Fangirl Friday with 2012 Debut Author: Jill Hathaway
Jill Hathaway grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Having earned her BA in English Education from the University of Northern Iowa and her MA in Literature from Iowa State University, she now teaches high school English and dual credit courses through Des Moines Area Community College. She lives with her husband and young daughter in the Des Moines area. SLIDE is her debut novel.
I heard about Jill, ironically, through Twitter when she gave me advice about getting my beloved Snoogle. After talking on Twitter, I found her blog and became hooked on http://jillscribbles.blogspot.com/
M: Can you tell us about your debut novel SLIDE?
Jill: SLIDE is a paranormal thriller about Sylvia Bell, a girl with narcolepsy who randomly slides into other people's heads, witnessing things she'd rather not see--like her Spanish teacher coming on to her psychology teacher in the paper closet. When she finds herself in the head of a killer, standing over the murdered body of her sister's best friend, she is beyond freaked. She is the only one who knows the girl didn't kill herself, and she's terrified her sister might be next. Suddenly, everyone she knows is a suspect, and she must find the truth before it's too late.
M: What inspired you to write this novel? With it being YA did you take anything from your own life experiences?
Jill: I came up with the concept last year when I was brainstorming with a colleague. I was writing a novel along with my students and needed a cool premise. The idea of witnessing a murder through the killer's eyes was fascinating to me; from there, I just had to figure out how to make it work. Obviously, I've never jumped into the body of a killer, so the actual plot is completely fabricated. I think the emotional experience of being a young adult is similar for everyone, though, so I channeled the anxieties and concerns from my teenage self in order to make Vee authentic. The voice comes pretty easily to me, as I walk the halls of a high school every day.
M: What was the hardest part about writing SLIDE? Did you ever feel like giving up?
Jill: The hardest part for me was the revision process. I queried earlier than I should have, and though my plot and voice were strong enough to win me an awesome agent, I had a LOT of developing to do. Sarah wrote a brilliant editorial letter, and I spent months rewriting SLIDE, fattening it up and fixing a few character issues. I remember shedding some tears, but all the hard work was totally worth it.
M: Did you have any mentors or people who helped you along the way?
Jill: I have some awesome crit partners. Sara Raasch and Shayda Bakhshi were my earliest readers, and they really encouraged me and kept me going. I also got great feedback from Megan Miranda and Susanne Winnacker (both agency sisters), Amber Johnston, Rebecca Rogers, Stephanie Kuehn, Kate Walton, S. Kyle Davis, my sister, and my mom.
Sarah Davies, my agent, really helped me to bloom as a writer. She recognized that my work had potential, but really pushed me to roll up my sleeves and dig deeper. She is so awesome.
M: I read that you are also from the mid-west, do you feel that your location helped or hindered your writing process at all?
Jill: I think it's helped by providing a great backdrop for my stories. It would be hard for me to write a story set in... say, NYC because I've never been there before.
M: What was the querying process like for you? Did you find it difficult?
Jill: It was difficult in the sense that SLIDE was not the first novel I queried. I've got a couple of trunk novels, as many writers do. I've been writing for years, but it only took about a month to get an offer of representation for SLIDE--and there were several agents interested. I just had to persevere until I had the right story at the right time.
M: Best and worse parts about the journey to publication?
Jill: Submission.. it was the best of times, it was the blurst of times... I mean worst! Sorry, little Simpsons moment there. I won't go into details, but about two weeks after we sent SLIDE to editors, I was SUPER HAPPY. That lasted all of a weekend. Then I was SUPER DEPRESSED. Then I just tried not to think about it for a while. Then we got an offer. Then we got a pre-empt. And I was over the moon! So, yeah. Total roller coaster ride.
M: What was your soundtrack while writing SLIDE?
J: I'd love to share the soundtrack for SLIDE:
Just Like You Imagined--Nine Inch Nails
Porcelina of the Vast Oceans--Smashing Pumpkins
Fade Into You--Mazzy Star
Welcome to the Black Parade--My Chemical Romance
Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)--Green Day
Hey Jealousy--Gin Blossoms
So Like a Rose--Garbage
Gravity--A Perfect Circle
M: Favorite book, movie, and food?
Jill: Book... so HARD! My favorite adult books are SHE'S COME UNDONE by Wally Lamb, THE SECRET HISTORY by Donna Tartt, and pretty much anything by John Irving. My YA faves are THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins(of course), SOME GIRLS ARE by Courtney Summers, and THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson.
Movie... Definitely LABYRINTH. I get crazy when my students tell me they've never seen that movie! It's a classic!
Food... I know it's not a food, but I'm addicted to Diet Pepsi. And I can't have Oreos around. They have to be responsible for at least 85% of my post-baby weight gain. But I do love them so.
M: Famous last words or quote?
Jill: Not sure if this is supposed to be a quote from me, but I love this quote by Sylvia Plath: "The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt."