Today I have author J. Anderson Coats here, as part of my Class of 2K12 interview series! J. Anderson Coats' debut novel, The Wicked and the Just (more on the book below), is officially out today!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and any hobbies you have?
I own over two hundred books about the middle ages. I’m a Cancer, I lived in Australia as a child, and I earned two master’s degrees before the age of thirty. I’m married to a math teacher, my teenage son has read every book on programming in the public library, and my cat has thumbs. I make rag quilts with more enthusiasm than skill, and my attempts to keep a garden alive have been successful to date.
What do you want readers to feel after reading your book?
Curious. THE WICKED AND THE JUST is set in thirteenth-century Wales, and it’s possible people aren’t as familiar with this setting as they are with other places and eras. Most people have a preconceived notion of what the middle ages were like, and my presentation of that world may not jive with their picture. I hope people are intrigued enough with the story to want to know more about medieval Wales and the events of 1294-5.
What was the hardest scene or chapter to write, and why?
Definitely the confrontation between Cecily and Gwenhwyfar toward the end of the book. It was difficult to feed enough information to readers without too much telling. I really wanted readers to make the connection at the same time Cecily did, so it was a delicate balance between “enough” and “too much” when it came to detail.
What has been the most rewarding part of having your book published?
Each phase of this experience has been more exciting than the last, but the best part has been joining the YA/MG lit community. I don’t think there’s a more friendly, helpful, welcoming group of people on the planet. I’ve learned so much just sitting at their feet and listening, and I’m humbled and grateful to join them.
And just for fun: Everyone has a bizarre hidden talent. Care to share yours?
I can wake up just before my alarm goes off. Since I get up every morning at five to write, it’s very helpful!
Oh, that sounds like a *super* helpful talent. ;)
Thanks for answering my questions! You talking about how different medieval Wales was, has me pretty curious! I can't wait to read about those differences. Congratulations on the publication of your book!
About J. Anderson CoatsJ. Anderson Coats has dug for crystals, held Lewis and Clark’s original hand-written journal and been a mile underground. She has a cool surgery scar unrelated to childbirth, she reads Latin, and she’s been given the curse of Cromwell on a back-road in Connemara. On a clear day, she can see the Olympic mountains from her front window. On the foggy ones, she can smell the Puget Sound.
She writes historical fiction set in the middle ages that routinely includes too much violence, name-calling and petty vandalism perpetrated by badly-behaved young people. Her work is represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency.
Cecily’s father has ruined her life. He’s moving them to occupied Wales, where the king needs good strong Englishmen to keep down the vicious Welshmen. At least Cecily will finally be the lady of the house.
Gwenhwyfar knows all about that house. Once she dreamed of being the lady there herself, until the English destroyed the lives of everyone she knows. Now she must wait hand and foot on this bratty English girl.
While Cecily struggles to find her place amongst the snobby English landowners, Gwenhwyfar struggles just to survive. And outside the city walls, tensions are rising ever higher—until finally they must reach the breaking point.