Friday, December 18, 2009

An Intriguing Interview with Natalie, feat. Anne Riley

Totally Sane Interviews with Vampires, Hobbits, and Talking Toads

One of my fave things to do? Grocery shopping on sample days. Oh yeah, baby. Num Num. Who needs lunch when you can have mini bites of scones, pop tarts, blueberry juice, and hot pockets?

On that note...sort of....
Time for the latest installment in my Character Interviews Series. Man, I love these. Today's treat? THE CLEARING by Anne Riley (err...just a sample, folks...)

A little background on the author:
Anne riley was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, where she currently resides with her furry hubby and sexy cat*. Now, she did venture out of Birmingham to go to, well, fifty miles away in Tuscaloosa, AL...but her six month stint as an exchange student in Madrid, Spain should give you an idea of her AWESOMENESS. I mean, come on...Spain? Olé! Love Spain.

On writing: according to Anne, she's been a writer since she was "old enough to hold a pencil," and now has four complete manuscripts under her belt, though she's only tried to publish the most recent one. Anne has been represented by the Trident Media Group in New York since January. Though she's currently "licking her wounds" from editors' rejections, I have a strong hunch she'll be getting an acceptance shortly after she finishes her revisions (Yeah, I'm not psychic--she's had encouraging feedback). So, remember Anne Riley folks. Not only will you love her books, you'll adore her (just like I do). So, be sure to check out her fabulous blog and find her on Twitter!

Now, on to Anne's interview with Natalie Watson, the main character of her YA novel, THE CLEARING

An Intriguing Interview with Natalie
by Anne Riley

I am meeting Natalie Watson in the courtyard that sits between the girls’ and boys’ dormitories at her school. The front door of the girls’ dorm opens and Natalie saunters out, making her way over to me. She looks like she isn’t totally sure she wants to do this.
Me: Hi, Natalie. Come on in and have a seat. [I pat the space on the bench next to me]
Natalie: Thanks. [sits as far away from me as she can, crosses legs, crosses arms, uncrosses arms, switches crossed legs]
Me: Are you nervous?
Natalie: A bit, yes. But not really.
Me: Okay. Uh…didn’t you have school today?
Natalie: [cuts her eyes to the right, down, and back to my face] Yeah. Why?
Me: Oh, no reason, I just notice that you’re wearing…what? What are you wearing?
Natalie: [huffs] It’s cold outside.
Me: So your only option was flannel pajama pants and a University of Georgia sweatshirt?
Natalie: [shrugs] I guess I just got caught up in dealing with my parents’ deaths, moving to Maine, and starting at a new school where everyone hates me. I don’t really think about my wardrobe much these days.
Me: Did you ever?
Natalie: [furrows eyebrows] Sorry, is this part of the interview, or…?
Me: No. Let’s begin. Oh, wait – is that a book I see in your bag? What are you reading right now?
Natalie: Uh, Little Women. I like to read. After school is over, I usually either read, or…read.
Me: Is that all you do? Don’t you have friends to hang out with?
Natalie: [laughs once, without humor] Um, no. You gave me a peroxide-blonde ice queen for a roommate who could seriously have a shot at becoming a cast member of The Hills. We don’t really get along.
Me: What about Liam Abernathy? Aren’t the two of you hanging out a little?
Natalie: [gives withering look]
Me: What? You went to the woods with him last night. Alone. Those woods, right over there. [points in the direction of scary looking forest] Care to explain what went on out there?
Natalie: You know what we did. Don’t pretend like it was something scandalous.
Me: You don’t think time traveling would be considered scandalous?
Natalie: [leaps up from her seat and claps her hand across my mouth] Don’t say it out loud! Are you crazy? What if someone hears you?
Me: Mmmph! [she removes her hand from my lips] I’m sorry! Geez! What was that? I thought you were shy and insecure?
Natalie: I am. [looks confused] Or at least, I used to be. But something seems to be changing… [looks at her hands, as if hoping to find the answer written across her palms]
Me: Mm-hmm. So you don’t want to talk about the time travel.
Natalie: No. It’s…too weird. In fact, I think maybe –
[Natalie is interrupted when a commotion breaks out across the courtyard. There are several other students standing around the flagpole, laughing and glancing in Natalie’s direction. Finally, someone starts to raise what looks like a pair of underwear up to the very top of the pole.]
Natalie: [closes her eyes in resignation] Not again.
Me: This has happened before?
Natalie: Um, I think you remember the incident in math class last month. [sighs] I have to go now.
Me: Yes…yes, I think you do.

OMG...she totally hooked me. Teenagers. Dark, creepy forest. Underwear on the flag pole. And, um, TIME TRAVEL!!! Uh, yeah...I'm so in. Anne!!!!!!! FINISH SO WE CAN PREORDER THIS BOOK ALREADY. Oh my word. I'm so psyched. How can this be? It's not even published. *Sits on hands* I will wait patiently. Yes. I think I can.

Anne, thanks so much for this delicious interview. You are amazing! And Natalie? She's a beautiful character. LOVE her.

And now, my remarkable followers who I adore, if you're interested in participating in my Character Interviews series, give me a shout. You can e-mail me at cvaldezmiller AT gmail DOT com or find me on Twitter. And I would urge you to check out why you should chat with your characters. It's fun, it's helpful, and I'm such an almost-not-nerdy person to work with (who totally doesn't mind ending sentences with prepositions.)

*It's quite possible I have mixed my adjectives.


  1. Very cool!!! I love the time traveling concept :-) And the underwear on the flagpole... poor thing. I like how you can see growth in Natalie, just from the interview. Definitely intrigued!

  2. Hot pockets? Really? Then you simply must watch this, dahling. (Disclaimer: Put down any liquids you're holding, direct mouth away from screen and keyboard. Linker shall not be held responsible for damage to electronics due to following said link.)

    Also, time travelling teenagers? Underwear hoisted on flagpoles? I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit interested. Should I be worried about my manly credentials 'cause I'm curious about all these YA fantasy/paranormal/magical realism/romance novels my blogospheric friends are writing? No? Good. Thanks for the reassurance. (It's always nice to have a conversation with myself in your comment section, Carol.)

    Oh, and nice job, Anne! :)

  3. Hi :)
    Thank you for the great character interview and introducing me to Anne. I enjoyed her characterization and she can count me as a reader when her novel is available.
    Merry Christmas,
    PS - You have a very nice blog here. I`m now a Follower.

  4. My husband is from Birmingham and I lived there for seven years in Vestavia. Great town!

    Love your interview! Great teaser for your YA book.

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  5. Fun! She really captures Natalie's teen voice. And she definitely had me smiling at the underwear up the flagpole. LOL

  6. Thanks everyone! And yes, Elizabeth - Birmingham is a great town! We live right down the road from your previous home, in Hoover.

    Thanks to all of you for the encouragement. It means a lot!

  7. Love it! What a great interview.

    Good stuff :)

  8. Oh, I can't wait to read Natalie's journey! Thanks for sharing her with us, Anne. (And, Carol, of course.)

  9. I'm with the rest of the group on the underwear and flagpole! Loved the excerpt and I love Anne's blog. ;-)

  10. Have I told yall how awesome you are? Seriously, I doubt I could ever get through this whole writing/editing process without the encouragement of my new bloggy/twitter friends. You guys are the BEST!! And thanks for the compliments!

  11. Sara, Omg, it's awesome, yeah? I love time travel books, and in's perfection.

    Simon, That is one of the best skits on hot pockets I've seen in my life...well, the only one, but, oh gosh..."you're about to call in sick!" Hahahaha! Hilarious. But oh so true. I've only ever eaten those on sample days (unless I've blocked the other consumptions out of memory). Please feel free to have conversations with yourself on my blog whenever you like. It makes me feel a little less weird.

    RKCharron, thank you for your follow! I'm so glad you enjoyed the post! I was equally impressed by the interview and the premise! Go Anne!!

    Elizabeth, so glad you stopped by...and a teaser is exactly what it is! I'm anxious to get my hands on this book!

  12. Jennifer, I agree! A very strong teenage voice. Loved it!

    Quill, missed you! Hope you're getting some writing done!

    Monica (The Preyers), my pleasure! It was my honor!

    Shannon, I'm with you on this! Anne's blog is fantastic!

    Anne, thank you!!! You're the best. Your interview was wonderful, but it has me watering at the mouth for more!!

  13. Well, hopefully I will be able to share the whole thing with everybody at some point in the future! Thanks a million for letting me do this. Such a great idea, for this series!

  14. This is so cool! We'd love to participate if you're interested in interviewing Kate Lowry. She's pretty sassy and she's kind of a bad ass. After all, someone has to solve all the mysteries at Pemberly Brown! Ooh, or maybe Seth would be a better choice. He's so nerdy and fabulous. See, I think our biggest dilemma would be actually choosing a character to be interviewed!

  15. Carol - I thought I posted earlier, but my post seems to have poofed!

    Loved the interview! Natalie sounds like a great character with an intriguing problem on her hands :)

  16. Thanks Jemi! Yes, she does have quite a few issues to deal with at school. Poor girl. She must really hate me.

  17. Lisa and Laura, how many different ways can I say Yes yes yes, omg, yes! Okay, lots of ways, but I won't bore you with repetition. E-mail me! cvaldezmiller AT gmail DOT com! Would love to have you.

    Jemi, So glad you came back!! I love your comments. So glad you enjoyed the interview as well. Natalie feels so real to me after just a few lines. Love that!!

    Anne, I heart you.

  18. Character interview was awesome! I just love this concept...considering I argue with my characters on a regular basis this could get interesting..... hmmm

    Oh btw I would like to pass along something to you from my blog:

  19. Oh my word, thank you so much. You are a dear! Congrats on your award as well. And thank you for commenting on Anne's interview. She did such a magnificent job. I really do love the series. Chatting with my characters has really helped me to understand them, but the series has been such an amazing experience, too--working with the authors and their characters. It's been a pleasure.


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