Saturday, September 2, 2017

0 G.S. Prendergast, author of ZERO REPEAT FOREVER, on writing best when "pantsing"

We're excited to have G.S. Prendergast stop by to tell us about her latest novel, ZERO REPEAT FOREVER.

Gabrielle, what was your inspiration for writing ZERO REPEAT FOREVER?

I was inspired by a dream in which a very powerful character was carrying an injured girl up a flight of stairs. She was frightened and didn't know whether she was being kidnapped or rescued. The dream wasn't science fiction; and it wasn't until I thought of making it an alien/human war story that I knew that's what I wanted to write. That scene appears in the book almost identically to how I wrote it in the first draft.

How long did you work on ZERO REPEAT FOREVER?

I wrote the first (very different) draft of ZERO REPEAT FOREVER during Nanowrimo 2011 and redrafted it in early 2012. After that I set it aside and worked on several other books (some of which were published in the meantime). In 2014 I had time to revisit and redraft it so it was ready to send to beta readers in early 2015. In later 2015 I started sending it to agents. I landed an agent and a deal in December of 2015.

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?

The final scene was very hard to write; and I am proud of how it came out because it sets up everything for the second book. The other scene I really love is the first meeting between August and Raven and their different reactions to each other.

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

People compare it to The Fifth Wave, and as an alien invasion story that's pretty obvious. But I also think readers who love very fraught paranormal romances such as Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater or Evermore by Allyson Noel will be drawn to ZERO REPEAT FOREVER.

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

I've learned that as much as I'd love to be able to outline everything carefully before I start, I write best when I'm "pantsing" (making it up as I go along)

What do you hope readers will take away from ZERO REPEAT FOREVER?

I hope people think about how being subject to violence and conflict can change you in unexpected ways. I also hope people think about trying to judge others individually by their actions instead of collectively by their group membership.

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

I write in silence almost everyday in my home office. Sometimes if I'm outlining or marking up manuscript for editing, I sit on my front porch under a blanket, with coffee or wine.

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

Make sure you want to be a writer because you love writing and are good at it, not because it seems cool or like an easy way to make money without getting a day job. If you still want to be a writer, and you meet the criteria, then the two most important things are to be prepared for criticism and rejections, and to be persistent.

What are you working on now?

I'm working on the sequel to Zero Repeat Forever. I usually have more than one project on the go at one time but because I have a deadline for this one I need to stay focussed.


Zero Repeat Forever
by G.S. Prendergast
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Released 8/29/2017

He has no voice, or name, only a rank, Eighth. He doesn’t know the details of the mission, only the directives that hum in his mind.

Dart the humans. Leave them where they fall.

His job is to protect his Offside. Let her do the shooting.

Until a human kills her…

Sixteen year-old Raven is at summer camp when the terrifying armored Nahx invade, annihilating entire cities, taking control of the Earth. Isolated in the wilderness, Raven and her friends have only a fragment of instruction from the human resistance.

Shelter in place.

Which seems like good advice at first. Stay put. Await rescue. Raven doesn’t like feeling helpless but what choice does she have?

Then a Nahx kills her boyfriend.

Thrown together in a violent, unfamiliar world, Eighth and Raven should feel only hate and fear. But when Raven is injured, and Eighth deserts his unit, their survival comes to depend on trusting each other…

Purchase Zero Repeat Forever at Amazon
Purchase Zero Repeat Forever at IndieBound
View Zero Repeat Forever on Goodreads


Gabrielle is a writer, teacher and designer living in Vancouver, Canada. You can read about her books here. She is represented by Barbara Poelle at the Irene Goodman Literary Agency.

In 2014 she was the Writer in Residence at Vancouver Public Library. In 2015 she was nominated for the BC Book Prizes and chosen to tour the province to promote BC Books. In 2017 Gabrielle took part in the TD Canada Children’s Book Week Tour. She has also been nominated for the White Pine Award and the CLA Award.

Gabrielle won the Westchester Award for Audacious. Audacious was included in CBC’s list of 100 YA Books That Make You Proud to be Canadian. A poem from Capricious was chosen for the 2014 Poetry in Transit Program. Pandas on the East Side was chosen as an Ontario Library Association Best Bet for Junior Fiction in 2016. It was also nominated/shortlisted for the Chocolate Lily Award, The Red Cedar Award, the Diamond Willow Award and the Myrca Award.
Have you had a chance to read ZERO REPEAT FOREVER yet? Do you prefer planning or "pantsing" like Gabrielle? Are you prepared for criticism and rejection? 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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