The Penguin Teen On Tour authors came to California this week. Maggie Hall, author of The Conspiracy of Us, was gracious enough to give Compass Book Ratings a few minutes of her time for a quick author interview
CBR: You are well-traveled, do you speak a foreign language?
Maggie: I speak both Spanish and Italian passable. I speak conversational Spanish and Italian. I am not fluent, unfortunately, in either one, but I’m decent. I can get by.
CBR: This is the first book in a trilogy. Do you have the other two books already plotted out and do you know the conclusion already or are you discovering the story as you go?
Maggie: I have mapped out from the beginning more or less what will happen in the whole trilogy. I know the big beats, if you will. I know what is happening at the very end and I know the milestones between there, but as I go I am discovering a lot of new things also along the way. I think it is going to end up being more or less what I thought in the end, but we will see. Stuff changes. It was already evolved a great deal. I am still hitting the main points, but what is happening in-between has evolved.
CBR: When will book two be out?
Maggie: Book two will be out in early 2016. Trilogy books usually come out about a year or a little bit more apart. I am in edits with book two right now.
CBR: You write for the YA market, which is generally ages 12-18. When you were that age, what books did you like to read?
Maggie: I was…how to say this nicely…I was a bit of a book snob when I was a young teenager. We didn’t have young adult quite the same as we do now. It has really grown so much in the past decade or so. I read very serious adult books when I was a teenager because I thought that was the grown up thing to do. I read the kind of books that your read in high school English. When I was in later high school, I progressed to more adult books like thrillers, adventure stories, murder/mysteries. I really liked James Patterson. I didn’t really read young people’s fiction at that time. I wish there was the breadth of YA that there is now. There is so much good stuff and I wish I had that when I was a young or older teen.
CBR: So everyone is a critic these days. Do you read reviews of your book or do you avoid them and how do you deal with the feedback whether it is negative or positive?
Maggie: I try to not really read reviews because everyone’s opinion is their opinion and everyone is very much entitled to their opinion. I am just glad anyone is reading and if they want to post their opinion about it that is great. Sometimes I will look at a review if someone Tweets it to me directly or something like that. Honestly, you can’t take anything negative or positive too seriously because there is always going to be the opposite out there…There is not much you can do as an author about opinion. Honestly, it will drive you crazy if you try to take other people’s opinions too much into consideration—especially after the book is already written.
CBR: What has been the most surprising thing about being an author?
Maggie: Surprising? I have been surprised by how long everything in publishing takes. There is so much that goes into editing, and the cover, and marketing.
CBR: This is your big chance…What is that one question that you are completely ready for and no one has ever asked you? What have you always wished someone would ask you?
Maggie: Am I ever completely ready for anything? I don’t know. It wasn’t this question, I’ll tell you that much. I feel like I always want people to ask me more about my actual traveling experiences because I could talk about that for a million years. Sometimes people do, but not that much. People ask more about the craft of writing, funny enough. I love talking about how traveling influenced what I wanted to write in terms of. I love having experiences outside the norm in my books and I feel like a lot of my readers, at least I at that age wasn’t well-traveled, and I think it is really interesting to have these different kinds of experiences in books beside all the crazy stuff that is happening. I would love to talk about that more.