Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My Writing Process Author Hop

I’ve been invited to take part in the "My Writing Process Blog Tour" by the always amazing YA author Amalie Howard, whose latest novel, THE ALPHA GODDESS just hit shelves last week! Congrats on your new release, Amalie and thank you for asking me to join in. On to the questions:

1) What am I working on?

Right now I’m finishing up revisions on the third and final novel in The Dispossessed series. I can’t believe I’m all done with it when THE LOVELY & THE LOST doesn’t even release until May! I’m also working on a new YA novel, a middle grade novel, and a picture book, too.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

YA Gothics are on the rise and I’ve read a number of them lately. I don’t think I’ve read one I didn’t enjoy. Perhaps my work differs because of the multiple POV characters, or the fact that the setting (an ancient Paris abbey) is almost like a character in itself. And while The Beautiful and the Cursed has a romance and horror element, there is also a strong mystery element as well.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I write the stories that intrigue me, the ones that won’t leave me alone. I write the stories that I want to read again and again. I also like to try new things, like the few picture book manuscripts I’m working on. I have no idea if they will ever pan out, but it’s fun to change my pace and my focus every now and again.

4) How does my writing process work?

I can’t write every day, but I do think about my stories and writing every day. I have a writing cabin that I like to retreat to a few nights a week and during the day sometimes, and I usually aim for between 1,000 and 2,000 words. I also like to leave off in the middle of a scene so the next time I sit to write, I can get back into it easily. Also, I'm a crazy outliner. My last outline was 30,000 words!

I’ve asked the two following YA authors to join me on this author hop, so next week you’ll see their writing process posts on their blogs:

Amy K. Nichols has been crafting stories for as long as she can remember. Her first novel, young adult sci-fi thriller Now That You’re Here, will be published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on December 9, 2014. Amy is represented by Quinlan Lee of Adams Literary. She is a member of SCBWI and SFWA, as well as the Class of 2k14 debut authors. Visit her online at

Bethany Hagen was born and raised in Kansas City. She grew up reading Charlotte Brontë, Jane Austen, and all things King Arthur, and went on to become a librarian. Landry Park is her debut novel.

Side note: I scored a signed Landry Park from Bethany at the Tucson Festival of Books and it is just as gorgeous in person as it is online. Can't wait to read it!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tucson Festival of Books!

In a few days I'll be heading to Arizona for the Tucson Festival of Books! This will be my first visit to Arizona and I'm excited -- Sun! Books! Authors! I'm lucky to be on panels with some authors like Morgan Rhodes, Colleen Houck, Aprilynne Pike, Chuck Wendig, and Nicole McInnes.

My signing/panel/presentation line-up can be found HERE.

And in between panels and signings, I'll definitely be checking out the rest of the author line-up.

If you're in the Tucson area, please come out to this wonderful festival and say hello!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

A new outlet

Many years ago at a New England SCBWI conference, Laurie Halse Anderson was the keynote. She gave a piece of advice that has stuck with me since. I'm paraphrasing, but she said even if you're not writing, to be doing something creative or exposing yourself to something artistic. Whether it's visiting a museum or listening to music, reading or painting or knitting, it's important to always have the creative side of your mind open and learning.

My dad is an extremely talented artist. He does mostly colored pencil and pen and ink but he's tried out watercolors and oil pastels here and there. I've always admired his work and his ability to create something visual. I've also always told myself (and others) that I didn't receive his talent for art. The thing is, until last summer, I hadn't truly tried. I took a set of watercolors with me to a lake house where I'd told myself I wasn't going to write, but just try something new. I had no expectations. I told myself, yet again, I could never achieve the perfection of my dad's work. And I most certainly did not! But something else happened. Something more important. I HAD FUN. So much fun.

So over the next few months I worked some more here and there on other projects. I'm still learning and still having fun, but I think I'm also getting (slightly) better. Just like with writing, the more you do it, the better you get. Anyway, here are my watercolors, progressing from my lake house week to just a few days ago:

 So try something new every now and again. You just might surprise yourself. I definitely did!