Saturday, May 14, 2016

1 Wendy Spinale, author of EVERLAND, on rejections being part of the game

We're delighted to have Wendy Spinale stop by to chat about her debut novel EVERLAND.

Wendy, what was your inspiration for writing EVERLAND?

As a Disneyland actress I got to see the real lives of the characters beyond Main Street. The people I met during my years at Disneyland really were the inspiration behind my book because characters are not two dimensional. They have stories and lives beyond the books. I used to think how funny it was that Peter Pan was truly not afraid of heights and often times found in trees or other places that was not technically allowed. Wendy Darling is really as sweet in real life as in the books and she's grown to be an amazing mother to her own Lost Boys. My coworkers brought to life the personalities of the story book characters and it was because of them the EVERLAND cast came to life.

What scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

Without spoiling it too much, something bad happens to Captain Hook. Normally, you'd think he had it coming, but the truth is I think most people are not truly bad. There is good in everyone, even in villains. And poor Captain Hook has had a troubled life with a bout of bad luck. There's been talk that EVERLAND has some violent scenes and this is one of them. The reader will find out how Hook lost his hand and arm.

What book or books would most resonate with readers who love your book--or visa versa?

If you're a reader that loves fairy tale retellings set in a unique world, THE LUNAR CHRONICLES by Marissa Meyers would be the best comparison. Her tale is a sci-fi Cinderella. EVERLAND is a steampunk Peter Pan.

How long did you work on EVERLAND?
It took me about a year to write, rewrite, and collect critiques. It was another six months of rewrites with my agent and probably another six months or so with my editor. Book two is going a lot faster.

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?

You have to have thick skin as a writer. Realize that people who give you a critique that isn't five stars and glowing with praise aren't doing it to be mean, but because they want to see you succeed. You will get rejections until the day you die as long as you are a writer. So instead of focusing on the negative, celebrate the successes...even the little ones like taking ten minutes out of your day to write. Not everyone is going to like your story, but you have to love your story enough to never give up.

What do you hope readers will take away from EVERLAND?

The world is a crazy place these days and most of us can't afford to escape to a tropical island or a cabin in the woods. Books are the cheapest vacations ever! Books take you to places that you never dreamed of. They introduce you to characters that are from other worlds and backgrounds. I hope my readers find themselves lost between the pages of EVERLAND.

How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?

This is a hard question for me to answer, because my situation doesn't happen very often. I hear of writers that write multiple books waiting for one of them to catch an agent or publisher's eye. It's heartbreaking for me see people work so hard for a dream and get lost in the rejections. I am still trying to come to terms with how lucky and blessed I am. It's humbling. I wrote one complete book before EVERLAND and a couple partials that I have yet to finish. The rejections were hard through that first book. I finally gave up after an agent told me no one is taking dystopic and to come back in five years. I started writing EVERLAND in 2013 and it will be out May 10th, 2016. It's a long road that requires patience, passion, and persistence.

Was there an AHA! moment along your road to publication where something suddenly sank in and you felt you had the key to writing a novel? What was it?

When my first book didn't get picked up I was upset. A friend told me to put it away and write something else. Write what you know. Write what you're passionate for. Write for the story you'd want to hear. That was my AHA! moment.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

I don't really have a writing ritual. I write whenever and wherever I can. Coffee in the morning and a glass of wine at night. Mostly, I look for every free and quiet moment I can get.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

I sort of covered this already, but I'll reiterate the message. Rejections are part the this game. From that moment you decide to cross out the word "smiled" and put in "grin" instead, you've already started the rejection process. It will follow you all the way up until you have book published and reviewers give you negative reviews. It hurts, but it is a real and valid part of being a writer. So instead of looking at it negatively, value the fact that someone read your work and had an opinion about it. Good or bad. Your writing has been read, therefore you are an author.

What are you working on now?

I'm finishing up edits on book two in the EVERLAND series, plotting out book three, and there is something secret coming up that I can't share with you yet, but it's pretty darn exciting. Like magical exciting.


by Wendy Spinale
Scholastic Press
Released 5/10/2016

Forget the story of Peter Pan you know. Because in Everland, the only way to grow up is to survive.

London has been destroyed in a blitz of bombs and disease. The only ones who have survived are children, among them Gwen Darling and her siblings, Joanna and Mikey. They spend their nights scavenging and their days avoiding the ruthless Marauders -- the German Army led by Captain Hanz Otto Oswald Kretschmer.

Unsure if the virus has spread past England's borders but desperate to leave, Captain Hook hunts for a cure, which he thinks can be found in one of the survivors. He and his Marauders stalk the streets snatching children for experimentation. None ever return. Until the day they grab Joanna. As Gwen sets out to save her, she meets a mysterious boy named Pete. Pete offers the assistance of his gang of Lost Boys and the fierce sharpshooter Bella, who have all been living in a city hidden underground. But in a place where help has a steep price and every promise is bound by blood, it will cost Gwen. And are she, Pete, the Lost Boys, and Bella enough to outsmart Captain Hook?

Purchase Everland at Amazon
Purchase Everland at IndieBound
View Everland on Goodreads


Wendy Spinale knew early on her dreams would take her beyond the second star to the right. A journalist, former Disneyland Character, and designated official Lost Girl by Peter himself (true story), Wendy has combined her love for writing and all things fairy tale in her young adult novel, Everland, debuting Summer 2016. She resides in the Bay Area, California with her husband and children.

Wendy’s debut, EVERLAND (Scholastic, Summer 2016) is a young adult steampunk novel. In a world powered by steam and run by pirates, Gwen must battle Hook and the rest of his Marauders to save her abducted sister and search for the cure to the Horologia virus. With the help of the only survivors of the war, Pete and the Everland orphans, Gwen will learn that growing up takes more than faith, trust, and pixie dust.


Have you had a chance to read EVERLAND yet? Have you built up a thick skin to handle rejections? Are you writing the story you'd want to hear? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy reading,

Jocelyn, Shelly, Martina, Anisaa, Sam, Erin, Susan, Lindsey, Sarah, and Kristin

1 comment:

  1. This sounds fascinating! I love steampunk, and it's hard to find a real different stories. I love the Peter Pan actor who wasn't afraid of heights. :-)


Tell us what you think. We'd love to hear from you! :)