Wednesday, October 16, 2013

PR Special Edition: V.E. Schwab Interview!

Poisoned Rationality Special  Edition

Welcome to another Poisoned Rationality Special Edition!  Today we welcome V.E. Schwab (aka Victoria Schwab) to celebrate the release of her novel Vicious!
Summary: Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.

Welcome Victoria to Poisoned Rationality! Which, if I'm being a tad bit arrogant, I feel like defines Victor and Eli's personal views quite well. Thank you for joining us :D

To be clear VICIOUS is clearly a book meant for older readers in a way THE ARCHIVED and THE NEAR WITCH are not. There is a prevailing sense of...doom throughout the book. As if no matter who wins everybody else loses (at least to me). If Eli and Victor's positions had been reversed, the world would still be just as dangerous right?

Haha, it’s funny, I always say what sets my YA books and VICIOUS apart is the kind of humor, not the darkness (VICIOUS has a sick humor I think we develop a taste for as adult readers more than as teens) but yes, I suppose there is a sense of doom. Or really, as Victor says in the book, a sense that everything is real, but nothing matters. (That said, people seem to care immensely about what happens to my motley crew, so it’s not really an apathy that translates to the readers.) But to your point, yes, this is a world where people do not become superheroes; they become real people with superpowers, and there’s no circumstance in which that ends well (or well-adjusted).

A better percent of the book is told in the past, when Eli and Victor first met and began to dabble in what being an EO meant as well as when their ideals diverged. When writing did you write all the past at once and then write all the present, mixing the two where appropriate, or did you write as its presented in the book--this chapter the past, this chapter the present, so forth?

I actually wrote most of the book in chronological order (every single character’s own chronological order) and then went back and wove the present and past together so that the story is as much about how we got here as what we do now.

The cover artwork for VICIOUS, both the American cover (with an ominous image of a man overlooking a metropolis) and the UK cover (all shadows and angles) are stunning, representing the novel in different ways. Do you think one cover will appeal to readers more then the other?

Thanks, I LOVE both covers, different as they are. Such different aspects of the same books. I kind of assumed the UK cover would have the broader appeal, but from what I’ve seen, people are heavily divided on that front, so I suppose they just speak to different readers. The two aren’t on an equal footing, since the US version is out and the UK version is not, so it will be interesting to see how it all shakes out when people have the choice without an added wait.

Also how did the trading cards come about? They're a rather unique and awesome promotional
item! (I have mine in protective sleeves hanging in my cubical).

Well, my background is in design, and after two books hitting shelves, and making the full spectrum of bookmarks, buttons, postcards, etc, I wanted to design something unusual, something that added to the experience of the book (there is a card for each EO, and one for me) and didn’t get lost in the bookmark haze.

This will sound like gender bias, but the book is quite masculine in tone overall. Even the "softer" emotions of love or friendship are hard-edged. Even as the two became closer as friends, their relationship dynamic was contentious and from Victor's perspective at least, envious. Without spoiling what broke the camel's back to split them asunder, would a reckoning still have followed even if the schism hadn't occurred their senior year?

Absolutely. First, I’ll agree that there’s a masculine tone to the book, but would also add that the two guiding forces in the present, and arguably the two most powerful EOs, are the Clarke sisters. But regarding Victor and Eli, I fully believe that something would have always led them to the showdown in the Falcon Price building. It was a fixed point in their lives, and inevitable intersection. They were just too different, and too strong-minded, to have it end another way.

I saw mention of this before, but what can we expect from the world of VICIOUS now that the ah ending to the book came to pass?

I fully intend to continue the story. The only thing I’ll say is there’s a question people should be asking themselves on the last page, and I’ve yet to see it asked online. But it involves Sydney’s power, and her track record.

That teaser aside, I will simply say that I am nowhere near done with this world—or its characters—yet.

Okay now I need to go back in meticulous detail and figure out the question I should have asked...

About the Author

V. E. Schwab is the author of The Near Witch, a YA fantasy from Disney Hyperion, as well as The Archived, the first book in a YA supernatural series, also from Disney Hyperion. The product of a British mother, a Beverly Hills father, and a Southern upbringing, Victoria has a penchant for tea and BBC shows, and a serious and well-documented case of wanderlust. This is her first adult book. 

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