Q & A
Your questions answered. If you have other burning question you need answers to, I'm happy to oblige. Leave them in the comment section of my blog.
|Waste Paper Prose asks: Did you always know you would write a novel? Why did you finally decide to write one and when?|
A: Not only did I not always know I would write a novel, but, up until two years ago, if you had asked, I'd have laughed in your face. HA! Just like that.
The only thing of any length I'd ever written was my Doctoral dissertation and it nearly killed me (read "bored me to death"). I never thought I had the patience to write a WHOLE BOOK, nor did I have the faintest desire to do so.
But, along came my daughter, who is an insane reader (read each Twilight book in a day). I don't really understand how it happeneda brain aneurysm maybebut I got the crazy notion to write her a book for her birthday. And I did. Without telling a soul, I wrote her a 100K word romantic thriller. She loved it and I caught the bug.
|Nadinax and Charchelar asks: Where did you get the idea for Personal Demons?|
A: I was listening to Saving Abel (one of my favorite bands) and reading a bio where they said they got their name from a biblical quote: "there was no saving Abel." That got me thinking about the story of Cain and Abel, and I was mulling over ideas for a book when a name popped into my head. I thought to myself, Lucifer Cain, what a fun name for a demon. That was the beginning of Luc and Personal Demons.
|Rachel445 asks: Which character was your favorite to write about in Personal Demons?|
A: Honestly, I loved them all. Gabe and Luc are both terribly conflicted, and that made both of them really interesting to write, and writing from inside a demon's head is just plain fun. Frannie's best friend, Taylor, is wild, so she was a lot of fun to write. But Frannie is the most complex. She's got a lot of stuff to work through and a really interesting support system, so she was my favorite to write.
|Leah Clifford asks: What is the air speed velocity of a laden Hot Boy With Wings?|
A: That all depends on the size of his coconuts... (In case you don't get the reference, go watch Monty Python's Holy Grail.)
|Maidenveil asks: Will the Personal Demons tease continue or stop at chapter one?|
A: All of chapter one is up on my blog, as well as excerpts from chapters two through four.
|pirate penguin asks: I am dying for a copy of Personal Demons! Is it too soon to know if it's going to be translated into other languages?|
A: One of the most fun parts of this whole publishing experience has been foreign rights sales. All the foreign sales so far are posted on the books page and on my blog to the right, under "Where Personal Demons Will Be Published." We are currently in negotiations in two countries that aren't yet listed there, and on submission in many more, so I will update the list as I'm able.
|Waste Paper Prose asks: Music or silence when you write? Do you develop playlists for your books?|
A: Music. And honestly, my playlists develop into books.
|Waste Paper Prose also asks: What is the hardest emotion for you to convey on the page and why?|
A: Frustration and annoyance. How to you explain that look? You know, the one where the eyes kind of...and the mouth sort of does that...thingy with the...you know.
|The Howell Family asks...actually, I doubt it's the WHOLE Howell family, but, anyway...SOMEONE in the Howell Family asks: If you could go back and give your unpublished self advice, knowing what you know now, what would it be?|
A: First, I guess would be that if you're truly writing the story you were meant to tell, it shouldn't feel hard. I'm not saying writing isn't hard workit is. I just mean that the story itself should flow easily for the most part. Also, I'd say trust your gut and your voice. When you're writing "your story" don't try to imitate others. Keep it real and keep it yours. There were a few scenes in Personal Demons where I had forced things a little trying to introduce more conflict because I thought that's what I was supposed to do. In other words, I wrote those scenes for someone else. I shouldn't have been surprised when those were the scenes both my agent and editor asked me to change. (read "cut") They were things that hadn't felt authentic while I was writing them.
I guess the theme of all of that is, write for the love of writing. Not for agents or editors. The road to publication can be rough, but it's rougher if you're not loving what you're doing. I wrote for my daughter and myself. That was it.
A few other things:
- Find a writing group/partner that you trust and who will be brutally honest with you in a positive way. When I've doubted myself, my awesome critique partner (Andrea Cremer, Nightshade, Oct. 2010) has always encouraged me and told me what I need to hear to get back on track.
- Research agents well before you query. It's more than just going to their agency profile. Find out what they already rep and/or have sold. Be sure they're a good fit for you.