- the debut author of Calculated, a 2020 Pitchwars Mentor & 2016 Alum, and the founder of The Spinning Pen
Readers, let’s give a good, hearty welcome to this week’s guest!
Nova McBee, a Seattle native, is a helpless nomad and culture nerd who has lived nearly half her life in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia. She writes fast-paced mission-impossible-type YA (action, fantasy and contemporary,) with deep themes and hearty characters.
She loves complex plots, coffee, people and languages. She is also a wife to a photographer, mom to three very loud wildlings, and a spicy food connoisseur.
Nova, thanks for agreeing to be here today. Most interviews start off with the boring stuff, but I know what readers REALLY want to know.
If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?
Oooh, I love real animals…can I choose more than one? I’d LOVE a zebra, a mountain lion, and a dalmatian.
I did say ‘any pet’, I don’t see any number restrictions. What a lovely selection! Although… I might not pen them together.
What do you write? And how did you get started?
I always wrote stuff (poems, songs, stories, journals entries) and I dreamed up stories all the time but it took a long time to equate that to actually becoming an author. It wasn’t until I was an adult of 29 years old that I actually started to practice writing novels.
Sounds like a familiar path for many of us writers.
What do you like to read?
I read a lot! Mostly Young adult fantasy (my fav.) But I dip into classics too, and on occasion, I will read adult fiction that is recommended by friends.
The Martian is one example that I wouldn’t have chosen to read myself, (before the movie came out) but a friend insisted and then I devoured it and swore I would hurt whoever hurt Mark! LOL! thankfully (spoiler) he survived!
I also read a TON of younger fiction because of my children. We are ALWAYS reading so I’ve been privileged to absorb tons of great fiction of all ages
I grew up in a reading household as well, what a great environment!
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you.
Write what you know.
Not sure why, but I am drawing a blank! But the first thing that came to me is “write what you know” this is true for me, that I do this. I write what I know often, especially when it comes to international stuff, but in Calculated and Simulated I also chose subjects of math and science and hackers/technology that I knew very little about and did EXTENSIVE research and learned a ton and was blown away, and so thankful I learned those things. (*awesome note: I had one of the top Pro-hackers in Hacker One critique my Simulated!!!) I think it opens up a whole new world when we choose things we don’t know, and if we are willing to put in the time for research, it can be brilliant!
Definitely! Writing can be a great reason to research things you might never have known about.
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that they can pry out of your cold, dead hands.
Write a million words (before you try to publish).
I think this was valuable for me. I practiced writing story after story, I read every blog or writing program advice that I could and I did everything they said. I don’t have a degree in writing or English, but I wrote a million words before I tried to get published, and now that I have deadlines, I think that is what prepared me most. I’d also add that learning to put your work out there and humbly receive critiques is huge for an author to move forward.
Practice definitely makes us all better as writers, but you’re right about needing critiques. Writing into the void, with only your self as feedback isn’t going to get most of us to the next stage.
Shameless Self-Promotion time!
Calculated debuted in February, was optioned for film, and is set to go into development this fall! And it’s sequel, Simulated was released in May!
She has many names – Octavia, Double 8, Phoenix, Josephine. She’s a math prodigy, a calculating genius and everyone wants her.
In seventeen-year-old Jo River’s complicated world of numbers, there’s no such thing as coincidence. When she is betrayed by someone she loves, kidnapped by the world’s most wanted smuggler, and forced to use her talent to shore up a criminal empire, Jo deems her gift a curse—until she meets Red.
Fellow captive and unlikely sage, Red teaches Jo to harness her true potential, so she can do more than just escape. Before he dies, Red reveals a secret about her enemies and makes her vow to right his wrongs. But Jo has a vow of her own.
With help from Chan, a bitter billionaire, and Kai, his off-limits son, Jo rises into a new role, ready to take down those who ruined her life. Until a mathematical error comes back to haunt her with a threat much more dangerous than the criminals on the loose.
To beat the odds, Jo must decide who she really is and if risking everything is worth it.
After all, history is not made—it’s calculated.
Jo Rivers, safely back in Seattle, asks the same question daily—how does a math genius go from taking down international criminals and saving the world economy to living a normal teenage life? The only answer she can come up with is—she doesn’t.
With an overprotective father on her back and Kai on the other side of the world, Jo accepts an offer from Prodigy Stealth Solutions (PSS), who may have found a way to get her gift back.