Today I’d like to welcome Gayle C. Krause. I first met Gayle at the Falling Leaves Writers’ Retreat in 2010, and we both had short stories included in the TIMELESS anthology of YA romance published by Pugalicious Press last year.
Kip: Gayle, it was great reading your work in the anthology, and I was so pleased to see that your debut YA novel RATGIRL: Song of the Viper will be published by Noble – Young Adult. Congratulations!
I’d love to hear more about your novel. It’s a dystopian with the setting providing a really unique twist. Can you tell us a little more about what the world is like in your story?
Gayle: The year is 2511 and global warming has affected the entire world. Six of the seven continents are devastated by intense daytime heat, and the 7th, Antarctica, is known as the New Continent, because the ice has melted to reveal a temperate land beneath. It is the only sustainable land left, and produces food for the rest of the world.
The rich have fled Metro City, in favor of the New Continent. Those who couldn’t afford passage are forced to live in abandoned sewer tunnels, or subway stations by day. Nighttime, as dangerous as it is, is the only time they can come to the surface to barter for food or trade their services.
Our heroine is a descendant of one of the ECOS, an environmental group who tried to save the earth from global warming in earlier generations. She has learned from her grandmother how to survive on foods from the wild, so she and her brother do not rely on the roasted rats or rotten vegetables that feed the rest of the homeless.
Kip: I’m personally not a fan of rodents, so your character’s talent to hypnotize rats made me shudder a little. Would you say your story is a retelling of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, or is that the only similarity?
Gayle: It is a retelling of the Pied Piper set in a dystopic future. It loosely follows the premise of the fairy tale, but is darker than the original, and the subplots give reason to the elements of the story. It’s part thriller, part mystery, part love story.
Kip: Who is RATGIRL and how did she come to you?
Gayle: Jax Stone is Ratgirl. She is a sixteen-year-old streetwise orphan, with a hypnotic singing voice, who has the responsibility of raising her five-year-old brother in a dying city, where food is scarce and rats are plentiful. When the tyrannical mayor kidnaps her little brother, Jax schemes, along with her ragtag band of friends, to save her brother and secure passage to the New Continent for all of them, but her plan puts all of them in danger.
Jax came to me a few years ago during NaNoWriMo.
Kip: I’d love to hear more about your journey to publication.
Gayle: Four years ago, I received my first contract with a major publisher, Scholastic, and they published my seasonal, rhyming picture book ROCK STAR SANTA. To date it has sold over 139,000 copies. Then, last year, Pugalicious Press published my short story, The Storyteller’s Daughter, in their YA historical romance anthology, TIMELESS.
Kip: Can you tell us a little more about your publisher?
Gayle: RATGIRL: Song of the Viper was requested by Erika Galpin, submission editor for Noble Young Adult, through the Submissions Mailbox at YALITCHAT, an online writing organization. Noble Romance is primarily an adult romance imprint, but recently has opened a YA imprint called the ‘Sweetheart’ line, where the motto is “not just romance.” The stories in the Sweetheart line are YA stories with very strong romantic threads. The focus is on the developing romantic relationship and the underlying story.
Kip: Do you have an agent, or were you submitting directly to editors?
Gayle: I do not have an agent, but I hope to sign with one this year.
Kip: You mention you also have a published picture book, and of course the short story with Pugalicious. What else are you working on these days?
Gayle: My current WIP is a MG fantasy/action adventure with a cast of humorous, and unforgettable characters. It is my only story with a male protagonist, but I’m enjoying writing it.
I’m also am feeding my poetry muse by writing a MG “fractured fairy tale” collection, in various poetic forms. It is titled, “Once Upon a Twisted Tale.”
RATGIRL: Song of the Viper will be available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble in ebook or paperback. Look for it this month.
Thanks for having me, Kip. Support of fellow writers is very important to any author’s success.