As indicated in my review, I thoroughly loved Rachel Yoder’s debut novel Nightbitch. The celebrated author was kind enough to answer a few questions about the book.
Candice Suchocki Weir: NightBitch has been a huge success out of the gates. Can you tell me a bit about the journey to publish your debut?
Rachel Yoder: It was a rather straightforward process, I think. In early 2020, my agent submitted the manuscript to 20 or so editors. I think all of them were women and mothers. There were a number of initial passes, but there were also two editors with immediate interest. I spoke with both of them on the phone, discussing their approaches to editing and what generally they thought the book needed. It became evident in those conversations that Margo Shickmanter (of Doubleday) and I were spiritually united in our vision for the book, so she gave us a preempt offer. She seemed like the exact person to edit the book, and I was so excited to work with her that it was a no-brainer to go with her offer. The entire process happened a lot more quickly than I ever imagined it would, perhaps over the course of 10 days from submissions to editors to an offer.
CSW: I adore your take on the werewolf trope. I myself felt animalistic at times as a new mom so this really resonated. Can you speak to the moment that inspired this story idea?
RY: It wasn't so much a moment as a building sense of physical fury that mounted over those years that I was a new mom and then home with my son. My emotions were so rooted in my body that the werewolf trope just seemed so obvious and natural. The mother in Nightbitch doesn't really have an outlet for what she's feeling and for her frustrations, so her body articulates her feelings instead. Motherhood really brought me into this sense that my body was creative, and the werewolf transformation feels like an extension of this idea of the creative body.
CSW: Was your book-within-a-book ‘A Field Guide to Magical Women' a nod to any specific piece of work?
RY: It wasn't, actually, but a number of people have said that it really calls to mind for them the text Women Who Run with The Wolves, which is now on my TBR pile.
CSW: What’s next?
RY: I don't know, but I'm really looking forward to finding out! Before I started the publishing process for this book, I was beginning to research and write about Amish folk medicine, so I have a hunch that I'll be returning to that in some way.
Rachel Yoder is the author of Nightbitch (Doubleday), her debut novel set for release in July 2021, which has also been optioned for film by Annapurna with Amy Adams set to star. More at racheljyoder.com