Blog, Interrupted

My brand new, totally revamped blog! I will bring back a couple of entries from about the time when I announced my book deal, but other than that, it's all new. 

Author, I Never: An Interview with Erin Callahan

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Erin Callahan

author of The Art of Escaping, out June 2018

 

Author, I Never is a new segment in which I interview fellow authors about the writing process, breaking into the industry, and breaking rules. I try to mix it up a little and ask some hopefully novel questions along with some of the old standards, and finish it up with a round of I Never (kid friendly version) to find out what cardinal writing rules we've broken.

Question the first: Erin, when did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

I got into the writer-game later than most people. I enjoyed writing as a kid but never thought, “Oh, maybe someday I’ll be a writer.” I didn’t have any serious interest in writing until I was in my late-twenties, perusing the YA section at Borders with a friend. He said, “We could do this.” And I said, “Hmm. Maybe.”


Question the second: What has been your proudest or most exciting moment as an author so far?

When I signed with my agent. Selling a book was cool too, but being offered representation was when I first started to feel comfortable calling myself a writer.


Question the third: At what point did you think to yourself "I've made it" or at what point do you think you'll feel that way?


I have serious imposter syndrome and I’m not sure it will ever go away. Every time I start to think I’ve made it, I compare myself to other writers and go, “Eeesh, I’m not even close.”


I know the feeling well. Too well! Question the fourth: Did any experienced authors or industry people mentor or give you helpful guidance on your journey to publication?

Other than my agent, no. I have zero industry connections. Though I did stalk a lot of writers and agents on Twitter before I started querying.


Question the fifth: Have you ever had a time when you've felt like giving up?

Oh, good lord, of course. For many months while querying, I thought I would never find an agent. And then when my book was on sub, I was pretty sure it was never going to sell. That said, I never felt like giving up on writing, just on publishing.


Question the sixth: What was the most inconvenient time or place you were struck by inspiration?

It almost always happens to me in the shower or while driving.


Popular answers! I wonder what it is about water and wheels? Millers must have been great poets. Question the seventh: Can you give us a hint to help us find an "easter egg" or hidden item to look for in one of your books? Maybe an obscure clue if there's a mystery thread, or a reference you threw in to a favorite book or song?

Though I’m not sure this counts as an easter egg, I realized recently that all the books I’ve written or am currently working on share a common motif. They all feature a mysterious, semi-mythical heroine who is either dead or M.I.A. She kind of lingers in the background, serving as a source of inspiration or strength for the MCs. Maybe that’s something I craved more of as a teen so now I’m planting it in my story-worlds.

That's really cool! Shall we proceed to the...

 

I Never Round

 

The basic rules of I Never, the kid friendly version- I state a generally established writing rule (or at least a norm). If you've broken that rule, state your guilt for the record.
 

I never made up a word in my manuscript, and stood by it during copyediting.

I think I have quite a few made up words in my debut, but my copy editor didn’t call me out on any of them. They’re slangy, so maybe they skirt the rule?
 

I believe "slangy" is a made up word! I never had an amazing idea right before bed, and decided sleep was more important.

 
Sleep is crucial. If I don’t get eight hours, I get hella cranky. I don’t think I’ve ever NOT broken this rule. :)

 
That's more than fair. I never started a story with a character waking up, looking in the mirror, or in a bathtub.

 
Ha! Funny story about this: When I first started querying my debut, it totally started with the female MC’s morning routine. One very nice agent sent me a rejection but also said, “Hey. Don’t do this.”


People seem to have strong feelings about that one! I never worked on two manuscripts at once.

I’m ALWAYS working on more than one manuscript.


I never went several days or even weeks without writing. 

I took almost a full month off from writing after I finished a first draft of my second book.

 
I never wrote "for a long moment."

This is one rule I’m pretty sure I’ve never broken. Yay!


I never cheated during NaNoWriMo.

Aaaaaaand we’re back on the rule-breakin’ train. I am probably the biggest NaNo cheater ever. I always have a project half done when NaNo rolls around. That’s why Camp NaNo is a much better fit for me.
 

You did it! Thank you so much for appearing in Author, I Never! When and where can we look for, preorder, or buy your next or most recent book, and where can we follow you on social media?

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HE ART OF ESCAPING will be out in June of 2018 from Amberjack. You can find it on Goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34518059-the-art-of-escaping

 

Website: erinpcallahan.com

Twitter: @erinpcallahan

Instagram: @erinpcallahan


Bonus question: If The Art of Escaping had a theme song, what would it be? 

"My Blackbirds Are Bluebirds Now" by Annette Hanshaw.


DJ Spotify, it's up to you now.