Hello my lovely readers!
Today, I am doing something I have never done before in this site… and that is an AUTHOR INTERVIEW! I am lucky enough to be able to interview Wendy Brant the wonderful author of one of the best debut novels this year, Zenn Diagram!!
About the Book:
Eva has rules, just like the math she’s so good at. She doesn’t touch anyone. Or their stuff. Not because she’s creeped out by it, but because Eva FEELS things about people. What they’re struggling with, dark things from their past. Strangers, family, friends, they’re all open books. It’s a lot to bear. So she stays at a distance, focusing on earning money for college, and helping her family.
But… then Zenn walks in for math tutoring and Eva gets nothing from him. Nothing. They share a link that neither knows about — a link that has irreparably altered both their lives. As Eva opens herself to Zenn, physically and emotionally, all the secrets from their past start unraveling, threatening their relationship, their families, and their futures.
Let’s get right down to it!
What inspired you to write the novel and how and/or where did you come up with the plot of the story?
I had previously written a dystopian YA novel, but I couldn’t find representation for it because the market was so oversaturated. I was feeling kind of blue, knowing that once again something I had worked so hard on was going to have to sit on my hard drive indefinitely. I knew I had to get back to writing but didn’t feel motivated to start. On October 8, 2013 (it is the exact date – I wrote it down 😉 ), I went to the park with my journal and brainstormed ideas. Zenn Diagram came out of that brainstorming session. As far as where the actual idea came from, I can only guess. Here is my theory: at the time my daughter was a freshman in high school, trying to find her way, her social group, where she fit in, etc. I remembered how isolating it sometimes is to be a teenager – trying to keep all your issues and insecurities hidden. Afraid of being too vulnerable. But as a 40+ woman, I realize that the only way to build true relationships is to allow yourself to be vulnerable. I think this idea came out of that premise.
Did you have to do much research for this book? Do you have any amusing tales of while you were ‘researching’?
The only real research I had to do was for the math stuff. I was always okay at math, but I’m certainly no math genius. I had to look up pretty much everything. Fractals. Chebyshev method. Calculator brands. You name it. I also had to google things about airbrushing (I watched a few videos) and facts about the Green Bay Packers Super Bowl victories.
What was the hardest part of writing Zenn Diagram?
I tend to write relatively linearly and in chunks. So basically, I write the story in loose chronological order, but I write the fun scenes (romance, kissing, etc.) first and then I have to go back and fill in the blanks. That’s the least fun part for me: fleshing everything out. My wonderful agent and editor made the editing/revising part relatively easy. The hardest part in general (not just during the writing) is waiting. The publishing process is just sooooooo. Darn. Slow.
Were there anything you have edited out of the book that we might be intrigued by?
Hmmmm. I don’t believe so? I though about having Josh be gay, or an alcoholic, or some other big secret, but that seemed a little cliché. I wanted him and Charlotte to ultimately be happy… I may have cut a scene here or there, but no major overhauls.
I’m going to be a little bit nosy and ask you what are you working on at the moment? Are you able to share anything about it?
Well I still have my dystopian, which I would love to revive (especially given the current political climate). But I’m also working on another contemporary story about a tech savvy blogger (Harper) whose past has left her a little scarred, and a completely tech illiterate farmboy (Eddie) who get stranded together for a weekend during an ice storm. Harper has to come to terms with why she keeps everyone at a distance, and Eddie… well, I’m still working on his character. He’s super sweet and adorable, but fairly flat at this point.
When you’re not working, what do you do to relax?
Hmmmm. Since I still have a full-time job (besides writing), I don’t have a ton of time to relax. But I do like reading (of course) and watching TV/movies. I like some sports (hockey and volleyball and skiing). Spending time with friends and family. The usual.
Do you have a favourite place to write?
I actually had a really productive weekend at my parents’ condo up in Wisconsin (in the town that I based Zenn Diagram’s town on). It was wonderful.
Do You have any tips or advice for aspiring writers?
My advice is always the same: don’t give up. Don’t stop writing. If you have some talent, you just have to preserve and keep practicing. It took me 25 years to get my first novel published and that never would have happened if I had given up after the first 10 (or 20) years of trying.
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Goodreads: Wendy Brant
I would like to thank Wendy Brant for participating in this author interview, and for sharing her experience in writing her wonderful debut novel, Zenn Diagram.
It’s a highly recommended YA Contemporary novel, which will be released on the 4th April, 2017.