tiny town of Silver City, New Mexico. Now that she's eighteen and has only a year left in high school, she's determined to stay out of trouble and just be normal. Agreeing to go to the prom with Bridger O'Connell is a good first step. Fitting in has never been her strong suit, but it's not for the reasons most people would expect-it all has to do with the deep secret that she is a shape shifter. But even in her new home danger lurks, waiting in the shadows to pounce. They are the Skinwalkers of Navajo legend, who have traded their souls to become the animal whose skin they wear-and Maggie is their next target.
Bethany was also kind enough to answer a few questions for us :)
OA: Where did the idea for Shifting come from?
BW: A few years ago, a good friend dyed her hair from blond to black. The effect was amazing--it made her light brown eyes look gold! And because of that, a new character started living inside of my head and my main character, Maggie Mae, was conceived.
OA: Can you tell us a bit about your journey to publication?
BW: My journey to publication was a long, hard one! I wrote several books, two of which I queried with little success (and reading over them again, I can see why I had no success--my writing was terrible!). Then I wrote SHIFTING, polished it, queried it, got rejected, polished it some more, got rejected, polished it some more, got rejected . . . A long while later, I picked my top ten agents, sent them queries (several I had queried previously) and crossed my fingers. The amazing Marlene Stringer of Stringer Literary loved my book! And she sold it to Walker Books.
OA: What surprised you most about the publishing process?
BW: The amount of work that goes into a single book! There's the author, editors, assistant editors, interns, copy-editors, a marketing team, the girl who makes the cover, the publicist (and I'm sure there are many I haven't listed) . . . SO many people are part of the publishing effort .
OA: Any words of advice for aspiring authors?
BW: Dear aspiring authors, if you want something bad enough, and are willing to work for it, then WORK FOR IT! If you can't get an agent for your book, write another. If you can't get an agent for that one, write another. Every single thing you write will only make you a better writer, so one day, you'll write something amazing that everyone wants to represent/publish.
Huge thanks to Bethany for hanging out with us this morning and an even bigger CONGRATS on the upcoming release of your book (which comes out this Tuesday the 27th!!!)
AND! We will be giving away a SIGNED copy of Shifting to one lucky commenter. All you need to do is comment on this post and we will randomly draw a comment. The winner will be announced next Thursday.