The Book Academy (Isabel) was lucky enough to get in touch with and interview Temple West, author of Velvet!

About the Author

templewestThe debut author of the YA paranormal romance Velvet is as nerdy in real life as she is on the Twitter. Armed with a very shiny English degree, she spent four months in Oxford holed up at the Radcliffe Camera amongst the hush of ancient books and the rich musk of academia. Returning to Los Angeles, she acquired a concurrent degree in film, mostly as an excuse to write essays about The Princess Bride and Hook. She can sew (poorly), drive stick (please fasten your seatbelt), and mostly lift her feet off the ground while stuttering into first gear on a very small motorcycle. She currently lives in Nashville and is the proud mother to a one-year-old laptop and a vintage Remington typewriter.

She answered our questions about herself, and all things Velvet! We’re so excited to share this with you all, so without further ado…

What made you want to write this book?
Gnomes. They held me at tiny pick-axe-point and advised me to write the book or else suffer severely poked toes.

What was the most frustrating part about writing, editing, or trying to publish Velvet?
Honestly the most frustrating part came after it was published. I felt so out of my depth with things like book contracts, author tours, and social media that it was very overwhelming. I’ve learned an incredible amount this year which I’m very grateful for, but it felt a bit like education-by-fire.

Was there any pressure in writing a vampire story with all the vamp frenzy that was going on?
Not per se. I wrote it for fun, originally, so the writing process itself was pretty stress-less. Since the editing process was so rapid, the biggest pressure came from trying to limit any similarities to That Other Vampire Franchise as much as possible in a very short amount of time.

Do you listen to any music or have any rituals while writing?
I first dance by the light of bio-luminescent mushrooms while supplicating the Muses for inspiration. Then I pull out my 1942 Remington and stare at it nostalgically before downloading my thoughts directly into a Scrivener document via telepathic resonance.

Has Velvet been planned out from the beginning or has it taken on a life of its own while creating the story?
I had no idea what I was doing when I set out to write Velvet. Nothing but the first scene with the storm and a boy with silver eyes. I’d come home from classes and write a chapter and go, “Huh. Didn’t know that was gonna happen. I like it.” Now that we’re getting into books 2 and 3 I know more about the characters and story and what everything is leading to. And it’s pretty exciting.

How was touring for Velvet and the release?
Exhausting, but, of course, amazing. By the time it was actually the release day for Velvet it was kind of like, “Oh, cool, my book’s out. Can I go sleep now because I don’t even know what time zone we’re in.” I wish I could say it was the best day of my life but I think, in terms of the book, that day was actually the one where I got the call it was going to be published. Still a dream come true.

What is the weirdest question a fan or reader has asked you?
I haven’t gotten an individually weird question yet, but a couple people have sent in some very extensive e-mails asking tons of questions about the next book that I couldn’t answer because of spoilers.

Now that you’ve written the 1st book and it’s out there, how does that make you feel?
It’s weird, honestly. This is the biggest project I’ve ever put out into the world for public consumption. I finally had to stop going on Goodreads, because for every 10 glowing reviews there’s that one that’s just cruel. But interacting with people on Twitter and Instagram who loved the books, or getting e-mails from fans, is pretty much the coolest experience in the world.

With the 1st book done, has that made writing the other book(s) easier, or is there more pressure?
Both. I know more of where the story is going, but with the first book I wrote it completely on my own schedule and I wrote it for fun. Now that I write it for “work,” if you will, the dynamic has really changed and the whole writing process feels different, and less organic. Not bad, necessarily, just very, very different. I’ve heard it equated to musicians who write amazing first albums on their own and then once they hit it big, doing a second album is very difficult because it’s just such a different format and creative process.

What do you hope readers take away from reading Velvet? Is there any lesson you hope readers get?
I had no moral agenda while writing Velvet. First and foremost, it’s a work of fiction created to entertain. That being said, I also didn’t write it to be useless brain candy.

I suppose if I wanted readers to take away anything, especially my younger readers, it’s that it’s okay to struggle. At the beginning of the story, Caitlin is not a very likable character. I know that turns some readers off, but I needed her to start off in a very dark, unlikable place, A) because the story called for it [her mother has literally just died] and B) because she needed someplace to grow from. It always strikes me as incredibly unbelievable when teenage protagonists in stories have everything figured out and don’t make mistakes or act like brats sometimes.

Caitlin starts out a bit of a self-centered brat. But she doesn’t stay that way. She learns, or begins to learn, since this is a series, that she is in control of her own life and that no one is going to give her permission to follow her dreams or become a better person. And no one is going to grow up for her. She has to do that herself. She has to learn how to be mature. And that takes time. And it’s okay that it takes time. But it’s necessary. That’s what I want people to take away.

Thank you so much to Temple for taking time to answer our questions! We really appreciate it! Hope you enjoyed this fun interview!
Make sure to check out Velvet here! ❤

Interview by Isabel Naquin

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