Monday, August 16, 2010

Author Chat: Anne Osterlund

We have with us today the author of Aurelia and Academy 7, Anne Osterlund! 

Anne Osterlund, author of Aurelia andAcademy 7, grew up in the sunshine of eastern Oregon and earned a BA from Whitworth College, where she majored in elementary education with Spanish and English teaching fields. She lives in a cute little yellow house with her best feline friend, Dance, and her own library of young adult books. She also teaches sixth grade in Oregon and enjoys immersing her students in language, literature, and imagination. Her third novel, Exile, is coming out in April, and she has dreams of many more in the future.

Her favorite bio (from the point of view of her cats) is on her website.

-What was your inspiration for Aurelia? And what made you decide to write a novel instead of just keeping the idea in your head?
When Aurelia introduced herself—on a yellow notepad—she was complaining about being stuck at a boring party with an itching ankle. She is opinionated, stubborn, and was very LOUD. So I really had no choice about writing her story.
-Why did you decide to write Aurelia as a young adult novel versus an adult novel?

It is a young adult novel. Aurelia is a teenager. She is the focus of the story. 
Personally, I love YA! And have always loved YA. At least 70% of what I read is YA. I think many young adult books are the deepest, best written, and fastest-paced books out there. Of course, Aurelia is YA.

-What time period and/or country would you say Aurelia’s kingdom is based on?
Tyralt is a fantastical kingdom, roughly similar to our late 18th century (1700’s). A kingdom with a monarch and central court, but also a kingdom undergoing vast change. An educational enlightenment. An expanding frontier. And great political upheaval.

-How did the cover of Aurelia come to be?

Isn’t the cover gorgeous?! Michael Frost, who also did my absolute favorite cover of all time, A Great and Terrible Beauty, shot the photo. I’m not certain of the entire process, but my editor sent passages from the book, with the written description of Aurelia and a description of the mask, to the design artist. The girl in the photo is a book model. I don’t know her. As far as I know, she IS Aurelia.

-Describe your novels in seven words or less.
Aurelia: Cinderella inside out, with an assassination plot.
Academy 7: Two teens risk everything to attend Academy 7 (the most prestigious school in the universe).
Exile: Stubborn princess tackles the frontier. Aurelia’s sequel.
-In your opinion, what are the most essential elements in any great story?

Characters and action.

-Do you have any interesting writing quirks or habits?

I discuss everything with my characters. They have a way of running the show, especially the stubborn ones.

-What are some of your favorite books or authors?

Peter Pan by James Barrie is my all time favorite. Because the magic is real, the island is real, the danger is real. I love the book because it all feels real!

I also love:
Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
Mara: Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
Witch of the Glens by Sally Watson
An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott
All the Blossom Culp books (The Ghost Belonged to Me, Ghosts I Have Been, The Dreadful Future of Blossom Culp, and Blossom Culp and the Sleep of Death) by Richard Peck

And I can go on and on and on!

-What’s up next for you book-wise? Any new books I might want to look into?

My most recent book, Academy 7, is a young adult science fantasy about Aerin and Dane. Here’s the pitch:

Aerin is a scarred fugitive in search of a better life. Dane is a self-destructive rebel driven by revenge. Despite her defensiveness and his pent-up anger, they quickly establish themselves as the top new students at the most prestigious school in the universe. But they must strip away their inner barriers and brave the scalding secrets of the past in order to meet the true challenge of Academy 7.

It also just won the Spirit of Oregon Award in the young adult category from the Oregon Council for Teachers of English for being a distinguished contribution to children’s, juvenile, or young adult literature that engages and encourages readers’ imagination, discovery, and understanding.” Dane, Aerin, and I are thrilled!

My next book, Exile, the sequel to Aurelia, is coming out this April. And here’s the pitch:

Exiled. From the weight of others’ expectations, the responsibilities of being crown princess, and the pressure to marry, AURELIA is finally free to travel the kingdom and meet the people of Tyralt. If only ROBERT, her expedition guide, would stop pestering her about her safety and just kiss her. But then their journey erupts in a fiery conflagration, and with both of their lives and the fate of the kingdom at stake, she and Robert must determine whether they have the strength, and the will, to complete their mission. And face the darker side of exile.

Robert, Aurelia, and I hope you’ll all join us on their expedition!

-Anything else you’d like to add, Anne?

My cat, Dance, would like me to get off the computer now and let her outside so she can defend our territory.

Thank you so much for everything, Anne! Readers, b
e sure to check out Anne's novels and I hope you enjoyed learning a bit about the creator of Aurelia and Academy 7.


Melissa (i swim for oceans) said...

This is such a cute interview! I love that her cat's name is Dance ;)

Amelia said...

Great interview, Amber! You have such a talent for this!

Ariadne said...

You have a lovely blog!

Violet said...

Wonderful interview! Congratulations to Anne regarding the Spirit of Oregon Award! The cover of Aurelia really is beautiful, and I am impressed by Anne's seven-word book summaries. :)

Lisa said...

I found the book very interesting because of the lead characters names. I have a son whose name is Robert and my daughter is named Aurelia. I bought the book for Aurelia and noticed after that the other lead character is Robert. I like the names that you choose for the characters that you write. Lisa