You know what I noticed while compiling these? I have A LOT of writer friends who have a first name that starts with "J" hahaha
One of the things that makes us twins is our love of Andrew Lee Potts/Hatter :)
Tough question! I kind of feel like the world’s most uninteresting person most days. But…let’s see. I loving video games almost as much as I love writing, I am slightly obsessed with Dr. Who, and I’d be a really happy girl if I could live in my PJs.
What’s the first thing you wrote for fun? (that you can remember!)
I vaguely remember writing (and illustrating) a story about a princess and her sister who saved a captured unicorn. I think I was about 5. Things haven’t really changed much since then lol. I think the first book I wrote when I got old enough to be serious about writing was a romantic suspense set in England. It was pretty awful – there was no suspense and very little romance. And of course the heroine was a bit too stupid to live. But it was definitely fun to write!
Give us a little insight into your writing journey so far.
I had the brief thought that I was slightly embarrassed my writing journey is taking so long, but then I realized that’s exactly why I need to talk about it! Everyone’s path is different and there’s nothing to be ashamed about!
So - I started getting serious about being published 5 years ago. I joined an online critique group and met some amazing writers. I’m still really good friends/CPs with two of them. I worked on that first book almost two years (WAY too long) before querying it and realizing it was never going to get an agent.
I started writing an Urban Fantasy/Mystery hybrid after that, but it just didn’t work. There were some fundamental plot and characterization problems, but it did help me hone my revision skills. I didn’t even query that one.
Then I wrote Time Bound – my YA historical fantasy set in Japan. It took a year to research, write and edit, then I subbed it to some contests and started querying. I met most of my fellow YA Misfits just about when I started to query, and they had some invaluable feedback that made me pull back and work on it some more (Thanks guys!). I queried TB this over this past summer (2012), and got some great requests and feedback, but I haven’t found a home for it. Yet.
While querying, I needed a book to focus on or I’d go nuts waiting for responses on TB, so I wrote and revised Ultraviolet Catastrophe. This baby was fun to draft, and a great distraction. I highly recommend everyone work on a new book while querying. It definitely cuts down on the crazy! I’m in the process of querying this one as we speak. And I’ve started an as-yet unnamed YA Sci-Fi set in space. As well as a secret project just for me I can’t seem to stop myself!
So there you go. I’m still on the journey, still loving how everything in the publishing business has evolved. So much of the focus when I started getting serious was on getting an agent, it’s really interesting to see that shifting away somewhat, with Self-Publishing. It’s becoming a really viable option for people now.
Star Wars, Star Trek, or…Firefly?
Oh man. That’s a tough one! I’m gonna have to go with Star Wars b/c it was my first love…but Firefly is a super close second!
What song’s been stuck in your head lately?
Pretty much the whole Imagine Dragons album. But in particular, Bleeding Out, since it’s on the playlist for my next WiP.
Why do you write/read/lurve YA?
How much time do you have? Honestly, I read/write everything, but YA holds a special place in my heart because that age group is in such a time of transition, and of finding yourself. I think I love that feeling of discovery. It’s so easy when you’re an adult to forget how the world looks so new and exciting when you’re younger, that the possibilities really are endless. There’s such a sense of fearlessness. YA helps remind me of that.
Do you have a favorite place/time of day to write?
I love to write first thing in the morning, when everything is still quiet and I haven’t been distracted by anyone yet. Unfortunately, the actuality is that I sneak in my writing time whenever I can, which mostly means at work on my lunch break, or after dinner.
If you could only pick one book to read for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Really? I don’t even know how to answer that question. I couldn’t live in a world without books!
What was your favorite book of 2012?
I did a lot of re-reading of favorites last year, so I think my favorite new book of 2012 was For the Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund. I’m a huge Jane Austen fan and this was a Sci-Fi retelling of Persuasion, so how could I NOT love it! I also finally read Graceling, and LOVED it as well, though technically it wasn’t new in 2012.
And of course I read some amazing CP manuscripts.
Is there a 2013 book you’re looking forward to?
ALL of them? I guess I’m really looking forward to The Nightmare Affair by Mindy Arnett. It sounds fun and Gothic. Also Prophecy by Ellen Oh. I love that it’s based on ancient lore and set in a non-European country. Can’t wait!
And, since I won an award for culturally under-represented authors: If you could pick a culture that you might not be totally familiar with to research and write a story about, which culture would it be? And why?
I actually did that with my last book – Time Bound. It was set in Japan, which I knew very little about, so I did extensive research to try to make sure I was being respectful and a good steward of the culture.
I think if I picked another culture to research and write about for a different book, it would be about either Pakistan or Zanzibar Tanzania. There are so many really amazing things about both cultures, but a lot of it gets lost in the politics of both regions. I’d love to be able to set a story in either place and really show what sorts of challenges the people of those countries face, in a way that’s respectful and based on their reality, not the privilege that I’ve always experienced. Who knows, maybe I will some day!
Great questions, Alex! Thanks so much for having me!
Thanks for answering my questions, Jamie :) Just to show you how much I luuuuuuuuurve you:
You're welcome :)
Another interview shall happen tomorrow! Getting closer to SCBWI New York!!!
ALL THE BUTTERFLIES!!!