Hilary Wagner is yet another innocent victim of LiLa's cyberstalking. We've been following Hilary's rise to superstardom since she was looking for an agent. And now her debut middle grade novel, NIGHTSHADE CITY, is being being blurbed by Rick Riordan. Wow.
"Fans of Redwall and the Warriors series will love this heroic tale of good versus evil in a subterranean society of rats."
--Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series
Here's what the cover copy has to say:
Deep beneath a modern metropolis lies the Catacombs, the kingdom of remarkable rats of superior intellect. Juniper and his maverick band of rebel rats have been plotting ever since the Bloody Coup turned the Catacombs, a once-peaceful democracy, into a brutal dictatorship ruled by decadent High Minister Killdeer and his vicious henchman, Billycan, a former lab rat with a fondness for butchery. When three young orphan rats--brothers Vincent and Victor and a clever female named Clover--flee the Catacombs in mortal peril and join forces with the rebels, it proves to be the spark that ignites the long-awaited battle to overthrow their oppressors and create a new city--Nightshade City. View the trailer on the Nightshade City website! NightshadeCity.com
First cats and now rats! Okay, so it's not every day that you come across such a unique premise in a book. NIGHTSHADE CITY is fresh and different and has classic written all over it. Even if rats aren't your thing, give this book a shot. Hilary is an incredible writer and her rats are relatable to the point where you end up falling in love with the little guys. At its heart, NIGHTSHADE CITY is a book about the battle between good and evil and the story is one that children and adults of all ages will enjoy.
Because Hilary is amazing, she agreed to stop by to answer our usual (random) questions:
1. Tell us about your book in 140 characters or less.
Eleven years after the corrupt Killdeer takes over the Catacombs, three young rats, along w/a group of rebels, fight to reclaim their freedom.
2. Where did you get the idea for NIGHTSHADE CITY (as the official idea whores, we have a vested interest here.)
I better not see any Lisa & Laura rat books! Ha, ha! My agent uses the word "organic" a lot and I'd have to say that's how NIGHTSHADE CITY came to be. It was very organic. The book started out extremely different. It was supposed to be something short and sweet for my kids, nothing I ever intended on getting published and--well--here I am today! I wanted a story that was at times dark, but also redemptive. Redemption is very important to me in my writing. As is humor--you can never get too much of that and gosh darn it, rats can be funny!
3. Someone has a pair of scissors to your head (oooh, SCARY!) and you have to choose: Awesome title or gorgeous book cover?
Gorgeous cover! I'm a visual artist and I'm also one of those suckers for a great cover. I've bought many a book based on the cover artwork.
4. When did you know you had to be a writer?
I suppose I knew the day I almost got into what could have been a bad car accident. It was back when I was writing Nightshade City. I live in Chicago, so a long highway commute to and from work. During my daily drive, I'd think about the book, plotting it in my head, etc., always with a pen and notebook in the passenger seat. Needless to say, I had a breakthrough moment in the car, which had to be written down. Stupidly, I almost ended up in the backseat of some poor guy's Honda! Thankfully, I had good breaks! I risked my life (and possibly Honda guy's) over my book! After that, it was pretty clear in my mind that I was bound to be a writer for life! Oh, and don't worry, no more writing in the car--ever!
5. Twizzlers or M&Ms
Oh, that is just not a fair question! On first grab, I'd go for the M&Ms (dying to try the new pretzel ones, btw). After all that chocolate, you need something light and refreshing, so that's when I'd go for the Twizzlers! They make fun straws too! ;)
Enter to win NIGHTSHADE CITY:
OK, so after all of that we know you're DYING to read NIGHTSHADE CITY and lucky for you we're giving away our gorgeous hardcover to one lucky reader. Leave a comment before midnight tonight and we'll announce the winner in our post tomorrow.
Here's what the other Bookanistas are up to this week: