Monday, January 23, 2012

Andrea Cremer, Author of the Nightshade Series, Visits PFTSTA














Click here to watch the book trailer

On Friday, January 20th, the 9th and 10th grade students were treated to a talk by Andrea Cremer. She has written a trilogy called the Nightshade series, and she is also a history professor at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN. I was fascinated with her explanations of how she used her knowledge of the early modern era of history (1500-1800) to flesh out the elements of the fantastical world that she builds.
She talked about her upbringing in a very rural area of Wisconsin. This fostered her love of nature, the woods, and wolves because of her proximity to the outdoors. She knew that if her characters were going to change into wolves, then they needed to be beautiful not horrid. As she found the real wolves that she encountered as a child to be beautiful. It was a horse accident one summer that got her on the road to writing. She was bed bound for 12 weeks and wanted to spend her time doing something that she always dreamed of doing. She had the time, and so fulfilling her love of writing seemed to be a way to turn her misery into a very positive experience. Nightshade, the first in the series, came out of her convalescence period. The publisher loved it so much that she received  contracts for the whole series very quickly.
Since she mentioned that she was from Wisconsin, one of my students asked about her interest in cheese. I was mortified. What was he thinking? Andrea was a consummate professional; she didn't blink an eye and told us more about the dairy state and cheese. Other questions were quite insightful. One student asked how you draw the lines between science fiction and fantasy. She explained how the lines are extremely blurred these days. Andrea talked about Steampunk which has elements of both sci fi and fantasy, and how she has a Steampunk novel in the works that is coming out in 2013. That got the boys very excited.

Click here to watch Andrea's interview with two 8th grade students
Another aspect of her writing that I found interesting was the way she wrote. She does not like to create an outline. Though she knows where she wants her story to end up, she does not write it in chronological order. She would write the scenes as they came to her no matter their order. Then she would fill in as needed. She also thought of her trilogy as one long book. The first two end in total cliffhangers, but she kept writing as if it were one book, not three. So for her, there were no delays in the action of one book to the next. Now that all three of her titles in this series have been published, you can read them in succession.

We would like to thank Penguin Teen and locally owned Octavia Books for bringing Andrea Cremer to PFTSTA. Late on Friday, a student stopped by the library to tell me that Andrea Cremer was the best. You know what, that just made my day!

Find more pics of this event on the PFTSTA Library website.

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