Thursday, August 28, 2014

Feuds: Author Interview

We're excited to welcome the author of Feuds, Avery Hastings, to Reading Lark today.

Andrea @ Reading Lark:  If your novel were a cookie, what kind would it be?

Avery: coconut macadamia

Andrea @ Reading Lark: There seems to be a ton of science fiction and dystopian novels hitting the YA market these days. What makes Feuds stand out?

Avery: FEUDS is at its heart a classic romance, not a sci-fi or dystopian novel. That said, it touches on themes that are relevant now and will continue to be relevant in the near future (genetic experimentation/manipulation). It's a blend of old and new, literary and scientific. I tried hard in writing FEUDS to stay true to myself and my characters (who in other lives reside in a Shakespearean era) rather than follow a trend. 

Andrea @ Reading Lark: What advice can you give to others who are considering writing a YA novel?

Avery: Finish your manuscript. Don't be daunted by the larger task: set a daily goal that will eventually add up. (I liken it to going to the gym--each day doesn't seem to matter, and sometimes it's the last thing you want to do; but in several months you see a difference. But maybe I just really dread the gym.) 

Andrea @ Reading Lark: Which of your characters was the most fun to write?

Avery: Cole! I loved his visceral, action-packed fighting scenes. I love portraying physical contact. It gives me an adrenaline rush. 

Andrea @ Reading Lark: I've seen reviewers state that your novel has a Romeo and Juliet feel. I love novels with that component. Was that an intentional decision or did it just develop naturally?

Avery: I had Romeo and Juliet in the back of my mind all along--along with other classic tales of forbidden or ill-fated love--but I allowed the characters room to develop organically. As the story unfolded, Cole and Davis took control of their romance. That said, their circumstances, plot-wise, were set up to be impossible. It would be difficult not to liken any tale of impossible love to Romeo and Juliet, which is so lauded for its portrayal of that theme. 

Andrea @ Reading Lark: It's a tradition to close with this question - What is your favorite bird?

Avery: Ortolan: a songbird, previously considered a delicacy in France and traditionally consumed with a napkin over one's head to hide one's shame from the gods. (They're now endangered and consumption is illegal).

About the Author

Avery Hastings is an author and former book editor from New York City. Avery grew up in Ohio, graduated in 2006 from the University of Notre Dame and earned her MFA from the New School in 2008. When she's not reading or writing, Avery can usually be spotted lying around in the park with her affable dog. Like her protagonists, she knows how to throw a powerful right hook and once dreamed of becoming a ballerina. In addition to New York, Avery has recently lived in Mumbai and Paris, but is happy to call Brooklyn home (for now). 

About the Novel

For Davis Morrow, perfection is a daily reality. Like all Priors, Davis has spent her whole life primed to be smarter, stronger, and more graceful than the lowly Imperfects, or “Imps.” A fiercely ambitious ballerina, Davis is only a few weeks away from qualifying for the Olympiads and finally living up to her mother’s legacy when she meets Cole, a mysterious boy who leaves her with more questions each time he disappears.

Davis has no idea that Cole has his own agenda, or that he’s a rising star in the FEUDS, an underground fighting ring where Priors gamble on Imps. Cole has every reason to hate Davis—her father’s campaign hinges on the total segregation of the Imps and Priors—but despite his best efforts, Cole finds himself as drawn to Davis as she is to him.

Then Narxis, a deadly virus, takes its hold--and Davis’s friends start dying. When the Priors refuse to acknowledge the epidemic, Davis has no one to turn to but Cole. Falling in love was never part of their plan, but their love may be the only thing that can save her Avery Hastings's Feuds.

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