Name: Alissa Grosso
Debut Group: Class of 2K11
Debut novel: POPULAR
PJH: Okay, so it’s been 1 year since you graduated from your debut class. Personally, I miss the heck out of knowing what my classmates are up to. So give us the low-down. What have you been up to in the last year? New books? New degrees? New pets? What has been going on, and what do we have to look forward to from you in the future?
AG: Well, I haven't wasted any time. My second novel, FEROCITY SUMMER just came out on May 8, exactly one year after my first novel. Of course I've been busy writing and then there was a move thrown in there (across state lines, no less, which sounds much more impressive than to the next county over, both of which are entirely true.)
FEROCITY SUMMER (Flux, May 8, 2012)
PJH: If you could summarize to a debut novelist the best part of being a member of an author group like the “Class of” groups, what would you say?
AG: I know the big draw is the shared marketing power, and believe me, I really do think this was awesome. It definitely helped me as an author whose book was published by a small press to help get the word out about my book. However, for me the best part is this lifelong group of friends that I've made. This is the best writing support group ever. Whether I want to gripe to someone about a bad review or share the joy of a new success, these folks are there for me. I really feel lucky to have found such an amazing group of writers.
PJH: Though I absolutely loved being a debut author, I’m really thrilled with all the experience I’ve gained since. What advice would you give to those who are debuting now? What do you wish you had known when you started out?
AG: There is no one way to do things, and no one has yet figured out the perfect way to market a book. I really felt a bit overwhelmed and burned out by all the marketing I tried to do for Popular. I don't really have a good way to measure what worked and what didn't work. So, this year I am focusing on doing the things that I enjoy doing and passing up opportunities that I don't feel are a good fit for me. Of course, the best advice is to enjoy your debut year and have fun.
PJH: In addition to writing the next mega-million bestselling novel, what do you want to accomplish in the next five years? Do you want to write five more books? Get your black belt in Kung Fu? Walk the Great Wall of China? Let’s hear it.
AG: The next 5 years? There are so many things I'd like to do. I think there's probably another move in my future. There are at least half a dozen novels in various unfinished states that I must do something about. I'd also really love to be on Jeopardy! . . . and win, of course!
POPULAR (Flux, May 8, 2011)
PJH: Anything else you want to add? Five reasons to read your book? A picture of your writing space? How you celebrated when you signed your contract? Your choice!
I'll spare the world a picture of my writing space. It's a mess. Also, I can't remember how I celebrated when I got my signed contract. So instead I'll share 5 reasons to read my new book, FEROCITY SUMMER.
1. I've probably destroyed any chance I ever had of being a speaker at my high school for using it in a book about an illegal drug and some teens who are not always so law abiding. My best hope is that they will buy several copies to burn in effigy and I'll get some free publicity out of the deal.
2. That said, you should read the book because it is a book about an illegal drug and some teens who are not always so law abiding.
3. My boyfriend who doesn't read novels, read it in two and a half days. (This is probably less compelling if I mention that he was laid up in bed with a bad back.)
4. My editor said it was like a love child between David Lynch and A.S. King, and when this was met with puzzled silence on my part, assured me that this was a GOOD thing.
5. Parts of the book are based on actual experiences. Other parts are completely made up. If you read the book and ask me nicely, I might tell you which are which.
AG: Thanks so much for doing this!
PJH: Thank you for being here!
BIO: Alissa Grosso is the author of the young adult novels POPULAR (Flux, 2011) and FEROCITY SUMMER (Flux, 2012). She is also a library sales representative and a freelance writer. In the past she has worked as a newspaper editor, a children’s librarian and a long, long time ago as a tavern wench complete with Colonial style costume.
Thanks for helping me celebrate former debuts! And if you are a former debut and are interested in being featured, check out this post here!