Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Author Interview: Betsy Aldredge and Carrie Dubois-Shaw

 I virtually sat down with co-authors Betsy Aldredge and Carrie Dubois-Shaw to talk about writing, becoming published authors and their debut YA, Sasquatch, Love and Other Imaginary Things which came out in August to some great reviews and nice buzz! 

I'm also running a giveaway. One lucky winner will receive a finished, autographed hardcover copy of Sasquatch, Love and Other ImaginaryThings along with some swag! Enter at the bottom of the post below through Rafflecopter. You can enter between 9/6 at 12am through 9/13 at 12am. Get those entries in!  

Pride and Prejudice meets Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot in this humorous and heartfelt debut about a loving, quirky family on the hunt for the mythical Sasquatch.
Hunting for monsters was never so awkward. 
It’s bad enough that Samantha’s parents, charter members of the Northern Ohio Bigfoot Society, have dragged their daughter around forever, hunting for yetis. But now they’re doing it on national TV, and worse, in front of an aristocratic prep-school crew including a boy who disdains Samantha’s family.
But when he scorns her humble Ohio roots, she becomes determined to take him down. As they go to war, their friction and attraction almost distract them from the hint that Sasquatch may actually be out there somewhere…
Samantha’s first-person narration is marked by her sarcastic, wry, and delightfully snarky humor. ‘Squatching’ doesn’t get any funnier than this.” Kirkus
“The most hilarious, charming, feminist Sasquatch-hunting book ever to grace a bookshelf.” –Alison Cherry, author of For Real
“I fell head over Bigfooted heels for this delightfully quirky and downright hilarious debut! Sasquatch, Love, And Other Imaginary Things will have you believing in adorkably ever afters and more.” –Darcy Woods, award-winning author of Summer of Supernovas
“Everything you want in a Jane Austen retelling: reality TV, Sasquatch sightings, and young love at odds.”– Stephanie Scott, author of Alterations, a 2017 RITA® Award Finalist
“An original, magnetic, and endearing debut seamlessly spun by two sharp new voices. Fans of nature, Austen, family, reality TV and Wood Apes will devour this story (that basically means everyone. Yes, I mean you. Stop reading my raving–get to reading this book already).” –Lindsey Leavitt, author of GOING VINTAGE
This was your first book. What was the most surprising part of the publishing process for you?
Book people are the best. The most surprising thing has been how awesome and supportive other writers, bloggers, and readers have been. It’s like finding “your people” for the first time in high school. Also, publishing is much slower than we imagined. There’s a whole lot of waiting. We think whomever first said “patience is a virtue,” must have been a writer!

Every author has their own creative method. What is each of yours like individually, and can you describe your process for creating books together?
Betsy: I like to have a basic roadmap of where a story is going but be surprised along the journey. Some characters come to me fairly fully formed and some surprise me.
Carrie: I like more structure and to make a detailed outline of everything before digging in. And then I break the outline down into very small, bite-sized pieces and work on it bit by bit. Otherwise I feel overwhelmed.

Together we have a method that works for us. We brainstorm and plot together. Then Betsy tackles the first, messy draft and just writes the heck out of it. Then she sends it off to Carrie to be whipped into shape. Carrie then does all sorts of cool timelines, graphs, and other things that involve tons of color coded post it notes in order to revise it and shape the story. After that huge overhaul, we make multiple more passes for different reasons (setting, minor character arcs, etc.) until it’s in good enough shape to be read by other people. Then, based on feedback, we revise some more.

What drew you to YA (as opposed to writing for younger kids or adults)? YA audiences are so passionate. We really feel like what we read at that point of our lives had a profound effect on us. Also, we’re not sure we ever got over high school. Does anyone?

If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring authors, what would it be?
Keep writing, and make friends with other writers whether at conferences, through online contests, or writers groups. It’s so much better when you have that support.

What was the most interesting (or funniest, weirdest, most memorable, etc.) fact you learned in your research for this book?  Researching this book was a blast. We learned a lot about different methods of tracking Bigfoot, from studies animal droppings and foot prints to knocking on trees. There’s a lot to it!

This book has such a great cast of characters. Who’s your favorite?
Betsy: I think while I’m fond of all the Berger sisters and their parents, some of the smaller characters were extra fun to write, like Hal the camera guy who’s a little too obsessed with Roswell and Yoda, but also loves a good romance.
Carrie: Hal’s my favorite too, with Caroline a close second. It was so much fun to flesh out her character from typical pretty, rich, mean girl into something more three-dimensional and interesting. (That was a great suggestion from our agent!)

Why Sasquatch (as opposed to any other mythical creature)? Bigfoot believers are so passionate and have such a good sense of humor about themselves that the subculture just seemed ripe with opportunities for high stakes and hijinks…

There have been supposed Sasquatch sightings all over the US. What made you decided to set the story in the Pacific Northwest? 
There’s something magical about the huge trees and forests there that appealed to us. We studied Shakespeare in college and loved the idea that forests are a metaphor for change. Characters go into the woods and come out transformed - much like the transformations we go through when growing up. It seemed perfect.

If you could meet any creature from myth, folklore or legend, other than Sasquatch, what would it be and why? 
Betsy: I’d have to say a unicorn, because it would make me much cooler in the eyes of my 7-year-old daughter if I could hang out with unicorns.
Carrie: I’m really interested in the Mothman right now. It’s a giant moth…who is also a man. That’s just awesome. Of course his appearance usually foretells an impending disaster so maybe meeting the Mothman is not a great idea.

Are you Sasquatch believers yourselves?  Sure! Why not? There are stranger things out there...like the platypus.
 You can buy Sasquatch from these retailers: Indie BoundBarnes & NobleAmazonTarget and Simon & Schuster.
You can visit Betsy and Carrie’s website and follow them on Twitter:  @carriedubois @BetsyAldredge 

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