Saturday, August 12, 2017

0 Betsy Aldredge and Carrie DuBois-Shaw, authors of SASQUATCH, LOVE, AND OTHER IMAGINARY THINGS, on online writing contests

We're thrilled to have Betsy Aldredge and Carrie DuBois-Shaw here to give us the scoop about their debut novel, SASQUATCH, LOVE, AND OTHER IMAGINARY THINGS.

Betsy and Carrie, what was your inspiration for writing SASQUATCH, LOVE, AND OTHER IMAGINARY THINGS?

We were keen to write a YA retelling of a classic, and Pride and Prejudice is one of our favorites. When discussing how we could bring the main conflicts and crisis in Pride and Prejudice into a contemporary setting, we knew we needed to incorporate the element of being publicly embarrassed by your family. How better to be mortified in the modern world than on reality television?

We also wanted to write about something unusual, and even a bit magical or supernatural. But we were personally getting a little tired of reading stories about sparkly vampires and love triangles with werewolves. Then it dawned on us that Bigfoot was one movie monster that is woefully underrepresented in the YA scene.

Combine Bigfoot hunting on reality TV with a goofy family and some love-hate romance and you’ve got yourself a story!

What do you hope readers will take away from SASQUATCH, LOVE, AND OTHER IMAGINARY THINGS?

We hope readers will enjoy the humor and romance, but walk away thinking about some of the underlying themes as well. For example, embrace your geeky selves, because we’re all geeks about something, and all families are weird, and that’s okay, too. Also, Feminism is awesome. Oh, and don’t quit Hebrew school (or whatever religious or cultural studies you partake in), because it makes for great source material later...

In other words, it’s important to be proud of your background while appreciating and learning about other people and their experiences.

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

We wrote one book prior to Sasquatch – a paranormal romance involving witches and ghosts and a spooky ancient house in New England. That book got a few nibbles from agents, but we missed the boat on the paranormal market. However, the process of developing it and shopping it around taught us a ton about writing and the industry in general. Also, we started working on that book in an online writing class via Media Bistro, which was great, not just for learning the ins and outs of writing YA, but also for making friends, critique partners, and contacts.

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

We have a system for writing collaboratively that works really well for us. First, we’ll brainstorm ideas and come up with an idea that we’re both super excited about – if one of us isn’t 100% on board with a concept, we keep looking until we find something better. Then, we’ll create a fairly detailed outline of the story, beginning-middle-end, plus clear descriptions of the main characters and antagonists, along with their personal goals, conflicts, and obstacles.

Next, Betsy will tackle a first draft – she’s a lot better at facing down the blank page with gumption, discipline, and creativity. She’ll then hand the draft over to Carrie who will use way too many post-it notes to storyboard the manuscript on her wall, then rip it apart and piece it back together with an eye toward structure and pacing. Then we’ll pass it back and forth a few more times to flesh out various elements, add layers, tweak the voices, and fix plot holes. When Carrie lived in New York, we’d get together regularly at a restaurant or bar or someone’s house to hash through all this stuff in person, over wine. Now that Carrie’s in San Francisco, we have regular phone dates, which also involve wine, however we still haven’t moved into the 21st Century via Skype or Facetime. We’ll have writing retreats once or twice a year and go somewhere interesting to work together for a few days.

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

Don’t give up! We were surprised by how many people wrote multiple manuscripts before getting an agent or selling a book. Also, online writing contests are a great way to learn and to meet writer friends. Sasquatch was the grand champion of Query Kombat, which was pretty cool. We met some awesome people through the contest in addition to our agent. We’re currently judging this year’s contest and there’s some great talent out there.

What are you working on now?

We’re in the middle of revising a really fun YA horror. We also wouldn’t rule out a companion book to SASQUATCH if the opportunity presents itself. Plus, we want an excuse to go hunting for mythical creatures around the world. The good thing about being a writing team is that we can work on twice as many projects at a time!


Sasquatch, Love, and Other Imaginary Things
by Betsy Aldredge and Carrie DuBois-Shaw
Simon Pulse
Released 8/8/2017

Pride and Prejudice meets Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot in this humorous and heartfelt debut about a loving, quirky family on the hunt for the mythical Sasquatch.

Hunting for monsters was never so awkward.

It’s bad enough that Samantha’s parents, charter members of the Northern Ohio Bigfoot Society, have dragged their daughter around forever, hunting for yetis. But now they’re doing it on national TV, and worse, in front of an aristocratic prep-school crew including a boy who disdains Samantha’s family. But when he scorns her humble Ohio roots, she becomes determined to take him down.

As they go to war, their friction and attraction almost distract them from the hint that Sasquatch may actually be out there somewhere…

Purchase Sasquatch, Love, and Other Imaginary Things at Amazon
Purchase Sasquatch, Love, and Other Imaginary Things at IndieBound
View Sasquatch, Love, and Other Imaginary Things on Goodreads


Betsy Aldredge - photo credit: Paige DeMaio
Betsy is a former magazine editor turned communications professional who avoids math at all costs. Therefore, she’s held a series of artsy jobs at Opera News, Museums Magazine, and the Museum of Jewish Heritage, where she tried to remember everything she learned in Hebrew school. She now works at Purchase College, SUNY, where she is inspired daily by the cool and creative students and professors. She lives and works in New York.

Carrie DuBois-Shaw - photo credit: Daniel ShawCarrie DuBois-Shaw - photo credit: Daniel ShawCarrie is an arts administrator and has worked for world-renowned organizations such as San Francisco Ballet, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and the
 New Victory Theater. She is a passionate advocate for high quality performing arts for children and has written two plays for young audiences, which were produced and performed throughout New York City. She currently lives in San Francisco.

They met at NYU where they lived in a haunted dorm, studied musical theater, and were secretly delighted to be mistaken for English literature majors. Now, they endeavor to write the kinds of funny, swoony, page-turning books that they've both enjoyed reading since they first fell in love with Misters Darcy, Rochester, and Cute-Crush-Who-Never-Called-Us-Back, Esq. (You know who you are.)


Have you had a chance to read SASQUATCH, LOVE, AND OTHER IMAGINARY THINGS yet? Have you co-written a book? What process did you use? Are you willing to write multiple manuscripts to find the one that sells? 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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