I’ve been tagged for this blog hop by Sandra Waugh, whose debut book Lark Rising will be published by Random House this September. Lark Rising is a high fantasy novel, and you can read a description of it here. Check out Sandra’s website and follow her on Twitter!
1. What am I working on?
Right now, I am revising my debut novel Truest, a contemporary YA novel about Westlin Beck, a pastor’s daughter in a small town whose relationship with the new boy is complicated by his twin sister’s mental disorder. I am dreaming about my next novel (yet untitled), another contemporary YA story about childhood enemies reunited six years later on the small island where they grew up. I’m terrifically excited about both these novels and desperately hope that my characters, who mean so much to me, will matter to the world.
2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?
Since there is so much amazing contemporary YA out there right now (Melina Marchetta and Jandy Nelson are two favorites), I actually hope that my writing is similar. I do tend to lean heavily into philosophy and ideas more than many others!
3. Why do I write what I do?
There is this quote by George R.R. Martin that I completely and utterly disagree with:
Fantasy is silver and scarlet, indigo and azure, obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli. Reality is plywood and plastic, done up in mud brown and olive drab. Fantasy tastes of habaneros and honey, cinnamon and cloves, rare red meat and wines as sweet as summer. Reality is beans and tofu, and ashes at the end. Reality is the strip malls of Burbank, the smokestacks of Cleveland, a parking garage in Newark. Fantasy is the towers of Minas Tirith, the ancient stones of Gormenghast, the halls of Camelot. Fantasy flies on the wings of Icarus, reality on Southwest Airlines. Why do our dreams become so much smaller when they finally come true?
I am sorry that Mr. Martin’s reality is so dreary. I believe that reality has its own magic. That is why I write contemporary realism– to show the beauty and charm of the real world.
4. How does my writing process work?
I start with characters. I create characters that fascinate me, characters who are complicated, ones I know that I can spend the next two years or so with and still not have them completely figured out, ones whose company I will still covet after all that time. After that, I toss them into a room together and see what happens.
I write my stories in layers, each draft focusing in on a specific area: first, characters/dialogue; next, plot; then, setting/description; and finally, language (refining it, adding in imagery, choosing better words for what I mean to say). This does not mean that I write four drafts and am done (that idea makes me smile), but after I have a solid draft, I have to seek critical feedback in order to improve.
Image credit: unknown