Interview with NATASHA SINEL (by Natasha Sinel)
Since I just joined YAOTL, I missed the day everyone was paired up for interviews. So, for fun, I interviewed myself.
Photo by Alison Sheehy
NS: So, Natasha, tell me about you.
NS: First of all, I am so thrilled to be joining YAOTL. I’ve been a fan of the blog for years, so this is like a dream come true.
So, about me. I write contemporary realistic YA. My debut novel THE FIX will be published by Sky Pony Press (Skyhorse Publishing) in September 2015. I grew up in Washington, D.C., and now I live in Northern Westchester, NY, less than an hour north of Manhattan, with my husband and three sons who are nine, eight, and six. There is a lot of boy in my house.
NS: Yeah, okay, but tell me something I can’t just find on your website (natashasinel.com) Who are YOU? What were you like in high school?
NS: Oh, um, okay. I think I’m not so different than I was in high school. I have more responsibility now—raising kids, owning a house, general adult stuff. And I know myself better—the positive parts and the shortcomings. But I’m still me. I still read all the time, I still feel angsty and self-conscious sometimes, I’m still a loyal friend, and I’m still pretty much a rule-follower who likes to party (in moderation) sometimes. I still like hanging out with my mom and dad (in high school, I would sometimes forgo a party to go to dinner and a movie with my parents). I’m still fascinated by people, their motivations, and their relationships. I think that’s why I love creating characters so much.
NS: Tell us about your book.
NS: I would love to! Here’s a brief description of THE FIX:
Seventeen-year-old Macy’s got it pretty good. She's rich, she's dating the cute boy next door, she has plenty of friends, and although she long ago wrote off her mother as a superficial gym rat, she's got an ally in her loving dad. But a conversation with a boy at a party one night shakes Macy out of the carefully maintained complacency that defines her. The boy is Sebastian Ruiz, a recovering addict who recognizes that Macy is hiding demons of her own.
THE FIX tells the story of two good-hearted teenagers coming to terms with the cards they were dealt. It's also about the fixes we rely on to cope with our most shameful secrets, and the hope and fear that comes with meeting someone who challenges us to come clean.
NS: So, what was your path to publication? I hope you’re not one of those “I wrote it in three weeks, and got an agent and a book deal within a month!” I hate those people.
NS: Listen, hating those people does you no good. You’ve got to keep your eyes on your own work. Your path is your own, like it or not. Luckily, the YA writing community is extremely supportive, helpful, and encouraging.
But, the answer to your question is: No, I’m not one of those people. My path to publication has been long. I started writing after I left my job ten years ago. Since then, I’ve written and revised two and a half manuscripts, I’ve sent dozens of queries, I’ve had three agents, I’ve been on submission twice, and I’ve answered zillions of those questions—you know the ones I mean—Is your book like Twilight? Why don’t you just self-publish? It’s easier to write a teen book than a regular book, right? I could tell you about the last ten years of ups and downs of writing, revising, querying, being on sub, and the debut year, but I’d have to dedicate a separate blog post for each.
NS: What’s the most important advice you can give to writers who are still on their path to publication?
NS: Technically, since my book comes out next September, I’m still on my path to publication! But, I think there is really only one thing that matters in this career (assuming you can write, you have a good story to tell, and you aren’t a scary stalker freak)—YOU CAN’T GIVE UP. Ever. Never ever. Not if your manuscript has major plot issues, and you have no idea how to fix them. Not if you could wallpaper your bedroom with rejection letters. Not if you need to put your manuscript in a drawer because it’s not selling. Not if everyone around you seems to be getting multiple agent offers and book deals. Not even if your agent leaves the business. You can’t give up. You just keep doing it. Because, what’s your other option? Not doing it? Yeah, no thanks. I’ll just keep writing.