Debut Author Spotlight: Maggie Hall

Besides new resolutions and a new year, 2015 is bringing us so many drool-worthy books, including Maggie Hall's The Conspiracy of Us, an RT Top Pick!, YA thriller that marks Maggie's literary debut! With the book releasing tomorrow, we wanted to get up close and personal with this debut author and her book, so read on and say hello to Maggie!

Debut Author Spotlight: Maggie HallName: 
Maggie Hall

Book: The Conspiracy of Us

 YA International Thriller

Current Home: 
Albuquerque, NM

Author Icon(s): 
I have so many! A few off the top of my head: JK Rowling for her worldbuilding and the wizardry that was holding all the puzzle pieces of a very complex seven-book series together in her head. Laini Taylor for her sense of place and evocative language. Ernest Hemingway for actually living a life as interesting — or more interesting! — than he wrote about in his books.

Favorite Word:
 If you were to judge by the word I use way too often in my first drafts and always have to cut, you’d think it was just. Just can’t seem to stop using that one … ;)

But really: Wanderlust. The way it sounds rolling off the tongue and the meaning of it and the feeling it evokes — I feel like it’s a word that represents me all too well. 

Was this the first book you ever wrote?

 Yes, it is!

How did you start writing?

 I don’t have a dramatic story. I haven’t known I wanted to be an author since childhood. I didn’t have a dream that told me the exact plot of this book.

I’ve always been a huge reader, but never really thought of writing as something possible for normal people to do. But I’d been reading a lot of YA, and started talking with my husband about books I’d like to read that I didn’t see many of. The first vague ideas for Conspiracy came from that conversation, and I vaguely started working on the first draft of the book then. When I say vaguely, I mean it: I’d write a little here and there, think about characters, etc., but still didn’t think about it being a Real Book. I had no publishing aspirations at that point. Finally, I’d been thinking about it for long enough I decided to actually try to write it, then I met some writers, and decided to try querying, and the rest is history!

What was it like when you got "The Call"?

 I was absolutely not expecting anything when my agent called me to tell me we had our first offer on Conspiracy. It was six days after we went on sub. It was mid-December, which meant I wasn’t even expecting anyone to look at it until after the holidays. I was actually eating lunch with my husband on our front porch in New Orleans (where we were living at the time) and had left my phone inside. When I saw a missed call from my agent, I thought I’d probably forgotten to attach my bio or something. When I called her back and she told me we had an offer, I looked so surprised my husband thought somebody had died or something.

What's your favorite paragraph in The Conspiracy of Us?

 Most of my favorites are too spoiler-y to tell you! But some of the passages I love have to do with Avery’s discovery of the fascinating new places she’s going, and I really like this one:

Istanbul had always been a crossroads city. A crossroads between Europe and Asia. A crossroads of Christianity and Islam, like the Hagia Sophia itself. A crossroads between ancient and conservative, like that museum, and modern and anything but conservative, like this club. I wondered what kind of crossroads the city would be for me tonight.

If you discovered you were a member of the Circle of Twelve and had to attend a ball, which designer would you wear? Great question! And a really difficult question! I would obviously have to go to multiple balls to wear all the dresses I am dying to wear, but if I have to choose one, I’m really into Zuhair Murad lately. His gowns are so beautiful and intricate and sparkly and different without being weird. Which is pretty much the definition of my taste in … everything. 

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The Conspiracy of Us comes out tomorrow, so be sure to grab a copy from your favorite retailer! And for more YA debut authors, visit our Everything Young Adult page.