My name is Christine Seifert. I'm the author of The Predicteds, due out in September. I'm an avid reader, and I spend tons of time on Goodreads. Come visit me!
Congratulations on your upcoming release. How does it feel to publish your first book? Any big plans for your release date?
Thanks so much. I'm very excited. I'm not entirely sure what the plans for the release date are, but I know both the publisher and my college are planning cool events. My students have already designed and ordered t-shirts for the release party. I can't wait to see them. (You can keep up with all the news on the Facebook fan page they created and maintain)
Could you tell us what The Predicteds is about?
The Predicteds is about an experimental computer program, Profile, which claims to be able to predict future violent behavior. After a tragic event, a high school in rural Oklahoma publicly releases the Profile results of its students. New-girl-in-town, Daphne Wright, discovers that her first love, the mysterious Jesse Kable, may be on the wrong side of the Profile divide. And he may be guilty of an unsolved crime that has the whole town on edge. Does she believe in him? Or trust Profile? There's some mystery, some romance, and some snark too. It's not unbearably heavy. I promise.
What inspired The Predicteds?
The story was inspired by a really horrific event that happened here in Utah a few years ago. A teenager opened fire at a mall in downtown Salt Lake, killing and injuring a number of people. People close to the killer wondered if they should have known. And if they had, could they have prevented him from taking the lives of these innocent people? The same questions came up after the Columbine massacre and again after Virginia Tech. It got me wondering what we would do if we could predict crime. Could we stop it? And how would we treat people different?
Imagine you created a program like Profile in reality. Would you make the program compulsory in schools worldwide?
Tough question! I'd have to say no. I'm pretty certain that genes only carry someone so far. I believe that all people can change. But that's not a professional opinion. That's just my optimistic desire to believe that all people are fundamentally good.
You're a professor at Westminster College in Utah and teach different subjects, including writing. Has it always been a goal to be an author?
I've always thought it would be cool to write novels, but graduate school got in the way. After that there were the requirements of my job that kept me busy doing other kinds of writing.
The Predicteds is your debut novel. Are you planning to continue writing in future? If so, are you working on anything now?
Absolutely! I'm still writing, and I don't think I'll ever be able to stop now. I'm working on another YA book right now about a company that sets up fake crimes (like kidnappings) for rich people in search of adventure. The main character becomes involved in a crime that may or may not be real. I'm also working on a comic time travel book about the 1980s. And I haven't ruled out a Predicteds sequel!
I've always been curious about the journey from a idea for a book to it actually being published. Can you tell us about your journey?
I'd been thinking about writing for so long that when I finally sat down to do it, everything moved pretty quickly. It only took me about three months to write the first draft of The Predicteds.
From there, I queried a couple of literary agents and got a good response. I went with Alyssa Eisner Henkin of Trident Media Group, and outside of marrying my husband, that is the best relationship I've ever entered into! Alyssa was amazing at helping me take that really rough first draft and making it into something readable. That process took a couple of years. That's partially because I just had a lot of revision to do and partly because I was busy with school.
Once The Predicteds sold to Sourcebooks, the process was pretty painless. The folks at Sourcebooks, including my fantastic editor, Leah Hultenschmidt, are really smart. I couldn't ask for better readers. I think the key to having a pleasant journey in the publishing world is to have a supportive agent who loves your work and a brilliant editor who can make a book come together.
What were your favorite and least favorite parts of the publishing process?
The actual publishing process is kind of tedious. You spend a lot of time clicking refresh on your email waiting to find out what's going to happen next. Writing is really hard work too, so by the time you have a book ready to go out into the world, you've poured all of your heart and energy and free time into it. It's just kind of a relief to dump it on someone else for a while. Then you can go watch TV and not feel guilty about the fact that you aren't writing.
The best part of the publishing process is, of course, getting the novel into the hands of hungry readers. Reading is my absolute favorite thing to do—and books have meant so much to me since I was just a child—so I'm honored to have readers out there who want to read my book! To connect with them is just the greatest thing I can imagine.
What are your favorite YA books this year? Are there some titles you're particularly looking forward to?
Since I'm always behind on getting the new titles, I'll list my favorite YA books that I read this year (even if they were published prior to 2011):
- My Fake Boyfriend Is Better Than Yours by Kristina Springer made me laugh out loud.
- The Luxe series by Anna Godbersen is pure decadent fun, like a really good soap opera.
- Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott is the darkest book I have ever read—YA or otherwise. It is incredible.
- The Georgia Nicholson series by Louise Rennison is always delightful. I read every book, but I still want more Georgia.
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is the perfect book in my opinion.
A typical day in your life would include…?
It depends on the day, of course. If I'm in school, then I'm usually on campus for long hours. If I'm lucky, I won't have any meetings, and I can just hang out in my office and work on grading and preparing for evening classes. I have a lot of students dropping by my office, so that usually fills up my afternoons. After classes, I'm almost always exhausted by the time I get home. I'll watch chat with my husband, watch TV for a bit, and then read until I go to sleep. Writing happens on the weekends or on Fridays when I don't have classes.
If I'm not teaching, I usually try to get to my computer by eight in the morning. I do my non-writing stuff first to get that out of the way. I usually answer emails, check in on graduate student thesis projects, and work on any magazine articles I have due (I do freelance work too). Then I'm free! I spend the rest of the day writing. I take lots of breaks to have lunch with friends (I'm going for Indian food later today), go for walks, read on my porch, feed the squirrel that has taken up residence in my backyard, and enjoy the beautiful Utah weather and scenic mountain views. I almost always write in a notebook first. Then I sit at my computer and type away. I take lots of breaks, but I'll work until late into the evening if I'm making good progress.
Are you hoping that readers will take away any specific message from The Predicteds?
I hope people just like Daphne's voice and her story. I guess if there's one message that I had in mind while writing, it was this: People are complex. The beauty of fiction, I think, is that people will find all kinds of messages. And I can't wait to hear what readers think!
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Would you like to read The Predicteds ASAP? Christine has kindly offered to give away an ARC, which she'll sign and send to the lucky winner.
Only one entry per person
Open to US, CAN, UK & EU
Must be 16 or older to enter
Winner will be drawn at random
Ends August 20
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