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Interview with Nya Jade, author of 'Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four'

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Nya Jade is a singer-songwriter and author based in San Francisco. Her music videos have aired on the VH1, BET, and MTV networks. USA Today hailed Nya as a “young female troubadour worth keeping your eyes and ears on,” in an entertainment feature on up-and-coming singer-songwriters. “Her cool singing voice recalls Sade,” said the LA Times.

Between writing and performing new music, Nya took a musical sabbatical to focus on writing a novel—an endeavor she found quite daunting, until she began looking at each chapter as a verse in a very long song. Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four is her first novel.

In her free time, Nya enjoys hanging out with family and friends, searching for amazing gluten-free desserts, and bargain hunting for her next pair of funky shoes.

Nya holds a B.A. in Economics and an M.A. in Sociology, both from Stanford University.

1. How have you been able to use social media (Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, etc.) to help market your book?

It has been amazing to connect with readers from all over the world with social media. I've used Facebook and Twitter to promote fun giveaways that have helped to spread the word out about Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four. Goodreads has been a great way to email with folks who've added me as a friend on that site. The instant connection has been wonderful.

2. Do you have any advice for new authors looking to promote themselves on these sites?

Yes. Do not abuse social media when promoting books. I think it's easy to fall into the constant sell mode. But I believe readers want to connect with authors and sites like Facebook and Twitter allow them to get bit-size glimpses of who we are as people.

3. What type of writing routine do you have? Any tips you can share about it?

My routine starts early in the morning because a lot of ideas come to me in the shower. After a good breakfast (I'm grumpy if I don't eat), I'll find a quiet place at home to write. I like to change locations throughout the day – to me a new location means new energy. On a very productive day, I'll write for 8 -10 hours. Whenever writer's block strikes, I hop back into the shower to recharge. I know it sounds like a strange tip, but a hot shower does wonders for unlocking creativity. Try it and see!

4. How has it been trying to balance your writing with your day job and/or family life? Is there anything you would change?

I have no complaints here. This is because my husband is very supportive. We'll sometimes discuss my characters and plot points over dinner.

5. Setting is an extremely important aspect in grabbing your readers' attention. What made you choose to set your book in a New England boarding school?

I went to a New England boarding school that had a castle on its campus. It was so amazing to me that my school had a castle! I loved making up stories about the secrets it held. Setting my book in a similar location was an easy decision. I knew I'd be able to create the same sense of mystery that I felt as a student.

6. What types of books do you read? How do you think they have influenced your writing?

I love a good mystery! I loved the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series growing up. I never grew out of my love of mysteries. They keep me up late trying to figure out the twists. I love it when the ending is a complete surprise. So I'd say that mysteries have shown me the importance of keeping the reader guessing.

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