This week, I’m featuring an interview I did with Rachele Alpine, author of the YA novel CANARY (Medallion Press) due out next August.
Rachele is also a member of the Lucky 13’s,a group of YA & MG authors debuting in 2013. Here’s a synopsis.
If she stays quiet, it will destroy her. If she speaks out, it will destroy everyone.
Kate Franklin’s life changes for the better when her dad lands a job at Beacon Prep, an elite private school with one of the best basketball teams in the state. She begins to date a player on the team and quickly gets caught up in a world of idolatry and entitlement, learning that there are perks to being an athlete.
But those perks also come with a price. Another player takes his power too far and Kate is assaulted at a party. She knows she should speak out, but her dad tries to silence her in order to protect the team. The world that Kate was once welcomed into is now her worst enemy, and she must decide whether to stay silent or expose the corruption, destroying her father’s career and bringing down a town’s heroes.
1. What’s your biggest piece of advice for new writers.
Write, write, write and read, read, read. Seriously. Find the time every single day to do both. They go hand in hand.
2. What was your favorite scene to write in CANARY and why?
This is a great question (and one I never thought of before!). I think some of my favorite parts were the non-narrative parts that my main character, Kate, creates. She chronicles her time at her new school with blog posts told in poems, lyrics, quotes, and free-writes that don’t follow the traditional writing structure. She writes these as letters to her former self, giving words of advice. Each of these entries starts with a rule that she wish she would have known and then she reacts to the event in an artistic way. I really liked the idea of stepping outside the traditional way of writing a novel and playing around with how I present information to the reader. As we get closer to the book book’s publication date, we’re going to publish Kate’s post on a blog, as if she were released them in real time. I’m pretty excited about that.
3. Describe a bad writing day. Now, describe a great one!
A bad writing day to me would be a day when I can’t sit down and write as much as I want to. I’m a high school English teacher and MFA fiction candidate, so my life is pretty busy. I try to fit some time in for writing each day, but in the perfect world, I’d have endless amounts of time for everything in my life.
A perfect writing day would include my weekend/summer vacation routine. I wake up, make a big pot of coffee and write in my pajamas for a few hours. My dog sleeps by my feet, I play my favorite music, and if I’m lucky, the stories flow. When the words don’t come as easily, I’ll take a break and go on a walk with my dog. It’s just so easy and relaxed, and I love the possibilities that a whole new day of writing brings.
4. What surprised you most about the publishing process?
I love how I have been able to connect to so many readers and writers. It’s amazing to talk with people who are already excited about your book, to connect to people who love YA literature as much as I do, and experience the amazing support YA writers give to each other. The YA community is incredible, and I love being a part of it.
5. What are the best books you’ve read in the past year?
That’s a hard one…I’ve read so many great ones!
Right now I’m head over heels in love with Carol Rifka Brunt’s TELL THE WOLVES I’M HOME. I want to devour every word, but I’m reading it slowly to make it last. In the last few months, I’ve also raved about WONDER (R. J. Palacio), WHAT HAPPENS NEXT (Colleen Clayton), and IF I LIE (Corrine Jackson).
If you’d like to enter to win an ARC of CANARY, go here:
Rachele Alpine is a lover of sushi, fake mustaches, and Michael Jackson. One of her first jobs was at a library, but it didn’t last long, because all she did was hide in the third-floor stacks and read. Now she’s a little more careful about when and where she indulges her reading habit. By day she’s a high school English teacher, and by night she writes with the companionship of the world’s cutest dog, Radley, a big cup of coffee, and a full bag of gummy peaches. Rachele lives with her husband in Cleveland, Ohio, but dreams of moving back to Boston, the city she fell in love with while attending graduate school there.
Blogger’s Note: Rachele also crafted the wonderful REUNITED Teacher’s Guide (available for Book groups as well!) which can be downloaded FOR FREE, right here.