Friday, June 15, 2012

Interview with Semi-Finalist Rebecca Phillips

Today I am interviewing Rebecca Phillips, one of three potential winner's of Penguin and Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Contest in the YA category!

GC: Tell me about your novel and how you began writing it!

RP: Out of Nowhere is a contemporary young adult novel. At eleven years old, Riley Tate witnessed the sudden death of her father. Now, at sixteen, she’s become obsessed with the human body and what can go wrong with it. Then she meets Cole, a reckless daredevil with mysterious scars and a thirst for all things dangerous, and her deep-rooted fears about life and death are about to be challenged.

I began writing it in February of 2011. There was no inspiration, really...the idea just popped into my head one day (What would happen if an uptight hypochondriac met a carefree daredevil-type guy?) and I wrote an outline. Ten months later, the first draft was finished.

GC: When did you hear about Penguin and Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award contest? Were you set on entering right away?

RP: I heard about the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest in 2010. This is my third year entering. The first two years, I entered with a different book. In 2010, I advanced to the second round. Last year, I didn't make it past the pitch stage. I wrote Out of Nowhere with the ABNA contest in mind. I definitely wanted to enter again, and I used the contest deadline as my goal to finish the book. I made it just in time!

GC: What was the waiting process like? Do you consider that you were calm, cool and collected, or were you biting off your nails like the rest of us mere mortals?

RP: The waiting process was long and painful. I had the key dates marked on my calendar and a couple of days before each list went up, I'd get very nervous. I was surprised to see my name on the list every single time it appeared. 

GC: When did you hear you were a finalist? What was that moment like?

RP: The finalists are called about a week before the official announcement. I found out on Monday, May 14. That moment was something I will never forget as long as I live. It was the biggest shock of my life to get that phone call. I cried. I couldn't speak because my tongue went numb. The woman who called me probably thought I was insane. She even asked me if I needed to sit down (luckily, I was already sitting down).

GC: Have you had the chance to read your fellow nominee's work? What do you think of their novels?

RP: Yes, I read all five excerpts and enjoyed them very much. There's so much talent in this group. I feel honored to be part of it.

GC: If you win, what will you do to celebrate?

RP: Probably kiss my husband and then have a glass of wine.

GC: Thank you, Rebecca, may the odds be ever in your favor!

RP: Thanks so much for interviewing me! (I love The Hunger Games too). 


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