Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Chelsea Sedoti Author Interview


Photo Content from Chelsea Sedoti

Chelsea Sedoti fell in love with writing at a young age after discovering that making up stories was more fun than doing her school work (her teachers didn’t always appreciate this.) In an effort to avoid getting a “real” job, Chelsea explored careers as a balloon twister, filmmaker, and paranormal investigator. Eventually she realized that her true passion is writing about flawed teenagers who are also afraid of growing up. When she’s not at the computer, Chelsea spends her time exploring abandoned buildings, eating junk food at roadside diners, and trying to befriend every animal in the world. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada where she avoids casinos, but loves roaming the Mojave Desert.

        
  


Tell us your latest news.
I just finished a draft of the weird, funny, alien hoax story I’ve spent the past year toiling over! The publication date is still TBD, but the book is one step closer to being out in the world and I’m absolutely ecstatic over it. 

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
Sometimes I feel like everything has influenced my writing. Other books I love, places I’ve been, people I’ve met. I’m always on the lookout for inspiration—and very often you’ll see echoes of real life in my stories. 

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
My favorite thing about books is that they transport me. I’m able to explore worlds I never would in real life. I get to have adventures, make friends with the characters, and fully immerse myself in the story. My greatest hope as a writer is that readers will lose themselves in my books too— that they’ll become so engrossed in the story they don’t want it to end and that, for a little while, they’ll forget the real world exists. 

What was your unforgettable moment while writing AS YOU WISH?
Well, this is going to take a dark turn. There’s some sensitive subject matter in As You Wish, and while I was writing a particularly difficult scene, someone close to me passed away. It echoed what I was writing so much that I actually stopped working on the book for months. I didn’t even want to think about it. I considered removing the upsetting scenes from the book entirely, but eventually decided to keep them, and used them to work out some of my own feelings. In the end, I’m happy I got through it and kept writing, but it was challenging and, unfortunately, very unforgettable. 

For those who are unfamiliar with Madison, how would you introduce her?
Madison is a strange town in the Mojave Desert where everyone gets to make a wish on their 18th birthday—a wish that’s guaranteed to come true. Unfortunately for Madison’s residents, there’s no undoing a wish, and wishes always have consequences. 

What part of Eldon did you enjoy writing the most?
Eldon is nothing like me. He’s a popular jock who’s skated through life on his looks and athletic ability. He’s egotistical and self-centered and sometimes not very nice. He had a lot of growing up to do over the course of the book. And that’s exactly why I loved writing him so much. It was a blast to climb into the head of someone so different from me and figure out how he’d react to situations. I had a lot of surprises while writing the book and loved uncovering what made Eldon tick. 

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I recently read Down with the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn (one of my favorite YA authors). It’s a weird, funny, insightful book about how wishing can go wrong. Sound familiar? I would love for Eldon, the protagonist of As You Wish to meet Lennie, the protagonist of Down with the Shine. The two of them would have so much to talk about. Mostly about how destructive wishes can be. And about how they both need to work on their decision-making skills. 

Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why?
This is such a hard question! But if you look at the books on my shelves, the one that has the most wear and tear from a billion readings is Jurassic Park (I’ve handled it so many times, it literally doesn’t have a cover anymore and pages are falling out). It was probably the first “grown-up” book I read and I fell in love with it—and still adore it to this day. I could spend forever reading Ian Malcolm babbling about the chaos theory. 

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
If I could choose any writer in the world to be my mentor, I’d pick Stephen King. Not only does he give really great writing advice, he could also keep me forever entertained with spooky tales. (I love, love, love scary stories.) Plus, maybe I’d get insight into whatever black magic he does to write so incredibly fast! 

How many books have you written? 
My first book, The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett, about a teenager who gets inappropriately wrapped up in a missing persons case, came out in 2017, followed by As You Wish. I’m currently working on revisions of my third book, the story of a science nerd and his practical jokester brother who cause chaos in their town when they fake an alien invasion.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
A theme that keeps popping up in my books is perception and how we perceive others compared to how we perceive ourselves. I suppose it makes sense. After all, I spent way too much time as a teenager comparing myself to other people (maybe I still do). I hope something my books convey to teen readers is that no one’s life is exactly what it appears on the outside. No one is perfect, everyone struggles, and you should never, ever think you’re in some way less than someone else. 

First concert?
The first concert I should have gone to was Blink-182 during my sophomore year of high school. BUT. The day before the concert, I got in trouble for something or other (hadn’t cleaned my room? wasn’t doing homework assignments?) and my mom grounded me. I still remember sitting at home pouting as the concern began, furious that my friends were there without me. To this day, I still haven’t seen Blink-182 in concert. 

Last thing you made with your own hands?
Friendship bracelets! Making them serves two purposes: 1. I think they look cool (I’m wearing about ten bracelets at any given time). 2. I have a lot of nervous energy to burn, and making bracelets is something mindless I can do with my hands. I tried knitting to achieve the same effect, but I’m not quite coordinated enough. 

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?
I’m obsessed with the 1960s and the hippie movement. Ah, to be a teenager in 1969 and experience Woodstock and the moon landing (can you believe they happened only weeks apart?!) Plus, the fashion—bell bottoms and tie-dye forever! 

What is your favorite restaurant in town and why?
Villa Pizza. Or Metro Pizza. Or Pizza Rock. Or Those Guys Pies. Um, yeah… I like pizza a lot. A LOT. 

Who was your first boyfriend?
My first boyfriend was a guy from my friend group who, honestly, I didn’t have much in common with. Our relationship lasted a month and was pretty meh. I was already a reader by that point and had hyped myself up for some sort of fairy tale feelings. My first relationship made me realize the world might not actually work that way. In fact, it would be several years before I met someone who actually gave me the giddy, swoony feelings I’d been hoping for. 

Tell me about your first kiss.
I’m pretty sure I was the last of my friends to have a first kiss. When it finally happened, it was kind of awkward and… not that big of a deal. I was just happy to get it over with because in my overly-dramatic teenage mind I was becoming convinced I’d die before I had my first kiss. 

What did you do for your last birthday?
Ate cake. So much cake. Cake is my favorite dessert—plain white cake with white icing—and my birthday is an excuse to eat an excessive amount. 

Where can readers find you?
You can send me a message through my website, chelseasedoti.com. I also spend too much time on Instagram @chelseasedoti. 

TEN FACTS ABOUT AS YOU WISH

1. The idea for As You Wish came from a what-if question. To pass time during a boring work day, a coworker asked a random question about wishing. For the rest of the day I daydreamed about what life would be like if wishing was real. And before I knew it, the town of Madison had come to life. 

2. Originally, I wrote As You Wish as a short story. It was… not good. I tried to cram way too much in and it ended up being ten pages of world building with absolutely no story. I set it aside until, years later, I began to wonder how it would work as a novel. 

3. When I was still mapping out the book, As You Wish was set in an east coast forest. But something about it wasn’t working for me. Maybe I was bored with the woods since my previous book used them as a backdrop. When I decided to change the location and put my wish town in the Mojave Desert (which is where I live), everything clicked into place. The desert setting was exactly what I needed to create the town of Madison.

4. The name Madison is not random. When I was a kid, my favorite writer was Christopher Pike. One of his books took place in Nevada and, at the time, I’d never read anything set in my home state (books set in Nevada are hard to come by!) The name of the fictional town in the Christopher Pike book was, you guessed it: Madison. I still remember being thrilled about that book having a Mojave Desert setting and I decided to pay homage to it in As You Wish by giving my fictional town the same name. 

5. The protagonist of As You Wish is a teenage boy named Eldon and he’s very different from me. For one, he’s athletic. I am not. At all. There are several scenes in the book that take place at Eldon’s football practices and I know so little about football that I skipped those scenes in my first draft and just put “add some footbally stuff here later.” The entire book was written before I did football research and filled those scenes in. 

6. While I love Eldon, his wise-cracking best friend, Merrill, is my favorite character in the book. In fact, up until recently, he was probably my favorite of all my characters. (During the writing of my third book I’ve discovered a new favorite, so stay tuned for that.)

7. The town of Madison is near Area 51, so of course I had to throw in some alien lore. Eldon often listens to a late night paranormal radio program called Basin and Range Radio. It’s a fictionalized version of Coast to Coast AM, a radio program hosted by Art Bell from Pahrump, Nevada that I grew up listening to. 

8. In As You Wish, Eldon meets a group of “legend trippers”—people seeking out weird, mysterious, creepy places—and they mention exploring an abandoned hotel in the Nevada desert. This is a reference to the haunted Goldfield Hotel, which I once had the opportunity to explore in real life. Urban exploration, or legend tripping, is my very favorite hobby.

9. Many of the locations in As You Wish (like the secluded hot springs where Madison’s teenagers go to party, or the mural on a hidden canyon wall in the middle of the desert) are based on real places I’ve stumbled across in the Mojave. 

10. Throughout As You Wish there are “Wish History” chapters, where the reader gets to see past wishes—and their consequences—play out. It was fun getting into so many characters’ heads and it gave me a chance to write scenes that took place in other decades, something I don’t usually have occasion to do. Exploring the past wishes of Madison’s residents was one of the most exciting parts of writing the book.


What if you could ask for anything- and get it?

In the sandy Mojave Desert, Madison is a small town on the road between nothing and nowhere. But Eldon wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, because in Madison, everyone gets one wish—and that wish always comes true.

Some people wish for money, some people wish for love, but Eldon has seen how wishes have broken the people around him. And with the lives of his family and friends in chaos, he’s left with more questions than answers. Can he make their lives better? How can he be happy if the people around him aren’t? And what hope is there for any of them if happiness isn’t an achievable dream? Doubts build, leading Eldon to a more outlandish and scary thought: maybe you can’t wish for happiness…maybe, just maybe, you have to mak
e it for yourself.

You can purchase As You Wish at the following Retailers:
  

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you CHELSEA SEDOTI for making this giveaway possible.
3 Winners will receive a Copy of AS YOU WISH by Chelsea Sedoti.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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