Today I'm excited to have debut author Wendy Delsol on the blog to chat about her contemporary myth-come-to-life, STORK - plus she has generously included a giveaway (see below for details).
I met Wendy through the awesome new YA blog, YA Outside the Lines, and am very pleased to welcome her!
Borrowing from Norse mythology, STORK is the story of Katla (Kat) LeBlanc, a sixteen year old who—following her parents’ divorce—moves from L.A. to her mother’s small Minnesota hometown of Icelandic heritage. With the school year already off to a bad start, Kat’s world is further upended when she is mysteriously summoned to a meeting of the local Stork Society: women with the responsibility of matching the undecided of hovering souls with the right mother. Kat is their newest—and youngest ever—member. As if this discovery wasn’t burden enough, Kat soon meets Jack, an aloof classmate to whom she senses an inexplicable connection. Additionally, when Kat finds herself in more than one life-threatening situation, she suspects that someone or something wants her out of town.
Holly Cupala: I love to hear the stories behind the story –what is the story behind STORK?
Wendy Delsol: A long time ago, while watching the TV show Unsolved Mysteries, there was a segment about a young boy who claimed to have a pre-birth memory of flying above the earth and choosing his mother. The story stuck with me. Years later, when spinning what-ifs for a YA paranormal, I paired that story with the symbolic image of childbirth: a bundle-bearing stork. The next step was to create an ancient society of human Storks who have the ability to guide undecided souls.
Holly: What led you to YA as a genre?
Wendy: I tend to have aha moments while walking or driving. This one came while driving to a writers’ conference in September of '08. Prior to STORK, I had written three novels in the women’s fiction genre. I had already made the decision to give YA a try and knew that paranormal stories were popular within the genre. This was peak Twilight mania, so I knew that vampires and werewolves were hot. I was also aware that angels and fairies were doing well. Nonetheless, I intentionally conceptualized something different, in the hopes of standing out.
Holly: Did the process take you anywhere unexpected, either in writing or in life?
Wendy: I didn’t start writing novels until I was—gasp—post forty. Following months of debilitating migraines and forty-five minutes in a tumor-hunting MRI machine, I vowed to chase a long-secret dream: writing books. Eight years later, with a novel on bookshelves and two more coming out in 2011, it has, without a doubt, been the ride of my life.
Holly: How long did it take you to write STORK, and did you have to go through a lot of drafts? Did the story evolve as you revised?
Wendy: I have described my state of mind while writing Stork as fueled. The story consumed me day and night. Despite a sports injury to my right arm that left me hunting and pecking with my left, I had a first draft in five months. I obtained my agent, Jamie Brenner of Artists and Artisans, with that first draft. Based on her editorial suggestions, I did one rewrite before she shopped it around.
Holly: Has any of Kat's story come from your own life?
Wendy: It’s no coincidence that my protagonist was the new girl in town. My husband’s job had recently moved our family from L.A. to Iowa, a move that was financially sound, but difficult nonetheless. Kat’s loneliness and homesickness were all emotions that I—even as an adult—was struggling with.
Holly: What do you most hope your readers will take away?
Wendy: I hope that readers will admire Kat’s spunk, confidence, and resilience. It would be gratifying, too, if readers find some of the wisdom of the older Stork women, Hulda in particular, as thought provoking.
Holly: The names in STORK are so interesting. How did you come to them?
Wendy: I love character names and often select them based on their meaning or etymology. Katla, for instance, is the name of a volcano in Iceland. Her last name LeBlanc (“the white” in French) symbolizes a white bird as well as the term white witch for a benevolent practitioner of magic.
Holly: What’s up next?
Wendy: STORK’s sequel, FROST, is written and scheduled for release (again with Candlewick) in September of 2011. An adult novel, The McCloud Home for Wayward Girls, will be published (by Berkley Books, an imprint of Penguin) on August 2, 2011. I also need to get cracking on book three (as yet untitled) in the Stork trilogy. Guess what I’ll be doing this winter?
I'm looking forward to it, Wendy, and thank you for stopping by!
Readers, what did you think of Wendy and the story behind STORK? Tell us what you think! Just leave a meaningful comment below before midnight on Monday, and one lucky US resident will win!