Saturday, June 10, 2017

0 Natalka Burian, author of WELCOME TO THE SLIPSTREAM, on telling the story waiting to be told by you

We want to extend a huge welcome to Natalka Burian, as she pulls us into the wake of her debut novel, WELCOME TO THE SLIPSTREAM.

Natalka, what was your inspiration for writing WELCOME TO THE SLIPSTREAM?

I've always been drawn to coming of age stories; catching a young person at a point with so much life in front of them is immediately intriguing to me. I love that unlimited potential, not just from a plot perspective, but from an emotional perspective. Van's voice actually came to me through a character in another book I was working on. It grabbed me immediately, and I just had to follow. I was definitely inspired by the eerie and brilliant movie, Picnic at Hanging Rock, too.

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?

Writing Van's scenes with her mom Sofia were difficult at times, particularly the scenes in which Van is actively navigating Sofia's bipolar disorder. A part of my own family life growing up involved this kind of navigation (a member of my immediate family also has bipolar disorder.) I wanted to make sure I got it right, and felt constantly haunted by the likelihood of getting some--or all of it--wrong.

How long did you work on WELCOME TO THE SLIPSTREAM?

It took me about two years to write the book, but those two years predated the revising I did later, first with my agent, and then my editor.

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

It was a real exploration of mother-daughter relationships, and this was incredibly important to me because I am the mother of two young daughters. In a lot of ways this book is for them, to show them how complicated, thrilling, difficult, and magical it is to be part of a family.

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?

Understanding structure--I can't say it was particularly AHA in the moment department (I definitely worked at and read about it a lot,) but really learning the mechanics of moving the plot forward improved my writing so much.

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

I think, mainly, be kind to yourself. I don't write every day, and I don't have any other really good, Stephen King-esque writing habits. Just do what you can, and tell the story that is waiting to be told by only you.


Welcome to the Slipstream
by Natalka Burian
Simon Pulse
Released 6/6/2017

Fans of Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak and Judy Gregerson's Bad Girls Club will relate to this story about a girl traumatized by her brilliant mother's serious mental illness.

With her mother, a brilliant businesswoman with fragile mental health, Van arrives in Las Vegas at the Silver Saddle casino, where Alex, a college student, is assigned to "babysit" her. Van is used to having to land on her feet, because her mother and her surrogate grandmother move from city to city all the time like corporate gypsies, but Alex introduces Van, a talented musician, to a group where her guitar skills may shine. But just as she's about to play her first gig, her mother is lured in by a con man promising a "vision quest" in Arizona, and Van must go on the road to find and save her mom.

Purchase Welcome to the Slipstream at Amazon
Purchase Welcome to the Slipstream at IndieBound
View Welcome to the Slipstream on Goodreads


Natalka Burian received an MA from Columbia University where she studied Eastern European literature with an emphasis on the work of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. She is the co-owner of two bars. ELSA and RAMONA, and CITY OF DAUGHTERS a line of specialty cocktail goods. She grew up on a farm in Maryland, and now lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two daughters. Welcome to the Slipstream is her first novel. She is represented by Kate Johnson at Wolf Literary Services.


Have you had a chance to read WELCOME TO THE SLIPSTREAM yet? Has a character's voice from a previous novel inspired you to write a new one? Have you incorporated complicated events from your childhood in your writing? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy reading,

Emily, Jocelyn, Anisaa, Sam, Martina, Erin, Susan, Shelly, Kelly, Laura, and Lori Ann

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