Today's guest author celebrated the release of their INCREDIBLE YA debut back in February and now looks forward to their second release in 2021. Find out how their journey to publication happened!
Check it out...
Eva V. Gibson is the author of contemporary YA novels Together We Caught Fire (available now) and Where Secrets Lie (2021). A bookworm since early childhood, Eva gravitated toward the dark and gritty, reading, then writing, stories with controversial themes and flawed, complicated characters. She lives in Northern Virginia with her family, surrounded by kids, yarn, pets, and an ever-growing stack of dark and gritty books she will definitely finish reading someday.
Lane Jamison’s life is turned upside down the week before her senior year when her father introduces her to his new fiancée: mother of Grey McIntyre, Lane’s longtime secret crush. Now with Grey living in Lane’s house, there’s only a thin wall separating their rooms, making it harder and harder to deny their growing mutual attraction—an attraction made all the more forbidden by Grey’s long-term girlfriend Sadie Hall, who also happens to be Lane’s friend.
Torn between her feelings for Grey and her friendship with Sadie—not to mention her desire to keep the peace at home—Lane befriends Sadie’s older brother, Connor, the black sheep of the strict, evangelical Hall family. Connor, a metalworking artist who is all sharp edges, challenges Lane in ways no one else ever has. As the two become closer and start to open up about the traumas in their respective pasts, Lane begins to question her conviction that Connor is just a distraction.
Tensions come to a head after a tragic incident at a party, forcing Lane to untangle her feelings for both boys and face the truth of what—and who—she wants, in this gripping and stunningly romantic debut novel.
“Flawed and fully fleshed out, the characters attempt to navigate their lives as best they can with the baggage they each carry . . . The writing is captivating and fluid—easily switching from lyrical and dreamy to raw and violent . . . An addictive page-turner that begins with a forbidden romance but turns into so much more.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Gibson’s debut novel is stunning in its total honesty . . . Fans of Kathleen Glasgow and Nina LaCour will appreciate this sometimes lyrical, sometimes brutal, always unflinching portrayal of a girl struggling with her past in order to find her future. — School Library Journal
“With prose so striking that each dangerous, delectable sentence feels like a treat, TOGETHER WE CAUGHT FIRE is a book that doesn’t hold back. Even when the characters travel to their darkest places, there is an undeniable spark of light, of hope, at the center. I loved this gritty, bold debut.” — Rachel Lynn Solomon, author of Our Year of Maybe and You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone
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Who are you and what do you write?
Hi! I’m Eva—a sarcastic Gen-X lady who writes dark contemporary Young Adult novels. My debut novel, TOGETHER WE CAUGHT FIRE, was released February 4 by Simon Pulse. My second standalone novel, WHERE SECRETS LIE, will be out in 2021. My work is rife with emotional conflict, heavy issues, difficult family dynamics, and steamy romance, all blended together into coming-of-age stories. I’ve been accused of ripping out hearts and shattering souls, which I consider complimentary. My basic plots sound straightforward, but I definitely do not pull punches, and there’s plenty of angst and darkness beneath the surface of my books.
Where and when and how did the writing life begin for you?
I started writing in third grade, when our teacher hung up an illustrated poster of two kids under an apple tree and had the class write little stories based on the image. She loved mine so much she took it home to read to her son and encouraged me to keep reading and writing. I was already a huge bookworm, so this wasn’t a problem. By the time I was 14, my interest had evolved into a Very Serious Passion for writing, which defined my life in junior high, high school, and college.
How has the journey to this point been? Can you give us a basic rundown?
I’d always wanted to be an author, so my whole life has been the journey, but it wasn’t until I was a parent dealing with sleep deprivation and PPD that I was inspired to start working on a single flash of an idea I’d had several years before. I’d written one overlong, somewhat directionless book before I had my kids, put it through the query process, and finally pulled and shelved it, but that fact that I’d finished that long-ago first one, which meant I knew I could do it, and gave me the motivation to try again, with more specific goals in mind. I wrote that book in the late-night hours after my kids were in bed, in what now seems like a trance-like state, and then immediately started drafting a second book while polishing and querying the first. I finished the draft of the second right around the time I signed with my agent and began a long and strange submission process that ultimately resulted in a two-book deal—with the second book I wrote being the one that was picked up first. It’s been quite the trip, and it still feels like it’s just beginning.
What's been the hardest part of your writing/publishing experience so far? And the most enjoyable?
The hardest is dealing with time—the time to sit and actually write, uninterrupted; the time spent waiting on feedback or answers; the time between accepting a book deal and the actual release date. Finding the time outside all that to work on other interests and still keep up with chores, sleep, and family life is a constant challenge. All that, though, is more than balanced out by the feeling of writing when I’m in the zone, and the words are landing just as they should. When everything ties itself together into something real. Any hardship I go through in the process is worth it when I have a finished draft.
Would you go back and change anything?
I wish I’d known sooner about the actual technicalities of the query process, and the specific steps it takes to get a book published. I wasted a lot of time in the early days before I knew about things like word count guidelines and query letters. Ultimately, though, I wouldn’t change the path I took to get here, because “here” is wonderful, and I’m indescribably lucky to have come this far in the first place.
Where would you like to be in 5 years time? And 10? Or, what are your plans for the future?
I hope to be a seasoned, grizzled author by then, with several books out in the world and several more in the queue. Everyone has the bestseller dream, and I’ll certainly take it if it happens to me, but maintaining a steady, successful writing career maintained by the enthusiasm of readers is my bottom-line goal. Anything beyond that is extra sprinkles on the cake (which I will absolutely eat, make no mistake).
What's one piece of advice you'd give to new writers just starting out?
Decide on your basic goals before you get too deep in the publishing process. Are you writing fantasy? Contemporary? Horror? Do you want to write for adults, teens, or younger kids? Once you figure that out, read as many books as you can in the category and genre you choose. Research the guidelines such as word count, common themes, etc. Write what you need to write—put your heart in your story, and don’t try to write to trends, but make sure to keep the standard publishing guidelines in mind, so you won’t emerge from your creative trance with a 200,000-word first draft that you then have to reduce by at least 60 percent. Trust me on this. Once you have a finished draft, you’ll have a better grasp on whether you want to pursue publication, and of your vision for the future of your work. There are many paths you can take from there, but none of that matters if you don’t first write the book.
And most importantly...
Ketchup or Mayo? Mayo. Ketchup is only good on like, three things.
Night or Day? I’m a huge night owl.
Inside or Outside? My introvert heart was ready to vote Inside, but I really do need a balance of the two.
Dogs or Cats? I love (and have) both, but if I had to choose, I prefer cats. They’re sweet and cuddly, but also independent and low maintenance.
Twitter or Facebook? Twitter for social networking/book community stuff, Facebook to keep in touch with family. I keep the two mostly separate, and don’t have a public Facebook.
Ebook or Paperback? Paperback, but I don’t really discriminate. I love books in all forms.
Sun or Rain? Sun, as long as I have plenty of sunscreen. I love the rain, but it can be a hassle.
Keyboard or Pencil & Notebook? Keyboard. At this point, my handwriting can’t keep up with the stream of my thoughts.
Comedy or Drama? Comedy. Preferably dark comedy, sarcasm, and absurdity. Laughter is my ultimate coping mechanism.
Chips or Chocolate? Chips. I love chocolate, but my body recently decided to develop an aversion to sweets, so it’s no longer much of an option.
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