Jul 6, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday - Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig (+ Interview)

Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig
March 13th, 2011 from Katherine Tegen/Harper Collins

Things couldn't be better for 15-year-old Willa Fox: Her mom has just moved them to beautiful Paradise Valley, playground for the rich and powerful. Already Willa's been welcomed into the inner circle of her school's most exclusive clique and she's attracted the attentions of the superfine Aidan Murphy. But when Willa finds out that her new best friends are actually bullies, she decides she has to take a stand—even if it means taking the law into her own hands.

This cover reveal came over Twitter yesterday and it totally caught my eye! Without reading the synopsis above, it almost looks like some teenage fashionista that has a serious case of sticky fingers. I would have been okay with that, but the real story sounds so much more interesting! I wonder if it will have a Mean Girl streak. I love the blurb from Melissa de la Cruz and I am so in love with purple right now. 

I was able to ask the author, Elisa Ludwig, a few questions about her cover reveal and debut. Welcome, Elisa! 

You are (were?) a freelance writer in Philadelphia and write about food for The Philadelphia Inquirer among others. So, why isn't PRETTY CROOKED about a cupcakery or something?
Good question! Yes, I am still a freelance writer with a special interest in all things food-related. (I have worked as a restaurant reviewer, cookbook writer/editor and now I write features with recipes on a regular basis. I'm also contributing to a new blog called Pots and Pens in which writers and others in the publishing world explore their relationship to food.) All along I have always written fiction, though. With all its action scenes, the updated Robin Hood story of PRETTY CROOKED was really fun to write, and it was truly a departure from anything I'd ever done before. There are a few foodie scenes in there, with some truffles and duck breast scattered in and among the banditry. I would love to someday write a YA novel specifically about food—I'm especially eager to read THE SWEETEST THING by Christina Mandelski—but I haven't found the right story yet... Working on it!

PRETTY CROOKED will be released in March of 2012 and got a nice blurb by the brilliant Melissa de la Cruz. You must be pretty excited about that!
It's an understatement to say I'm thrilled with the blurb. She's a wonderful writer and I feel very lucky that she generously donated her time to a new kid on the block!

Can you tell us a little about the process of the cover art? Artist? Designer?
The overall goal was to make an eye-catching and glitzy jacket without a "shopaholic" look, which was something of a challenge, but I think the final product achieves exactly that. The designers (Amy Ryan, Joel Tippie and Torborg Davern) played around with some different cover ideas in a variety of styles, such as standalone type with a closeup of a girl's face, or an iconic image like a stack of money. Once the idea evolved, they set up a photo shoot with Howard Huang (prior to which there was a model casting and a styling day, which all sounds very glamorous to a writer who sits around in jeans and clogs). The shoot took about 4-5 hours with different outfits and poses. The pattern and fonts were the last things added to the mix.

What was the most nerve racking part of the cover art process?
Getting the cover in and of itself wasn't nerve-racking at all but releasing it to the world definitely gave me a goosebumpy feeling. It's out there now–which means this is all real!

How long have you been waiting to share the cover for PRETTY CROOKED?
I got a comp of it in late winter/early spring and fell in love with it, but I couldn't officially share the cover until we got the updated design with the blurb, which was a more recent addition. The earlier version was included in HarperCollins' catalog and somehow it got on Goodreads (are there Goodreads elves out there?) so it wasn't as dramatic a reveal as some other authors have. But still so very exciting to me!

What else do you want us to know about PRETTY CROOKED that didn't fit in the synopsis?
PRETTY CROOKED is a lighthearted, easy, fun read in a lot of ways, but it tackles some more serious issues such as bullying, classism and racism. It's also setting up a deeper mystery that unfolds in book 2, PRETTY SLY, which I am working on now.

You are apart of the Apocalypsies and The Nightshade, how have the groups helped you and your debut?
The Apocalypsies have been absolutely wonderful. As a debut author I am just starting to feel my way around this whole experience. Being able to share it with such a friendly, supportive group of likeminded people has made the journey *so* much easier. And it's really exciting to learn more about everyone's books and help share their good news. The Nightstand is a new blog (a subset of the Apocalypsies, focusing on thriller and paranormal authors), so it's still evolving—I haven't gotten to post yet—but it's another great way to develop relationships with fantastic writers as we collectively try to get the word out about our work. It's really all about power in numbers!

When do you expect ARCs to make their way around? *hint*
Should be very soon, as I know for a fact that they do exist! You'll be getting one, for sure! 

Ohhhhh! #fistpump

Any big release plans?
I haven't finalized anything yet, but I will definitely be throwing a party in my hometown of Philly (maybe stripes-optional, in keeping with the criminal theme?) and hopefully banding together with my East Coast Apocalypsie peeps for some events in other towns. I'm really looking forward to getting to visit schools and libraries and meeting with readers!

Thank you!

Hope you guys put this on your TBR pile!

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You can find Elisa on Facebook, Twitter, and her site (coming soon).