Q and A with Loretta Nyhan

Wow, life certainly happened to my planned Witch Week! First it happened in the form of Book Expo America (BEA), which got in the way of my interview with Loretta Nyhan. For those of you who don’t know what BEA is, imagine ComiCon in San Diego, but with books. I sure would like to go someday (to ComiCon, too). Life also happened to me at the end of Witch Week, when summer reading program started at my day job. For librarians, the first few days of SRP are like Black Friday and Christmas Eve in retail combined, so not much time for blogging.

Anyway, huge apologies to Loretta Nyhan for this piece running so late.

Loretta is the author of teen novel The Witch Collector, which is available in two parts from Barnes & Noble or Amazon in ebook format only. As of this writing, both parts cost $1.99, so you can nab them both for less than the price of a mass market paperback. Pretty good deal on a pretty good read! Loretta is also the co-author of the sweet and enchanting World War II era novel for adults I’ll Be Seeing You, which she wrote with Suzanne Hayes (or Palmieri.)

Without further ado, I give you…

The Witch CollectorInterview with Loretta Nyhan

Author of The Witch Collector

Book Blurb: The day after her best friend’s funeral, Breeda’s parents pack her up, usher her into the car, and then drive out of Oregon without looking back. Breeda doesn’t know why they left so urgently or why they’re headed to Chicago—but she does know that it’s against the rules to leave without consulting your Coven Leader. . . . It’s a crime punishable by banishment.

All her family has is each other now, in a city that feels strange, unfamiliar, and dark. But when Breeda comes home on her first night in Chicago to find their apartment ransacked and only a bloody handprint left behind, she realizes that you can’t outrun the craft.

IR: The Witch Collector came out as an e-book only, but your co-authored novel with Suzanne Hayes (Palmieri) is in physical format as well. Any major differences in publishing in physical format versus e-pubbing only?

LN: It’s definitely more difficult to reach on audience with a digital-only book. Some people do it really well—I’m still learning. Marketing becomes an incredibly creative exercise with a digital release!

IR: These days, anyone can go on Goodreads or Amazon or B&N’s site and leave feedback about a book. Do you read your readers’ reviews? Why or why not? If so, do you find them helpful to your craft?

LN: Of course I read them! I’m a curious (read: nosy) person. I’m not going to lie–the first bad review really stung. One’s first instinct it to write it off (she didn’t understand my brilliance!) but that’s a mistake. It doesn’t make sense to ignore the negative and focus only on the positive. I don’t believe there is an endpoint to writing—writers should always strive to improve, whether they’ve just completed a first novel or a twentieth. Also, I’ve been a teacher for 15 years, so I understand the value of criticism.

IR: Breeda has a boyfriend, but she’s drawn to Miro, too. Love triangles are all over YA fiction these days. Why do you think there’s such an appeal to the “torn between two lovers feelin’ like a fool” angle?

LN: I would have killed to have two boys interested in me in high school. I don’t think I’m unusual in having this fantasy!

IR: While there are plenty of YA books about witches out there, I think their number pales in comparison to vampires, and they haven’t enjoyed the fad status of mermaids or dystopia. So, what drew you to writing about witches?

LN: I’ve always loved all things witchy! I love the tarot, herbs, essential oils—I’m a hippie, Stevie Nicks kind of witch fan, and I think that comes through in my books. I don’t think witches ever go out of style—maybe because they are the closest to human?

IR: Your favorite witch books…GO!

LN: Practical Magic, Once a Witch, The Witching Hour

IR: World-building: your favorite thing, or super-duper hard?

LN: Character-building is my favorite thing; world-building is a bit difficult for me, which is one reason I grounded my witches in a real place, Chicago.

IR: Is it hard for you to write in a teen’s voice?

LN: Not at all. Is that weird? I’m 42. I’m from the John Hughes generation, though, and I think for people my age our high school selves live within us, right below the surface.

IR: You get a call that some A-list producer wants to turn your book into a movie. Who’s in your dream cast?

LN: Oooh, this is super fun. Okay. Breeda—Selena Gomez. Brandon—Alex Pettyfer. Miro—Jared Padalecki. Shelley: AnnaSophia Robb. Aunt Evie—Joan Jett!

IR: Witch vs vampire vs mermaid vs zombie vs werewolf vs Katniss from The Hunger Games: Who walks out alive?

LN: I love my witches, but Katniss kicks everybody’s butt. I mean, there’s no contest, right?

 IR: See why I love Loretta? She knows her stuff. Grab your favorite tablet, e-reader, smartphone, desktop, or other Internetted device and click up a copy of Witch Collector Part I and Part II today!