I have a special fondness for this author and her YA book since we share the same publisher. But that’s not the reason I liked it – it IS a very good book with a very current theme, that of GMO and what can happen to food if it’s controlled by one entity. Yikes! Here is our interview:
1. How long have you been writing and when did you know you wanted to write a novel?
I’ve been writing most of my life. I started writing when I was in middle school. I had this idea for a corny campsite horror movie that never really got past the idea stages. In college I studied poetry where my first publication was in The Copper Nickel, the University of Colorado Denver’s literary journal. It wasn’t really until 2013 that I started actually producing fiction. I knew I wanted to publish a book by the time I was 30, I just didn’t know what about!
2. From beginning to end, how long did Secret of the Seeds take from first draft to publication?
I wrote Secret of the Seeds in November 2013. I wrote the majority of the novel through Nanowrimo, or National Novel Writing Month (nanowrimo.org) which is a great program for procrastinating writers. It pretty much forced me to write 1600 words per day for an entire month. After that, I had enough to edit and add to. I planned on editing and self-publishing the manuscript initially, so I only had a few months (until March) that I was able to edit and put the finishing touches on the manuscript, which was called Heirloom then.
After I self-published through the Tattered Cover in Denver, Colorado, I realized what a colossal beast the publishing realm is so I sought out and was picked up by Warner Literary Group. Sarah Warner, my agent, did a wonderful job helping me cultivate Heirloom into Secret of the Seeds. From then to now it has been a little under 2 years. It was a fast process, but suspect the next novel won’t be so quick.
2. What message do you hope readers take away from your story?
I taught a philosophy course in which we had an interdisciplinary class day with my dear friend Dr. Judy St. John, who taught microbiology at the same school at the time. She suggested we have the students take on one genetically modified organism and explore the ethical boundaries of genetic modification. That discussion really opened my eyes to the rapid development and production of genetically modified foods.
The story in Secret of the Seeds really revolves around the responsibility that we have as humans to take care of the planet we’ve been given. I think that I want readers to take away the idea that everyone has a greater calling to be open-minded, curious, creative and knowledgeable. We cannot just let corporations make our decisions for us, like the Foundation in the novel. We have to be careful to cultivate knowledge and the earth.
3. There are many threads in this story that could continue? Do you think you will write a sequel?
I have written a sequel, but it is in what I like to call the “bulk-stage”. It is nowhere near finished, but around 60k works of unedited crap. I tell my students all the time that they have to write the crap to get to the good stuff. No one writes a perfect piece the first time around! I think of the analogy of sculpting marble. I’ve gone to the quarry. I’ve picked out my piece. It’s just in a crazy lump on the floor and I don’t know when I’ll get around to it. I think Secret of the Seeds can stand alone as it is, but there are a few other stories I would like to explore about Ceres, Jack, Bry, and maybe even Cane.
4. What is the most surprising reaction to your novel?
I think the most surprising reaction to saying that the novel is about GMOs is that people assume I am against science. I think that that is an incorrect assumption. I am pro-science. I am also pro-ethical application and testing of science before feeding it to people and using them as human experiments.
5. Where can people find your book?
Thank you for your time today, Kate. I hope everyone will take a look at your book!