Today, I am so excited to share with you a conversation I had with Elle Cosimano. Her new book, Seasons of the Storm, comes out June 23rd!!
“One cold, crisp night, Jack Sommers was faced with a choice—live forever according to the ancient, magical rules of Gaia, or die.
Jack chose to live, and in exchange, he became a Winter—an immortal physical embodiment of the season on Earth. Every year, he must hunt the Season who comes before him. Summer kills Spring. Autumn kills Summer. Winter kills Autumn. And Spring kills Winter.
Jack and Fleur, a Winter and a Spring, fall for each other against all odds. To be together, they’ll have to escape the cycle that’s been forcing them apart. But their creator won’t let them go without a fight”
Q: Okay, first, I have to ask: which season would you be?
A: I would definitely be an Autumn. After living in a tropical climate for six years, I found that what I missed most was the turn of the seasons—especially the changes and celebrations that happen in the fall. I missed the colors of the leaves, brisk mornings and crisp starlit evenings, the smell of cold weather comfort foods simmering in the kitchen, and the atmospheric creepiness that comes with Halloween. And if we’re talking about *my* Seasons (and their magic), fire would be a pretty amazing element to wield.
Q: What are the upsides and downsides to being an author?
A: I get to tell stories for a living, and I think that’s pretty amazing. I can’t think of anything I’d rather do than share my characters with readers. The flexibility I enjoy also allows me to spend a lot of time with my family. I have two teenage sons, both distance learners, and I’ve enjoyed some really incredible years at home with them, which is what I’m most grateful for. The downside is the uncertainty that comes with every new project—will it be published? Will it earn enough for me to keep writing? Will readers like it? Will the market support it? Will I be able to afford to keep doing what I love? There are no guarantees in this business. Every book brings new joys and new risks.
Q: The premise of Seasons of the Storm is so interesting! How did you come up with the idea?
A: About six years ago, I was blogging short stories on Tumblr with a group of fantastic YA authors. Each week, we’d take turns challenging each other with writing prompts. One of my prompts was a GIF of a girl with pink hair with butterflies perched on her face. The image was romantic and moody, and to me, she was the embodiment of spring. I started thinking about what would happen if she fell in love with Winter—how little time they would have together. And then, because I write murder-y books, I started wondering what would happen if she was forced to kill him every year. The short story seemed to resonate with readers, and when I couldn’t stop thinking about these characters too, I started tinkering with their world to see if it could be expanded into something bigger.
Q: What has been one of your most rewarding experiences as an author?
A: The letters I get from readers are really special. When a student emails to tell me that my book helped them discover a love of reading, or an educator writes to tell me that my book made its way into the hands of a student who loved it, those are indescribable moments for me. One letter in particular really stands out in my memory—a young woman wrote to tell me that she discovered the Nearly Boswell mysteries when she was in high school, and those books stoked her interest in forensic science. She ended up studying forensics in college and went on to secure a job as a forensic scientist at a crime lab in DC. To know you’ve helped shape the life and future of a young reader is truly amazing.
Q: You have quite a few amazing books under your belt. Out of all the books you’ve written, do you have a favorite?
A: I know we’re not supposed to pick favorites, but Holding Smoke will always hold a very special place on my shelf. If my heart could make one wish, it’s that more people would discover this book. It’s an eerie, thrilling, but (ultimately) hopeful ghost story about forgiving ourselves for our own choices and mistakes. I’m grateful for the teachers and librarians who continue to share it with their students. I love knowing they’re using this book to engage reluctant readers.
Q: What were some of the challenges you faced on the road to publication?
A: I was very lucky in that my query process was quick. I found my agent (she’s still my agent after almost a decade) with my first manuscript. *ducks to avoid thrown shoes* My big hurdle came right after I signed. She knew the story had promise, and she must have seen some potential in me, but I had no idea what I was doing. My writing and craft needed a LOT of work. After she brought me on as her client, I rewrote that book two more times entirely from scratch over the course of a year, then continued revising several more drafts before it was ready for submission. I think she was about ready to give up on me when things finally clicked and the book started coming together. I ended up rewriting it yet again for my editor once it sold. It was a grueling learning curve, and I’m so lucky they both stuck with me. (Happy ending: the book went on to be nominated for an Edgar Award, earned an invitation to the White House, won the International Thriller Award, and was nominated to six state reading lists.)
Q: In three words, can you give us a hint about the sequel to Seasons of the Storm?
A: So. Much. Chaos.
About the Author
Elle Cosimano is the award-winning author of the acclaimed young adult novels Nearly Gone, Nearly Found, Holding Smoke, The Suffering Tree, and Seasons of the Storm. Her debut novel for adults, Finlay Donovan Is Killing It, will kick off a witty, fast-paced contemporary mystery series on February 2, 2021 (Minotaur Books).
Elle’s debut, Nearly Gone, was a 2015 Edgar Award finalist, winner of the International Thriller Award, and has been nominated for multiple state book awards. Her more recent young adult thriller, Holding Smoke, was an International Thriller Award nominee and a Bram Stoker Award finalist. In addition to writing novels for teens and adults, her essays have appeared in The Huffington Post and TIME. Elle lives with her husband and two sons in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Central Virginia.
Now, time to ask all of you a question!
What season do you think you would be?