Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Interview with Natasha Sinel, Author of THE FIX

I'm thrilled to have snagged an interview with fellow YA Outside the Lines writer Natasha Sinel--this week--as her debut novel The Fix debuts. The official release date is Sept. 1, but the book is already making quite a splash.

Here's a snippet of the glowing Kirkus review:

"A friendship with a troubled classmate helps Macy confront the childhood sexual trauma she's kept secret for years. . . A powerful story of healing."

And from award-winning novelist Carrie Mesrobian: "A bewitching, beautiful, and brave debut. Readers will marvel at Macy's resilience. Natasha Sinel's writing devastates and uplifts, by turns. An important story of one girl's journey to rewrite the blueprint of her own life by facing the truth inside herself."

This book sounds like a must-read and I can't wait to dig into it.


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Jody: Quick, I've got to ask you before you tire of being asked this question five million times: Where do you get your ideas?

Natasha: Who knows? I start with a germ of an idea—e.g., a girl has a conversation with a guy at a party and it shakes up her world, but the next day he’s in a psych institute—what happens next? I usually start by knowing my characters’ voices pretty well and then sometimes I have to figure out why they are the way they are. Like, why is Macy so tough? What happened to her? Why does she hate her mother?

Jody: Hmm. Why does she hate her mother? But you're right, of course. It's often those questions that plague us, the ones we keep coming back to, that spur us on to writing a story. Once you've got one of those questions--or several--plaguing you, what's your next step? Are you a make-stuff-up-as-you-go type of writer or an outline ahead/planning person?

Natasha: I hyperventilate when I hear the word outline. But I think that’s because I picture those structured outlines we used in high school--

Jody: OMG I hated those too. Roman numerals. All of that indenting. *shudder*  Does anyone actually outline like that?

Natasha: I know, right? I tend to use a very loose road map, so I basically know where I’m going but not necessarily how I’ll get there. So I guess it’s both—some planning and lots of making stuff up along the way.

Jody: I like that method. It's pretty close to what I do myself these days. But then, I've had years and years to work out my process. How about you? Have you been at this a long time? Or, heck, I'm just going to come right out and be nosy: how many books did you write before you got your first book deal?

Natasha: My first manuscript got representation after only about eight queries, so I was feeling pretty confident when we finally went on submission after about a thousand revisions! But that book wasn’t acquired, and I wrote another, The Fix.

Jody: That's not a bad track record. One book. (FYI to readers who are trying to keep score at home-- the average is, apparently, 3.5) (Actually, I just made that up. I have no idea what the average is, but that sounds about right and it makes me feel better about my own 5-unpublished-book track record.) (Back to the interview)

What kind of work schedule do you have every day, Natasha?

Natasha: I’m not totally consistent with that, but my “ideal” schedule is to exercise after the kids get on the bus--

Jody: Can I stop you there to say that I love that you have an ideal. Also, I will kindly not ask you how many times you reach that ideal...

Natasha: Thanks! So, after, um, exercising, I draft or edit (whichever stage I’m in). If I’m drafting, I set a timer for 30-45 minutes and try to get as many words as I can. If I’m on a roll, I’ll set the timer again. If I’m editing, I usually work for a couple of hours. Then I’ll work on the more business-type stuff like blog posts, interviews, etc. And of course, sprinkled into all of that is life management stuff like paying bills, dealing with kids’ schedules, grocery shopping, etc. I usually skip TV and read before bed.

Jody: Ah, yes. All of the stuff that is so hard to balance with the writing life.

Natasha: That's the truth. I’m not sure I’m doing the best job at balancing right now. Some days, particularly when I’m on deadline for copy edits or something, dishes stay in the sink and beds unmade all day. Sometimes, I say hi to my kids when they come home from school and then disappear into my office for the rest of the night (thankfully, I have an amazing babysitter who helps with homework!).

Jody: And we haven't even touched on promotion and social media. How does that fit in?

Natasha: Well, I’m on Twitter and Facebook, and I write for a few group blogs. I know it sounds crazy, but I really have made friends that way.

Jody: That doesn't sound crazy. How else are we going to meet other writers and book lovers?

Natasha: I know. Twitter in particular, I love, because everyone I follow talks about books and publishing and diversity and all of the things I’m most interested in. For me, these places are actually social, and not places to promote my book. I do tweet and post news about The Fix—I want people to be aware of it—but I limit the amount of talk about my book. I don’t want to be obnoxious. One thing I’m excited about that I will promote, is partnering with RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) to fund-raise for survivors of sexual abuse. I have a page set up here: www.classy.org/TheFix

Jody: I've heard of RAINN. It's an amazing organization. (RAINN is the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization. It operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE and online.rainn.org) in partnership with more than 1,100 local sexual assault service providers across the country. www.rainn.org.)

What are you working on now?

Natasha: I’m really excited about the manuscript I’m working on. It’s a YA contemporary with a touch of the magical (is that how you’d describe Thin Space too?).

Jody: I always say reality-based fantasy--but I think I like your description better.

Natasha: My book is set during the off-season on Cape Cod, one of my favorite places in the world. There are quirky characters and complex relationships—the mother-daughter, the friend to more-than-friend, the soul mate who disappeared. Oh, and there’s also lightning.

Jody: You've totally got my attention!
Natasha, thank you so much for chatting with me today. And readers, if you'd like to know more about Natasha and how you can purchase a copy of The Fix, see below: 

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Natasha Sinel lives in Northern Westchester, NY with her husband, three young sons and some fresh-water fish. She would like to have a dog and a cat, but she knows her limits, and can’t take care of another living thing. For now.

Website: natashasinel.com

Buy The Fix at Barnes & Noble 
at your local indie
on Amazon 


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