YA novelist Kristin Cashore earned a Morris Award nomination 2008 debut, Graceling. The prequel Fire followed in 2009, and Penguin Books for Young Readers recently released a Graceling companion novel, Bitterblue.
During our interview, Cashore (pictured, via) talked about self-editing and her future projects. Highlights follow below…
Q: What do you think is the best way to self-edit?
A: Well, the most important thing you need is distance. You need to be able to come back to what you’ve written as a reader, and judge as a reader what’s working and what isn’t. Of course you’ll miss things — that’s why later on, you’ll need to start showing your drafts to other readers. But in the beginning, one of the most important things is to put the manuscript aside for a little while, so that you can come back to it fresh, as an (extremely critical!) reader.
Q: What does a companion novel have to offer readers that a conventional sequel novel does not?
A: I’m not sure — new characters, I suppose; new worlds, new focuses that still connect to the other books and stories. Companion books can create a comforting sort of web; maybe they create depth, and help to make a world feel rich and real? I’m not talking about my own books here — I’m talking about the companion books I’ve read and loved, like Madeleine L’Engle’s, for example, or Megan Whalen Turner’s, or Robin McKinley’s.
Q: What’s next for you?
A: Well, in the long term, I’m working on some contemporary realistic YA fiction. In the short term, I’m going on vacation!