Ask the Author: Zan Romanoff (A Song To Take The World Apart) + Giveaway

Samstag, 23. April 2016

   Welcome to this weeks edition of Ask the Author!
   This time I've contacted the amazing Zan Romanoff a couple of weeks ago and asked her if she'd be willing to answer a few of my Q's. Luckily she agreed so check out her intriguing sounding upcoming release, A Song To Take The Wold Apart, and her awesome As to my Qs. 
   Also, would you like to win an ARC of A Song To Take The World Apart? If so you can enter the goodreads giveaway by clicking right here! (The giveaway runs until May 10th, US only)

A Song To Take The World Apart by Zan Romanoff
Expected Publication: September 13th 2016 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Number of Pages: 320 Pages (Hardcover)
Series: No

   Hanging out with Chris was supposed to make Lorelei’s life normal. He’s cooler, he’s older, and he’s in a band, which means he can teach her about the music that was forbidden in her house growing up. Her grandmother told her when she was little that she was never allowed to sing, but listening to someone else do it is probably harmless—right?
   The more she listens, though, the more keenly she can feel her own voice locked up in her throat, and how she longs to use it. And as she starts exploring the power her grandmother never wanted her to discover, influencing Chris and everyone around her, the foundations of Lorelei’s life start to crumble. There’s a reason the women in her family never want to talk about what their voices can do.
   And a reason Lorelei can’t seem to stop herself from singing anyway. (

Interview with Zan Romanoff

   1 – Describe A Song To Take The World Apart with a haiku.
   so: family secrets
   girl best friends and boys in bands
   the ocean; magic

   2 – What sparked the idea for A Song To Take The World Apart?
   There are a lot of answers to this question, because when I first started working on what would ultimately become the book I thought it was something else entirely. It began as a short story about Lorelei as an adult, told by a bartender who falls in love with her while she's singing at a club. It was supposed to be part of a collection of short stories about people who have magical powers that are low-key ruining their lives-- not in any epic, world-changing way, just, like, for instance there was one about a guy who wanted to be a party photographer but kept getting assignments that fell around the full moon, which was a problem, because he was a werewolf. I'd been reading a lot of epic and urban fantasy, and as much as I love those genres, I wanted to write something about what that kind of power-- and its attendant difference-- would feel like on a small scale in the day-to-day.
   So I thought the Lorelei story was just going to be one of a handful in this collection, but as soon as I started working on it (well, as soon as I started writing the draft from her POV) it became clear that I had way, way more to say about being a teenage girl in Los Angeles, about making mistakes, and about learning to live with an imperfect family, about having a voice, about friendship and romance, than a short story would allow. I honestly feel like I tricked myself into it, somehow-- I stumbled onto a plot that allowed me to talk about basically everything I really care about in one book.

   3 – What was the most challenging about writing A Song To Take The World Apart and which scene was the most fun to write?
   All of the scenes where I had to write about Lorelei listening to music were terrifying, because it's such an emotional, physical experience-- I really didn't want to get too purple about it, but also those are absolutely crucial moments in the book, so I had to make sure they were impactful enough. I feel like it's easier to write a good character moment, or a sharp piece of dialogue, because they're more concrete. Describing a sensation is really tough-- and even if you do it well, it still probably just won't land for some people!
   One of the scenes I had in my head basically as soon as I knew I was going to write a whole book of this story was a party scene that happens towards the end at a gorgeous house on a hill in the Pacific Palisades. The house is based on a real one, and even before the book existed I'd known I wanted to write something set in it at some point-- it's a very beautiful, very LA house-- and so getting to that point in narrative and finally getting to put the characters in this place, where everything was gorgeous and everything was going to fall apart, felt amazing on many levels.

   4 – What do you like most and least about your main character, Lorelei?
   Lorelei is, I think, fundamentally a nicer person than I am. I mean, she still does some selfish, messed-up stuff, but there's a sweetness to her that was really interesting to inhabit, maybe especially because I also had her doing the selfish, messed-up stuff. A lot of the book is about how you can do impulsive, greedy things and still basically a good person. It's still much easier for me to see that for L. than it is for me to see it for myself!
   That said, she's also young and shy and reserved in a way that can be a little frustrating, sometimes-- it's just, like, girl, ask the questions you have! But she's not gonna do that, so.

   5 - In retrospective, is there anything that you’d change about the story or are you happy with the way it turned out in the end?
   I don't think I can answer that question yet! I'm very curious to see what the reader response to it will be. I'm sure in a year there will be tons of things I want to adjust, and even now I'll be re-reading it and get to lines where I'm like oh god, is that dumb? Does that make sense? But in general, right now, I feel good about where it ended up. (Shout outs to my friends who read a zillion intermediate drafts and my agent and editor, all of whom gave my guidance that made it a much, much better story than I could have written on my own.)

   6 - How do you feel about the fact that in only a few more months hundreds of readers will be able to hold and read your debut novel?
   Thrilled. Terrified. I mean thrilled. But also terrified. Mostly thrilled? Ocassionally overwhelmed by being terrified? It's a strong feeling, I can tell you that much for sure.

   7 – What do you think about the cover? Is it anything like you imagined it being?
   I LOVE THE COVER. Like everyone else, I'd heard horror stories about people being given bland, generic covers, or stuff that had nothing to do with their book, so I was very much braced for the worst, especially after the rest of the process with Knopf had been so easy. (Something's gotta go wrong at some point, right? That's the Jewish gospel on the subject anyway.) But the final cover is only a few tweaks away from the first version they showed me, because I loved it instantly. It's perfectly dreamy and otherworldly, and I love that Lorelei is staring out at you, daring you to return her gaze.
   As for what I'd imagined, I actually wrote a little bit about it on my Tumblr-- I had never been able to picture a cover image that wasn't this photograph, which I knew they'd never let me use, so it was a massive, massive relief to have them put together something that was, essentially, exactly what I didn't know I wanted yet.

   8 – Seeing as you’re a YA author I’m sure you also read YA, so I wondered, what were the last three books you’ve read and what did you think of them?
   I read so much YA. So much of it! Most recently, Leigh Bardugo's Six of Crows, which I could not get enough of, and Brandy Colbert's Pointe, which I thought was incredibly smart and harrowing. I've seen Naomi Novik's Uprooted shelved both as YA and as straight fantasy but either way I loved it and recommend the hell out of it.

   9 – Did you listen to any particular songs or artists while writing A Song To Take The World Apart? If so, could you give us an example?
   I don't listen to music while I'm actively writing (unless there's something playing in a coffee shop, but I usually ignore that as much as I can), but I do do a certain amount of walking around and thinking about the story and listening to music while I'm in the process of drafting. For A Song, that was basically Lorde's Pure Heroine on repeat; I'm totally obsessed with the sonic spareness of that album, the way her lyrics tend to be so specific and concrete but also somehow still manage to be emotionally evocative. Don't you think that it's boring how people talk is like a key that unlocks the voice of my own sullen teenage self. The drink you spilled all over me / Lovers' Spit left on repeat / my mom and dad let me stay home / it drives you crazy getting old could have been a line from my high school diary. There's a scene with Lorelei in a car with a boy that's basically just me transcribing the way 400 Lux makes me feel.

   10 – What advice could you give aspiring authors?
   Read a lot. Write a lot. It will take longer than you think it should and it will be harder than you want it to be. You have to learn to love the work. (Or just Marge Piercy's For the Young Who Want To, basically.)

   11 – If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
   How boring am I if I say flying? But like, honestly, I want so badly to be able to fly.

About the Author

   Hello! I write essays + fiction, mostly focused on food, feminism, television and books. I graduated from Yale in 2009 with a B.A. in Literature, and now live and work in Los Angeles.
   My young adult fiction is represented by Logan Garrison at The Gernert Company. If you want to get in touch with me about something (anything!) else, I’m zanopticon at gmail dot com.

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