Interview: Adrienne Young, Author of 'Sky in the Deep'
Adrienne Young’s debut novel, Sky in the Deep released this past spring. It tells the story of a female warrior who is confronted with the fact that the brother she lost five years ago is, in fact, alive and fighting for the enemy. The novel follows her as she finds out what happened that day and in the years since while coming to terms with it all. Teralyn had the pleasure of interviewing Adrienne about writing, her novel, and more!
Tell us a little about you as a person!
I’m a Texan-born California girl who loves yoga, food, coffee & wine! I have four kids and live in Northern California with my husband who’s a documentary filmmaker.
What made you want to become a writer?
I first dreamed of publishing a book when I was nine years old. I’ve always loved to write but didn’t get up the courage to really pursue being an author until I was in my mid-twenties.
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
The most difficult part is being a slave to inspiration. If the inspiration isn’t flowing, I find it incredibly difficult to write. The problem with that is often you’re on a deadline and you don’t have the luxury of waiting for inspiration to strike. I’ve definitely had to learn how to push through in those times because it doesn’t come naturally to me.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
Definitely what I just mentioned above but also the voices! There are SO MANY new voices in your head when you have your work out there. People want to give their opinions, your editor or agent have thoughts, fellow authors are on their own paths and it’s hard not to compare. Gone are the days of just being in my own head and writing away without a care in the world. I have to intentionally silence those voices on a regular basis in order to hear my own.
What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
Voice, character, and hook. Voice is something that is either there or it isn’t. It’s like the bit of magic sprinkled in that makes the story come to life and you need it in order for your writing to stand out from the billions of other books. Characters are SO important because the reader will attach themselves or see themselves to them and they essentially form a bond with them. Hook is the thing that keeps readers from putting the book down after the open it. If you have all three of those things, you have a winner.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
CALM. DOWN. I wish I could go back and tell myself to be more patient in the querying process and to take some deep breaths. It’s so easy to feel like a failure in that time and I was way too hard on myself.
What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting out?
Read everything. Read outside of the genre you’re writing in. Read books that are selling like hotcakes and figure out why. Study the market and pay attention to trends.
Sky in the Deep is your first published novel. Can you tell us about your publishing journey and a little about the book?
Sky in the Deep is a Viking-inspired YA fantasy about a girl raised to be a warrior in a generations-old blood feud against another clan. One day she sees her brother fighting on the other side in battle – the brother she watched die five years ago. The book is about her journey finding out what really happened that day and what’s happened since. Sky was the fifth or sixth book I ever wrote or tried to write. I learned a lot from those first couple of attempts and queried two other books that never sold before I found my agent. It was a long road! Once I got an agent, things moved much more quickly. The book sold at auction and came out the next year!
What was the inspiration for the story?
The brother/sister betrayal and story was the initial inspiration for Sky in the Deep. I didn’t set out to write a Viking-inspired world, it just came in the process.
What do you hope your readers take away from this story?
That it’s okay to change. I think we often believe that if we change or let go of old ways of thinking or believing, that we are selling out or giving up or walking away from who we are. But really, we are just finding who we really are.
Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why?
Halvard, the little boy in the book that melts the ice around Eelyn’s heart. I love him.
Do you write listening to music? If so, what music inspired or accompanied this current book?
Always always always! I have a playlist for Sky in the Deep.
Are you working on anything at this time that you can share with us?
I just finished the companion novel for Sky, but we haven’t announced details yet. It’s coming Fall 2019.
Lastly, do you have any book recommendations for us?
Yes! My favourite books this year have been The Cruel Prince by Holly Black and Sadie by Courtney Summers.
Be sure to check out her books on Goodreads! You can purchase the Sky in the Deep on Amazon, Book Depository, and other good book retailers!
*This interview is also featured on The Nerd Daily!