Friday, September 30, 2011

The Most Interesting Thing--Writing Through the Blues

"I don't need to manufacture trauma in my life to be creative. I have a big enough reservoir of sadness or emotional trauma to last me."-- Sting

Yep. Me and Sting. But sometimes, particularly in autumn, the sadness presents a daunting challenge to my writing, to my creativity. The early morning light disappears, the air chills, the garden dies, and difficult memories threaten  to drag me down into a dark, gloomy, unproductive place. 
Any of you ever been there? If so, you have my sympathy. 
This week I've been thinking hard about what helps me write through the deep blues. Here's my list:
*Hot tea
*Lots of naps  
*Gentle exercise 
*Healthy snacks 
*Binge novel reading 
*Writing with emotional honesty 
*A regular writing routine with attainable goals 
*Reaching out for encouragement from my writing community
What about you? Do you ever struggle to write through the blues? What helps? Please feel free to add to my list in your comments.
Hugs around!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Partner on the Path: L.S. Taylor

L.S has been a faithful, hardworking part of the #wipmadness group for quite some time. It's my pleasure to introduce you to this encouraging partner:

What resources have you found most helpful on your writing path?
I would have to say I get quite a bit from my local writing conference: the Surrey International Writer’s Conference.
And this past year and a half, I’ve been an active commenter at Magical Words, a group blog of fantasy authors who talk about writing specifically for the Fantasy genre. I’ve found it invaluable, and the community that has sprung up around these posts has been so fantastic that this past June, I flew across the continent from Vancouver to Charlotte, North Carolina to attend the science fiction and fantasy convention that they all gather at. A lot of us did—but that just says what an amazing community it’s become.
What’s the most encouraging thing you’ve experienced along the way?
Hands down, Magical Words. Another awesome thing about the site (yes, call me a MW Minion) is that the authors usually respond to comments. They’re helpful and encouraging.
But in general, I’ve been lucky to get to know a few authors, and they’ve been encouraging, too.
Favorite children’s books? Authors?
Picture books: Cross-Country Cat by Mary Calhoun, Where’s My Cow by Terry Pratchett (oh wait, that might not be for children)
Children’s novels: Anything by Roald Dahl (The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar is my favorite), Betty Ren Wright’s books about ghosts, and Patricia C. Wrede’s DEALING WITH DRAGONS series. 
The YA books that made me realize I wanted to write, that were a formative part of my later childhood? Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness.
My absolute favorite book though, also YA, is Robin McKinley’s The Blue Sword. Absolutely wonderful.
What keeps you going when you feel like giving up?
Community. The Internet and my in-person writing group have been great sources for that.
My husband, who also writes, is my sounding board and my rock for when life gets crazy and doubts threaten to set in. He’s supportive and he understands why this is important to me.
Another thing that makes me keep going is reading good books. When I read a novel that makes my heart sing, it reminds me why I write. Most recently: Tanya Huff’s The Enchantment Emporium, and Discord’s Apple by Carrie Vaughn.
If you could choose to live any place on the planet, where would it be?
Honestly, there are so many places in the world I’d love to visit. But silly as it may sound, I love living in Greater Vancouver. As for a specific place, I wouldn’t mind somewhere on the North Shore, but that’s because I love being out in nature, and one of my favorite places in the world is Lynn Canyon Park.
Describe your fantasy writing space?
I can’t answer that question because I find that writing space—I tend to think of it as sacred writing space—is something I have to create. I do all of my creative writing on my laptop, which I can take with me everywhere. I also require a beverage (preferably water, but hot chocolate and tea are also lovely), headphones to minimize distractions, and time enough to write (preferably at least an hour). And then I’m in the zone to write, wherever that writing occurs.
What obstacles have you overcome in order to keep writing?
Learning to minimize distractions. Pushing myself to get in writing time even when things in my life are crazy. Making time to write even though sometimes I come home exhausted from my day job, which I love but which involves editing and much e-mail, and therefore many, many non-writing words.
What one word describes your writing process?
What do you appreciate the most about being part of the children’s writers community?
I like the energy.
Best writing advice you’ve been given?
What do you like to keep in mind while drafting a story?
My intent—the story I want to tell. Plots may not spring from my head fully formed, and Point A may slightly shift, but when I start a story, I generally have a main character, a mission, and a Point B.
How will you celebrate the publication of your first book?
Probably with a small gathering of friends at my place. Complete with Twitter party!
Social media presence? Please share your links
Twitter: @ls_taylor
Twitter Hashtags I Frequent: #wipmadness, #amwriting, #fntwp

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Campaign Challenge #2--What the Imago?

Here's the challenge: 

Write a blog post in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, whether flash fiction, non-fiction, humorous blog musings, poem, etc. The blog post should:
include the word "imago" in the title
include the following 4 random words: "miasma," "lacuna," "oscitate," "synchronicity,"
If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional and included in the word count), make reference to a mirror in your post.
For those who want an even greater challenge (optional), make your post 200 words EXACTLY!

Four random words? Mirror? 200 words exactly? Done! Like it? #80

What the Imago?

Felicity clutched the pencils and scribbled back and forth, dulling the lead so she’d be able to fill in the bubbles faster. Her stomach rumbled. Probably shouldn’t have had those extra shots in her vanilla soy latté.

Kids filed in like cows to the slaughter house. At least she hadn’t arrived late like in all those nightmares. Why did her whole future have to hang on one ridiculous test? 

“Don’t I know you?” Devon Fagan slid into the seat next to her and gave that cocky grin, the one that melted the hearts of every girl in her junior class. Sweet synchronicity!

Felicity’s stomach sounded another warning. She wished she’d checked her teeth in the mirror after those double-fudge brownies. Wiping her palms on her plaid skirt, she gurgled out some incoherent response.

Devon leaned over and ran a finger along her arm.  “Bet you know all the answers.”

She jerked her arm back.

The test administrator handed out the booklets and gave instructions. 

When the timer started, Felicity scanned the first page. What were these words? Miasma? Lacuna? Oscitate? What the Imago?

The pressure in her stomach mounted. Before she could excuse herself, it erupted.

All over Devon Fagan.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Most Interesting Thing: Tagged

"It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are."
~e.e. cumming

I must not be grown up yet, because somehow I've gotten myself involved in a childhood game of tag. This week I've been tagged twice. Thanks Heather McCorckle over at Critique Sisters Corner and Barbara McDowell.  

This means I will now bore, I mean, thrill you, my faithful followers, with ten things you surely don't need to know about me. For everyone's sake, I'm keeping this sharing of personal information in the vein of writing. 

Here they are, in no particular order:

#1 I can't write metaphors or similes to save my life. Clichés? No problem. 

#2 While querying my first novel, I heard again and again that a similar novel had recently sold. This year ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS hit the shelves and well, need I say more?

#3 On April 17th, 2007, the day I made the conscious decision to write, I bought my first computer, a $100 vintage Mac Clamshell. Bertie survived baptism by cappuccino and chamomile tea, but last February, while I was away on vacation and under deadline, she breathed her last. May she RIP. ***sniffle***

#4 Most days I write in bed, but my best writing happens from the passenger seat on road trips. 

#5 While writing, I take frequent twitter breaks. (see above) Do you see the connection, or rather the lack of connection?

#6 True story. I once found myself without a book and resorted to reading the phone directory. In my defense, the thing had pithy little sayings and famous quotations on every other page! 

#7 My Persian cat snores, chews on his toenails, and insists on being within  inches of me whenever I'm writing. 

#8 My body can't handle stimulants, which means no caffeine or sugar. And yes, that means no chocolate. As a writer, this is catastrophic, so occasionally I cheat. Lately I've been allowing myself one gummy worm per writing session.  #livingontheedge

#9 I write six days a week, but Sundays are computer and technology free. Books are fair game, though. One more reason I do not own an eReader.

#10 Connecting with all you awesome writers makes me very, very happy. 

I don't know what the rules of this game are, but if you're one of those kids who likes to be tagged, let me know in the comments. Give me your name and blog address and I'll edit this post accordingly. Tag. You're all it!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Author Interview--CJ Omololu


DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS was far and away my most memorable read  of 2010. Not only does the story still haunt me, but I also credit this book with helping me work out a difficult problem in my own YA novel. 

So imagine my surprise while I was out to dinner after the SCBWI conference in LA last month and found myself face-to-face with the author whose work I so admire. After a moment of fan-girling, I asked if she'd be willing to be interviewed here and guess what? Here she is. Thanks, CJ!

On Writing:

Favorite thing about writing a first draft: Favorite thing? Hmm. Typing ‘The End’. 

Best thing about writing for kids and/or teens: When I get feedback from a reader saying that one of my characters made them think about things in a different way.
If I could have two dream careers, I’d be an author and a: World class singer. I can’t sing at all though, so I’ll stick with what I don’t stink at. Is that a dangling something on the end of that sentence? That’s why I didn’t put down ‘copyeditor’.
On Life:
If I could snap my fingers and solve one of the problems here on earth, it would be: Climate change because it affects everything else. There’s actually a thread about that in my new books.
One question I wish I had a definitive answer to:  Am I messing up my kids?
Best thing about being a teenager: Everything is on the verge of change.           
Worst thing about being a teenager: Everything is on the verge of change.
Most memorable teen moment: First kiss. Frank Perry at the elementary school playground on the first day of summer. Sigh.
One thing I’d like to say to my teen self: You’ll stop growing soon.
A quote I live by: "Writing is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way."-- E.L. Doctorow. 
My  dream vacation: A huge road trip all over the country. (In a Prius – see answer above.)
In My Perfect World…
Everyone would get dinner out and a babysitter at least once a week.
There would be an abundance of time and Reese’s peanut butter cups.
No one would be deprived of coffee.
Every child would have a book they love.
No one would ever feel excluded.
Health care would be free for everyone.

CJ's next books: TRANSCENDENCE in June 2012 and the sequel in June of 2013.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Partner on the Path--WJ Smith

In the time since this lovely Partner on the Path agreed to an interview, she's gotten herself published. You'll find the links to her novel, Where To Belong, below. Congratulations, Wendy!

What resources have you found most helpful on your writing path?
The best self-help book I found so far is “Writing Fiction for Dummies” by Randy Ingermanson & Peter Economy. Writers' blogs have been a treasure trove of information.  Web-casts have also been informational.
What’s the most encouraging thing you’ve experienced along the way?
The first big help I had from a writing community was with NaNoWriMo. The folks organizing and taking part in the program were very positive. Since then, conversations with writers on Twitter have been supportive. Taking part in programs like Row80 has given me the push I need to keep moving with my writing.
Favorite children’s books? Authors?
My favorite book as a kid was Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson.
What keeps you going when you feel like giving up?
I don't like leaving things unfinished. I've had times where I get mad or frustrated with writing projects, and I have to walk away. But, so far, I've always come back to them because I need to see them completed.
That and the support and encouragement from the family and friends who know of my hobby. They're good at keeping tabs on me.
If you could choose to live any place on the planet, where would it be?
I would be one of those people with two homes. One for the summers in upstate New York near the lakes. A small cottage in the country or tiny town. The second would be on the beaches of South Padre Island in Texas. For the winters, of course. The problem would be shipping my Jeep back and forth between the two ...
Describe your fantasy writing space?
I've discovered the beauty of a massive monitor, so that would be a given. I need a stack of post-its for quick thoughts. There would probably be a mini fridge and microwave within reach.  Endless supply of iced tea and V8 Splash. Music. Lots and lots of music.  Oh, and an air-fresher to make it smell like Starbucks. 
What obstacles have you overcome in order to keep writing?
My biggest obstacle is myself. While I said earlier that I don't like to leave things unfinished, I am my own worst enemy when it comes to writing. I can easily convince myself that I am wasting my time and to hide my work away for no one to see. I have called it quits three times. In those three times, I deleted and threw out every word I had written. I some how come back to it and start over. Now I have my work saved in multiple places and I would probably exhaust myself before I could manage to delete it all. 
What one word describes your writing process?
What do you appreciate the most about being part of the writers community?
I am reminded that I am not the only one out there working to get a story out of my head.  Every writer out there knows the ups and downs of the writing, rewriting, editing, critiquing and submitting process. Always some one there to celebrate with and vent to.
Best writing advice you’ve been given?
Don't look back at what you've written. Once you have a segment finished, move on.  Breathe and take some time before you look it over. You have to be removed to be able to see where to make improvements.
What do you like to keep in mind while drafting a story?
I have to remind myself that it is only a draft. I shouldn't expect it to be perfect the first time around. The goal is to build the base of the manuscript. Don't sweat the little things.
How will you celebrate the publication of your first book?
Probably something small and quiet. Somewhere along the lines of sitting at the corner table in the local coffee shop with a few friends and family.

And now we can help her celebrate and buy that book here:

Social media presence? 

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Most Interesting Thing: Blog Stats, Friend or Foe?

"There are two kinds of statistics, the kind you look up and the kind you make up." ~Rex Stout 

So if you missed Wednesday's post and you're an MG or YA writer, I strongly recommend you scoot over to our BWB Blog Contest and leave a comment as soon as possible. Now that we've taken care of that, let me start by reminding all of you that I'm a technology idiot. Fact is, if it weren't for my tech-savvy DH, I probably wouldn't have a blog, an email account, or a functioning computer. I'm serious.

So when a friend mentioned something she'd discovered in her blog stats, I gave her that head-cocked-puppy-look, "Blog stats?" At that point, I didn't even know my blog had followers. Nor had I included that lovely button that shows all the shiny, happy faces. See them over there on the right? Cute, aren't they?

Shortly after being introduced to the fascinating world of blog statistics, I developed a new obsession which didn't really offer me much (except another unnecessary distraction) until I received this challenging award from Lora Rivera. Without the statistics, how would I know what's been my most popular post?

As far as I can tell, after having scratched my head and evaluated the statistics, these are the posts that best fulfill these seven characteristics:

Most Beautiful: Why I Love My Agent
Most Helpful:Are You Ready For A Crash
Most PopularInterview with Award-Winning Author, Helen Frost
Most Controversial: On Censorship
Most Surprisingly Successful: My Flash Fiction Story
Most Underrated: Interview with Author, Nova Ren Suma
Most Pride-worthy:Getting to Know My Partners on the Path

And now I'm going to pass this award on to the friend who introduced me to blog stats: Lori Parker 

So what do you think about blog statistics? Friend or foe?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Announcing the BWB Blog Contest!

Best Writer-Buddy

Here’s how it works:
We know the path to publication is rough. To keep writing when you’re discouraged, dejected, demoralized, and all those other d-words that make you want to fold up your laptop and fling it off the nearest cliff.

But when you’re down or, worse, when you feel like giving up, you turn to your BWB, your Best Writer-Buddy. That special person who knows and understands what you’re going through, who talks you off the I'll-never-write-another-word ledge. Your writer-buddy tells you to keep going, to hang in there and persevere. Reminds you how much you forked out for that laptop. This is the person you’ll thank someday when you write that Acknowledgements Page.

Well, to celebrate BWB’s everywhere, my lovely partners Kristen Lippert-Martin and Renee Collins—and I have put together this awesome blog contest for writers of YA and MG fiction.

How to Enter: In the comment section, tell us briefly (in 100 words or less) about your best writer-buddy and how she/he inspires and encourages you. If applicable, include a link to your blog as well as your BWB’s blog. Again, this is for YA/MG fiction writers only, but you can write in any genre: Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal, Not-paranormal, Somewhat Paranormal – anything.

To Qualify to Win: Be a blog follower of mine, Kristen’s or Renee's, simple as that. You probably already are a follower anyway 'cause yer all are so sweet.

Winners: Each of us will choose a winner at random from the entries at our blogs. And, yes, that means that you have not one but three chances to win. Because you can go over to Kristen’s blog and follow her (if you don’t already) and then to Renee’s blog (and follow her as well) and leave comments/entries there.

Prizes: Winners at Kristin and Renee’s blog will receive a query critique from their fabulous agent, Molly Jaffa of Folio Literary Management (that's two total). The winner here will win a query critique from my fabulous agent, Katie Grimm at Don Congdon & Associates.

And here’s the good part, not only will winners receive a query critique, your writer-buddy will receive a copy of Cheryl Klein’s new book Second Sight AND both the winner and her writer-buddy will get one of these super cheesy, BFF half-a-heart pendants.

How cool is that?

Deadline: Entries must be submitted by Friday, Sept. 30 at midnight. We will announce the three winners the following week: one on Monday, 10/3; one on Wednesday, 10/5 and the final winner on Friday, 10/7.

I look forward to hearing your inspirational writer-buddy tales. And, yes, before you email to ask, you can absolutely write your entries in verse! Just tell me about your writer-buddy and let the fun begin!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Partner on the Path--Candy Fite

For all of you lovely old and new followers, welcome! Mondays are for highlighting writers who are on the path to publication. This week we have writer (and fellow Campaigner) Candy Fite. Here's what she has to say about her writing journey. Please feel free to leave a comment and show her some writerly love and support. And come back here Wednesday to learn about an exciting and fun contest with great prizes, including agent query critiques!
What resources have you found most helpful on your writing path?
Being a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) has been my number one resource. I receive information, helpful tips, and links on a weekly basis from my local chapter. Even though my main focus in writing centers around children's picture books, Middle Grade and YA, Stephen King's book, On Writing: A Memoir on the Craft, was one of the most profound writing books I've ever read. I'm also a huge fan of Writer's Digest magazine. (And, I love my hugemongo Thesaurus.)

What’s the most encouraging thing you’ve experienced along the way?
The day I met Charlaine Harris, author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels. There were hundreds and hundreds of fans there to see her read and sign books. She was so humble, and took the extra time to greet each and every fan with a smile, signed all of their books, and chatted while doing so. I asked her what advice she would give a struggling writer, and she said, "Keep on writing, and don't give up." Therefore, I haven't.

Favorite children’s books? Authors?
Ribsy by Beverly Cleary is my ultimate favorite. I still have my first copy I got in 1978. I loved all of the Cleary books. And, in no particular order: Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume, Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume, Charlotte's Web by E.B. White, and as an early teen, I began reading (sneaking) Dean Koontz and Stephen King books.

What keeps you going when you feel like giving up?
I WANT to write books. There's nothing else on this planet I want more. I don't want to have to come back (to earth), again, because I refused to listen to my dreams.

If you could choose to live any place on the planet, where would it be?
Ireland. My father's kinfolk were Irish. Besides, I would be able kiss the Blarney stone daily. They say you'll have the "gift to gab" or "tell a great story," if you kiss the stone. Besides, it's a magical place, and I think fairies really do exist there.

Describe your fantasy writing space?
A wobbly table, in a crowded airport, Grande Cafe Misto to my right, a thesaurus to my left, and a flood of people to watch.

What obstacles have you overcome in order to keep writing?
At first, it was the doubters in my life. "You want to do what?" "Quit your day job and become a writer?" "She must be going through a mid-life crisis." I had to learn to tune out these wicked comments.
Also, a low self-esteem is a writer's worst enemy. Making the time to write is also a huge obstacle.

What one word describes your writing process?

What do you appreciate the most about being part of the children’s writers' community?
Sharing experiences and information with other writers.

Best writing advice you’ve been given?
Keep on writing, and don't give up.

What do you like to keep in mind while drafting a story?
Who is my main protagonist? What does he or she want? And, what obstacle(s) are in the way? Keeping my focus on my character seems to carry the story, shoving it in the direction(s) it needs to go, in order to come to a satisfying end.

How will you celebrate the publication of your first book?
After I inhale the sweet scent of the pages of my published book, I will take a well-deserved vacation (to Ireland!).


Friday, September 9, 2011

The Most Interesting Thing--Mustering Courage

 "Everyone has a talent, what is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads."   
 --Erica Jong

The most interesting thing I've learned this week is that to be a writer, one has to be tremendously brave. Posting Wednesday's Flash Fiction piece took more courage than I ever imagined I could muster.

A lovely friend of mine, who is a musician and fine artist, once explained that "sharing one's art is like undressing in front of a group of strangers and asking them what they think."

That pretty much sums it up for me. So why do I share my writing? One thing that emboldens me to submit my work, is the belief that there's someone out there who needs to read it.

So what helps you muster the courage to share your work with strangers?  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Winner of SELLING HOPE and A Flash Fiction Challenge

Thank you to all who entered 
Please email me your mailing address


The instructions:
Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open” These four words will be included in the word count.
If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: “the door swung shut.” (also included in the word count)
For those who want an even greater challenge, make your story 200 words EXACTLY! If you enjoy my piece below, be sure to head back to Rachael Harrie’s site and “Like” my piece (#240). Then, be sure to check out some of my fellow campaigners!
The door swings open
I count to five
Five seconds until he appears
In my bedroom doorway
Five seconds
Until it starts
Nowhere to run
Too late to hide
Breathe in
Breathe out
Heavy footsteps
Down the hallway
Heart pounds
Feign sleep
Maybe he’ll be too tired
Or too drunk
Breathe in
Breathe out
Whiskey fumes
Fill the room
Like noxious gas
Lights on
Wake up!
I clutch the sheet in my hands
Not tonight
Not tonight
Breathe in
Breathe out
Where’s Mama?
Can’t she hear?
Doesn’t she know?
Breathe in
Breathe out
Lights out
Hot breath
On my neck
I reach up to the windowsill
Grasp the phone
Push the buttons
Breathe in
Breathe out
Darcy says I need evidence
Some kind of proof
So she loaned me
Her cell
Taught me
How to use it
Breathe in
Breathe out
You like this
Don’t you, Baby?
I utter no sound
Keep talkin’
I gotcha
This time
He keeps talkin’
Dirty talk
Doesn’t even notice
The dim square light
On the windowsill
Breathe in
Breathe out
Don’t think
Just breathe
In out
In out
He stands up
Zips up
For the last time
The door swings shut

Monday, September 5, 2011

Partner on the Path: Ripley Patton

For all my new followers and campaigners: If you've browsed this blog, you've probably noticed this series of interviews called "Partners on the Path". Now that I'm finished hosting WIPMADNESS on Mondays, I'm back to this regular feature that highlights the journey and wisdom of fellow writers on their path to publication. Today I feature Ripley Patton, who is in the middle of a huge move. We hope it's going well for her. 

What resources have you found most helpful on your writing path?

Probably the biggest, best resource has been other writers, and that has been somewhat difficult to find in a small island nation like New Zealand. There is no local or national association for YA writers here, so that means the internet has been about the only way for me to hook up with that community (That and starting my own writer's association, SpecFicNZ, in 2010). And finally, I can't forget the amazing resource my kids are. Having two teens makes having current content that much easier.

What’s the most encouraging thing you’ve experienced along the way?

Winning a Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Short Story 2009 was pretty awesome. Technically, I tied for the award with my friend Grant Stone, but we don't have to mention that. That win also ties with sitting on an author's panel with Juliet Marillier on myths and fairy tales in fiction, and having her actually be interested in what I was saying. She also told me one of my short stories was great.

Favorite children’s books? Authors?

Anything by Dr. Suess. As a kid I read lots of fairy tales, myths and legends, my favorite probably being The Seven Chinese Brothers. Anything by Madeleine L'Engle, Ursula K. LeGuin, Anne McCaffrey, Octavia Butler, Lois McMaster Bujold, Jane Yolen, Juliet Marillier (who is from New Zealand, by the way). Dr. Suess is the only guy I allow on my list. What keeps you going when you feel like giving up? My husband, and kids and friends who believe in my writing on the rare occasions I don't. Oh, and a passionate love of story.

If you could choose to live any place on the planet, where would it be?

This question always cracks me up. In this global day and age, we actually can choose to live any place on the planet (except perhaps at the bottom of the ocean- only Sponge Bob scores that). Having packed my family up and moved to New Zealand, this really isn't a hypothetical question for me anymore. So, my answer is- for now, right where I am. New Zealand is very inspirational. Later, probably somewhere along the Mediterranean. Perhaps Greece. I find I very much like island living.

Describe your fantasy writing space?

If I had my druthers (whatever those are) I'd love to have my own private library with full floor to ceiling bookshelves, big comfy chairs and couches in various reading nooks, and a day bed near a sunny window because I love to write in bed.

What obstacles have you overcome in order to keep writing?

First, immigrating to a completely new country with two young children was challenging, but then I put that on myself. Living just on my husband's income for the last six years while I carve out this writing career thing has been hard. And in the last year my city, Christchurch, has been devastated by a series of large earthquakes. Writing between aftershocks (there have been over 7,000 of them) and constantly worrying about the safety of my family made writing my first YA novel. Ghosthand, extra challenging, especially when our first house lost a wall and we had to move in under 24 hours.

What one word describes your writing process?

Organic. I try not to force anything. I try to respect the natural ebb and flow of my creativity and not piss the muses off too much.

What do you appreciate the most about being part of the children’s writers community?

Freedom. There is so much less worry about genre and pigeon-holing in the YA and children's communities. Look at a YA library shelf- fantasy mixed with literary, mixed with adventure, mixed with mystery, mixed with pretty much anything you can imagine. We can color outside the lines. And fresh voice. Young people always have a fresh voice, which means we have to as well.

Best writing advice you’ve been given?

How can I not approach such other worlds with joy? - Jane Yolen. My much less poetic translation- Have fun! Dont' be such a poopy pants about writing. What do you like to keep in mind while drafting a story? The story. For me it's all about story. When I see people chopping the beauty that is story into little, bloody, analytical bits, it makes me want to vomit. To me, that's horror writing.

How will you celebrate the publication of your first book?

I believe I shall have a rather large party. And shorty thereafter, celebrate by writing another book. 


Friday, September 2, 2011

The Most Interesting Thing--Something's Gotta Give

“The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who'll get me a book I ain't read.” - Abraham Lincoln
So last week I joined Rachael Harrie's #writecampaign, right? Maybe some of you did, too. So the number of posts in my Google Reader has quadrupled and I find myself buried in blog reading. That's not a bad thing, but adding one more thing to my crammed life caused something to fall by the wayside. Not my writing. No, that would be sinful. What's gone away is my ability to keep up with my TBR pile. My fiction addiction. My raison d'être. I read books therefore I  am. 

So tomorrow the television is going away. Not that I watch much, but that box can suck me in with its super powered vacuum hose then spit me out an hour later wondering what happened. I figure I'll save myself at least five extra hours a week. 

So what have you done to buy out extra time? Any suggestions?