Debut Authors Bash: Natalie Tilghman


2015 debut authors bash

Today, I am thrilled to host Natalie Tilghman for the 2015 Debut Authors Bash! This is the third year in a row that we’ve hosted this event, and it’s so much fun every single time. I love showcasing the amazing debut authors every year. Find out more about Natalie Tilghman below, including an amazing one on one interview!

Natalie 2I have been writing as long as I can remember and one of my earliest “books” was published by my elementary school when I was in fourth grade.  When I won an award for an essay I wrote in college, I thought, “Hey, this is something I like doing and maybe I should pursue it.”  I studied fiction at the University of Chicago Writers’ Workshop and received a MFA from Rainier Writing Workshop. After I graduated, a fellow student, Bill Sommer, sent me a goofy email about assuming character identities and starting an email correspondence as our chosen characters. And that’s how my first novel, A 52-Hertz Whale, was born.  In addition to working on my next novel, I teach writing at the University of Chicago.

Check out Natalie Tilghman below!





Check out Natalie Tilghman and Bill Sommer’s book below:

52 hertz whale

In the YA epistolary novel an unlikely friendship develops via email correspondence between 14-year-old James, who studies the Urban Dictionary in hopes of making sense of his bewildering peer interactions, and 23-year old Darren, who is trying to win back his ex-girlfriend while doing grunt work on the set of a sitcom.

Go buy yourself a copy today!!!!




Read below for an author interview with Natalie Tilghman!

Cats or Dogs? Definitely dogs. And if we’re getting specific—Chihuahuas.

Chinese or Italian? Italian. (I’m a dual citizen!)

Favorite TV show? “The Voice”

Favorite Sports Team? The Cubs

Favorite movie of 2015? Honestly, don’t laugh…I watch a lot of “Bob the Builder” with my son!

Book Boyfriend? Sasha in Cures for Heartbreak (by Margo Rabb)

Current Favorite Song? “Hello” by Adele

Can you tell us about your book  A 52-Hertz Whale in 35 words or less? High school freshman, James Turner, is obsessed with humpback whales and the Urban Dictionary. When his adopted whale goes missing, he contacts Darren Olmstead, an aspiring documentary maker who once volunteered at James’s school. The unlikely correspondence that develops explores loneliness in a world where we are seemingly more connected than ever.

What was it like to co-write this book with Bill Sommer? In one word: awesome. Bill was the one who asked me about starting a writing exercise where we assumed character identities and wrote back to one another in emails.  We had rules that governed the exercise, and really, we were just having fun and practicing our craft.  But then, a story started to emerge. During the writing process, we both had to be accountable to one another, and that helped tremendously with moving the project along once we realized that we were writing a novel. I think that collaborating on a story is a fun experiment for anyone to try with a friend.  Write a sentence then pass the paper to your friend. She writes the next sentence. Continue taking turns until you’ve written a story.

Is  A 52-Hertz Whale a standalone or a series?  Hmmm….We will have to see!

I have to ask… on earth did you two come up with that title? Our editor, Andrew Karre, came up with the idea. He’s incredible. I am horrible at titles!

What was your favorite scene to write? The scene with Sophia and her mother’s boyfriend, Albert, in Starbucks when they finally connect with one another.

What was the hardest scene to edit out? Some of the emails that were really funny but didn’t do much for the narrative.

Are you currently working on anything else? I just won the 2015 Rona Jaffe Award for my second novel-in-progress, which is inspired by the experiences of my grandmother and great aunt during World War II in Italy.

What has been your favorite debut of 2015 (beside your own?) Church of Marvels by Leslie Parry—glittering, magical, unpredictable.

What is currently in your TBR pile? Playlist of the Dead by Michelle Falkoff, Sweet Madness by Lindsey Currie and Trisha Leaver, Dating Down by Stephanie Lyons, and Don’t Touch by Rachel Wilson. All on my nightstand!

Thanks for stopping by YaReads!!!!



(2) copies of A 52-Hertz Whale, open Internationally

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