As a part of the Ruby’s Fire Blog Tour I’m pleased to bring you my interview with the author of YA Sci-Fi Ruby’s Fire, Catherine Stine (& some info about the book)!
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
If everything about you changes, what remains?
Seventeen year-old Ruby, long-pledged to the much older Stiles from the Fireseed desert cult, escapes with only a change of clothes, a pouch of Oblivion Powder and her mute little brother, Thorn. Arriving at The Greening, a boarding school for orphaned teens, she can finally stop running. Or can she? The Greening is not what it seems. Students are rampaging out of control and as she cares for the secret Fireseed crop, she experiences frightening physical changes. She’s ashamed of her attraction to burly, hard-talking Blane, the resident bodyguard, and wonders why she can’t be happy with the gentler Armonk. She’s long considered her great beauty a liability, a thing she’s misused in order to survive. And how is she to stop her dependence on Oblivion to find a real beauty within, using her talent as a maker of salves, when she has nightmares of Stiles without it?
When George Axiom, wealthy mogul of Vegas-by-the-Sea offers a huge cash prize for the winner of a student contest, Ruby is hopeful she might collect the prize to rescue her family and friends from what she now knows is a dangerous cult. But when Stiles comes to reclaim her, and Thorn sickens after creating the most astonishing contest project of all, the world Ruby knows is changed forever. This romantic fantasy set in 2099 on earth has a crafty heroine in Ruby, and a swoonworthy cast, which will surely appeal to the YA and new adult audience.
Catherine Stine writes YA, New Adult and middle grade fiction. Her YA futuristic thriller, Fireseed One, illustrated by the author won finalist spots in both YA and Science Fiction in the 2013 USA Book News International Book Awards. It was also granted a 2013 Bronze Wishing Shelf Book Award and a 2013 Indie Reader Approved notable stamp. Her YA Refugees, earned a New York Public Library Best Book. Middle grade novels include A Girl’s Best Friend.
Fireseed One sequel, Ruby’s Fire is earning advance praise from reviewers and authors:
“Ruby’s Fire, returns to the sun-scorched earth of Fireseed One. In this long-awaited sequel, Stine delivers a thrilling adventure led by a new and exciting cast of characters. Ruby, Armonk, Thorn and Blane are memorable, and the romance is really well handled. Favorite quote: ” It feels wrong to lean on Armonk right now with Blane staring at me, a hungry, lonely look in his eye. It’s as if he’s never been hugged, never been fed, never been loved…” ” -YAs the Word
More and more, Catherine enjoys writing speculative tales where her imagination has wild and free reign. She has taught creative writing workshops at the Philadelphia Writing Conference, Missouri University Summer Abroad, The New School and in her own ongoing NYC writing workshop. She loves her readers, and enjoys blogging.
Hi Catherine! Welcome to my whimsical (hehe) blog. Can you introduce yourself & your novel?
I write young adult and new adult fiction, and often it’s speculative, because I love to ask myself “What if” questions about the world. My new novel, Ruby’s Fire, deals with subjects young women angst over: how to negotiate one’s sexuality and power, how to escape from an inappropriate and dangerous relationship, why people become addicted to drugs and what kinds of things help them to kick, and how to find true interior beauty. Ruby has trouble with men in the cult she grew up in because she is so beautiful. She is forced to flee, and run to a very unusual boarding school for nomadic teens in a place called Skull’s Wrath. Once there, she goes through major transformations in body and soul.
What is your favorite place to write?
I have a tiny studio in NYC that I call The Rabbit Hole. It’s cozy and the walls are absolutely plastered with my drawings and photos of people that I’ve chosen who look like my characters. –This sounds awesome (& similar to my Pinterest boards).
What is the first story you remember writing?
In fourth grade I wrote a cute little mystery series and drew ornate book covers for them all. I was very proud of myself.
Haha, oh elementary school. The first I remember writing was in 3rd grade 🙂
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
In sixth grade, when my teacher Xeroxed a 25-page jungle fantasy story I wrote called A Better World and passed it out to all of my classmates. The attention he paid to me and my writing made me realize that writing was a special craft and I actually had some talent. I think it’s so very crucial to find a mentor who does this for you. Over the years as you grow and change, you may have two or three of them.
If you could be any character from a book, movie, play, or musical who would it be?
I’d choose Ruby, from my novel Ruby’s Fire because she’s such a strong heroine even though she’s flawed. She’s beautiful and sensitive and knows how to make all kinds of elixirs out of Dragon Lizard venom that do dangerous and wondrous things. And she gets the hottest guy. –Now that’s my kind of heroine!
What is the best piece of constructive criticism you ever received?
Don’t over-explain your characters or themes. Don’t state emotions or intentions directly in a story. Your readers are smart—trust them to “read between the lines”.
How do you overcome “writer’s block”?
I don’t believe in writer’s block! It is important to just sit down in my chair and force myself to write for a certain amount of time. This leads to inspiration, not always the other way around. Also, sometimes it’s good to outline in more detail if you are hazy on a character or plot. –You make a great point here. Often it’s just better to not believe and keep focused on your writing.
Are you a full time writer?
I write and teach. I also teach creative writing workshops and courses in writing teen fiction. These two disciplines feed into each other. I love them both.
Coffee or tea?
Three cups of black coffee in the morning and then tea, tea, tea!
Hmm… What’s a fun fact about you that most people don’t know?
I love rock, jazz and R&B, and I’ve seen over 60 concerts. Let’s see, I’ve seen James Brown four times, Jonny Lang three times, John McLaughlin five times, and so, so many others. I’ve hung out with McLaughlin in his dressing room with the crew, and I’ve chatted with Mark Anthony. A bit of a groupie? Yup.
What was the publishing process like for you?
I was first published with Random House (My YA, Refugees). It was exciting and scary, because the first draft was revision on spec. They liked my revision because they offered me a contract afterward. (Wow, that’s amazing…no easy feat, congrats!) I’ve also done work for American Girl, as well as indie publishing my latest YA sci-fi novels, Fireseed One and Ruby’s Fire. I loved putting together my own dream team for them, including my amazing editor, Elizabeth Law, who worked for Egmont Press, and Jay Montgomery, my awesome cover artist who teaches digital illustration at Savannah College of Art and Design. Each way of publishing has its own strengths.
What is some advice you would impart to writers who wish to be published?
Get the novel right first! Don’t even think about sending anything out before it’s a darn good tale with vivid characters and unexpected plot twists. Lots of people are too impatient to publish. Also, don’t give up even if it takes a while.
If you could have breakfast with anyone dead or alive, who’d it be and what would you eat?
Chekhov. We’d eat chocolate cake and drink black coffee, but mostly we’d talk about writing.
What are your favorite movies?
Eastern Promises, Taxi Driver, Laurel Canyon, Eight Mile—movies that hit my heart
If you had an animal spirit or Patronus which animal would it be?
A bear? They are tall and noble and can be quite quick when they need to be. They protect their own with ferocity, yet they’re normally peaceful.
What are your favorite childhood books?
In sixth grade, I discovered sci-fi and I fell totally in love with Ray Bradbury, George Orwell, and before that The Narnia Chronicles. I have a very active imagination, and there’s nothing more exciting than to craft new worlds, settings, inventions. –These are some of my favorites as well!
What is the next book you want to write?
I’m revising a YA contemporary psychological horror that pays homage to Dorian Gray, but with a female lead. I hope to have it out in December. –I love the tale of Dorian Gray…what an interesting twist, looking forward to it 🙂
Imagine you are writing your memoir…what is its title?
That’s a hard one. Girl with Goat, or Fire Witch. Try to figure those out, I dare you!
Entertain your readers! That’s the main job of a writer.
Thanks for interviewing me, it was fun!
Thank you, Catherine for the wonderful interview! Entertaining your readers should always be top priority. Readers, be sure to check out the full tour schedule for excerpts, reviews, and other interviews! Also don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway 😉 (I know, you can’t view it but you should definitely click the link…it’s a big one!