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Interview with Susan Dennard, Author of A DARKNESS STRANGE AND LOVELY — Plus Giveaway

Posted by on July 23, 2013

Pretty much everything YA repped by Joanna Volpe has made it to my I LOVE IT list – including DIVERGENT, SHADOW AND BONE, and of course, the gorgeous novel written by Susan Dennard – SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY. The follow up to her debut, A DARKNESS STRANGE AND LOVELY was just as good as her powerful debut and I’m excited to have an interview to share with you all! Read on.

A Darkness Strange and Lovely (Something Strange and Deadly, #2)IceyBooks: Many novels are inspired by one question — is there a single question that sparked your debut, SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY?

Susan Dennard: Actually, Something Strange and Deadly was sparked by a dream! It’s so cliché—I know—but I have very vivid dreams that I try to write down in a dream diary. In this particular dream, my brother was missing and the only people who could help me rescue him were these ragtag misfits with special skills (not like Napoleon Dynamite’s skills). This dream would NOT leave me alone—it haunted me for days. So eventually, I just gave into it and a story was born! :)

IceyBooks: Do you have a favorite line that was removed from the original draft of A DARKNESS STRANGE AND LOVELY?

Susan Dennard: Wow…uh…this took me a minute to find on my computer. It’s from an OLD draft. ;) Nonetheless, I did love this whole exchange. It got cut only because the whole scene really wasn’t needed.

“That’s right,” said Mrs. Brown. “And you? To where are you traveling?”

She looked so completely disinterested in whatever I had to say, that for half a moment, I was tempted to answer, “Oh, why I intend to join the first band of gypsies I meet and go wherever the wind may take me.”

But instead I merely replied, “Paris. My friends are there.”

IceyBooks: Tell us a little bit about your journey to signing with your (awesome) agent.

Susan DennardFor a more in-depth version of this story, I will direct readers here (where I basically break down HOW to get an agent). I was SUPER lucky in my journey in that I had the “right” story at the “right” moment in front of the “right” agents. That said, I also worked really hard—I spent months researching agents who would rep my kind of book. Then I spent months writing my query letter and fine-tuning it. But most important of all, I spent MANY months revising and perfecting my manuscript.

It was kind of amazing, actually, because I sent out a batch of my query letters (4, I think) and then went on vacation with only my Kindle for internet. Oops! I got 3 full requests within a day. MAJOR OOPS. But I at least knew my letter was solid, so I sent out another 8 letters (from a dingy internet café in the south of France). I wanted to make sure I had queried every one of my dream agents—just in case. Well, less than a week after sending out that first letter, an agent offered to represent me. I was OVER THE MOON (and might have gorged on baguettes and wine that entire vacation to celebrate), but I knew that proper etiquette demanded I notify all the other agents I’d queried. Luckily for me, several other agents also wanted to represent my book, and after stewing over it for a full week – everyone was SO nice and it is honestly so hard to reject people :(, I settled on Joanna Volpe. She had actually been my #1 choice before I started querying. Based on what I’d read about her and seen in interviews, she seemed super go-get-‘em and just really friendly. After chatting with her, I realized she had such brilliant ideas for my story and that her upbeat online persona was actually WHO SHE WAS…So a few days later, I signed with her.

And that, dear readers, is how I met my awesome agent :)

IceyBooks: If you could dye your hair any color, what color would you choose and why?

Susan DennardI dyed a big chunk of it teal a few years back, and that was pretty fun. If I was going to do my whole head, though, then I’d go for bright turquoise. Caribbean blue. ;)

IceyBooks: Give us the three:
-Movies you can’t wait to see:
Susan Dennard: 1. The World’s End is WAY high on my excitement list. I’m kind of a Simon Pegg/Nick Frost fangirl. I would watch them, like, just drink coffee for a while and probably find it the most hilarious thing ever. Also, Martin Freeman is in this, so it’s a guaranteed win.

2. Riddick. I am a huge Pitch Black fan, and even though this looks ALMOST IDENTICAL to that movie, I cannot WAIT. Also, this movie has Katee Sackhoff in it, and she’s one of the most kick-butt actresses out there.

3. Ender’s Game. ENDER’S GAME. I realize that the movie may be NOTHING like the book that I hold dear, but it still looks brilliant. I am so, so, SO pumped for this movie. So pumped.

IceyBooks: Snacks you’re craving right now:
Susan Dennard: 1. Donuts. I KEEP seeing them on TV and just around…but I’ve yet to give into the temptation.
2. Guacamole. I have a weakness for anything with avocados, but guacamole is definitely my BIGGEST weakness. I don’t even need a dipping item—just the guac is good.
3. Coffee. It’s not really a snack—I know—but I’m craving it right now. ;)

IceyBooks: Books you can’t wait to read:
Susan Dennard: 1. The third book in the Dust Lands series by Moira Young! I. Cannot. Wait.
2. Dissonance by Erica O’Rourke—I’m a huge fan of hers, and this book looks amazing.
3. The Eighth Guardian by Meredith McCardle. I actually read an early, early draft of this years ago before it sold, and now I am SO pumped to see how it will be in its polished, published form.

Susan Dennard

I am a writer, reader, lover of animals, and eater of cookies. I used to be a marine biologist, but now I write novels. And not novels about fish either, but novels about kick-butt heroines and swoon-worthy rogues (I really like swoon-worthy rogues).

I live in the Midwest with my husband and two dogs (Asimov and Princess Leia), and you can learn more about my crazy thoughts and crippling cookie-addiction on my blog or twitter.

Find Susan on: Goodreads | Website | Twitter
Add A DARKNESS STRANGE AND LOVELY to Goodreads

A Darkness Strange and Lovely (Something Strange and Deadly, #2) 

Following an all-out battle with the walking Dead, the Spirit Hunters have fled Philadelphia, leaving Eleanor alone to cope with the devastating aftermath. But there’s more trouble ahead—the evil necromancer Marcus has returned, and his diabolical advances have Eleanor escaping to Paris to seek the help of Joseph, Jie, and the infuriatingly handsome Daniel once again. When she arrives, however, she finds a whole new darkness lurking in this City of Light. As harrowing events unfold, Eleanor is forced to make a deadly decision that will mean life or death for everyone.

And now for the giveaway! There will be TEN winners. Five lucky US readers will win a hardcover of A DARKNESS STRANGE AND LOVELY, a paperback of SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY, and signed swag! Five lucky international readers will win an e-novella of A DAWN MOST WICKED and signed swag. Good luck!

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40 comments

  1. I've been looking forward to this series and I just love both of the book covers. I think the old draft line is good, she should have added it into the book.

  2. Such a fun interview ladies! I wish I could pull off a teal head of hair, but sadly I think I'd probably look ridiculous instead of cool and quirky and awesome. I love this series so much! And now I'm craving donuts. *shakes fist at Susan*

  3. I love the questions you asked, especially the “what color would you dye your hair” bit. I haven't started this series, but I know a lot of people who adore it :D

  4. Thank you for this great interview! I love that Susan is looking forward to the Ender's Game movie. It makes up for the fact that she likes donuts (ick!) ;)

  5. I loved your first book and have been eagerly awaiting the second one! Thanks for the chance at this awesome giveaway and for writing such a great series.

  6. The covers are beautiful! I have yet to start this series because I am impatient and need at least two books to be release before I start reading.

  7. I love the in-depth answers that Dennard provides – I always love having the opportunity to better understand authors and be able to see them as human. I've heard great things about this series – I can't wait to read it myself!

  8. Ah I love author interviews, especially this one which had great questions, and answers. I've read the first book in the series and adored it… Cannot wait to read this one! Thank you so much for the opportunity to participate in this giveaway!

  9. When I was a teenager I dyed my hair turquoise. It was wonderful, but faded to green rather quickly. It looked like I dyed it green at first and then when it faded more it looked like I went swimming and didn't wash the chlorine out of my hair. Alas. The turquoise was nice while it lasted. Haha.

  10. Fun interview! Now I want avocado on toast… yum.
    I'm sooo looking forward to reading book two! *throws pounds of shimmering confetti in the air to celebrate the release* Congrats Susan!

  11. I love reading about how authors meet their agents. :) Also, I totally understand the guacamole craving. In fact, I could go for some now…

    Great interview! :)

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