Interview: Dahlia Adler, YA author

Today I’m pleased to be interviewing Dahlia Adler. If you’re part of the writing community on Twitter, particularly, you’ll probably have heard of Dahlia; she’s full of good advice and kind words for new writers. Her first book, BEHIND THE SCENES, comes out in June next year.

Tell us about your THREE-BOOK DEAL with Spencer Hill Contemporary (SHC)! I gather they signed you up not for a trilogy but for separate books. How did that process work?

This was actually sort of a hilarious process, because in addition to being my wonderful, talented editor, Patricia Riley is also a friend of mine. She loved (well, hopefully loves!) BEHIND THE SCENES and once we started talking about it, I couldn’t stop babbling about every random thought I’d ever had, and one was what my imaginary companion novel would be. As the deal was happening, she said, “Well, what if it wasn’t so imaginary?” And then as we kept talking, she said she didn’t want to lose me after two books, and I knew I had a couple of others I thought could be perfect for her and SHC, so the non-trilogy three-book deal was born! Definitely not typical in process or practice, but I’m very, very excited that Patricia’s stuck with me for a while longer!

What has your favourite part of the publishing process been so far?

I announced my deal five months ago and it’s still the greatest feeling in the world every time someone tells me they’re actually excited to read my book. Like, people I don’t know who don’t have to say that to be nice to me. That is so amazing, and having great editors at SHC in Patricia and her incredible editorial assistant, Lauren, makes me feel infinitely better about what I’ll be releasing into the world!

What about the worst part?


Dahlia the Divine (as she shall henceforth be known!)

I just turned around my first round of edits, and there’s always this nagging feeling of what else I could’ve or should’ve done, and the anticipation of the response, and thinking “If only I’d had another week.” And while now, sure, there’s always another round of edits, the realization that one day there won’t be—that what I’ve done is what readers will get—is terrifying. But eventually, you have to let go, and that’s why I think it’s so, so important to trust the people in charge of your book that they’ll make it the best they can be.

All your books (that I’m aware of!) are young adult contemporary—even The Book of Esther, a retelling of the biblical book of (surprise!) Esther. What draws you to that genre?

I love contemporary for all the lives it allows you to live vicariously; that’s always been a huge draw to writing it for me. This definitely traces back largely to the fact that I strictly observe Orthodox Judaism (if I’m never gonna eat bacon in real life, I’m going to have characters who do!) but I’ve also come to realize that part of what I love about contemporary is the challenge of creating new stories in the confines of a world that already exists.

Now, granted, my worldbuilding skills when it comes to making up alternate realities and fantasy lands are nonexistent, so I highly doubt I could write another genre even if I wanted to, but there’s something so cool in contemporary about having to create new worlds, schools, local cultures, etc. within the existing geographical boundaries, social constructs, and laws of our world. It’s a fun challenge every time, trying to figure out a way to make your story stand out when you’re playing by the same guidelines as every other contemporary writer!

I’ve got a Pinterest board where I collect blog posts that are great resources for writers, and your posts and Chuck Wendig’s are the majority my pins. You also volunteer your time on contests like Pitch Madness. How do you manage all these incredibly generous contributions to the writing community while also finding time to write, work and, you know, eat? Do you have a TARDIS?!

Thanks so much for that! Regarding time, I’m honestly just very, very lucky. My husband is the crazy kind of supportive that will say things like, “I’ll clean up the enormous mess you just made in the kitchen—you go write.” I also have a brain that thrives on multi-tasking, a job that allows for some surreptitious tweeting during the day and blogging during lunch, a subway commute that ensures I’ll always have plenty of time to read and often beta, and incredible friends and CPs who keep me sane and my work better.

But I also don’t have kids or pets. I don’t give any time to things like exercise. I don’t have other hobbies. I’m pretty apathetic as to the cleanliness of my house. And I really don’t care if I get to shower every day. Or every other day. Or every three days. It’s easy, especially over social media, to forget how both our personal wiring and personal circumstances feed in to what we are able to put out into the world. But those things can factor in as much as skill, knowledge and desire do.

What book release are you most looking forward to in the next six months?

Oh God, this question is torturously unfair. I am so, so excited for so many upcoming releases, and anyone who follows my blog will see me talking about them a lot over the next few months. I’ll answer, but I’m going to cheat a little and go with something that’s in the next six and a half months, because it really is the answer that automatically comes to mind when I think about the release I’m dying for: OPEN ROAD SUMMER by Emery Lord, which releases on 15 April 2014, from Walker.

Our books are similar in premise, so obviously it’s an idea that excited me from the get-go, but I’m really excited for the differences, too—I know nothing about the country music world, and I love that there’s a huge travel aspect to the plot—and now that I know Emery personally, I’m particularly excited for the amount of heart and humor I know will fill it. So…is it April yet??

Dahlia Adler is an Assistant Editor of mathematics by day, a Copy Editor at Spencer Hill Contemporary and Ellora’s Cave by night, and a YA author and blogger at every spare moment in between. She lives in New York City with her husband and their overstuffed bookshelves, and is represented by Lana Popovic at Zachary Shuster Harmsworth. You can find her on Twitter at @MissDahlELama and blogging at The Daily Dahlia and YA Misfits.


Eighteen-year-old Ally Duncan’s best friend may be “the” Vanessa Park – star of TV’s hottest new teen drama – but Ally’s not interested in following in her BFF’s Hollywood footsteps. In fact, the only thing Ally’s ever really wanted is to go to Columbia and study abroad in Paris. But when her father’s mounting medical bills threaten to stop her dream in its tracks, Ally nabs a position as Van’s on-set assistant to get the cash she needs.

Spending the extra time with Van turns out to be fun, and getting to know her sexy co-star Liam is an added bonus. But when the actors’ publicist arranges for Van and Liam to “date” for the tabloids just after he and Ally share their first kiss, Ally will have to decide exactly what role she’s capable of playing in their world of make believe. If she can’t play by Hollywood’s rules, she may lose her best friend, her dream future, and her first shot at love.

5 Comments on “Interview: Dahlia Adler, YA author”

  1. Great interview! And what an amazing deal! I’m not at all surprised though. Dahlia’s book sounds amazing!

  2. I’m so excited to read this book! Great interview and fitting things in is a such a challenge, it’s great to know I’m not the only one that skips a shower sometimes.

  3. It’s so excited that Dahlia has a 3 book deal!! The Book of Esther sounds amazing- I’ve always wanted to read a retelling of the Esther story!

  4. Dahlia Adler says:

    Thanks so much, everyone, and especially Cassandra for having me!

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