Author of Road to Eugenica, out Feb. 5.
Author, I Never is a segment in which I interview fellow authors about the writing process, breaking into the industry, and breaking rules. I ask some hopefully novel questions and finish up with a round of I Never to find out what cardinal writing rules we've broken.
Question the first: A, when did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I actually didn’t know I wanted to be a writer until 4 years ago. My (then) 13 year old niece had asked me to read a bunch of books with her, so she would have someone to talk about them with, and after a very disappointing ending to one of her favorite series I promised her I’d write her a book. It was during that process that I learned how much I loved writing. I’d always been one to make up stories in my head, but I’d never put them to paper until that moment. Now I just can’t stop.
Question the second: What has been your proudest or most exciting moment as an author so far?
I think the proudest moment is when I won the 2016 NJRW Put Your Heart in a Book contest. When I walked up onto that stage and received my plaque it was like a validation I was doing something right.
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 think the “I made it moment” for now is when I walk into the book store and see my book on the shelf. After that I think it will progress into my next goal, but one step at a time, right?
Absolutely. Half a step at a time, if possible. Quarter step preferably. Speaking of which, question the fourth: Did any experienced authors or industry people mentor or give you helpful guidance on your journey to publication?
This is a tough one, as there are so many authors I respect and look up to for advice. But one moment I will never forget is when I saw Jay Asher speak at a Houston Writers Guild conference and he pulled me aside and said “Let’s go talk YA books,” and we did for hours. He read and reviewed my query letter, and offered to read my manuscript. The amount of knowledge and experience he shared with me is invaluable and I’ll never forget it.
That is incredible. I love hearing stories like that. Question the fifth: Have you ever had a time when you've felt like giving up?
Sure, after I’ve read an amazing book, I think for a second, “Well, I could never be that good, so why bother.” But the moment doesn’t last, because I just can’t not write. It is the first thing I’ve done in my life that makes me feel good, so regardless I keep pressing on, hoping that one day I’ll be as good as some of my favorite authors.
I think the exact same thing every time I read a brilliant book. Question the sixth: What was the most inconvenient time or place you were struck by inspiration?
Does inspiration ever strike at opportune times? Because for me it’s while I’m in the shower, or driving, and my favorite is when I’m right about to go to sleep, so I have to get up and find some paper and a pen (because I’m not smart enough to keep it next to my bed) and jot down some notes so I’ll remember in the morning.
Shower, driving, sleep. You hit all the big ones! 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?
I think there are a lot of fun little things to discover in Road to Eugenica. One that is pretty obvious is my feelings toward the band New Language. They are an up-and-coming band from L.A. with amazing lyrics. If you get a chance to listen to their music, at first it’s like an explosion, but when you really concentrate on the words, they have a lot to say.
Question the eighth. Where do you look for inspiration?
I guess I never really look for inspiration, I always kind of just stumble upon it. It could be a TV commercial, or two people walking down the street, but I seem to find even a little something in the unexpected that I’ll jot down and pounder for a while later.
The ninth: Who is your writing hero?
My writer hero is the author who doesn’t give up. Who is busting their ass to get their books out into the world. They may get pushed back, but they just keep pressing on. And they aren’t afraid to share their knowledge with other authors.
We still have time! Question the tenth! What do you love most about your most recent book?
I love that this book was written for my niece.
Quick, one more. Question the eleventh. How did you go about picking your agent?
I actually don’t have an agent. I am hoping to get one in the future and have been doing my research. So when I have something polished and ready it will be back on the query train for me. But luckily, I’ll have two books under my belt at that point.
I think that's the most questions we've ever fit into an interview. High fives! And we still have room for 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.
Snassy – Part snotty, part sassy and completely a part of Drea’s vocabulary.
I like it! Motion to approve. I never had an amazing idea right before bed, and decided sleep was more important.
Sleep is never more important than a good idea. Just recently I was lying in bed and realized exactly what had to happen at the end of my second book so I got up and bullet pointed it all the way to the end. Now to write it.
I just remembered that before I fell asleep last night...something occurred to me. You may have a point. I never started a story with a character waking up, looking in the mirror, or in a bathtub.
I’m embarrassed to say that Road to Eugenica in its first version did start with a dream sequence. I thought it was necessary, but now that I’m an agent intern and read a gazillion query letters/and first pages a week, I understand why you don’t do this. (Trust me. Don’t do it.)
[Whistles, avoids eye contact] I never worked on two manuscripts at once.
I constantly have multiple projects going on. Right now I have two complete manuscripts, three manuscripts that have 30K words or more, and one complete MS that needs to be polished and edited (so I don’t consider it finished). I won’t even mention the list of plot bunnies I have that are begging to be written either.
Wow! Hat tip! I never went several days or even weeks without writing.
When I had surgery earlier this year I tried to write, and when I went back to look at it, I realized what a mistake that was. It was a garbled mess of nonsense. Sometimes taking time off is exactly what is needed.
Absolutely. I never wrote "for a long moment."
I know I’ve written “for a moment” not sure if I’ve ever used long in there.
I never cheated during NaNoWriMo.
If by cheating you mean used space in my MS to work out character sketches and leave myself extensive notes on what needs to happen, than yes, yes I have.
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?
Thank you for having me. This was so much fun.
My book Road to Eugenica comes out on February, 5th 2018.
You can preorder it here:
You can add it to your Want to Read list on Goodreads at: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34748077-road-to-eugenica
Follow me on:
Awesome! One last question. If your book had a theme song, what would it be?
Wake up by New Language. Seriously, listen to the words and you will understand.
What think you, D.J. Spotify, my artificially intelligent friend? Well, not think. You know. Or do you?