Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Author Rap Sheet: Talia Vance, author of SPIES AND PREJUDICE

Today in the Interrogation Room, we're questioning author Talia Vance on her new book, SPIES AND PREJUDICE, which releases today! 

Berry Fields is not looking for a boyfriend. She's busy trailing cheaters and liars in her job as a private investigator, collecting evidence of the affairs she's sure all men commit. And thanks to a pepper spray incident during an eighth grade game of spin the bottle, the guys at her school are not exactly lining up to date her, either.
So when arrogant—and gorgeous—Tanner Halston rolls into town and calls her "nothing amazing," it's no loss for Berry. She'll forget him in no time. She's more concerned with the questions surfacing about her mother's death.
But why does Tanner seem to pop up everywhere in her investigation, always getting in her way? Is he trying to stop her from discovering the truth, or protecting her from an unknown threat? And why can't Berry remember to hate him when he looks into her eyes?
With a playful nod to Jane Austen, Spies and Prejudice will captivate readers as love and espionage collide.

Hmm, very interesting! I have lots of questions, but first, here's a little about our suspect:

Talia Vance is a practicing litigation attorney living in Northern California with her real life love interest, two-point-five kids, and a needy Saint Bernard named Huckleberry. Talia has been writing since she could talk, making up stories for every doll, stuffed animal and action figure she could get her hands on. She grew up hoping to write the great American novel, but her life ran more along the lines of tortured romance and fast paced thrillers, so that's what she writes.

SPIES AND PREJUDICE is billed as a spy novel with "a playful nod" to Jane Austen. What inspired this union? What challenges come with adapting (however loosely) a classic novel? 

I knew I wanted to write a story about a teenage private investigator who worked for her father’s firm.  That part of the idea came as I mined my own past for story origins.  My father has been a P.I. for decades, and I once spent a summer working for him.  Once I got the idea, Berry Fields appeared and my head and started talking to me about this boy who kept getting in her way. Berry was jaded and tough, I knew she needed an equally strong love interest, someone like a modern day Mr. Darcy.  Once I knew that Berry and Tanner’s romance would be loosely based on Elizabeth and Darcy, I modeled other characters on archetypes from Pride and Prejudice. 

One of the challenges was finding the balance of how many references to the classic I could include without deterring from Berry’s story, which was unique to her.  There were a number of compromises along the way.  A number of characters and subplots from Pride and Prejudice were not included.  Instead, I focused on a few key scenes and characters that worked with Berry and Tanner’s story.

What's the hardest thing about writing mystery/thriller for a young adult audience? What is the most rewarding thing? 

One of the difficulties of writing for a young adult audience is that you have teen characters doing adult things.  In Spies and Prejudice, there are teenage spies, and so there is naturally an element of fantasy to the story.  As an author, I had to choose between trying to make the story gritty and realistic or embracing the fun, slightly fantastic side of the concept.  Spies and Prejudice was always intended to be light-hearted and fun, and so I just embraced that side of it, complete with cool spy gadgets and electronics.

What is your writing process like? Do you have any writing tricks or quirks like only writing in a special chair or while listening to certain music?

I write in long stretches of 4-8 hours on the weekends.  I have playlist for each book, which helps me get into the mood and character of the piece I’m working on.  Outlining has become an important part of my process, especially after I’ve written a first draft.  I’ll make a rough outline of the story and then use that to evaluate pacing, story and plot holes before I tackle any changes in the manuscript. 

Your other published novel, SILVER, leans more toward fantasy. What were some of the differences you encountered in writing SILVER and SPIES AND PREJUDICE? Which genre do you find more difficult?

The two books were very different for me to write not so much because of genre, but because the characters were so different.  Brianna from Silver is a character who wants to be noticed and wants to fall in love, while Berry is a character who prefers to stay in the background and is far more guarded with her heart.  The characters had very different voices and different journeys.  Where Brianna starts out weak and ends strong, Berry starts out with a chip on her shoulder and gradually learns to accept her softer side. What was surprising to me was how similar the writing process was despite the difference in genre.  As I’ve mentioned, there is an element of fantasy to writing teen spies.  And both characters had a mystery to solve that would impact them on a personal level.  Both books were also difficult in their own way, but neither was unbearably hard.  Once I understood what the main character wanted, and what obstacles stood in their way, the easier the writing flowed.
What is something no one knows about you?

I am addicted to Starbucks.  Okay, the people at my local Starbucks are well aware of this fact.  But my obsession with the brand is part of what gave me the idea for the energy drink in Spies and Prejudice.

Thanks, Talia! We'd like to keep you in the Interrogation Room for a little longer, but you're probably very busy celebrating your release day, so I guess we'll have to let you go now. For more information, you can:

Pssst . . . .Want to enter to win a SIGNED COPY of Spies and Prejudice?? Click on the Rafflecopter thingie below! Giveaway ends 6/19/13.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I love Pride and Prejudice it is one of my favorites, but a close second would be Persuasion. I love all of Jane Austen's books and I really love new adaptations as well. Thanks for the great giveaway!!!

  2. I adore Emma and the many adaptation of it (Hello Clueless- I'm looking at you!) but Pride and Prejudice is a close second. Cannot wait to read this book!!!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...