Natalie C Parker: BEWARE THE WILD

We’ll be continuing our introduction posts over the course of this month and next…possibly even longer. There are a bunch of OneFours to introduce! Today, we’re introducing YA author Natalie C Parker. 

Yes, this is me at 3 years old. Tap-tap-tapping away at something. I’m sure it was brilliant…

Hey, you’re getting published! How’d that happen?

It was a dark and stormy night. I’d been traveling with the crew of the GatorHead for many moons, but on that night, when the deck was slick with blood and moonlight, I strode up to Captain Ne’er Do Well and said, “No more! I want to write!”

At which point he grinned and said, “Then I’ll do ye a favor and give ye a drink,” then threw me overboard….

Okay, so the real story has fewer pirates (but not by much!). After college and grad school, I set off on a professional path, but somewhere along the way I decided I needed to balance my profession with doing something I loved. It seemed a good time to return to the childhood hobbies I loved most – playing the cello and writing. I surrounded myself with writing peers and mentors and after 18 months felt ready to query. Two weeks later, I’d signed with the indomitable Sarah Davies of The Greenhouse Literary Agency and together we entered a near-year of revision. When we both felt that novel (now a shiny new novel) was ready, it went out on submission and, again, the deal with HarperCollins Children’s Books was sealed in about two weeks. Long gaps and big leaps, that’s the sort of game it’s been for me.

What’s your debut book about? Can you share any cool details with us?

Here’s a bit of a blurb about BEWARE THE WILD:

The entire town of Sticks, Louisiana, fears the swamp that sleeps in its center, surrounded by an all too fragile split-rail fence. For 16-year-old Sterling Saucier, the swamp has always been a place to avoid – until the day her brother Phineas climbs over the fence in a fit of rage and doesn’t comes back.  One day later, a strange, ethereal girl named Lenora May crawls out of the murky water, claiming to be Sterling’s sister. Suddenly, nobody but Sterling remembers Phin and the entire town accepts Lenora May without question.

Cool details? Though this story had been budding for some time, the first words were born of a conversation I had with Carrie Ryan sitting on a porch swing during a skin-meltingly hot summer in New Orleans. One year later, struggling with revision of this same story, I found clarity in a conversation with Brenna Yovanoff sitting on yet another porch swing in New Orleans. Friends and porch swings. That’s how this story’s been built.

Three things readers might not know about you?

  1. A a kid, I was a fledgling equestrian vaulter. I trained on a horse named “Graceful.” His name was ironic as he was given to tripping just as I’d reached whatever precarious position I was practicing. I ate a fair amount of dirt in those days.
  2. I’ve been SCUBA Diving to 137ft. That’t 37ft past the recommend recreational limit. The experience/accident landed me in a hyperbaric chamber with a bunch of Navy Seals. They are a STERN bunch.
  3. I learned the play the koto, the 13-stringed Japanese harp, as a high school freshman living in Japan.

What are your desert island books?

That depends. HOW BIG IS THE ISLAND?

Okay. Kidding. My must haves are THE CHRONICLES OF PRYDAIN by Lloyd Alexander and THE DARK IS RISING SEQUENCE by Susan Cooper for nostalgia. THE DISPOSSESSED by Ursula K. LeGuin and THE EARTHSEED SERIES by Octavia Butler for my sci-fi/dystopian fix. And finally, I’d take LOLITA by Vladimir Nabokov and THE POISONWOOD BIBLE by Barbara Kingsolver for beautiful, beautiful words.

Natalie C Parker is a writer, professional project coordinator, and future zombie slayer. When not saving the world, she can be found on Twitter (@nataliecparker). Though once determined to never live in a land-locked state, she resides in Kansas with her partner in a house of monsters. Her southern gothic YA debut, BEWARE THE WILD, is due from HarperCollins Children’s Books in 2014.

29 thoughts on “Natalie C Parker: BEWARE THE WILD

  1. The pacing of your journey is so interesting; I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anything quite like that! And your book sounds obscenely awesome, so, onto my TBR it goes!

  2. Sitting on a porch swing in New Orleans sounds about the loveliest way to work out story ideas!! What a great intro!

  3. Pingback: Links Galore « Annie Cardi

  4. Very cool! Sounds like those porch swings are getting a shout out in an acknowledgements section.

    And I have no doubt that Navy Seals would be a very stern bunch. It’s kind in the job description, isn’t it? 🙂

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