Author Interview – Adelaide Thorne

Hello everyone!

Today I’m here with my first ‘official’ blog post – an interview with the amazing Adelaide Thorne, author of the Whitewashed trilogy! Adelaide is so lovely, and was very excited about doing this interview with me, which I am incredibly grateful for. The interview was done via email and I’ll be posting the transcript below, followed by my opinions of THE TRACE and my experience interviewing an author for the first time – enjoy!

You can follow Adelaide over on Instagram for updates!

Hey Adelaide! I hope you’re doing well. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview with me. We’ll start off with a few fun icebreaker questions.
Hi Steph! Thank you so much for considering me for your blog! I am honoured! I’ll try to keep my answers fairly short, but forgive me if I was too talkative!

Can you introduce yourself to everyone in no more than 10 words?
I’m a nerd who likes to write when she can’t read!

What book are you most known for?
My first book, THE TRACE, released May 2017. It’s book one of my ‘Whitewashed’ trilogy (yes, only three – don’t tempt me to write the awkward fourth book, because I’m avoiding that curse like the plague). Seeing as how that’s been out the longest, I’d say that’s the book I’m most known for.

What’s your favourite book of the year so far?
Yikes, tough question! I really loved the unique and thorough world-building of Scott Westerfeld’s LEVIATHAN. Plus, the graphics inside are amazing, though I promise it wasn’t a picture book. There were words.

And your favourite book of all time? I know it’s a hard one, sorry!
Come on, Steph, you know this question is impossible! My top three include THE HOBBIT, HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE, and ELLA ENCHANTED. What can I say, I love fantasy and children’s books.
Howl’s Moving Castle is one of my favourite stories of all time too! It inspired me a lot as a child, so I totally get that choice!

How many projects are you currently working on?
My brain would explode if I worked on any extra projects, so I’m just focusing on completing my trilogy. I do have other ideas budding in the back of my mind, but I’m trying to ignore those, lest I go crazy. Sometimes I do cheat and brainstorm other ideas, but my editor would kill me if I began another book before finishing Book 3. 

Thanks for answering those! Now on to some more questions! Can you tell us about The Trace? I was lucky enough to win a copy, which by the way is amazing, but for our readers that aren’t familiar with this yet, can you tell us what it’s about?
It’s funny, I’m kind of the worst at describing my story. When people ask me what it’s about, I go blank. I wrote a blog post just trying to answer that seemingly simple question. But okay, I realize your readers will want to know, so I’ll do my best. *reads back cover*
“THE TRACE follows Ella Kepler, your average high schooler-turned-metahuman. Nothing is as it seems when Ella, formerly average and clumsy, realizes she’s A) actually proficient at sports; B) the object of some pretty unusual stalkers; and C) part of an infinitesimal percentage of metahumans whose super abilities are used against the creepy, evil, and incredibly strong Grifters. Life goes awry when the Grifters, intending to kidnap Ella, capture her best friend instead. In order to save Kara, Ella joins the Metahuman Training Academy (MTA) and gets walloped in the gut by telekinesis, telepathy, clones, a fighting partner who despises the ground Ella walks on, and the academy’s commanding officer, Ethan Sheedy, who’s mega friendly+cute+intense+not the type of distraction Ella needs right now. Even more distracting is the nagging sense that Ella’s missing something crucial. Why do the Grifters want her? Why can’t she stop thinking of the letters “E” and “N”? And what’s up with the cryptic symbol she sees everywhere? If Ella doesn’t get to the bottom of these questions ASAP, the Grifters will snuff out Kara’s life forever… and it will be all Ella’s fault.”

Ahhh! It’s such an amazing plot – what gave you the idea for this story?
When I was 14, I stayed in a cabin in the Poconos Mountains of Pennsylvania. There, I had either a dream or an incredibly vivid daydream while on the hammock. In this scenario, a young woman was fleeing from some guy in a semi-truck (I was 14, okay?). She found refuge in a cabin and — because I’m a total romantic, and, again, I was 14 — she falls in love with another guy (not the semi-truck villain) whose cabin I’m pretty sure she broke into. So basically, the bare bones of THE TRACE was fleeing-woman-falls-in-love-in-cabin. Then came high school years and my fascination with soccer — which I totally suck at, but this is why I write books. At a friend’s soccer game, I imagined one of the players (I was probably imagining that player was me) played incredibly well, enough to garner the attention of some clandestine organization who sought out unique athletic talent. To prevent others from discovering this soccer player’s talent, the organization began wiping memories, until no one but the girl knew how good she was at soccer. [“Adelaide, how on EARTH does that relate to your cabin gal??” Hey, you asked the question!] Anywho, THE TRACE was initially about this gifted soccer player, but obviously that’s an immensely boring story, though I tried my darndest to keep soccer in there as long as possible. It wasn’t until a friend tentatively asked, “Does Ella have to play soccer?” that the real story began. It wound up pretty much nothing like my original idea, which is a good thing for every reader in the universe who doesn’t want to be bored out of her mind. The cabin part does come into play, don’t worry. You’ll see when you read it.
I love how it began and how it actually turned out – it’s always crazy to see ideas go from just that to something so spectacular!

What’s next after The Integer?
Book 3 — whose name has not yet been officially released — concludes the trilogy!

Are there any topics mentioned in these books that you hope will resonate with the readers?
Oh, absolutely. THE TRACE focuses a lot on forgiveness, anger, and dealing with guilt, so my hope is that readers will relate to Ella’s struggle with her demons. Book II, THE INTEGER, deals more with selfishness vs. selflessness — and again, Ella has to face her ugly nature in order to grow. I can’t stand when characters are perfect, or if they’re flawed but never apologize or seek to change. Ella is certainly imperfect, but she strives to better herself. If just one reader wants to become a better person after reading my books, I’ve successfully completed my mission.
Oh I definitely agree – I loved watching Ella slowly grow throughout the first book, and I’m excited to see this carry on when I read The Integer! Ella is perfectly imperfect, and I certainly saw a lot of similarities between Ella and I, which I’m sure many readers can relate to. Gotta love a character you can genuinely see yourself in in places!

What can you tell us about The Integer, without spoiling The Trace?
I’m super bad at NOT spoiling my own books, so I will be a good girl and quote directly from the non-spoilery back cover: “THE INTEGER is the second book in the Whitewashed series, following metahuman Ella Kepler as she unravels the truth about the Metahuman Training Academy and what binds her to it.” Hope that gives you an idea!

Who is your favourite character that you have written and why?
Oh goodness. I have to say Ella, of course. To say otherwise would be like preferring someone else’s child over my own. But, assuming Ella is my automatic numero uno, next I’d choose Ethan Sheedy. He’s so wonderfully predictable, and that makes me happy. I got tired of reading bad-boy love interests for our teenage MCs, so I wanted to write the complete opposite: a boy who’s a total Boy Scout, a rule-follower of the highest moral convictions. What would a boy like that do when those convictions are challenged? Would he turn bad-boy, or is there a way to stay moral while reshaping your worldview? His character arc fascinates me. I can’t wait for readers to see how he grows in the final book.

Can you tell us about what inspired the world of The Trace? More specifically meta-humans?
I’ve been a ginormous superhero fan my whole life, particularly of X-Men. In my first drafts of THE TRACE, I even had Ella refer to certain characters as “Professor X” and “Magneto.” Then I decided I didn’t want a book inundated with pop culture references. Anyway, during my childhood, I wrote a comic strip called “The Adventures of The Unstoppable” — who was totally me. I was secretly convinced I did have powers because of ridiculous things like swift reflexes or hearing my mom’s cell phone ring when she couldn’t. (The sad truth is my mom’s hearing just isn’t what it used to be. Sorry, Mom.) Reading HP a million times probably inspired much of the story, too: the idea of secret worlds and fighting bad guys that normal civilians have no clue about. So, super powers+a normal teenager+a secret organization+bad guys = THE TRACE.
OK, I know im not the only one questioning who you called Magento and Professor X, although I can hazard a guess!

Did you have a favourite author that inspired you growing up? If so, who was it?
Diana Wynne Jones, author of HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE, was a huge inspiration. I loved (and still love) her quirky style. Scott Westerfeld’s UGLIES series really sparked my love for YA trilogies, female MCs, high-tech science-y equipment, and brain manipulation. A lot of my earlier concepts for THE TRACE grew after I read his books. 

One final question from me, and then we can move on to fan questions! What’s happening for you in 2019? What can we be excited to look out for?
Book 3 is *tentatively* set for release fall 2019, so that’s my biggest news! But, since I’m incredibly picky about this series and want it to be absolutely perfect before publication, I might beg my publisher for an extension. I’m the worst.

Thank you so much for answering all of my questions! Now, you asked your Instagram followers if they had any questions they wanted you to answer. What were they?

“How do you choose your beta readers/worse experience with a beta reader”
Choosing beta readers is tricky, but I’m lucky to have some awesome friends, both in real life and via Instagram. Essentially, find people who A) frequently read the genre you write; B) understand basic grammar; C) are insightful and good at catching foreshadowing; D) can commit to the beta read, which is honestly the trickiest part. People have lives; not everyone has the time to read someone else’s book, let alone analyze it. The most important criterion, though, is finding readers of your genre. If you’re writing YA fantasy, do not seek the advice of someone who only reads self-help books. You will be severely disappointed with their feedback.
I haven’t had any truly horrendous experiences with beta readers. The worst luck I’ve had is selecting people who weren’t able to finish reading the book, which undoubtedly happens with every author. Now I know to be choosier with my readers.
“Plotter or pantser and how do you keep all of your story ideas organized?”
I’m aiming for a healthy dose of 50/50. (Oh, for those who don’t know, “plotters” are those who meticulously plan before they write, and “pantsters” are those who fly by the seat of their pants and let the story unfold while they write.) I began THE TRACE in 2011 with a vague outline, and that turned into a story about a girl who played soccer. I was totally pantsing then, and it bit me in the butt. I wound up scratching essentially the entire book and starting over. Lesson learned: have a solid outline! Of course, things will change, ideas will shift, and our characters will surprise us, so some pantsing is required. I’ve definitely learned the necessity of an outline, though. The reason my dozens of previous book attempts failed is because I began writing on “vague idea” alone, and inevitably I’d hit the “What happens next?” part, and then give up. 
I have a folder on my computer labeled “Story ideas.” Those I write in MS Word or Scrivener — which I’m trying to become more familiar with. I usually just write in Word, though. Those ideas are saved in a cloud and also on a flashdrive. I like to think I have a perfect memory, but chances are I’ll forget details, so I have to jot them down. 
“How many cats is too many?” 
Okay, I don’t know what it is about owning cats, but their amount multiplies in everyone else’s heads. I tell people I have cats, and later they’re like, “How many cats do you have again? Five?” NO, I HAVE TWO! IT’S NOT THAT MANY! I would’ve said seven cats is too many, but my friend has 7 cats, and when I went to visit, I saw maybe 2-4. Cats have a way of hiding, so someone could own 20 and feel like they’ve only got 5. Therefore, I say buy all the cats you want, because you’ll never feel like you have as many as you do. Make them go to the bathroom outside, though. Litter pans are the worst.
“Are there going to be any untied plot holes when you finish the third book?” 
This question makes me laugh (especially because I know who asked it). “Yes, yes indeed my book will be full of plot holes. That is my intention. In fact, if everything is neatly tied up, I will be disappointed.” — said no author ever. The reason this trilogy has taken me so long to write is because I’m PETRIFIED of plot holes. I also happen to be married to the guy who finds plot holes for a living (he’s a software developer). Every time I share an idea with him, he proceeds to tell me every way it could go wrong. So, are there going to be any untied plot holes? I certainly hope not. No author is perfect, so I’m sure some things will slip through the cracks. But am I actively planning that? HEAVENS, no. 
“What are your writing rituals?”
Well, I tend to ignore my own rituals on a daily basis; but, if I’m behaving, I try to do these things:
1. Make tea
2. Put my phone in another room
3. Ignore my cats (all 18 of them)
4. Pray to the Holy Spirit for inspiration (if I leave this step out, I will write like the equivalent of a drunk toddler)
5. “Zone” myself — e.g. remember where I am in the story and play out some scenes in my mind
6. Write for five minutes
7. Get distracted by unique words on
8. Rebuke myself
9. Write for an hour, then realize it’s way past lunchtime and I haven’t eaten anything all day
10. Reluctantly eat
11. Write until 4:00
12. Realize I have no idea what we’re eating for supper
13. Reluctantly close my laptop and go to the grocery store
Finding the balance between life & writing is the hardest part for every author. We gotta write, but we also gotta do normal things like eat food and do laundry. Then there are the necessities of social life that drive every introverted author insane. “Why do I have to seeeeee people? Can’t I stay inside all day and write? Ugh, fine. I’ll go somewhere.”

So, this was my first experience interviewing an author, and it was terrifying! Adelaide is very easy to talk to and was super enthusiastic about this interview, which helped a lot, but my nerves were going insane! “What questions do I ask?” “Have I asked too many? Have I not asked enough? Have I not put in enough detail?” – it nearly drove me mad, but I managed to get the questions out to Adelaide within two days (I think!) of her saying that she’d do the interview.

Overall, I definitely loved doing this, and I’ve used the same sort of questions for the other authors I interviewed for this blog. I’m hoping they’re detailed and effective enough, but this has definitely been a learning experience and I know what I’ll do differently next time. Mainly, I’ll give myself enough time before my deadline (like that’s actually going to happen). I’ve also learnt that I struggle to write before midnight, which is fun! I’ve recently changed my medication dosage, which has put me out, so here I am at 1am writing this blog post up whilst listening to Jimmy Carr on Netflix. Yay! Note to self: write blog posts earlier! I actually have 5 blog posts pending and waiting to be posted when I decide I want to actually publish them. I’ve rewritten one of them about 8 times already. Oops. But this has definitely been the most fun post to write so far!

In this interview, we discuss Adelaide’s Whitewashed trilogy a lot. I won a copy of this book from Adelaide a few months ago, and read it pretty soon after receiving it. I wasn’t 100% sure at first, but it’s quickly turned in to one of my favourite books ever! This concept is so unique and I absolutely loved it. Ella is such a relatable character – especially the mention of her anxiety. I think we all have a little Ella Kepler in us, which is amazing because it’s not often all of us can say we resonate with a character so well. The idea of meta humans is really cool and I can’t wait to read more in her second book The Integer! I definitely recommend getting these books if you haven’t already. I’ll be posting a more detailed review of THE TRACE and THE INTEGER together at some point soon.

Thanks to everyone for reading this blog post, the next author interview will be up soon, I promise!

For now, take care!

Steph x

2 thoughts on “Author Interview – Adelaide Thorne

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