|Yvonne Navarro: Answering the Dark Question|
For Yvonne Navarro, it really was all Mom's fault. Navarro's professional writing career began the day her mother read a book Navarro gave her and told Navarro: "You could do this." As it happened, Mom was right. Navarro's first novel, AfterAge became a finalist of the Bram Stoker award. So did her follow-up, Deadrush.
Navarro's writing takes her readers from one extreme to another, whether it be in a world of her own making, like that found in DeadTimes or That's Not My Name, or that of someone else, such as her superlative work in the universe of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. One of the most prolific writers of Buffy novels, Navarro's series credits include Paleo, Tempted Champions and a trilogy featuring the fan favorite Willow Rosenberg.
Crescent Blues: In the Buffy novel, Tempted Champions, you spend a good amount of time on all of the series' major characters. Were you ever concerned that Buffy might be overshadowed by the other plotlines?
Yvonne Navarro: No. I guess you could say I write how I write. In other words, I'm writing what the story demands I write, and if you look at any Buffy novel, there's always a parallel plot involving a lesson learned which generally focuses on one of the other characters. We like to get every one of the characters involved in every book.
Yvonne Navarro: It didn't. AfterAge is a world apart from Buffy -- a lot of different rules and a different world setting altogether. Those who've read it might realize afterward that not a single stake is driven through a vampire in that novel, nor is a cross ever pointed at one. Holy water IS used, but only as a method to an end.
Crescent Blues: Your latest Buffy novels, a trilogy called Wicked Willow, focus on everyone's favorite Wiccan. What can you tell us about the storyline?
Yvonne Navarro: The trilogy is based on that marvelously dark question "What if Willow went bad?" It takes place under the premise of a parallel universe pathway, which branches off when, after flaying Warren alive, Willow decides to pause to answer Buffy's question rather than continue her Hunt for Jonathan and Andrew. Things spiral on from there. The titles are The Darkening, Shattered Twilight and Broken Sunrise.
Crescent Blues: What was the creative process for that trilogy?
Yvonne Navarro: Well, that would be yours truly coming up with the pitch for the idea, getting the go-ahead to submit outlines for each book, and then doing that. It's a hurry up and wait thing, but in the meantime, even though we didn't have the approval for the trilogy from Fox, the series was written in the publication schedule. I didn't want to write anything without approval, so when it did come in, it was hand-in-hand with a brutal deadline -- all three books have to be completed and turned in by February 1, 2004. That's even tougher than expected; I thought I had nine months, but I only have eight.
Crescent Blues: How do you manage to work a full-time job and still find time to write novels, especially on a deadline like yours (three books in nine months)?
Yvonne Navarro: I have no idea. I'm not kidding.
Crescent Blues: What led to the Overlook Connection Press publication of Mirror Me?
Yvonne Navarro: I gave Dave [Hinchberger, publisher of Overlook Connection Press] the manuscript to read quite some time ago. He wanted to publish it right away, but I was hoping for a mass market sale to go along with a limited. Unfortunately, due to agent problems, that didn't happen. Although my agent and I have since parted ways, the damage was done and the novel may never be picked up by a mass market publisher now. Dave was still interested, and he and I negotiated a bit on the publication date. We finally settled on January 2004.
Crescent Blues: You've utilized e-technology to get some of your out-of-print books back into the hands of your readers. Are there any drawbacks to e-publishing?
Yvonne Navarro: I have a .pdf of a novel excerpt (of Mirror Me) on my site, but other than that, I have no e-books. I tried one venture with a novella, and I think it sold one copy for which I never got a cent. I'll post excerpts on my site, but I no longer post short stories on my site or anyone's else's, with only very rare exceptions. I generally don't submit to webzines. Why? The sad, simple truth is that I'm tired of discovering that my work has been stolen off these sites by other people who neither ask my permission to put it on THEIR website, nor pay me for it. And there you have the drawbacks.
Crescent Blues: Do you think that e-publishing will come to compete with traditional print?
Crescent Blues: What do you think of writer's groups? Do they actually help the aspiring writer?
Yvonne Navarro: I've never been in one, but they can -- provided you find good people who can give and take criticism without becoming jealous or overly controlling.
Crescent Blues: Is your writing influenced more by your real life or your imagination?
Yvonne Navarro: I think that's a mixture of both -- you can't have one without the other.
Crescent Blues: What are your thoughts on being the Guest of Honor at TusCon 30? Are you nervous, excited?
Yvonne Navarro: I'm very excited and flattered. It's a wonderful welcome to Arizona and I'm really looking forward to it. Also, since I really don't like flying, it's great to be able to drive there!
here to learn more
about Yvonne Navarro.