Tuesday, October 5, 2010

More with Vicky Alvear Shecter

Vicky Alvear Shecter is back with me today. In yesterday's post, Vicky talked about her new nonfiction book, Cleopatra Rules. Today we're switching genres to talk about Vicky's upcoming YA novel, Cleopatra's Moon.

Thanks so much, Vicky, for taking the time to visit.

DoriReads: Your YA fiction book, Cleopatra's Moon, is scheduled for release next year from Scholastic. The subject matter is an easy fit with your other books, but talk about the change from writing nonfiction to fiction. Can you tell us about the narrator? Is it in first person, third? Does your narrator carry that same sassy tone or is there a difference?

Vicky: Good questions! I think people might be surprised just how different my character’s voice is compared to my nonfiction voice. My character is strong but not necessarily sassy. Written it in the first person, my character experiences a lot of loss and pain so, obviously, I needed to be true to those experiences rather than the “fun facts” of history.

The biggest challenge I had in moving from nonfiction to fiction was dealing with a criticism I heard often from my agent and editor: that I was “too enamored” of the history. It took me a while to understand what they meant, which was that sometimes I went off on tangents about a point of history that was not at all related to the arc of the story, the plot, or the character’s growth. I had to be willing to cut those fascinating factoids out. I have what seems like hundreds of pages of scenes related to historical facts that got cut!

DoriReads: Who is your best cheerleader? Who is your best critic?

Vicky: My best cheerleaders are my friends in SCBWI. What a supportive group! In terms of my novel, I am indebted to my writing buds—Elizabeth Dulemba and my writing groups—who encouraged me to keep on writing, no matter what kind of setback I experienced. As for my strongest critic, that’s easy—me!

Cleopatra's Moon will be released in 2011 from Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic. I can't wait to read it.

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