Published by Random House
Published on May 12th 2015
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In the year 2054, after decades of gender selection, India now has a ratio of five boys for every girl, making women an incredibly valuable commodity. Tired of marrying off their daughters to the highest bidder and determined to finally make marriage fair, the women who form the country of Koyanagar have instituted a series of tests so that every boy has the chance to win a wife.
Sudasa, though, doesn't want to be a wife, and Kiran, a boy forced to compete in the test to become her husband, has other plans as well. As the tests advance, Sudasa and Kiran thwart each other at every turn until they slowly realize that they just might want the same thing.
This beautiful, unique novel is told from alternating points of view-Sudasa's in verse and Kiran's in prose-allowing readers to experience both characters' pain and their brave struggle for hope.
Which do you find the hardest to write, the first or the last line of your novel? Why?
Definitely the first. I always write my endings first and then work backward to where I need to start. First sentences are also especially hard because you are introducing the character with them, whereas last ones are coming from someone you know.
Which comes first in your writing process, the title, or the content of you story? (Do you always know what your book’s title is going to be?)
There have been times where I’ve come up with a title and concept right at the start (5 to 1 was one of those times). But if that doesn’t happen, I usually struggle to find a title (and by “struggle,” I mean “bash my head against my desk, hoping to shake something loose”!). The last book I wrote was actually called Book, right up until the end when I had to pick something.
Let’s talk character names. How do you go about selecting names for characters in your book? Do the names you pick have any significance to you, or do you ever feel inspired by a name?
The first thing I do is look up the top baby names for the country and year of birth. Then I usually look up the meanings of the names until I find something that works for the character. In 5 to 1, the name “Sudasa” really worked because it means “obedience,” and that is the thing she must learn to overcome. “Kiran” means “light,” and I saw him as someone who flicked on a light for her, so that worked for him.
How do you plot your books? Do you write it down on paper/index cards/etc., or do you write on the fly? Do you ever find that your plot changes as you write, or does it stay pretty close to how you planned it?
I always start by writing a brief synopsis of the story, then I move on to turning it into a really short and dirty draft. (The first draft of 5 to 1 was 5,000 words and written in a day.) After that, I create scene cards, which I pin to my plotting board (this is an eight-foot corkboard on my wall). Once I’ve done this, I make sure I have the right scenes in the right order. I definitely add/move/remove things at this point. Although minor details change when I’m editing, it’s pretty rare for me to change the actual overarching plot.
Do you have any authors who inspire you or your writing style? If so, who?
Ellen Hopkins has definitely been the strongest influence on my verse. I’ve read everything she has written and would subscribe to her grocery list if she were selling it. (I’m sure it’s very nicely formatted, with the veggie section written in the shape of a carrot!)
For prose, I find inspiration in many places. I love the pace of Ally Carter, the humor of Frank McCourt, the romance of Jennifer Echols, the characterization of J. K. Rowling, and the depth of Lois Lowry.
What’s in your “Author Survival Kit”? (Pens, caffeine, iPods, Prozac?)
Hmmm. I don’t use pens, drink coffee or listen to music when I write. I do drink too much Coke Zero and go through a ton of little notecards (most of which are covered in illegible pencil scratchings that even I can’t decipher!).
Do you have a favorite place to write? Tell us about it!
I have a writing room in my house, but I also write in bed and have been known to do a lot of writing while I’m waiting for my kids. I jokingly refer to the changing room at my daughter’s dance school as “my second office.”
If you could use three words to describe your books, what would they be?
Unusual. Diverse. Thought-provoking.
What are the top three things on your bucket list?
Spend an entire summer in a rented cottage in Europe. I’m waffling between the coast of England and Italy. Tough call. I do love my cannoli. . . .
If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
What is something you never leave home without?
My laptop. Seriously, I am more likely to have my laptop than my bra.
What is your favorite movie?
Pride and Prejudice (with Colin Firth, of course).
Taylor Swift (she’s not really a band, is she?).
What are the last three books you enjoyed reading?
Shantaram. Everybody Sees the Ants. The Diviners.
What are three words you’d use to describe yourself?
Loyal. Honest. Creative.
Do you have a favorite hobby/pastime?
Writing. Honestly, it’s what I do with every spare moment I get. If I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing, talking about writing, or reading someone else’s writing.
Do you have a hidden talent? If so, what is it?
I’m really good at painting (rooms, that is, not canvases).
This or That?
Sunrise or sunset?
Tough call. Probably sunset, especially if I’m on a beach with a campfire and roasted marshmallows.
Coffee or tea?
Tea. I have at least three kinds each day. I absolutely cannot drink coffee. It turns me into the Energizer Bunny on crack.
Hot or cold?
Hot. I’m Canadian. I HATE COLD! HATE. IT. If one more person says, “But you’d love it if you just got outside and skied/skated/snowshoed,” I am moving to Phoenix. Or maybe Italy. Then, if they continue to tell me to ski/skate/snowshoe, I won’t understand because I don’t speak Italian.
PC or Mac?
PC. iOS was designed for someone whose brain is an upside-down version of mine.
By land or by sea?
Sea. I’m a Pisces. I get grumpy if I don’t see water (as in “a body of,” not “a glass of”) every day.
Half-empty or half-full?
Half-empty. Did I not mention that I am grumpy five months of the year because I AM FROZEN (as in temperature, not as in the Disney film, although I did enjoy that . . . especially the part when Olaf starts to melt!).
Autumn or spring?
Summer or winter?
Do you REALLY need to ask? (Summer.)
Preferred reading: ebook or print book?
Print, although I’ve read 100K books on my phone when I’ve been desperate!
Follow the other stops on the tour!
REVIEW TOUR & GIVEAWAY:
5/4 – Addicted 2 Novels
5/5 – YA Bibliophile
5/6 – Good Books & Good Wine
5/7 – Fiction Fare
5/8 – The Quiet Concert
5/11 – Alexa Loves Books
5/12 – The Book Cellar
5/13 – Swoony Boys Podcast
5/14 – Resch Reads & Reviews
5/15 – Chapter by Chapter
5/4 – Bookiemoji – Guest Post
5/5 – The Book Swarm – Character Dossier
5/6 – Alice Marvels – Q&A
5/7 – Two Chicks on Books – GP
5/8 – Reading W/ABC – Q&A
5/11 – Pivot Book Reviews – GP
5/12 – The Irish Banana Review – Author and Cover Designer Interview
5/13 – No BS Book Reviews – Q&A
5/14 – My Friends Are Fiction – GP
5/15 – Seeing Double in Neverland – Q&A
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