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May 6, 2011 / Chersti Nieveen

Interview with author Brodi Ashton

I can’t even remember the first time I officially met Brodi, but I’m pretty sure it had something to do with a writer’s retreat, lots of diet coke, and pole dancing. For those who don’t know, Brodi has a book coming out in 2012 called EVERNEATH. You can find her hilarious blog here: http://brodiashton.blogspot.com

EVERNEATH is the first in a planned trilogy, scheduled for release Winter 2012 from Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins, and is partially based on the Greek myth of Persephone: a 17-year-old who’s been banished to the underworld escapes to her former earthly existence with her family and boyfriend. The catch is that she only has six months in the real world before being sent back to Hades, this time forever.

Photo credit to Opiefoto

Hey Brodi! So what was your road like to become a published writer?

One thing I learned early on in the process was that every road to publication is different.

For me, it was:
1. I wrote a book.
2. I queried for an agent.
3. I found an agent.
4. He submitted the book.
5. It didn’t sell.
6. I wrote another book.
7. My agent didn’t like it.
8. We parted ways.
9. I queried for an agent. Again.
10. I found Michael Bourret.
11. He submitted my second book.
12. Within 48 hours HarperCollins bought it in a pre-empt.

What is one thing that made you love writing EVERNEATH? (coming out 2012)

Like I mentioned, Everneath was my second “real” book, and it was a complete departure from my usual writing style. If you read my blog (and if you aren’t, why aren’t you?) you know my natural voice is pretty light-hearted, sometimes goofy, sometimes funny, etc. My first book followed that voice, featuring a snarky and sarcastic heroine.My hubby said to me one day, “I don’t think you’ll ever be able to write from another character’s perspective than Lane’s.” (Lane was the name of the first heroine.) Her voice had come so naturally, and it made me wonder how far I could stretch myself as a writer.

Everneath is a little darker, and the heroine, Nikki, is a little quieter. She doesn’t always know what to say. At the beginning of the book, she’s been through something terrible. She is a shell of her former self.

At yet, she is called upon to be a hero. A different kind of hero. I thoroughly enjoyed watching her transform, and I learned that “quiet” and “uncertain” do not equate to “weak”. The fact that she overcame these things makes her stronger than I ever thought she could be.

I’m sorry, what was the question?

How many cans of diet coke and cinnamon bears did it take to make it through the revision letter(s)?

I’ll answer in song. Please sing in your head to the tune of “Seasons of Love” from Rent.

Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Six Hundred minutes…
How do you measure creating a book?
In caffeine, in candy, in gray hairs, in pounds of chocolate
In edits, in curse words, in buckets of coke?Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand cinnamon bears…
How do you measure new inches on thighs?Did that answer your question?

Your critique group, THE SIX, is pretty well-known. What do you love about having a critique group like The Six?

Oh wow. Where do I start? I can’t emphasize enough the importance of surrounding yourself with like-minded people when you’re a writer. Writers are not necessarily known for their mental stability, so it’s important to do anything you can to keep yourself grounded. One of the things that restores my sanity is The SIX.They are a constant source of revision ideas, support, laughter, tears, and bad Barry Manilow songs. I don’t know what I’d do without them. If I can make any suggestions to anyone who wants a career in writing, I would say find yourself a group like this. It’s hard to find a good fit, but once you do, you’ll soar.

What is your advice to any writers who want to be published out there?

I read somewhere once the following bit:

What do you call a writer who never quit? Published.

I would add: Published… or dead.

But the sentiment is still there. Never give up. But even more important: Finish that first book.

FINISH THAT FIRST BOOK. Finish That First Book. #finishthatfirstbook. Finish. That. First. Book.

Seriously, it’s a huge step. There’s nothing like finishing a book that teaches you more about how to write a book. It will be the best writing class you ever treat yourself to. Finish. Just finish.

Finish that first book. (Have I mentioned that before?)

Details about EVERNEATH:
17-year old Nikki Beckett has just returned from the Underworld (called the “Everneath”) to a family who doesn’t know where she’s been, a boyfriend who doesn’t know why she left, and old friends who think she’s using. But Nikki won’t have time to answer questions. She only has six months at Park City High before the tunnels of the Underworld come for her again. Six months for goodbyes she’ll never be able to say out loud. Six months to find redemption, if it exists.

She didn’t plan on her ex-boyfriend Jack’s reaction to her return. The boy she left behind so long ago doesn’t care why she left him, or why she’s returned, as long as he doesn’t lose her again.

When Nikki discovers she didn’t return to the surface alone, being near Jack becomes dangerous – for both of them. Cole, an Everliving, followed her back from the Underworld, and he needs Nikki in order to make his push for the throne. He’ll do anything to make it happen, even if it means going back to high school.

Together, Nikki and Jack search for answers in ancient myths and from mysterious characters, hoping to find a loophole for Nikki to escape her fate, but in the end, the choice will be Nikki’s: serve the Underworld, or rule it.”

Details about Brodi:
Because of two parents who were Greek myth geeks, Brodi grew up thinking the latest fashion trends were inspired by Aphrodite, and a good conversational opener was, “So, which mythological character do you most resemble?” Despite these social shortcomings, she found a great husband who’s always her first reader. They live in Utah with their two young boys, who still have no idea why she’s at the computer all the time.

Brodi received a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Utah and a Master’s degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics.

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13 Comments

  1. Leisha Maw / May 6 2011 7:51 am

    Awesome interview! Brodi, you are a hoot. Love the song. Thanks, Chersti for sharing this with us. 🙂

  2. Nicole Krell / May 6 2011 8:24 am

    This was a fun interview to read. Can’t wait to read Everneath!

  3. Lexi / May 6 2011 8:44 am

    Loved this!

  4. Casey Reads / May 6 2011 8:45 am

    Oh wow, this looks amazing. I’m excited about Meg Cabot’s book, and this sounds kind of similar. Will definitely have to look out for it.

  5. Jenilyn Tolley / May 6 2011 9:20 am

    I am so excited for this book! Yay!

  6. Brodi Ashton / May 6 2011 9:50 am

    Thanks for the interview Chersti!

    • Chersti Nieveen / May 6 2011 10:00 am

      Thank YOU Brodi for the hilarious answers! I have to add that I am super excited to see this book in print. And read how it ends…

  7. Chersti Nieveen / May 6 2011 10:04 am

    Leisha – I seriously laughed out loud at the song. Brodi is just so clever!

    Nicole – We should all have an EVERNEATH reading party once it comes out. And then talk about it when we’re finished.

    Lexi – Thanks for your comment!

    Casey Reads – I think I’m actually more excited about EVERNEATH than I am about ABANDON by Meg Cabot (She mentioned this book really pushed her as a writer, and those are always good ones). But Meg Cabot’s books have become a little too predictable as of late, and maybe that’s because I’ve read like 20+ in less than a year…

    Jenilyn – We should totally party! Even if it is via email because you have moved away at that point. 🙂

  8. Melissa / May 6 2011 10:08 am

    Wow, GORGEOUS picture! Is that what’s going in the back of the book? And Everneath sounds really cool. I can’t believe it’s not coming out for a whole year. Maybe I can get my hands on an ARC.

  9. Casey Reads / May 6 2011 10:09 am

    You read 20 Meg Cabot books in a year? I’m impressed.

  10. Jenni Elyse / May 6 2011 10:27 am

    Fantastic interview!

  11. Chersti Nieveen / May 6 2011 10:29 am

    Melissa – I have to admit I am so jealous of her author photo, too. I’m pretty sure that’s the one that will be in the book.

    Casey Reads – 🙂

    Jenni Elyse – It’s all Brodi, I assure you. She’s just fantastic all around.

  12. Robin Weeks / May 6 2011 8:32 pm

    Awesome interview girls! January can’t come fast enough….

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