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Interview with Nicole Kronzer, Debut YA Author of UNSCRIPTED
Apr 20th, 2020 by Liza Wiemer

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About UNSCRIPTED From Goodreads:

A funny and timely debut YA about the toxic masculinity at a famous improv comedy camp

Seventeen-year-old Zelda Bailey-Cho has her future all planned out: improv camp, then Second City, and finally Saturday Night Live. She’s thrilled when she lands a spot on the coveted varsity team at a prestigious improv camp, which means she’ll get to perform for professional scouts—including her hero, Nina Knightley. But even though she’s hardworking and talented, Zelda’s also the only girl on Varsity, so she’s the target for humiliation from her teammates. And her 20-year-old coach, Ben, is cruel to her at practice and way too nice to her when they’re alone. Zelda wants to fight back, but is sacrificing her best shot at her dream too heavy a price to pay? 

Equal parts funny and righteous, Unscripted is a moving debut novel that Printz Award winner Nina LaCour calls “a truly special book, written at exactly the right time.”

INTERVIEW:

1. Share with readers a novel secret—something that readers will never know just from picking up the book. It could be a place you included in the novel, a name you gave to a character inspired by another person, special research you did.

When I wrote the acknowledgments for Unscripted, they were 2500 words. My editor (very sweetly) wrote me back and said there were only 3 pages allotted in the book for thank-yous, and did I think I could maybe cut them back to 1000 words? As a result, if you flip back to the acknowledgments, the font is much smaller and the spacing narrower compared to the rest of the book, and they’re kind of choppy flow-wise. But I had so many people to thank! 

2. What did you find most unexpected when you were writing this novel?

I had no idea how charmed I would be by copy editing! If folks don’t know, copy editors are the geniuses who not only check your punctuation and grammar (turns out, I’m an idiot when it comes to hyphens), but also make sure details are consistent throughout the book. For example, there’s a CD that I called “Pacific Coast Whale Sounds” at the beginning of the book, but then apparently had a change of heart halfway through and switched it to “West Coast Whale Sounds.” 

If you make an allusion (like I did when some kids at the camp in my book are playing the muggle version of Quidditch from the Harry Potter universe), they cite the original source and page number where it’s first mentioned. 

They also make a style sheet, which is basically a guide to my particular voice. For example, no distinguishing between who/whom, I spell “dillhole” and “asshat” as one word, and “eye-daggers” gets a hyphen. It might seem really dorky, but I cooed and cooed when my copy edits arrived. Maybe it’s the English teacher in me that appreciated all that work!  

3. Was this your first book you wrote or do you have others that didn’t sell? If so, share something you learned through the process of getting published.

A writer friend of mine gave me great advice as I started to query my first novel. She said, “Start writing your next book right away.” I was surprised, but she was absolutely right. A number of agents requested to read my first book, but as the passes started rolling in, I was disappointed, but not devastated because I had another iron in the fire that I was really excited about. I wrote the agents back who had requested my first novel but passed and asked if I could query them with my next project when it was done. Most of them wrote back right away saying, “Absolutely!” After passing on my first book, Sara Crowe, my dream agent, offered on Unscripted only six days after I sent it to her. 

The biggest thing I learned was not to treat my first project like a precious, singular work of art. In this business, the best thing you can do is to keep moving forward. 

Bonus round: What do you prefer?

Laundry, dishes, dusting, vacuuming?

Laundry! I did the family laundry growing up as soon as I was tall enough to reach the bottom of the washer and dryer. My mom told me I could watch TV as I folded and ironed, so that’s why it’s my favorite chore. I still watch TV as I fold and iron clothes as an adult. 

Flying, sailing, walking, driving?

As Mel and Sue on Bake-off would say, I’m a keen walker. I like to envision myself as Elizabeth Bennet, traversing the English countryside. But also, I’m a big environmentalist, and a lover of efficiency. Walking is non-carbon-emitting transportation as well as physical exercise and good for my mental health. Bam! It’s a three-fer. Love a walk.

Movies at home or movies in a theater?

Movies at home. I love knitting as I watch TV and movies, and movie theaters are just too dark to knit in. 😉 

Peas, carrots, brussels sprouts, spinach?

All of the above, please. I love vegetables. But if I had to pick one, it would be brussel sprouts. (Roasted in olive oil with a little salt and pepper for the win!)

Broadway play, Broadway musical, TV show, or movie?

Broadway play. I love musicals, but they make me weep. The first Broadway musical I saw was Les Misérables as a junior on my high school band trip to New York. I ugly cried through the entire second act. Lion King, Hamilton, Urine Town—all of it. Music plus story? Sob city. I can hold it together more easily in a play. But really, all of them—play, musical, TV, movie—I love them all. 

Feel free to share anything else you would like. I’m flexible! 

I narrated my own audiobook! I was a professional actor before I was a teacher and author. I also had a lot of practice during the two-and-a-half-year span when I read all seven Harry Potter books out loud to my daughters! 

The first time Nicole saw a finished copy!

About Nicole:

In addition to writing books for teenagers, her favorite people, Nicole Kronzer is a high school English teacher and former professional actor. She loves to knit and run (usually not at the same time), and has named all the plants in her classroom. She lives with her family in Minneapolis.

Find Nicole: Website | Twitter | Instagram

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