May 19, 2013

Author Interview: Victoria Schwab

Victoria Schwab, author of The Near Witch, was wonderful enough to answer a tremendous amount of questions about her second novel – The Archived.  This interview took place at the beginning of the year, and I apologize that it has not been posted until now.
Victoria is always a friendly presence on twitter and updates her blog on a regular basis.
We have a lot to look forward to from Victoria, and I’m sure there is more we aren’t privy to, because she is constantly writing (or editing).  Her first adult novel, Vicious, is due out September 2013, the sequel to The ArchivedThe Unbound, will be released in January of 2014, and a middle grade series is in the works, (no information as of yet).
Victoria couldn’t tell me anything about The Unbound at the time of the interview, (there is now some information about it on her blog), but she told me everything I wanted to know about The Archived.
I hope you enjoy learning about Victoria and The Archived as much as I did.

Read & Riot:  Coffee or tea?

VICTORIA:  Tea. Always. Only. A pot, please. I drink my tea the way others drink their coffee.
R&R:  One place you’d like to live that you haven’t yet? To visit?
VICTORIA:  Edinburgh. I've visited, and it is, to this day, the only place where my bones have been happy. I'm a restless soul, but setting foot there, it was like my silt had settled.
(R&R edit:  I'm even happier for Victoria, because has recently been in Edinburgh).
R&R:  Favourite way to spend a vacation?
VICTORIA:  Writing in a coffee shop in a gray city where no one speaks English, so the cafe chatter bleeds into a lovely white noise and I can think.
R&R:  Favourite way to spend a rainy day?
VICTORIA:  Reading in a comfy chair.
R&R:  Magazines or newspapers?
R&R:  Audiobooks or ebooks?
VICTORIA:  Neither. I tend to zone out when listening or reading too long on a screen. I need the feel of paper, the ability to truly turn pages.
R&R:  Facebook or twitter?
VICTORIA:  Technically both, and being an immediate-gratification-lover, both appeal, but Twitter is more fun and lends itself more to mischief and random conversations with famous people.
R&R:  Favourite TV shows?
VICTORIA:  Dexter, Vampire Diaries, Modern Family, Supernatural, Downtown Abbey, Game of Thrones, Doctor Who.
(Read & Riot loves Game of Thrones).
R&R:  Favourite (music) artists?
VICTORIA:  At the moment, Fun, Mumford and Sons, Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra, Florence + the Machine.
R&R:  Favourite bookstore?
VICTORIA:  Any and every.
R&R:  Favourite season?
VICTORIA:  Fall. I love the chill and the smell of dying leaves and woodsmoke.
R&R:  Vampires or werewolves?
VICTORIA:  Vampires. Always.
R&R:  Who are some authors / writers that you admire?
VICTORIA:  Neil Gaiman, Laini Taylor, Holly Black.
R&R:  What’s your favourite thing about reading?
VICTORIA:  Getting out of my own mind.
R&R:  What’s one of your greatest dreams?
VICTORIA:  To change someone's life.
R&R:  What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
VICTORIA:  Be brave.

R&R:  I’m really curious how you came up with the idea for The Archived and what came to you first. Can you tell me?
VICTORIA:  The first thing I thought of was the location. Before I knew anything else, I knew I wanted to write about a family moving into an old hotel that had been converted into an apartment building, and then fallen into disrepair. Strange that in a supernatural book, the mundane came first.
R&R:  Has The Archived been something you’ve been working on for a long time?
VICTORIA:  Yes. Almost three years, in fact. Its first incarnation was very different, and had a different name, and I took the project down to studs and wrote it all over again.
R&R:  What was your favourite thing about writing The Archived?
VICTORIA:  That's a very hard question. It's a very hard book. My favorite thing to imagine was the world, a supernatural one set over the top, or rather behind the scenes, of our mundane one. My favorite things to write were Wesley Ayers's bits of dialogue, and the flashbacks between Mac and her grandfather that stud the book.
R&R:  The Archive has many parts to it. It encompasses places, people and objects, and it all fits so intricately together. Was it difficult to puzzle everything together?
VICTORIA:  Exceedingly.
R&R:  Which character in The Archived did you have the most fun writing? Personally, I’m fond of Roland, but I particularly enjoyed scenes with Nix.
VICTORIA:  Roland, Wesley, and Da. The main characters are always the hardest for me to get a handle on, but I have endless fun with secondaries.
R&R:  Mackenzie’s very curious, even though Keepers shouldn’t be. Is this a trait you two share?
VICTORIA:  Yes. In fact, looking at every character I've written so far, those you've met and those you will in the next couple years, I'd say I favor curious heroes and heroines.
R&R:  What would you say to Mackenzie if you had the chance to talk to her? And, would you talk to her before, during, or after the events of The Archived took place?
VICTORIA:  I'd talk to her after, and I'd tell her to be brave. It's only going to get worse.
R&R:  I think The Near Witch and The Archived could both be classified as scary stories. Do you like scary stories?
VICTORIA:  Apparently. Funnily enough I scare SOOO easily, but I guess it's different, when you're in control of the things that go bump in the night.
R&R:  Your first book, The Near Witch, was a standalone (for now). The Archived is a different YA title with a sequel to come. Before TA2 your first adult novel, Vicious, will be released. Nowadays everything seems to be a series, and your books are all very different from each other. You don’t fit into the standard “trilogy” mold. Is there a reason for this?
VICTORIA:  I don't like molds. I don't believe in writing to fit them. I write the stories as I think they need to be written, and luckily for me, my publishers have agreed (so far). The Archived, for instance, was always meant to be a series. The Near Witch and Vicious exist on their own, but with the potential for tangential narratives. The formats are different because the stories are different.
R&R:  You have a very active Internet presence. As an author, what’s your view on social media?
VICTORIA:  I clearly enjoy it, else I wouldn't do it. I will admit that it's becoming increasingly hard to find a BALANCE between writing time and internet time, because I LIKE being online and interacting, but at some point I have to be able to turn the internet off and write books. But my stance on social media, in the specific and the broader sense is that you should only do it if you enjoy it. A forced online personality isn't fun for anyone.
R&R:  What’s your favourite part of the writing process?
VICTORIA:  The ideas.
R&R:  What book or books are you really looking forward to reading? The Archived was on my list (and so was The Raven Boys).
(Read&Riot has since read The Raven Boys, and it was fantastic).
VICTORIA:  Even though it's a long ways out, I can't wait for Holly Black's THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN. Also CLOCKWORK PRINCESS.
R&R:  If you could only pick one thing – What would you like readers to take from The Archived?
VICTORIA:  That nothing is lost.

I owe a huge thank you to Victoria for answering all these questions, (… there may have been more), and I look forward to seeing her at BEA in two weeks!

You can find Victoria on Twitter, and I recommend visiting her blog.

If you haven’t heard of The Archived you can check out my review!

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