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Interview with Eilis O’Neal — Author of The False Princess

Posted by on January 19, 2011

The 2011 Debut Author Challenge is the first challenge I’m participating in. Along with reading many YA debuts, I also have some debut author interviews in store. 

The False Princess is an incredible debut. I don’t have many books I call my favorite, but it has made it onto that list (along with Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly). You can find out more about how much I liked the book in my review, right now, its time to learn more about the author behind the book :)

IceyBooks: Describe The False Princess in 7-9 words.
Eilis O’Neal: Romantic and suspenseful, twisting the commoner-turned-princess tale.
IB: Where did you find the inspiration for The False Princess?

EN: I read a lot of fantasy, and I’ve always loved stories about girls finding out that they were princesses in hiding. One day, I wondered what it would be like to have the reverse happen to you, to find out that you weren’t really the princess you had always thought you were.
IB: You’re a debut author, what advice do you have for aspiring YA writers?

EN: Write–write every day if you can. Just getting the discipline to sit down in a chair and write every day, even when inspiration seems far off, is half the battle to becoming a writer. Once you’ve written something, know that it won’t be perfect from the get-go. Find people whose opinion you trust to read your writing and offer honest critiques. And, perhaps most importantly, read. Read just about everything you can get your hands on–books in the genre you’re writing and outside it. Figure out what you like, and what you don’t like. And if you don’t like a book, figure out why.

IB: Has becoming an author always been your dream?
EN: It has been (except for a brief flirtation with the idea of becoming a marine biologist in 5th grade, before I realized that you have to be good at science to be a biologist). I seriously knew that I wanted to write for young adults when I was twelve, though. That was the year that I read several life-changing YA fantasy novels, and I realized that I wanted to do for other people what those books had done for me.

IB: What’s your favorite hobby (besides reading and writing)?

EN: I love to hike. If I lived in Colorado, I would hike every day. And, actually, I get some of my best ideas for stories and books while hiking.

IB: What was the most recent YA novel you read? Did you like it?

EN: I read Peeps by Scott Westerfeld just before Christmas. I’m a real fan of Westerfeld, and I really liked how he treated vampirism as a parasitic disease in the book, rather than a mystical/magical condition.

IB: Are you currently working on another novel? Is it related to The False Princess?
EN: I am working on another novel, one that’s unrelated to The False Princess. But I still have ideas for the world of Thorvaldor, so I may go back there in the future.
IB: What’s your favorite part of nature – the sky, trees, the earth…?
EN: The smell. I love how the seasons smell different than one another–the smell around Halloween as fall really gets going is one of my favorites. And I love stepping into a pine forest and getting that heady rush of scent. Snow has a sharp, crisp smell to it, and there’s the smell a few hours before it rains. So, yeah, I like the way nature smells.

Thanks for taking the time to tell me and my readers a little about yourself, Ms O’Neal! Eilis O’Neal’s debut novel The False Princess will be released on 1/25/11 from EgmontUSA. I suggest you add it to your wishlist (and calendar) ASAP!

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