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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

MEN in YA: Interview + Giveaway with Nick James, author of Pearl Wars

I'm super excited to be joined today by a fabulous YA writer from right across the border from me, Nick James. He's the talent behind Skyship Academy: Pearl Wars! I'm extremely happy to be able to talk to him today and give away a copy of his wonderful book to one lucky reader - Internationally! :) If you missed my yesterday's review of Pearl Wars you should know: you're missing out! Make sure to check it out! :) 

Guys, please give a warm welcome to our fantabulous YA Galaxy Defender, Nick James!

E: Evie
NJ: Nick James
E: Welcome to Bookish Nick! I’m absolutely delighted to be able to talk to you today, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to join us here for an interview! Your recent YA novel, The Pearl Wars, is literally a GEM (or should I say a PEARL?) of a book – I loved every page of it! Could you tell us where did you get the inspiration for the brilliant storyline?
NJ: When I first started writing The Pearl Wars, all I knew for sure was that I wanted the story to open with a scene of intense conflict (thus, the idea to have my main character hanging from the top of a building). I also knew that I wanted to tell the story through dual perspectives. I was interested in not only chronicling the journey of the protagonist, but also exploring what might make the antagonist tick and maybe causing readers to question their loyalty when it comes to these characters. As far as the world of The Pearl Wars, a lot of those details came as I was writing the story and revising. I borrowed from many different genres and sources that I’m a fan of. There are elements of science fiction, fantasy, steampunk and coming-of-age, just to name a few.
E: How long did it take for you to write it?
NJ: The very first rough draft took a couple of months. But that time doubled (at the very least) when it came to revisions and rewrites. All in all, I’d say the project took a solid six months.
E: Are any of your characters based on people in your own life? Which of your characters do you feel is the most like you?
NJ: More than people in my life, I’d say that all the main characters are inspired by parts of me. Jesse and Cassius, the two biggest characters, are opposites. Jesse’s self-doubting, sarcastic and klutzy. Cassius is self-assured, serious and athletic. Both are characters that I definitely have inside me. It was fun to explore these two opposing aspects of myself.
E: Have you always wanted to be a writer? At what point in your life did you decide that writing is something you want to do?
NJ: I’ve always written in some form or another, whether it was short stories, comics or scripts for Lego movies I used to make as a kid. When I got to college, I really started thinking about writing as more than a hobby. It was at this point that I finished my very first novel and went on experimenting with different projects until I found the one that fully clicked with me. I still can’t believe I’m lucky enough to have it published!
E: Have you ever thought about making the switch to Adult novels?
NJ: The thought comes and goes, but it would have to be the right project. My heart is really with YA and children’s books. They’re the majority of what I read and feel comfortable writing. I think the voice I use in my work is appropriate to this audience, and many of my ideas lend themselves well to YA. I think in a lot of cases, YA authors are forced to be more creative than those who write for adults. Kids are picky. They want to read about something new.
E: How do you approach writing a new novel? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
NJ: I’m a little bit of both. I don’t like to plot out every little thing in a manuscript. That’s boring for me. But on the other hand, I’ve learned that if you don’t know at least vaguely where you’re going, it only ends up being a lot more work in the long run. It’s all about striking the right balance between the two for me. I like to have wiggle room in case a great idea pops into my head while writing, and sometimes a subplot I wasn’t expecting will emerge in more of a natural way. A detailed, gotta-stick-to-it outline wouldn’t allow for this kind of thing.
E: Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so, how do you deal with it?
NJ: I definitely do. Writer’s block, and writer’s fatigue (ie: wanting to go do anything else but write). Honestly, the best way through it is just to force yourself forward. Even if it’s only a few sentences or paragraphs, getting past whatever scene or moment is blocking you usually does the trick and things start to flow again. Sometimes I’ll step away for awhile but that’s usually just prolonging the inevitable!
E:  If your book was made into a movie, who would you cast for it?
NJ: I’ve definitely thought about this a fair bit! Given that a lot of my main characters are around fifteen years old, I think I’d want to cast unknowns for most of the roles. They usually feel more “real” and honest, which is important to any story that has coming-of-age elements. I’ve said in the past, though, that Joel Courtney (from Super 8) would make an excellent Jesse and Madelaine Stowe (from Revenge) would be a great Madame.
E: What’s next in line for you? When can we expect to see the next book in Skyship Academy series?
NJ: The second book in the Skyship Academy series, titled Crimson Rising, will be out next fall. 2013 will see the end of the trilogy with the release of the third book. That being said, I’m always working on other projects as well!
E: What genre do you like to read in your free time? Which of your favorite books would you recommend everybody to read?
NJ: I primarily read YA, usually with a sci-fi or fantasy bent--though I like a good, contemporary coming-of-age as well. For sci-fi, I’d recommend that everybody read M.T. Anderson’s Feed, which I think is a complete masterpiece. Just the way he builds his world and characters is extraordinary. For contemporary, I’d recommend The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie. I’m sure a lot of people have read both books already, but they’re two of my absolute favorites. In a lot of ways, they’re very similar as well.

Nick, thank you so much for joining us today!  
I can't wait to get my hands on the second book in the Skyship Academy series!

I hope you guys enjoyed the interview, for more information about Nick James and his books, please visit his website: Nick James or/and read my review of Pearl Wars.

Huge thank Nick James for the exclusive MEN in YA photo! <3

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Thanks to the fabulous ME ^___^ we have a copy of The Skyship Academy up for grabs today!

The giveaway is sponsored by me and so it's INTERNATIONAL as long as Book Depository ships to you!
To be eligible to win all you need to do is be a follower of my blog and enter through Rafflecopter below.

Ends: December 24th

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This interview and giveaway are posted as a part of the MEN in YA event (Nov 20th - Dec 20th)
For more awesomeness (reviews, interviews, giveaways, guest posts) please click the banner below!

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About the Author
Evie is the Blogger behind Bookish. She enjoys reading many different genres, especially YA, Paranormal, Contemporary Fiction and Fantasy.
She loves talking to authors and is always happy to welcome them for interviews, and guest posts. She also likes spreading the love for awesome books and  chatting with fellow book-worms.
You can find Evie here: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Shelfari | The Library Thing


Christina Gould said...

Wow, I'm impressed with the strategy he used when writing the book. He didn't just sit down and start writing. Thanks for the giveaway!

Shadowrose96 said...

Wow, only 6 months? I wish I could manage that. I'm going to have to try the forcing thing when it comes to writer's block, usually I just give up until it comes back...if it comes back.

Thanks for the giveaway, and great interview!

Marthapao said...

I do agree with him about casting the movie for it. Unknowns are better when we've come to love a book, and I do love Revenge and Madaleine Stowe!

miki said...

great interview, i learned a lot of things
not sure it's a book for me but i would like to try it

thanks you for the opportunity

kara-karina@Nocturnal Book Reviews said...

Oh god, I've been dying to read this book for month! The more conflict the better for me. My problem with a lot of YA books is the opposite - too much angst :) Thanks for a fantastic giveaway!

mimz said...

First, I have to say how much I love the MIB-themed photoshoots. Seriously, best idea ever.

I agree with Nick that casting unknowns is the best decision because it gives more depth to characters.

dani_nguyen said...

Good advice about writer's block. And I love your photos! Thanks for the great interview & the chance to win!

Jen D. @ Not Now...I'm Reading! said...

Thanks for the great interview with Nick. It just makes me want to pick up this book even more. I'll also be adding Feed and The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian to my wish list. Thanks Nick for the recs!

Vivien said...

I must get my hands on Feed. I've had my eye on it for years, just haven't taken the plunge. It's always great to hear a guy reading YA :)

Mocha ღ Latte(Cupcake and a Latte) said...

Hahah! Excellent interview, Evie! I'm adoring the photos!

A Cupcake and a Latte: Young Adult Reviews!

Andra said...

Fantastic Interview Ev's!!! I haven't really heard of The Pearl Wars, but now I'm like..drooling for

tattoogirlreads said...

The photos are pretty awesome. I'm really surprised that the whole thing only took 6 months. Wow.

Sofija Kapranova said...

Thanks for the interview. The photos are gorgeous! I'd been widhing to read this book for a while now.

Mandroid said...

I haven't read the book yet (just got it from Amazon a few days ago), but yes to Joel Courtney! He's one of the only child actors that don't drive me nuts. Him or the kid that plays Bran on Game of Thrones.

I'm even more excited to get to this book now!

Working for the Mandroid

Asheley (@BookwormAsheley) said...

oh my goodness, this has been one of my favorite interviews so far. first of all, the pictures are stunning...

next, i love that nick loves writing for young people and doesn't immediately want to transition over to the adult fiction world. i always always always appreciate that, especially with male authors. he gets extra cool points for being an adult male that reads YA books!

finally, i just added Feed to my goodreads because i've never read it!

brilliant interview - i just loved it to pieces!

these just keep getting better and better, evie! <3

Let's Evaluate said...

Great interview!
I really liked how he said he switched perspectives in the novel, it always gives a great view point from more than just one character. When I read, I always wonder what may be going on in another characters head and this is a great way to find out!
Thanks for the giveaway!

Erin @ Let's Evaluate

Megan said...

Great interview! I like the idea of casting unknowns rather than using actors that are actually 25.

Yiota said...

Great interview! And i so love hwo you have all those photos along with every post ^^ It gives you a good idea on the characters.

leeswammes said...

Great interview and I love those pictures you do every time! How do you manage to get those?

The book sounds such fun, not just for me, but also for my teenage sons.

pocketfullofbooks said...

Great and informative interview. Sounds like an extremely dedicated author!

Lieder Madchen said...

Great interview! I have heard a lot of good things about this book and I can't wait to read it for myself. :)

Barbara E. said...

I enjoyed the interview and I'm looking forward to reading Pearl Wars. I was attracted by the cover, but after hearing about the book, I'm more interested than ever to read it.

Bookish in a Box said...

A few months to write the whole thing? I'm impressed! Pearl Wars sounds great.

Julie W said...

What an awesome interview! And how cute are you, Nick?!! I'm going to have to get that calendar! I think casting Madelaine Stowe would be a terrific idea, and now I know who to picture when I read the book!

Sarita said...

That was a great interview. I didn't think it would be possible to write a book in months. I guess I was wrong. The whole writers block thing is great.

Thanks for the giveaway.

Sarita said...

The cover of this book alone, made me want to read it just because it kind of draws you in. But I have to admit that your review made me want to read it even more. That fact that he has a way with words or that he's a born writer makes me want to read it more. TY

Novels On The Run said...

Hey there Evie,

I am loving this Men In Ya you have going on. Aweomse amount of work you have put in. I love reading these postings.

Nick is a dude! I love his pics! getting into the spirit of it all.

I like his comment about 'wiggle room', I get that, some idea may pop up and need to wiggle into the storyline.

Excellent fun you are having with these authors!


Novels On The Run said...

Evie hun,

I'm trying to enter all the bits and the entry bit that comes up is kinda hiding under your other stuff at the top of this page, I'm having a spot of bother entering.


marybelle said...

I'm looking forward to reading the Skyship Academy series. THE PEARL WARS looks amazing.


Crystal said...

Love the fact that Nick wrote scripts for Lego movies when he was a kid. My kids are in the midst of doing this now and it amuses me. I often wonder if my oldest is a budding writer, he fills notebooks with his stories and now word documents on the laptop as well. Great interview!

Sarah E. said...

I'm absolutely loving all the author interviews! I really like that Nick started out with major conflict - that just sounds like the right idea for a book. There are so many books I've almost put down because the first chapter or two were incredibly slow and boring. I like that it just jumps right in. I have been looking forward to reading this book for a while! :)

druidgirl said...

Wow, that was an awesome interview. I think I would be very interested in the book


Quigui said...

Cool interview :)

Thanks for the giveaway

Maegan Morin said...

I have never read a YA novel written by a guy. I think it would be a nice change i think :D

Vanessa Booke said...

I've never read anything from this author but it sounds great!

roro said...

great interview
Thanks for the giveaway

Aleksandra said...

I have to admit that I haven't enjoyed an interview so much in a while :) This book is already on my wishlist, but now reading the interview made me want it now :) I just know I'll love it. Both Feed & The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian are on my tbr list, but just haven't gotten around to them, but now Nick convinced me. Thanks for the great interview (and the great pics) & also thanks for the giveaway!

Bhand35 said...

I really enjoy your author interviews. Lego scripts really! That is cool.

Bee said...

I hopped over from Nick's Facebook, but I CAN'T STOP STARING AT THOSE PHOTOS. So stunning!

And I LOVED the interview. Though I still can't get around the fact that he had a finished book in 6 months *head/desk*

And I'm glad to hear he's sticking with YA for now. Shows he loves the genre which immediately puts him on my *cool peeps* list.

Melanie S. said...

Thanks for a great interview! I saw the book a few weeks ago for the first time and it's on my wishlist since then, but I wasn't for 100 % sure if I should read it. That's now no longer a question and I can't wait to explore this interesting world.
wish you all the best, Melanie

Gwen Ee said...

First of all , he looks hot LOL
I have never heard of him or his books , so I guess I should really find a chance to read his books because he just sounds awesome haha

Fara said...

Nice post. I like to discover new books and this one suits me just fine :)

Krysykat said...

Joel Courtney was awesome in Super 8, I'd see a movie if he was in it :)

Raine said...

I agree for his cast. :D Enjoyed reading this. :D Thanks!

The Night Bookmobile said...

I really need to read this book. I love Steampunk.

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