Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Interview with Olivia Hinebaugh, THE BIRDS, THE BEES AND YOU AND ME

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
The Birds, the Bees, and You and Me is my standalone debut about high school senior Lacey and her two best friends and how they fight against stigmatizing, abstinence-only sex ed.

Do you have a favorite character?
I’m not sure I can pick one. But I will say that I LOVE Lacey’s best friends Evita and Theo. I also love Lacey’s mom...but that’s probably because she’s a lot like me.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
I did! But it certainly hasn’t been a straight line. My path to publication was as full of rejection and missteps as anyone’s. But I’m so happy I found Swoon Reads when I was between agents. It was sort of the perfect place to take charge of publishing path while still going the traditional route.

How long before you got your offer of representation/your first contract? Was it for your first novel?
I started writing YA seriously in 2011. I got my contract in 2017. It was most definitely not my first novel. In fact, it was my fifth. It hasn’t been a straight line at all to get here. But I learned so much from each book and each bump in the road to publication.

What factors influenced your decision to go with a particular agent or publisher?
I’m on my third agent, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But after having two agents not work out, I was really picky about who I queried. I only queried people who had happy clients that I knew and that sold books. My agent is great because he’s straightforward, honest, and works very hard. But I’m not sure I’d fully appreciate him if I hadn’t had those other relationships. Going with Swoon Reads was exactly the right move for me. It was so fulfilling to share my story with readers right away while also sharing it with editors. I absolutely love my editor on The Birds, the Bees, and You and Me, Holly West. She is a story genius and is always able to distill what’s important to the story and strengthen it.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
I would be lost without my two critique partners. I don’t even think I would have considered becoming an author if it weren’t for the encouragement of my first critique partner, who happens to be a childhood friend whose kids are about the same ages as mine. And then my second critique partner is just so freaking smart. She understands plot and big picture things so well. And both of them have just the most gorgeous and unique way with words. They really inspired me to find my own authentic voice and just go with it.

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
MUSIC! I make a spotify playlist for each project or each character or certain scenes. It gets to be pavlovian. I put on my headphones and fire up the tunes and I am there!

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
I’m realizing more and more how much outlines help me. That said, I’m naturally a pantser. I will always let the characters take me on a ride or go with what feels right. But through editing The Birds, the Bees, and You and Me, I really started to understand how to make the elements of a plot work together, how they should strengthen your themes and challenge your characters. So now, I try to have those things in mind when I’m drafting. But I’m OK with a messy draft. For me, the magic happens when I begin to revise and every thing I write has a purpose.

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
Yes! I love kidlit. I love discovering and reading and sharing picture books. I absolutely love them. I also love painting and drawing and playing piano, singing, and all things music. I basically like creating things. But I also have a lot of interest and passions surrounding pregnancy, birth, and new parenthood. Having my own kids has been so magical and I really want to support other new parents. I trained to be a doula. A lot of those interests show up in The Birds, the Bees, and You and Me. ;)

Some fun facts about you, which do you prefer – dogs or cats? Chocolate or vanilla? Coffee or Tea? Talk or Text? Day or Night?
I have a dog and a cat. I can’t choose. My dog is crazy smart and looks like a coyote. My cat has one eye and meows in a way that sounds like talking. Chocolate. Coffee. I have epic group texts with my two critique partners that give me life. Also, daytime. I feel energized by the sun. I like night because it’s when I get cozy with my family and read, but I always look forward to a new day.

The Birds, The Bees, and You and Me
Olivia Hinebaugh
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: January 22nd 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Seventeen-year-old Lacey Burke is the last person on the planet who should be doling out sex advice. For starters, she’s never even kissed anyone, and she hates breaking the rules. Up until now, she’s been a straight-A music geek that no one even notices. All she cares about is jamming out with her best friends, Theo and Evita.
But then everything changes.
When Lacey sees first-hand how much damage the abstinence-only sex-ed curriculum of her school can do, she decides to take a stand and starts doling out wisdom and contraception to anyone who seeks her out in the girls’ restroom. But things with Theo become complicated quickly, and Lacey is soon not just keeping everyone else’s secrets, but hers as well.

Author Bio:
Olivia Hinebaugh loves all stripes of literature for children. When she isn’t writing fiction, she can be found writing freelance, making art, discovering new songs on spotify, texting her writing buddies, or folding laundry. She lives near Washington, D.C. with her spouse, three kids, a dog that looks like a coyote, and a one-eyed cat. The Birds, The Bees, And You And Me is her debut novel.

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