3 S.R. Johannes: The Rats are Back - Hilary Wagner and Nightshade City!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Rats are Back - Hilary Wagner and Nightshade City!

Comment on this post by midnight Est time tonight and I'll do a random drawing for a sparkly new Hardback of Nightshade City:)

Today, Hilary Wagner (author or Nightshade City. (and yes Rick Riordan blurbed it!!) stops by today to discuss some marketing ideas.

Nightshade City summary: Deep beneath a modern metropolis lies the Catacombs, the kingdom of remarkable rats of superior intellect. Juniper and his maverick band of rebel rats have been plotting ever since the Bloody Coup turned the Catacombs, a once-peaceful democracy, into a brutal dictatorship ruled by decadent High Minister Killdeer and his vicious henchman, Billycan, a former lab rat with a fondness for butchery. When three young orphan rats--brothers Vincent and Victor and a clever female named Clover--flee the Catacombs in mortal peril and join forces with the rebels, it proves to be the spark that ignites the long-awaited battle to overthrow their oppressors and create a new city--Nightshade City.

"Fans of Redwall and the Warriors series will love this heroic tale of good versus evil in a subterranean society of rats." --Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series ^

I met Hilary over a year ago in an online writer's group. It's been so exciting to see her embark in this journey and I'm so happy for her.

Hey Hilary, before we get started, tell everyone about you.


I write middle-grade and young adult novels. I love brilliantly written, colorful stories, which leave me still thinking about them the next day--a touch of creepy doesn't hurt either! I live in Chicago with my husband Eric, our seven year old Vincent and our two year old Nomi. We also have a neurotic Italian Greyhound, Louie, who is adorable, but very whiny! ;)


Okay, now tell us about your amazing new book.


I'm cheating on this part!

Here is the summary from my publisher and there is a lot more on the official site. From Holiday House, "This enthralling animal fantasy, in the classic tradition of Redwall and Watership Down, encompasses timeless themes of honor and loyalty, family ties and lost love, alliances and betrayals. Readers will respond enthusiastically to this surefire page-turner, by a talented new novelist, set in a brilliantly imagined world filled with easy-to-root-for heroes and villains they'll love to hate."

You can view the trailer on the Nightshade City website!


What do you feel is the key message of your book?

There are a few, but I have to say the key message is never letting a few decide the fate of many. Don't ever let anyone tell you you're not allowed to live a good life.

In promoting Nightshade City, what creative marketing is planned for your book?


Let's just say, I'll be passing out a lot of gummy rats! I think a big thing for me is word of mouth. Marketing can be very organic and writing friends have been fabulous spreading news about the book. My publicist is targeting blogs from everything to fantasy book lovers to animal lovers! I learned so much about rats by contacting rat experts! They've been great and gave me valuable info, not to mention graciously spreading the word about Nightshade City. Rat lovers are good people! Holiday House has deep ties with educators and librarians. Every time I see a school or library ordered my book, I can't help but get a happy, cheesy grin!

As a new author yourself, what advice do you have for authors promoting their books?

Gosh, it can be tricky! You want to promote your book on Twitter, Facebook, etc, but then again, you don't want to seem that that's all you post about, which can be tricky if you have a job, spouse, kids, et (I have all of the above, plus the neurotic dog). I think you need to balance postings about your book, while connecting with others. I love the people I'm connected to--there is a fabulous network of writers out there who want to see you succeed. It might sound hokey, but I'd like to think as writers, we are all in this together.

With promotion, you really need to think beyond the obvious. I love animals, so writing a book about rats and connecting with rat lovers, ratteries, etc., only made sense for me--it helps my book, but it also helps me, I've met a lot of generous caring people! So, two things I suppose. First, think outside the normal realm of who might buy your book. For example, if you write a book about a teenage girl who has physic powers, find groups who truly believe in the clairvoyant. I'm sure they love books on the topic and not just the non-fiction kind! Second, give a little to your on-line community and you'll get a lot! People are truly amazing!


NIGHTSHADE CITY is available at Barnes and Noble stores nationwide, Indie Booksellers, Amazon and more.

You can also follow Hilary on her blog, Facebook, or Twitter.



33 comments:

Writer Tessa said...

This looks like such a cool book!

Jared Larson said...

This looks like an awesome book. Can't wait to read it. Hilary seems like an amazing individual.

Adventures in Children's Publishing said...

Not only is Hilary super sweet, her book looks amazing!!! Can't wait to read it :)

Marissa
graffkidlit at gmail dot com

Cherie Reich said...

The book does look awesome. I love that Hilary wrote about rats. They're so cute! Great interview and congrats on the release of this book!!

Hardygirl said...

I just finished Nightshade City last night, and I LOVED it. What a wonderful book and a wonderful world that Hilary created.

I can't wait for the sequel!!

sf

dsolter said...

Nightshade City compared to Watership Down? Wow, that is high praise for this book. Look forward to reading it.

Scotti Cohn said...

I would love to read (actually, to have a hard cover copy of) this book. It sounds like the sort of book I would like to have written, and I know it will inspire me!

Clara Gillow Clark said...

Looking forward to reading this book! Great post, Shelli and Hilary!

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Please enter me. Everything I've read about Hilary's book is so fresh and different. And MRS. FRISBY and WATERSHIP DOWN comparisons make me all the more interested.

Falen (Sarah Ahiers) said...

yay! I'm so excited to get my hands on a copy of this book. I love me some ratties

Tere Kirkland said...

Gummy rats! Love it!

Thanks for the interview, ladies!

Anita Saxena said...

I've been following Hilary's blog for quite some time and I'm excited about her release. Nightshade City!!

Catherine Denton said...

So excited about this!

Diane said...

Congrats again Hillary on your book. So exciting to see it on the shelves! :O)

Victoria D Morris said...

So excited for you Hilary! I want to win to give it away!

Rebecca said...

Oh, I want to win! Looks like a great book, and I try not to ever miss a chance to win one. :-)

Slushpile Slut said...

Hilary's awesome and the book sounds fab!! Pick me. Pick me!! :)

And Shelli's awesome too!!

Faith E. Hough said...

Well, your marketing certainly is working well so far, Hillary!

Elle Strauss said...

I've been following Hilary's journey from early on--loved to win a copy of her book, and congrats again!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I agree with Hilary - a touch of the creepy never hurts! I'm thrilled for her about the success of this book. So many of us have watched and cheered her on her journey. :-)

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great advice Hilary to think out of the box while marketing. Rat gummys sound cool. Good luck with your book.

I'd so love to win the contest. Can't wait to read the book.

lotusgirl said...

Thanks for the advice, Hilary. Shelli, it was nice to meet you at the conference this weekend.

Bish Denham said...

Thanks Shelli and congratulations Hilary. Please put my name in the hat!

Rachael Harrie said...

Great interview! Sounds like a cool book, and love the marketing suggestions :)

Riv Re said...

Great interview. This book looks really good! I'm a Redwall and Warriors fan, too. I'd love to win this :)
rivkarno1(at)hotmail(dot)com

Tessa Quin said...

Interviews with Hilary seem to be popping up everywhere! She's such a sweet girl. Her book idea is amazing. Let's hope I win a copy this time!

Tessa Quin said...

Oh, and Shelli, I'm having problems adding followers this evening. It sometimes happens. I'll try again before going to bed, and again tomorrow morning if that doesn't work!

Jemi Fraser said...

I definitely think the kids in my class are going to love this one! And the gummy rats? Brilliant :)

Deb Salisbury said...

Nightshade City looks like a fun book!

Hilary Wagner ~ Debut Author said...

Shelli, thanks so much for having me on your blog today! And thanks to everyone for always being so enthusiastic! It's awesome to have such a great network of writers right at our fingertips! Everyone is so supportive!

xoxo -- Hilary

Carolyn V. said...

What a great interview. I didn't know you two knew each other in an online writer's group. So cool! =)

Niki Schoenfeldt said...

Great post as always! I mentioned you & your workshop on my blog today if you want to see it: www.nikischoenfeldt.blogspot.com

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Great interview! I'm reading this book now and loving it. But I love that you ask the marketing questions in addition to writing questions. Great info, Shelli!