We made it through release week! Now this doesn’t mean all the work is done and TA will just drift off on an infinite current, but right now it feels like something to be grateful for.
So before I say anything else, I just want to say thank you. To everyone who’s tweeted, bought, gifted, shared, whispered, or shouted, thanks. It doesn’t just make a dent. It makes a book. There’s a certain amount of fear (And a certain amount of letting go) that comes with hitting that first week on shelves mark. You have to trust, if not in an infinite current, at least in a one that lasts awhile, so every time someone reviews the book, or spreads the word in any way and adds to that current, it gives me hope.
ANYWAY. There I go feelings feels again. Let’s move on.
Yesterday, to celebrate the fact THE ARCHIVED was finally available in ALL formats (the digital one was delayed a week due to technical difficulty), Disney*Hyperion and I did a little Twitter chat, and I thought I would post some of the transcript here, for those who missed it and might be interested.
D*H: How does it feel to have ARCHIVED out in the world??
V: SURREAL. This book has been in the works for 4 yrs. Every time I see a pic of it w/ a reader or in the wild, my heart flutters.
V: Like, EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I get fluttery. And people have made release week SUCH a shiny thing, cheering with me.
Reader: What was your inspiration for the library?
V: A morgue. W/ those little nametags. I thought, wow, there would be a lot of bodies. And then I thought there would be a lot of MEMORIES in those bodies.
D*H: Mackenzie “Mac” Bishop is a complicated main character – broken, sad, courageous – tell us a little about how you created her?
V: I wanted an MC who was very strong but far from perfect. Mac’s no saint. She’s flawed, full of cracks. Not an ideal. She’s real.
V: She’s a product of this strange environment and trying to exist in a normal world and struggling to keep her selves separate.
Reader: How much of the book did you have plotted out before writing? How much uncovered as you began to write?
V: I’m a connect-the-dotser. I need to know 5-6 specific plot points, and discover the lines between.
Reader: How did you come up with the concept of people lying on shelves like books where you can flip through their histories?
V: It was strangely intuitive, the concept. I mean, this is what lives ARE. Stories. And to me, the scariest part…of death is the idea that we spend a life gathering knowledge/memories, and lose them. The Archive was my solution.
Reader: How much do you know before you start writing?
V: When I start planning, I have a setting. And conflict. When I start WRITING, I have the rest.
Reader: What are some of your favorite books that are in any way similar to The Archived?
V: I love Neil Gaiman. It’s no secret I love the idea of strange worlds overlapping normal ones.
Reader: Why does Mac call her grandad Da? What was the influence?
V: In retrospect, the name Da was HIGHLY problematic bc some confused with Dad. But that was always his nickname. He didn’t FEEL like “granddad” or “Papa”.
Reader: Have you ever considered doing a novella featuring Da in his early days?
V: I have considered SEVERAL shorter pieces, including one for Da and one for Roland
D*H: The #Archived is YA, right? But in some ways it’s not. Do you consider the tropes/conventions of the genre when you’re writing?
V: It is, but its themes aren’t classic YA. It asks strange/complicated/metaphysical Qs, ones that don’t always have a RIGHT answer.
V: I like gray worlds (not black and white, good and evil). This is a world that makes the reader think, and question.
V: I would say I’m aware of the tropes/conventions, but I don’t gravitate toward them. In fact, I tend to turn and go the other way.
V: EX. there are two boys in TA. Neither is a love interest. There’s a like interest, and a lust interest, but this isn’t a triangle.
V: And Mackenzie Bishop is not a hero. She’s not an ANTI-hero, either. She has light gray moments, and dark gray moments.
Reader: Do u make a point to write everyday or just when inspiration strikes?
V: I try to write every day (these days with deadlines I have to).
Reader: Did you know who the “villan” was at the beginning or did you discover it?
V: I always knew who the villain was.
Reader: How many books are planned for the #Archived series?
V: There are at least two books in the Archived series…but Let’s be real, kids. I want enough books that one day we can call it the “Collected Works of Mackenzie Bishop”
Reader: Were the nods to Tennant (the converses, the hair) deliberate, or am I just a fangirl?
V: There are THREE nods to Doctor Who in THE ARCHIVED. Two of them–crack in wall, Roland–are intentional…one of them–the library–was accidental!
Reader: Is there a backstory for Roland? I feel like he had a lot of heartbreak in the past (much like Ten).
V: Yes, Roland has a backstory. You get glimpses throughout the series.
D*H: What’s your best advice for aspiring writers?
V: My BEST advice for writers is to BE BRAVE. Make sure your want always outweighs your fear.
V: This is an industry with A LOT of rejection. Dozens of doors to get through. If you want in, be brave enough to keep knocking.
Reader: Did you base any other characters (besides Roland) on people? Like Da or Mac? their relationship seemed so real.
V: Roland is the only one who is a direct nod to another FICTIONAL character (the Doctor).
V: I borrow personality traits from people–defense mechanisms, body language, quirks–but not whole people.
V: If I insert real people into my books, I start to feel an obligation to the fact, not the fiction.
D*H: Sum up THE ARCHIVED in ONE tweet!
V: Girl works for library where dead are shelved like books, returning those that wake/escape, until one fugitive changes everything.