Saturday, July 29, 2017

Author Chat: Chelsea Bobulski, Author of The Wood

I was born in Columbus, Ohio and raised on Disney movies, classic musicals, and Buckeye pride. I graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in history and promptly married my high school sweetheart. As a writer, I have a soft spot for characters with broken pasts, strange talents, and obstacles they must overcome for a brighter future. My debut YA novel, THE WOOD, will be published by Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan on August 1, 2017! (taken from Chelsea's website)

Have you always wanted to write a young adult novel?

The first time I remember wanting to be an author was in the third grade, when an author came to visit my school. I actually didn’t really discover YA until college. Throughout high school, aside from Harry Potter (with which I am, and have always been, completely obsessed) and the Everworld series by Katherine Applegate, I mostly read whatever books I could find at my local K-mart, which tended to be paperback romances. So I didn’t even really know about YA as a genre until I saw someone reading Twilight in college. After I read the Twilight series, followed by The Hunger Games, which had just come out at the time, I was hooked! I knew I not only wanted to read every YA in sight, but I also felt that I had found the perfect home for my writing style.

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what do you listen to?
With an eight-month-old daughter at home, I don’t listen to music while I write nearly as often as I used to, since I usually only get to write early in the morning before she wakes up and I’m always keeping an ear out for her. When I do get the chance to listen to music, I prefer instrumental music that fits the mood of the story. For THE WOOD, I listened to a lot of Mimi Page. I also love the Olafur Arnalds station on Pandora, as well as movie soundtracks, such as The Great Gatsby and Braveheart.

Are you more of a coffee or a tea person when writing?
Tea, definitely! I can only drink decaf coffee due to an extreme sensitivity to caffeine, so when I’m looking for an energy boost, I almost always drink Matcha green tea. I also love herbal tea.

How did you select the names of your characters?
All of the main characters in THE WOOD just came to me, names already attached, which is rare. It was like they were all real, fully-formed people just waiting for someone to tell their story. I had to put some more effort into some of the supporting cast, such as the Old Ones, whom I knew needed to have older-sounding names since they’ve all been around for thousands of years, and names that also sounded a little mystical since they aren’t from our world. So I spent a lot of time on baby-naming sites and also combined elements of different names.

Did you have a writing schedule while you worked on The Wood? What did your average day of writing look like? 

I was a full-time writer while working on THE WOOD, and I also worked on it pre-baby, so I pretty much had all day every day to work on it (which is so different from my writing schedule now!). I’ve always loved getting up very early (4 or 5 a.m.) and writing at least a thousand words before doing anything else for the day. So there were a lot of days when I’d write (with brief breaks) from 4 or 5 in the morning until around 11 am. Then I’d eat lunch and take our dog for a walk. If there were a lot of house chores that needed to get done or errands that needed to be run, I’d do those things in the afternoon. If not, I’d continue writing. Most days I’d write at least 2k-3k words, but I did have some 4k-5k word days when I had nothing else to focus on.

Now, with my sweet, beautiful daughter, I only get the chance to write around her sleep schedule, so I still get up early in the morning to write, but many days whatever I get done before she wakes up is all I get done for that day (and I am *so* thankful for whatever that number is, because whether it’s 100 words or 1000, it’s slowly but surely building toward a finished book). Some days I do get a chance to write during her naps (again, if there’s nothing else extremely pressing that needs to get done, which with a baby can be rare), but for the most part I only write now before the sun comes up. I don’t mind at all, though. She’s only this young once, so I relish the opportunity to get to spend as much time with her as possible. There will come a day when I’m consistently writing 2k-3k words a day again, but she’ll only be this young once.

What is one underrated book you would like to recommend to everyone?

Ooooh, great question! Well, I don’t know how underrated they are, but if you’re looking for an exciting contemporary fantasy, CHASING POWER by Sarah Beth Durst is fantastic (as is ONE by LeighAnn Kopans), and if you’re looking for a really fun, contemporary romance with an exotic atmosphere, definitely check out WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN by Kristin Rae (this book is especially great for anyone who is a major fan of Stephanie Perkins’ books, especially ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS, as I am!). I also have to mention the awesomeness that is my critique partners’ books, the BECOMING JINN series by Lori Goldstein (genies, messed-up wishes, and hunky book boyfriends, oh my!) and DUPLICITY by N.K. Traver (one wild ride of a cyber thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat!).

Look for The Wood on August 1!
After her father goes missing in the woods that they protect, Winter tries to seek the truth in what happened, why the wood is changing, and what it all has to do with the arrival of a mysterious stranger in this thrilling YA debut.

When Winter’s dad goes missing during his nightly patrol of the wood, it falls to her to patrol the time portals and protect the travelers who slip through them. Winter can't help but think there's more to her dad's disappearance than she's being told.

She soon finds a young man traveling in the wood named Henry who knows more than he should. He believes if they can work together to find his missing parents, they could discover the truth about Winter’s dad.

The wood is poisoned, changing into something sinister—torturing travelers lost it. Winter must put her trust in Henry in order to find the truth and those they’ve lost.

Bobulski’s eerie debut is filled with friendship, family, and the responsibilities we choose and those we do not. (taken from