Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: September 19th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Taken from home and family, all they have is each other.
Isla is kidnapped from a train platform in broad daylight, and thrust into a nightmare when she is sold to a sadistic aristocrat. Locked in a dungeon with a dozen other girls, Isla’s only comfort is a locket and the memory of the boy she loves. But as days pass and more girls disappear, she realizes that help is not coming… If they’re going to survive, they’ll have to escape on their own.
Swoon Reads is proud to present Lydia Albano’s debut novel, a powerful story of a teen girl finding strength and hope in even the worst circumstances.
Interview with Lydia Albano
Thank you for having me!
Q1. What does your writing process look like?
A1. Hmm. I usually try out a few first sentences until I find one that I love, and once the story starts to take shape I end up with a pinterest board for it which is always a lot of fun. It’s taken me years to learn not to edit-as-I-go and to just write instead, but now I can usually crank out a novel pretty quickly from one of the great little hipster coffee shops that Cambridge has so many of. I need at least a couple of hours to write at a time or else I can’t dive deep enough into a story to get any real work done, but then my first drafts turn out to be 100K+ words. That’s when I make some notes for myself and the self-editing begins.
Q2. Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?
A2. Honestly I’m kind of boring like that- I just kind of sit down and write. I can’t snack at all though! If there are snacks near me I get absolutely no writing done.
Q3. What book do you wish you could have written?
A3. Oh man, definitely The Night Circus; I wish my brain could call up magic like Erin Morgenstern’s. A close second might be The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye.
Q4. Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?
A4. The very first one was Beatrix Potter- it was one of her stories that first opened my eyes to what books could do to you, how they could make you feel. Gail Carson Levine was and still is also a really big inspiration to me.
Q5. If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?
A5. Oh, this is one of the best things about pinterest, isn’t it? Isla would be Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Tam would be something like a blond, teenage Heath Ledger. Phoebe is a lot like Abbie Cornish, Des like Ed Westwick, Marion a bit like Denée Benton. In my head they’re all really specific, borrowing features and mannerisms from all different people. Alistair is definitely David Anders though.
Q6. How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?
A6. Names might be my favorite thing about writing- is that weird? As I visualize a character in my head, their name often just kind of comes to me, but there are definitely moments where I just can’t put my finger on the right one. I love babynamewizard.com because if you know the kind of name you’re thinking of, you can look it up and they’ll tell you “sibling name” suggestions.
Q7. What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
A7. Oh, I’m bad at this kind of question. I guess finishing my first book ever; I was homeschooled and my mom- recognizing that I loved to start projects and loved finishing them less- told me she wouldn’t let me graduate until I typed “the end” on a novel, and so I did. Finishing others in the years since has felt amazing but nothing was like that first hurdle.
Q8. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
A8. Practically, or ideally? Ideally I’d love an apartment in Kenmore on Commonwealth Ave (kinda near Fenway), writing by a window with a dalmatian or a great dane waiting to be walked. I like to imagine I’ll be writing full time by then, but who knows really. In reality my life might not look a lot different than it does now- I think I’d be okay with that as long as there were fewer emotional breakdowns, you know?
Q9. Were you already a great writer? Have you always liked to write?
A9. But this question implies that I’m a great writer now and I don’t think we can go that far! But yes, I’ve loved telling stories most of my life. Writing them down - while it started as a fun thing because I wanted to be like my brother - became a way for me to process heaviness and hurt, and also to find empathy and joy because I loved learning people’s stories.
Q10. What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
A10. I guess I have three things, and I tell them to anyone who asks me this: Don’t give up even when you think you suck! (Original, I know.) I think I suck almost every day I write, and whether that’s true or not, I’ve got a book now! A real book! You can do it. Second, read your work out loud to yourself- it does wonders for working out the awkward phrases and making the conversation flow. Lastly, find friends to write with. Beta readers, other writers, facebook friends who’ll encourage you when you’re doubting yourself. Writing seems like a loner “sport” but it’s not.
Q11. If you didn’t like writing books, what would you do for a living?
A11. At the moment I work full-time as the administrator for my church, which I love but I think if I could pick any non-writing job in the world, it would be theater manager/stage hand/usher/something that would let me work in the theater industry without actually performing. That’s my favorite world.
Q12. What method do you use to plot your book?
A12. I don’t! I actually can’t outline at all because once I know what’s going to happen, I lose interest in writing it! That’s one of my favorite things about writing, is discovering the story myself as it goes. Usually I have a vague idea of things that will at some point happen, but never the order or exacts. I just stick a bunch of stuff on pinterest for inspiration and hope for the best.
Q13. Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
A13. I do read them, so far. I keep telling myself not to but then I can’t help it. I’ve had a couple that have felt pretty crushing and a couple that have sent me over the moon, and I’ve responded to some, but something that was strangely helpful to me was reading reviews for a series that I loved and seeing that there were people who hated it or picked it apart. It made me realize that some people are bound to hate my book and there’s nothing I can do about that. It was kind of freeing.
Q14. What is your best marketing tip?
A14. Haha, I wish I had one! I’m a terrible self-promoter; I can’t even describe my own book to people without awkwardly promising that it’s better than I’m making it sound.
Q15. What is your least favorite part of the publishing / writing process?
A15. Copyedits! Not because they’re bad (where would we be without them?) but because when you get a document back covered in colorful markings it can look a bit overwhelming.
Q16. Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?
A16. I’ve never been asked this before! Hmm. I don’t want to offend anyone but I’m sure I will- I don’t really love the vampire/paranormal world, which puts me at odds with a lot of other YA readers. I don’t see myself ever writing about it because I don’t really like reading it.
Q17. Do you have a favorite conference to attend? What is it?
A17. I’ve actually never been to a writer’s conference, but I’m planning to try and got to YALLWEST in 2018 if I can!
Q18. Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?
A18. Haha yes, “racy” sounds about right. I heard some advice to “write in a way that scares you a little” so I try to do that- push past things that make me uncomfortable but still, I do get squeamish sometimes.
Q19. How many books have you written so far?
A19. I’ve finished five so far!
Q20. What is your next project?
A20. I don’t know what I’ll start next, but at the moment I’m finishing up a rewrite of one of my favorites that I wrote, about masquerades and spying and a girl who can’t read very well but makes up her own stories, and gets betrayed and decides to take matters into her own hands when she realizes she’s being used by the same people who killed her father. It has a long way to go but it’s one of my favorite things I’ve written.
That was very interesting. Thank you for your time.
Thank YOU! This has been so much fun.
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