Hi guys! It is very rare for me to give a five-star rating to two books by the same author and also to name both of them as favorites, but Chelsea Sedoti managed to accomplish that feat! Now, she has a special place on my top 10 authors of all-time! Today, I have the wonderful honor of interviewing Chelsea on the blog! She has written two novels: The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett and As You Wish, which just released from Sourcebooks Fire last month! If you want to see why I loved her books so much, you can check out my reviews of As You Wish and The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett here! I hope you enjoy this interview and check out her novels!
About the Book
What if you could ask for anything- and get it?
In the sandy Mojave Desert, Madison is a small town on the road between nothing and nowhere. But Eldon wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, because in Madison, everyone gets one wish—and that wish always comes true.
Some people wish for money, some people wish for love, but Eldon has seen how wishes have broken the people around him. And with the lives of his family and friends in chaos, he’s left with more questions than answers. Can he make their lives better? How can he be happy if the people around him aren’t? And what hope is there for any of them if happiness isn’t an achievable dream? Doubts build, leading Eldon to a more outlandish and scary thought: maybe you can’t wish for happiness…maybe, just maybe, you have to make it for yourself.
About The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett
Hawthorn wasn’t trying to insert herself into a missing person’s investigation. Or maybe she was. But that’s only because Lizzie Lovett’s disappearance is the one fascinating mystery their sleepy town has ever had. Bad things don’t happen to popular girls like Lizzie Lovett, and Hawthorn is convinced she’ll turn up at any moment-which means the time for speculation is now.
So Hawthorn comes up with her own theory for Lizzie’s disappearance. A theory way too absurd to take seriously…at first. The more Hawthorn talks, the more she believes. And what better way to collect evidence than to immerse herself in Lizzie’s life? Like getting a job at the diner where Lizzie worked and hanging out with Lizzie’s boyfriend. After all, it’s not as if he killed her-or did he?
Told with a unique voice that is both hilarious and heart-wrenching, Hawthorn’s quest for proof may uncover the greatest truth is within herself.
1. Your sophomore novel As You Wish (which is one of the best books I read last year!) just released on January 2nd from Sourcebooks Fire. It takes place in the town of Madison, where everyone gets one wish on his or her 18th birthday, but as he approaches that milestone, Eldon quickly discovers how wishing has drastically affected the lives of those around him. If you had the ability to make one wish, what would it be? Would you even wish at all, knowing the possible consequences?
As I was writing As You Wish, I couldn’t help but ask myself what I would’ve wished for. And the answer is… I don’t know. After months and months of pondering it, I still haven’t managed to think up a wish that feels right (or that wouldn’t have any consequences).
But I know if I would’ve gotten to wish when I was a teenager, I wouldn’t be so hesitant. I probably would’ve wished for something completely ridiculous, like for my curly hair to be straight (but seriously, curly hair is a pain.) So it’s probably good that I didn’t get a wish when I turned eighteen, because it likely would’ve turned out horribly embarrassing.
2. Magical realism is not a common genre in YA fiction. What inspired you to infuse the fantastic with the ordinary in As You Wish? Could you describe to us how you built the town of Madison, its inhabitants, and the Wish History?
As You Wish started with a “what if” question from a friend about if wishing were real. Long after the conversation ended, I kept thinking about it, wondering what it would be like if every person got one wish. And then I wondered, what if it wasn’t everyone in the world who got a wish, but only people in one tiny town. What would life be like there?
After that, the town of Madison took shape quickly. I started to wonder about the people who lived there and what they would’ve wished for. I also decided early on that this town would be set in the Mojave Desert, where I live. I’ve seen so many strange things in the desert and that strangeness helped me set the tone of the book.
3. Both your debut novel The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett (which I also loved!) and As You Wish are very character-driven. What were some of the challenges you faced as you focused each story to be more character-driven? How is the writing process different versus writing a plot-driven storyline?
This question is hard to answer, because my writing is always very character-driven. I often joke that I have to remind myself that books, you know, need plots too.
I find people to be fascinating. We’re all so very different from each other. Everyone has unique interests and wants and fears. I love to climb into other people’s heads and try to envision the world the way they see it. So, before I ever begin putting down words in a story, I spend a lot of time day dreaming about the characters, trying to figure out who they are and what the world means to them.
4. Who was your favorite main character to write, Hawthorne or Eldon? Who would you say most resembles you, and who would you take on one of your adventures?
Hawthorn and Eldon were so, so different to write—which was intentional. I wanted them to be totally unlike each other, otherwise I knew I’d get bored. In some ways, Hawthorn was more fun to write. She was unpredictable and got herself into such odd situations. I wanted to know what she’d do next. On the other hand, with her being a strange outcast, Hawthorn was a lot like me in high school. Eldon, a popular jock, was fun to write because he’s vastly different from me. I had to work harder to get into his head, and in the end, that might have made me love him a little more.
But I’d still probably choose to take Hawthorn on an adventure with me. I bet she’d be happy to explore abandoned houses and hope something spooky happens.
5. How do you want readers to be impacted from your books? What are some of the themes you would like for them to take away once they finish the last page?
In both of my books the characters had to face truths about the world and about themselves. They had to, essentially, grow up. And growing up can be really hard. I hope my books remind readers that it’s okay to not have everything figured out yet.
6. One of your favorite activities to do is exploring the Mojave Desert and abandoned places. How did you acquire this thirst for adventure, and what are some of your fondest experiences?
My love of horror is what started my love of abandoned places. Because how could you look at a dilapidated, empty building and not assume it’s haunted? So when I first started exploring, it was with the hope that I’d eventually run into some ghosts. (I haven’t yet.)
The most exciting abandoned placed I’ve ever visited is The Goldfield Hotel, a gorgeous abandoned building in Goldfield, Nevada, an old mining town. It’s supposed to be haunted by the ghost of a woman who was murdered by the original owner. I doubt there’s any truth to that story… but I’m not entirely convinced the Goldfield doesn’t have a few ghosts.
7. I actually have family living in Las Vegas, where you reside, and I’ve visited the city many times! (I love it!) Since the Strip and its casinos and hotels get so much attention, what are some of the lesser known or overlooked attractions and places that you would recommend to a visitor?
There are so many strange, awesome things in the desert surrounding Las Vegas! Like Seven Magic Mountains, an open-air art exhibit outside of town. There’s Area 51 and an awesome ghost town called Rhyolite. There’s a canyon filled with religious icons and a cave that’s supposedly a gateway to an underground world. I always recommend visitors get out of the city and experience the Mojave Desert. Go to Valley of Fire or Death Valley or the Mojave National Preserve. There are so many fascinating things to stumble on if you’re willing to venture out.
8. Why do you love writing? When did you first have a love for writing, and how was it formed?
I love writing for the same reason I love reading: It transports me to different worlds. There are so many things in life I’ll never get to do, or people I’ll never get to be. But when I write I can step into the heads of my characters and explore new places and experience all sort of things I wouldn’t otherwise. Basically, being a reader and writer means life never gets boring.
I was in the fourth grade when I discovered how incredibly fun writing is. At the time I was, ah, not exactly the best student. Every day, my class was supposed to do a writing exercise based on a topic my teacher gave us. And every day, I blew off the assignment and doodled in the margins of my paper instead. Eventually, my teacher had a talk with me and said she just wanted me to write something and suggested I work on a story instead of the regular assignment. And just like that, my passion for writing was born.
9. What are your favorite books, genres, and authors? Which ones have impacted you and your writing style the most?
From the time I was little, I’ve loved horror. There’s something so fun about being scared (the kind of scared when you know you’re really safe, of course). I started with the Goosebumps books, and when I was a little older moved on to Christopher Pike (his books are still some of my very favorites), and eventually graduated to Stephen King. I can’t get enough of the horror genre.
But despite how much I love scary books, I don’t write horror, which probably seems odd to anyone who knows me. What I have taken away from the horror genre is the bizarreness. Obviously, stories about hauntings or parallel universes or aliens are very strange. And I think every book I write, while not being outright horror, will always have some element of weirdness. The characters are weird or the place they live is weird or weird events happen to them on their journey. If you ask me, the weirder something is, the better
10. What do you do when you’re not writing? Is writing a part-time or full-time job?
I’m lucky enough to be writing full-time right now (though, I’m also a new mom, and taking care of a baby is a job of its own.) When I’m not writing I spend a lot of time reading (of course!) and exploring the desert.
11. What do you have in store in the future? Could you give us any secrets about what we could expect?
I’m currently working on my third book, which is about a science nerd and his prankster brother who cause chaos in their town when they try to pull off a major hoax.
12. Before you go, would you like to share any advice you have to any aspiring authors or writers?
Keep at it! I love writing, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. For most people, writing success only comes after lots and lots of failure. I started countless books before finally finishing one. I met tons of roadblocks along the way. The best thing any aspiring author can do is accept that there will be struggles and push past them to keep writing anyway.
Thanks so much, Chelsea, for coming onto the blog! I’m so honored to have you!
About the Author
Chelsea Sedoti fell in love with writing at a young age after discovering that making up stories was more fun than doing her school work (her teachers didn’t always appreciate this.) In an effort to avoid getting a “real” job, Chelsea explored careers as a balloon twister, filmmaker, and paranormal investigator. Eventually she realized that her true passion is writing about flawed teenagers who are also afraid of growing up. When she’s not at the computer, Chelsea spends her time exploring abandoned buildings, eating junk food at roadside diners, and trying to befriend every animal in the world. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada where she avoids casinos, but loves roaming the Mojave Desert.
Buy As You Wish today here:
Buy The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett today here:
Have you read As You Wish or The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett? Do you YA contemporary or YA magical realism?
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