Monday, August 27, 2012

Interview with Jessica Spotwood Author of Born Wicked

I absolutely loved Born Wicked, and you can find my review here.  So I saw author Jessica Spotwood on twitter one day and asked for an interview.

Here she is!

  1. Born Wicked is set in a brilliant alternative history. Why did you choose to use an alternative history and what inspired the history you did use?
Thank you! I love the idea of writing letters and candlelight and having teas and wearing incredible dresses. It seems so lush and sexy, though I’m sure it was less so in reality. Things were changing rapidly in terms of industry and technology and growing freedoms, but that era was still awfully repressive for women (for anyone who wasn’t a straight white guy, really). I shifted things to make it even more so in Cate’s society, where being an independent, clever girl is even more dangerous than it was in our version of the 1890s. I suppose I wanted to play with that contradiction – the sensuousness of the high society dress and rituals with the rigid social expectations for women. I did do quite a bit of research on Victorian-era dresses and home décor and etiquette, though I shifted things a bit to account for the alternate history.

  1. I love Finn, but I think he's different from a lot of YA heroes. What inspired his character?
Well, as a reader, I was a little tired of the alpha-male hero. I thought it might be fun to write about the kind of guy I fell for in real life – smart, sweet, and a total bibliophile. I think Finn is adorkable. And it was nice to play with gender roles – if anyone is the stubborn, bossy one in this relationship, it’s Cate! I actually just wrote a whole post about writing a non-alpha hero over at Narratively Speaking!

  1. What we're all dying to know—when is the sequel coming out? Do we have a synopsis yet?
STAR CURSED will be out in June 2013. There isn’t an official synopsis, but I can tell you that I’m afraid things are only going to get worse before they get better for Cate and her sisters! The Cahill girls will learn more about their magical heritage and what’s expected of them in the coming war between the Brotherhood and the witches. As usual, they’ll be divided about how to handle the responsibilities they’re faced with. They’ll finally get to meet their godmother, Zara Roth. There will be scandalous romantic trysts, new friends, political uprisings, and heartbreaking betrayals!

  1. What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Find people who will read your work and give you honest feedback. They don’t necessarily have to be other writers in your genre – mine were voracious readers, former English major friends, my playwright husband, friends who wrote poetry and essays. Ask them to tell you what works, what they want more of, as well as what confuses or doesn’t work for them. It’s so important to learn to take criticism thoughtfully.

  1. If you had to describe Cate in three words what would they be?
I love this game! Stubborn + protective + sister.

  1. It's the zombie apocalypse! You must evacuate your house with only two possessions. What are they?
Well, assuming that my cat and my husband don’t count as possessions, I’d grab my grandmother’s earrings and my box of memorabilia, which includes a bunch of letters and cards from my husband and friends. If I could choose a third thing, I’d go with my falling-apart, much-loved paperback of GONE WITH THE WIND, which I’ve had since I was twelve and read at least a dozen times.

Thanks so much for having me, Beth! 


  1. I'm always fascinated by alternate histories, and I'm really fascinated by characters that aren't like the one I just read about in that last book. Here's to unique male characters.

    Good luck with your book!

  2. Great interview!

    I love the sound of Finn.

  3. I really enjoyed reading the interview with Jessica. I found the memorabilia she'd snatch during a zombie apocalypse particularly interesting. (I'm more pragmatic and would take food and water.) Fun post!

  4. I bought her book not too long ago and can't not wait to read it!