Book Nerd Interview
“An Edgar-award-winning author who writes psychological thrillers with the same depth and punch as Ruth Rendell and Minette Walters with the kind of noirish feel that permeates many of my favorite crime novels. A writer who has a keen understanding of how kids react and feel — who goes for the gut and never flinches on true emotions, who creates characters so true they make you cry and feel a little something yourself.
“Chances are, many of you haven't heard of this author. Or if you have, it's because her name has come up in a completely different context. That's because Nancy Werlin writes novels geared for young adults, and so if you were — like me — not as inclined towards YA as to adult crime fiction, then you would have passed her by. And that would be a shame, because she's simply one of the best crime novelists going right now. Period.” —Sarah Weinman
Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?
Yes, and it was early--fourth grade. I loved reading, and one day I realized that the people who wrote books were not all dead. Some of them were alive, and writing books was their job. I immediately knew that was the job for me.
What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
The structure of the classic five-paragraph essay, which I learned in 10th grade. First paragraph: introduction, ending with thesis statement. Next three paragraphs: evidence. Last paragraph: Restate the thesis and make some graceful remarks that link the thesis to some more universal thought or feeling. Once you have the five-paragraph essay down, anything else you write -- no matter how long or short -- is just a variation on the structure.
For those who are unfamiliar with Phoebe, how would you introduce her?
Phoebe Rothschild is the kindest character I have ever written. She doesn't have a snarky or mean bone in her entire body -- and maybe that's one of the reasons she's headed for deep trouble. She has to learn to defend herself.
Thanks so much for interviewing me!
Phoebe finds herself drawn to Mallory, the strange and secretive new kid in school, and the two girls become as close as sisters . . . until Mallory's magnetic older brother, Ryland, shows up during their junior year. Ryland has an immediate, exciting hold on Phoebe-but a dangerous hold, for she begins to question her feelings about her best friend and, worse, about herself.
Soon she'll discover the shocking truth about Ryland and Mallory: that these two are visitors from the faerie realm who have come to collect on an age-old debt. Generations ago, the faerie queen promised Pheobe's ancestor five extraordinary sons in exchange for the sacrifice of one ordinary female heir. But in hundreds of years there hasn't been a single ordinary girl in the family, and now the faeries are dying. Could Phoebe be the first ordinary one? Could she save the faeries, or is she special enough to save herself?
Extraordinary is Nancy Werlin’s YA faerie fantasy about a young girl, Phoebe, and her best friend Mallory. The two become inseparable when Phoebe’s mother provided daily care for Mallory’s ailing mother. When Mallory’s brother, Ryland, visits, Phoebe can’t help but feel his magnetism. Being enigmatically attracted to him, Phoebe knows that it would hurt Mallory if she ever knew. When Phoebe follows Ryland to his room, she discovers something that is beyond belief.
Readers are once again taken into this fantastical fairy world. The build up to Phoebe and Mallory’s friendship is truly endearing. Nancy’s highly descriptive writing style allows the story of friendship to be told the way it should be. The origins of their friendship and their current status are carefully assembled and are innovatively intertwined in the mystical world of the fairy kingdom.
The story is well thought-out and quite impressive. . The twist is a pleasantly shocking surprise. Nancy is a brilliant story-teller as she spends a lot of time to build up the two girls’ friendship, only to be blanketed with dark secrets. There is a strong theme of friendship, the importance of family, and sacrifice. Readers will truly enjoy this book. It has all the elements that can make Extraordinary exact as that…Extraordinary.
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