by admin

January 2, 2023

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Interview & Giveaway with Nova Ren Suma

I’m so excited today to welcoming Nova Ren Suma, the author of the beautiful and haunting Imaginary Girls, to Not Enough Bookshelves.

Imaginary Girls is one of my favourite books of 2011 and definitely the most original. You can read my review here. Nova was kind enough to take some time to answer my questions. I hope you guys enjoy the interview and pick up a copy of Imaginary Girls.

1) Imaginary Girls is such a beautiful, haunting and amazing story, but I’m having trouble describing it to people without spoilers. Can you share your elevator pitch?

Thank you so much! First, let me say that elevator pitches intimidate me and if I were ever trapped in an elevator and asked what my novel was about I can’t promise I wouldn’t panic and stab all the buttons and flee at the closest floor. That said, this is what I say when asked in person and I can’t escape:

Imaginary Girls is the story of two sisters, their strong bond, and the dead body that threatens to break it. I like to call the book contemporary with a fantastical twist—and I try not to say too much more than that.

2) Your style is extremely distinctive (loved Chloe’s voice) and I can’t think of anything like it. Who are your literary influences?

I’ve always found myself drawn to strong first-person voices. When I was first finding my voice as a writer, I was devouring books like Good Morning, Midnight by Jean Rhys, A Feather on the Breath of God by Sigrid Nunez, The Last Life by Claire Messud, and The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides (which is really collective first-person, and wow, what a novel!). I think what I read and admired in those days really shaped my own voice. I was first inspired to write YA by the author Laura Kasischke, whose novels Boy Heaven and Feathered completely took hold of me and—in leading me to stop writing adult fiction in favor of YA—effectively changed my life.

3) You’re very open and honest on your blog about how hard your journey to publication has been, aside from never, never, never give up, what one piece of advice would you give aspiring writers?

I would tell aspiring writers the thing I refused to listen to myself: Don’t be afraid to give up a manuscript and start over. I mean start over entirely. From scratch. Even if you’ve devoted five years to writing it and you want to try every literary agent on the planet with it until there are only ants left. I say this only because I had a hard time letting go. I felt in my gut that I should, but I didn’t want to admit it. It took me years to realize that the novels I’d written were not working and I could, in fact I should, try a new story.

It’s hard to give in when you’ve spent so much time on something, but sometimes it takes a few tries before you find your stride. The truth is, I’m glad—relieved, even—that there are 845 unpublished pages living under my couch. It’s okay that those novels never made it. Imaginary Girls is what I wanted to write all along.

4) Ruby is such an amazing character, so vivid and compelling. Did you ever consider telling the novel from her point of view, or writing a duel narration? And was it hard to find what makes her tick or was she one of those characters who just was?

I’m completely taken by Ruby. She’s surely one of those characters who just walks out onto the page and takes over. I couldn’t stop her, and the story took flight from what she did.

I love trying to imagine what Ruby’s really thinking and what she means by what she does—but so much of the way I see Ruby is through her little sister Chloe’s eyes. Chloe who adores her. Chloe who believes almost anything she says. It’s important that Chloe tell this story because her vision of Ruby is what gives her so much magic. I never wanted to write this novel from Ruby’s perspective. That would have taken the mystery away.

The 5 quick currently questions

a) Currently reading? I’m just starting this novel called Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey that comes out from HarperTeen this fall. I try to avoid reading too much fiction when I’m drafting, but I’m having a hard time putting this one down and I may not be able to wait.

b) Currently watching? I’m in the midst of Netflixing all available seasons of Friday Night Lights, which I’m shocked that I like so much, since I have no interest in football. I think that speaks to the skill of the series writers that someone like me, who avoids sports at all costs, could be so drawn into the lives of these characters. I could learn from this.

c) Currently listening to? The Xx. I can’t stop playing them while I write my new novel.

d) Currently eating? As I answer this question, I am battling a craving for some Thai food.

e) Currently wishing for? A searing bolt of inspiration so overpowering, I’ll look up a few days later and my whole manuscript will be finished.

And because I love this book so much, I’m giving away a copy. Just leave a comment below to be entered. I’ll randomly pick a name on the 30th July.

The giveaway is open to where ever the Book Depository ships.

You can find out more about Nova Ren Suma and Imaginary Girls at her website and her wonderful blog, Distraction No 99.

Imaginary Girls is currently on a Blog Tour ~ the tour details can be found here, secrets are being revealed and giveaways hosted so check it out!

Thanks again to Nova for answering my questions and thanks to all of you for reading πŸ˜€


  1. Thanks for the giveaway and for opening it to worldwide entries.

    Much appreciated.

    I have seen some posts on this book but I haven't got around to reading any reviews of it however your remarks and the interview have caught my interest so please enter me.


    Carol T

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com


  2. Now that you have mentioned it I've got a sudden craving for Thai Food as well πŸ˜› ( mum just called and I ask for thai food so I'm going to get my thai food πŸ˜› yay!!!!)

    I absolutely love the sound of Imaginary Girls, I actually wasn't sure it would be for me when i read the blurb since I'm not a huge contemporary fan but you've convinced me!

    Thanks for the giveaway as well!

    Lisa xx


  3. Great interview! I love the writing advice Nova gave about don't be afraid to give up and write something new.

    And I can't wait to read it after your very mysterious review.

    Thanks for the giveaway.


  4. I've heard nothing but amazing things about Imaginary Girls, so thanks for this opportunity to win a copy!

    Also, your interview questions are so great! I avoid hosting interviews because my questions are so boring, haha.



  5. Great advice. I've heard nothing but wonderful review for this book.

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com


  6. great interview and thanks for the giveaway :*
    Ioana Lacatusu


  7. Awesome interview! I have been wanting to read this book since it cams out, thanks for the opportunity! πŸ™‚

    You can tweet me @hominidrunner if I win, thanks!


  8. *comments*

    thanks for the giveaway! im so excited to read IG :]


  9. We already bought the book so we don't need to enter the giveaway, but we really enjoyed this haunting, beautifully written story and hope that others will as well!

    Great interview — we love the XX too! πŸ™‚


  10. Oooo I have seen this book dotted about various blogs – no suprise since it is on a blog tour *duh*

    Thanks for the giveaway and for offering it world wide.




  11. If Imaginary Girls is a favorite read of yours I would LOVE to read it for myself. Thanks for the great giveaway!



  12. Great interview Alexa πŸ™‚ Fantastic questions and answers, thanks for the giveaway πŸ™‚


  13. Great interview. Thanks for the giveaway!



  14. My sister also said Friday Night Lights is a really good show. I have to sit down and start watching it!

    findjessyhere at gmail dot com


  15. Thank you for the giveaway =)


  16. Sounds good, Thanks so much for the giveaway!:)



  17. This was such a great interview! I enjoyed your questions, Alexa, and I loved Nova's answers! I especially enjoyed her response to your question of what advice would she give to writers who are starting out. It would take a lot of courage to abandon a book you had been writing for five years! But I think courage must be a necessary trait for writers. Best of luck in everything, Nova!!!

    Alexa, I would absolutely love to be entered in your drawing for Imaginary Girls.


  18. Thank you for doing the interview. Those are my favorite reviews / posts. It helps me relate more to the book and the author.

    hootowl1978 at gmail dot com


  19. I'd love to read this! Thanks for the giveaway.

    erinberry12 at charter dot net


  20. thanks for the giveaway alexa

    and also, love how she mentioned all those pages of writing before she got to the story she wanted to write

    i need to think about that and not angst about my current WIP so much O.o


    naomirees27 @ gmail . com


  21. Ah! Two of my favourite people on one site! Great interview. Don't enter me in the drawing as I have my very own loved copy of IG already!


  22. Thanks for the international giveaway! Imaginary Girls sounds like a really different kind of read.


  23. Just read divergent, would love to read imaginery girls.


  24. Great interview. I've been dying to read Imaginary Girls. I would love to win it!



  25. I've read good feedback about this book! Thanks for this interview! πŸ˜€

    ninmonster at rocketmail dot com


I adore comments, so thanks so much for taking the time. I'll try and return the favour πŸ˜€

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