Welcome to this week's WEDNESDAY DEBUT INTERVIEW!
Today, we'll be talking with author Susan Adrian about her debut novel, Tunnel Vision, a YA sci-fi thriller published January 20 by St. Martin's Griffin.
Tell us a bit about yourself!
By day I'm a scientific editor. I edit other people's words, do layout of reports and publications, do marketing and publicity, and manage a staff. I live with my husband and daughter in Montana, and get to do all the full-time mom stuff too! I write in the early mornings and on weekends, and am part of a great, supportive community of YA and MG authors, the Fearless Fifteeners. Short answer: I keep busy.
Tell us about your book! What makes TUNNEL VISION in particular an important story for you to tell?
TUNNEL VISION is the book that brought me back to writing. I had actually quit, out of frustration after 10 years of trying, but this story came into my head and I had to write it down. It's adventure, but it's also about family, and how to deal with life when you have a power that affects other people. I love the characters, and the story is all me!
The brief summary: Jake Lukin has an incredible power he's been hiding his whole life...but one (big) mess-up later, and the U.S. government knows all about it. Suddenly he's juggling high school, tennis tryouts, flirting with Rachel Watkins, and work as a government asset, complete with 24-hour bodyguards. When his family is threatened, Jake has to make a terrible choice.
How long as this process taken for you, from the time that you began the first draft of this book until the date of its publication?
I started writing this book in summer 2011. I got a new agent with the book in April 2012, and we sold it in April 2013. It's coming out in January 2015. So about a year of writing and signing an agent, and then almost two years in publication!
What is your favorite part of the writing process? Your least favorite?
I honestly like revision, when I already have the draft down, so I have something to work with. Though there are fun things about drafting too.
Every writer experiences some rejection and setbacks along the way. How did you learn to cope with them and move on?
When I quit and then came back, I rediscovered what I'd forgotten: how much I love to create stories. I've had some setbacks since then too, but that knowledge helps me keep going, over and over.
After signing a contract with a publisher, what comes next for a debut author? What have you been doing in these months between then and now?
A lot more than I would have ever thought! There's a lot of waiting, to be honest, but it's smart to try to use that time to work on the next book. I actually wrote a sequel to TUNNEL VISION while we were on submission, and ended up tearing that book apart and using it for editor-suggested revisions. I worked on setting up my website and some other social media I didn't have covered, worked with marketing and publicity, advised on the book cover, and set up the Fearless Fifteeners. I checked copyedits and proofed final pages. The past six months have been crazy busy working on setting up my launch party and my tour, doing interviews, and setting up events for this coming year.
Tell us about your book cover. Who designed it? How much say did you have in it? How do you feel about how it reflects your story?
There is one part of this cover that I love love love...The Chucks.
There is a long and complex story of how I came to write this, but the gist is that I told the story to myself, night after night, long before I thought to write it down. At first I thought—since I am a girl—that it was a girl narrator, as all my others had been. I followed the narrator blindly through adventures. But one night, I looked down in the story, and I was surprised to see black Chucks, a boy's Chucks, on what were most definitely a teen boy's feet. From that moment I knew my narrator was Jake, and the story flowed from there, until I finally wrote it down.
I never put it in the book, other than that he wears "sneakers," but it was always clear in my head. I gasped with shock when I saw that the designer (the talented Young Lim) had put Jake in Chucks, as the focus of the cover. It was perfect. It was Jake, right there.
Tell us about your title. Was this the original title you'd had in mind? If not, what made you change it?
Originally the title was THE TUNNEL, but St. Martin's asked for something a little more catchy, and I suggested TUNNEL VISION. I couldn't believe I hadn't thought of it first, as it fits so much better.
What's next for you after this debut? What are your plans for the future of your writing?
I'm working on a new version of the sequel, and have a middle grade out on submission too! I also have another thriller lined up next about two sisters from Spain…
How does it feel to finally have your book out in the hands of readers? Do you have any events planned you want people to know about?
It feels simultaneously amazing and terrifying.
And yes! I'm doing a Tunnel Tour. Dates and times are being added, so please check out my events page for the latest: http://www.susanadrian.net/events/. So far, I'm having a big launch party in my hometown of Butte, Montana January 20th, and then Seattle January 28th, Los Angeles February 14th, San Diego February 17th, Pasadena March 12th, and Berkeley March 24th. Definitely more on the way!
Is there any other advice you'd like to pass on to others pursuing publication? Any mistakes you've made that other writers might be able to learn from?
Don't quit. And if you do, don't let it stick!
And, just for fun, what famous celebrity do you think would enjoy your book? Why?
I'd love it if Zachary Levi or Josh Schwartz, from CHUCK, ever read the book. At my lowest point I was inspired by CHUCK, which is a great adventure show, and there are a lot of CHUCK easter eggs in the book.
Awesome! I love Chuck!
Congratulations on your debut!
Buy Tunnel Vision now at Amazon.com!