Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Eliza Crewe, YA author of CRACKED. I remember first reading about Eliza’s deal with Strange Chemistry. As soon as I read the description I knew I had to have it, and now the time is almost here! CRACKED will be released on November 5th.
KO: First can you tell us a little about the book?
EC: It’s about a wicked, people-eating monster girl named Meda who pretends to be good so she can infiltrate a secret society bent on the destruction of her (evil) kind.
KO: Would you trade lives with Meda for a day? What would it be like to be her?
EC: Absolutely! She doesn’t worry about things like right and wrong, and doesn’t have a pesky conscience telling her to behave. Plus she’s super-strong–who wouldn’t want that?
KO: What inspired you to write Meda’s story?
EC: I had just finished revising the manuscript I wrote before Cracked for the umpteenth time, and the heroine in that one is a timid little mouse of a girl with low self-esteem. I really love her, don’t get me wrong, but after months in her head I was ready for something completely different–and Meda, wicked-and-doesn’t-care Meda, was born.
KO: There are so many amazing characters in YA. Who could you see Meda making friends with?
EC: Ha, that’s a tough one! Scartlett O’Hara, though she’s not YA. They have similar philosophies on getting what they want–Meda just has more weapons in her arsenal.
KO: Your cover art is particularly beautiful and makes me want the book even more! How did it feel seeing how your novel would look for the first time?
EC: I actually got to see it for the first time twice! I have two publishers, so I have two covers. I have to say, each time there’s this moment of pure terror right before you click on the attachment. Then–in my case at least!–a moment of relief when you realize it’s not God-awful, then joy that it’s downright good.
KO: But of course, it’s not just about the outside…can you share one of your favourite settings from the book with us?
EC: My absolute favorite I can’t share because it’d be a bit of a spoiler, but the runner-up has got to be the setting of the opening scene. It takes place in an insane asylum, which is just one of the creepiest, most atmospheric settings there is.
KO: Can you tell us what your journey to publication was like?
EC: Complicated and backwards! I sold Cracked to Penguin India due to a chance meeting in an online writer’s critique group with an aspiring writer who lives in India. He liked Cracked so forwarded it to his friend, who happens to be an editor at Penguin. She ended up offering. I didn’t have an agent at the time, but fortunately there was an agent I’d talked with before (she had requested a revise & resubmit and I was waiting to hear back) and she ended up offering as well. I ended up selling Indian rights to Penguin and the rest of the world to Strange Chemistry. So my path was completely backwards–I got a foreign book deal before a domestic one and a publisher before an agent!
KO: It’s almost time for CRACKED to be released into the wild! What are you most looking forward to?
EC: Hearing what people think! For the past year I’ve been spending almost all my free time working on Cracked, and for the most part it’s been done in a complete vacuum. You know how people bore you by talking about their kids? At least you have probably met their kid, or understand basic kid-stuff. Cracked is like my kid, but I haven’t been able to talk to almost anyone about it because except for a very, very few people, no one would have any idea what I was talking about.
KO: I’m sure lots of fans (including me!) would be keen to know, what are you working on now?
EC: Right now I’m finishing up the rough draft of Cracked’s sequel.
KO: And to wrap up, can we end with a quote from CRACKED?
EC: “They say curiosity killed the cat, but I am unconcerned. I am smarter, though slightly less evil, than any cat.”
KO: Thanks for stopping by, Eliza. Wishing you all the best with the release. I can’t WAIT to read it!
EC: Thanks for having me Kate!
Meet Meda. She eats people. Well, technically, she eats their soul. But she totally promises to only go for people who deserve it. She’s special. It’s not her fault she enjoys it. She can’t help being a bad guy. Besides, what else can she do? Her mother was killed and it’s not like there are any other “soul-eaters” around to show her how to be different. That is, until the three men in suits show up. They can do what she can do. They’re like her. Meda might finally have a chance to figure out what she is. The problem? They kind of want to kill her. Before they get the chance Meda is rescued by crusaders, members of an elite group dedicated to wiping out Meda’s kind. This is her chance! Play along with the “good guys” and she’ll finally figure out what, exactly, her ‘kind’ is. Be careful what you wish for. Playing capture the flag with her mortal enemies, babysitting a teenage boy with a hero complex, and trying to keep one step ahead of a too-clever girl are bad enough. But the Hunger is gaining on her. The more she learns, the worse it gets. And when Meda uncovers a shocking secret about her mother, her past, and her destiny… she may finally give into it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eliza Crewe always thought she’d be a lawyer, and even went so far as to complete law school. But as they say, you are what you eat, and considering the number of books Eliza has devoured since childhood, it was inevitable she’d end up in the literary world. She abandoned the lawyer-plan to instead become a librarian and now a writer.
While she’s been filling notebooks with random scenes for years, Eliza didn’t seriously commit to writing an entire novel until the spring of 2011, when she and her husband bought a house. With that house came a half-hour commute, during which Eliza decided she needed something to think about other than her road-rage. Is it any surprise she wrote a book about a blood-thirsty, people-eating monster?
Eliza has lived in Illinois, Edinburgh, and Las Vegas, and now lives in North Carolina with her husband, her hens, her angry, talking, stuffed dwarf giraffe, and a sweet, mute, pantomiming bear. She likes to partially-complete craft projects, free-range her hens, and take long walks. Cracked is her first novel.