The time it was about Wild Swans

Posted April 25, 2016 by Stacee in Blog Tours, Giveaways, Interviews | 7 Comments

I’ve been in love with Jessica Spotswood’s words since the first page of Born Wicked.  When the premise for her new book came out, my greedy hands were immediately itching for it.  Of course I loved Wild Swans when I read it. And I basically begged to be part of the blog tour.

Wild Swans Tour Banner

Before we get to Jessica’s interview, let’s check out Wild Swans.

11The summer before Ivy’s senior year is going to be golden; all bonfires, barbeques, and spending time with her best friends. For once, she will just get to be. No summer classes, none of Granddad’s intense expectations to live up to the family name. For generations, the Milbourn women have lead extraordinary lives—and died young and tragically. Granddad calls it a legacy, but Ivy considers it a curse. Why else would her mother have run off and abandoned her as a child?

But when her mother unexpectedly returns home with two young daughters in tow, all of the stories Ivy wove to protect her heart start to unravel. The very people she once trusted now speak in lies. And all of Ivy’s ambition and determination cannot defend her against the secrets of the Milbourn past…

Sounds good, right?


1. Please give the elevator pitch for Wild Swans. 

Twitter pitch: WILD SWANS is a contemporary, feminist YA about complicated families, fierce friendships, and first love, set on the Chesapeake Bay.

Slightly longer version: Ivy’s been raised by her strict granddad after her mom ran off when Ivy was two. Now, the summer before her senior year, her troubled mother returns home with the two half-sisters Ivy’s never met. Drama ensues.

2. Where did the idea come from? 

Back in 2013, I read April Tucholke’s BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA, and I loved the way the Citizen Kane, the family’s crumbling mansion by the sea, played such an important role in the story. It made me want to write something where the setting functioned almost like another character. WILD SWANS takes place in Cecil, a small college town on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, where everyone knows everyone else’s business. Ivy’s family has lived there for generations. Everyone has an idea about what it means to be a Milbourn girl.

3. Why do you love Ivy and why should we root for her?

Ivy wants so much. At seventeen, she feels like a failure, like she’s letting everyone down (especially her granddad) because – despite dozens of lessons and camps and classes – she isn’t extraordinary. She’s swim team captain, third in her class, and so hardworking – but she doesn’t feel like that’s enough. The women in her family have all been extraordinarily talented, but they’ve also been very troubled, and they’ve all died tragically young. Ivy wants to do something amazing, but she doesn’t want to fall prey to the family legacy of mental illness. I suspect many of us struggle to define ourselves away from our family, and many of us have big dreams and worry that we aren’t good enough to make them come true. I know I do.

4. You have a great cast of characters in this book. Who was the easiest to work with?

I loved writing Claire, Ivy’s outspoken, fiercely loyal best friend. She threatened to take over every scene she’s in. I admire that she says what she thinks without worrying about other people’s opinions; she is the polar opposite of Ivy (and me) in that respect. I really hope I get to write a book from her point of view next!

5. There are some important topics touched on in this story {gender identity, body image, slut shaming}. Did you set out to include them, or did it happen naturally?

They came very naturally. I remembered watching swimming at the last Olympics, and a lot of the girls were tall and strong and muscular, not tall and model-skinny. I thought that might be a natural thing for Ivy to struggle with. Ella showed up on the page transgender; I’d just read an article about transgender kids. And then Claire…Claire says all the things I wish I could.

Speed [ish] round:

1. You get the call/email/letter that says you’re being published for the first time. Describe the next 5 minutes. 

I was at work; I worked as an administrative assistant at Catholic University Press then. I called my husband. I was a little overwhelmed; I sat on the floor and called my mom next. My coworkers went out and bought me balloons and pink champagne to celebrate.

2. What three things would you take to a desert island?

Do my husband and my cat count as “things?” Probably not, huh? How about a very fat notebook, a pencil, and a knife.

3. You can only read one book for the rest of your life. What is it?

Kristin Cashore’s BITTERBLUE. It’s so good, and so complex. I feel like I could re-read it a dozen times and unravel something new each time.

4. Who is your favorite book boyfriend and book BFF?

My favorite book boyfriends are Eldric from Franny Billingsley’s CHIME and Po from Kristin Cashore’s GRACELING, My book BFF…gosh, I want to be best friends with Kestrel from Marie Rutkowski’s The Winner’s Trilogy but I’m a little scared of her. But she’s amazing!

5. What is the one thing about publishing you wish someone would have told you?

Long careers have ups and downs. It’s really important to diversify and try new things, to challenge yourself with new genres, styles, age groups.

6. You wake up and discover you are Bella in Twilight. You know how it plays out. What do you do differently? {Huge thanks to Bookish Broads for letting me use this question!}

Choose Jacob. He’s so much more fun, and I’d get to stay human.


Jessica SpotswoodI heart books, board games, tea, the color pink, theatre, twirly dresses, and bells chiming the hour. I live in Washington, DC with my playwright husband and a cuddly cat named Monkey.

I work part-time as a children’s library associate for the DC Public Library. I’m frighteningly enthusiastic. 


Huge thanks to Hannah at Irish Banana Tours for the invite and to Jessica for taking the time.  Make sure you’re checking out Jessica’s website, following her on Twitter and Instagram, liking her Facebook page, and adding all of her books to your Goodreads TBR shelf.

Definitely check out all of the tour stops and keep scrolling for a giveaway!

Tour Schedule:

Week 1:
Week 2:

**Good Luck!!**

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