Swoontini Interview: NATHAN BRANSFORD

Lo says: Okay, Swoonies. You guys know how much PQ and I heart Nathan Bransford. As in, A TON. Like many writers, we relied on his calm wisdom while writing and querying our first book. Then, in Summer 2011 I organized the What’s Hot in YA Fiction panel at San Diego Comic Con and Nathan Bransford (I’m sorry, I can’t just call him Nathan, it feels wrong somehow) agreed to moderate. *dancing dogs* Life is awesome, right?

But then.

Here I am, taking a nap on some dirty yellowed grass in front of Hall H (seriously, SDCC is exhausting, y’all) and my friend Cyndy brings Nathan Bransford over to meet me. She’s pulling him along like she’s bringing me a plate with ALL OF THE COOKIES because she knows how excited I am to meet Nathan Bransford. I’m probably drooling on myself, covered in freaking straw and I’m sure I smell like the weed the people in the Hall H line were smoking. I’m all, “OH HI MY HERO HOW ARE THINGS? Let me just. . . stand and. . . wipe my face and. . . deal with this straw . . . ” [*christina quietly dies laughing*]

Anyway, of course he was awesome and the panel was a huge hit in no small part because he’s an outstanding moderator. When he agreed to be interviewed I’m pretty sure I brought back some rocking dance moves from the early nineties, and I’m sorry that you weren’t all there to see it.

Lo says: I promised I wouldn’t bust out the serious process hats during your interview (I mean, LOL x infinity, as if I could hang anyway), so we’ll start out with an important litmus test: buttered popcorn Jelly Bellys: yes or no. No pressure.
NB: Yes! They’re so wrong they’re right and back to wrong and then back to right again.

BRILLIANT! And correct answer, thank goodness. I knew we were meant to be BFFs. You joke on your site about turning into an unrepentant diva but it’s so ridiculous I laughed out loud when I read that. You are the nicest human, no lie. Also, your website has become the go-to resource for writers everywhere – do you ever go back to your own posts to remind yourself the things Agent You once said to calm/help/encourage Writer You?
Thank you for the nice words! I often write blog posts in order to tell myself things I need to remember as much as I am telling other people to remember them. So yeah. I do try to stay true to the things I write about even (especially?) when I’m a Writing Crazy Person.

Do you sleep? How do you manage to read The Internet every week?
I do sleep! I manage my Internet reading thanks to Google Reader and Twitter. It’s tough to keep up with sometimes but these days on the Internet the good stuff finds you.

It’s February 29th, which is Leap Year Day (I mean, does it have a name?) and I think it should be an actual holiday – Adventure Day – where everyone does something different and exciting they’ve never done before. Travel, or hang glide, or even just try to start a novel. If I’d given you more heads-up (sorry about that) what would be doing for Adventure Day 2012?
I love it! Adventure Day! I have been craving some beach time ever since my parents were kind enough to relentlessly send me photos of their lovely Hawaiian vacation while I was stuck inside finishing up Jacob Wonderbar #3. So I think I’d go to Bora Bora to swim with sharks or at the very least read a good book next to some water.

Tell us about mid-grade and teenage Nathan. What current books would he have devoured?
Teen Nathan would have really loved reading Jennifer Hubbard’s novels, especially THE SECRET YEAR, along with John Green and Jandie Nelson. And mid-grade Nathan would probably spent the ages between 8-12 reading the HARRY POTTER novels and nothing but the HARRY POTTER novels.

In a recent interview, you said (and I’m paraphrasing) that you don’t necessarily love the writing process, but you love having written. One, I totally love that. And two, where do you go out to eat in San Francisco when you want to celebrate Having Written? (SEE HOW I MADE THAT A NON-PROCESS QUESTION *high fives*)
I do love eating out at San Francisco’s fine dining establishments, though I don’t have a standby for Having Written. However my post-finishing tradition does involve getting outdoors – I just turned Jacob Wonderbar #3 into my editor a few days ago, and this weekend will involve a copious dose of Golden Gate Park.

I grew up in a mixed household. That is, my mom is a Giants fan and my Dad is an A’s fan. Are you a Giants fan and if you are, HOW AWESOME ARE THOSE GARLIC FRIES?
You are from a mixed household – I am a mixed soul. I grew up an A’s fan but the longer I’ve lived in San Francisco (and I lived a block away from AT&T Park for four years) and the more Giants games I went to I began to become a Giants fan. So I’d call myself a Giants fan now (sorry A’s!). And yes, the garlic fries are deadly.

Can you tell us a little something about what’s to come for Jacob, Dexter and Sarah in JACOB WONDERBAR FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSE? I heart Sarah, lots. Also – what other projects do you have in the pipeline?
As the title implies, Jacob Wonderbar runs for president of the universe and must endure many election shenanigans and dirty deeds, not least of which is being chased by a rogue band of space monkeys of questionable intelligence. Will Jacob win? And can he save Earth in the process? Questions.

I just finished up the third installment of the Jacob Wonderbar series, which is tentatively called JACOB WONDERBAR AND THE INTERSTELLAR TIME WARP. After that… we shall see!

You moderated one of the most popular & talked-about book panels at last year’s San Diego Comic Con, and I consistently hear how much everyone loved having you up there leading the discussion. If we’re given the green light, think you’re up for another trip to San Diego?
I actually conducted this interview from a tent in front of the San Diego convention center, where I will be camped out until July in anticipation of ComicCon.

*Running man* THAT IS GOOD NEWS! Thanks so much for coming by our silly site for this fun fangirling session interview! We really, truly can’t thank you enough for everything you’ve done for writers like us. Can’t wait to see you this summer, and can’t wait to see Jacob, Sarah, and Dexter in April!!

Aaaaand, because we want all of you to get in on the Nathan Bransford love (that sounds wrong but we’re sticking with it), we’re giving away a copy of JACOB WONDERBAR AND THE COSMIC SPACE KAPOW! Leave a comment and it could be yours.

About the author: Nathan Bransford is the author of JACOB WONDERBAR AND THE COSMIC SPACE KAPOW, a middle grade novel about three kids who blast off into space, break the universe, and have to find their way back home, which was published by Dial Books for Young Readers in May 2011. He was formerly a literary agent with Curtis Brown Ltd., but is now a publishing civilian working in the tech industry. He lives in San Francisco.

Next week: Kiersten White!