It's been a crazy two weeks, and it's not over yet! I'm so excited for the Thanksgiving weekend. I'm ready to rest and relax for a few days with my family.
Now, on to the Q&A!
Nikki asked: how much does the YA Valentines group help you? Or the benefits of being a YA Val?
Being a part of the YA Valentines has been a huge benefit and help! We are all there for each other, supporting each other through the ups and downs of debuting and just publishing in general. We are all so different, as are our books, but that's part of what makes it so great. I always know I can go to them and that they'll make me laugh, make me feel better, and that they'll understand. That's a huge thing as an author, which can feel very lonely sometimes. I'm so glad I have my Vals!
Katy asked: I would love some background on how you came up with the basic story idea for DEFY! How long it took you to write it, to query it, etc.
The inspiration came from a very dark place in my life, when someone I loved (my cousin's husband) had just passed away from cancer. He was just 24. The very first scene I wrote stemmed from that grief, and for a long time I thought that was all it was--an exercise in grief. But the characters wouldn't leave me alone so I kept going. However, about 7 or 8k words in, I hit a wall. I couldn't figure out where the plot needed to go. So I put it down. But again, the characters wouldn't leave me alone. When I finally figured out that one of them was keeping a major secret from me, the rest of the plot suddenly clicked into place and the rest of the book flew out of me. (I finished writing it 2 weeks after I figured out that one, integral secret.)
I'd been querying agents for almost 9 months (with two different books) after parting ways with my first agent in February of 2012. This was now October. But I knew DEFY was different. I started querying on Monday, about fifteen queries. Then on Tuesday night, I saw that an agent I liked had just re-opened to queries. I sent one off, and was shocked to get a full request ten minutes later. And even more shocked to get an email the next day before lunch, asking to talk to me about the book! I ended up receiving more than one offer. It was a dream situation. But TRUST ME, I've been through query hell (TWICE!) before this. If you count up all the queries from both times I searched for an agent, the rejections were probably well over 200. It was amazing to have everything move so fast with DEFY.
Andrea asked: How many books are you planning in the defy series/world? And what is your favorite and least favorite parts of the writing process?
There are 3 books in the DEFY series, with the second one coming out in January 2015!
One of my least favorite parts is when I'm on a roll or have some great inspiration/ideas and can't find the time to write and lose my momentum.
And one of my favorite parts is when I feel like I'm going to burst from excitement because everything is coming together the way I dreamed it would, and I've got the perfect music playing, and my heart is racing and I'm writing as fast as I can to get it all out before I lose my steam!
Thanks for the great questions you guys! We'll have to do this again soon! Hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about me, DEFY, and my writing journey!