Jen and I have many things in common.
A love of Sailor Moon is one of said things.
We're also in the same sorority and were sorted into the same House in Pottermore!
HINT: IT'S THIS ONE.
She ventures into how we became Social Media BFFs in her answers, so I don't want to steal her thunder or anything. But if you want to follow her blog she does AMAZING book reviews!
What I want the world to know and what I'm going to say here are probably two different things. ;) I'm an aspiring writer with shameful addictions to both diet soda and chapstick. I divide most of my free time between reading, writing, blogging, getting sucked into social media, and revising. I run a YA book blog called Almost Grown-up and the Fangirl Flail is my favorite dance move.
What’s the first thing you wrote for fun? (that you can remember!)
Hmmm... first thing I remember writing for fun was basically a Nancy Drew fanfic starring my parents' teenage selves as Nancy and Ned. I think they found a baby and had to solve the mystery of its appearance. Compelling stuff, I know. I want to say I was seven? And yes, my mom definitely has said story filed away somewhere.
Give us a little insight into your writing journey so far.
Okay, this is longish. BEAR WITH ME.
Up until high school, I barely wrote, but I was a voracious reader of both books, and (perhaps more importantly) Sailor Moon fanfiction. I loved it and spent a great deal of time clicking around the internet for quality fics. After spending a year taking a Creative Writing course as an elective, loving it, and honing my editing skills as a yearbook and literary magazine editor in high school, I starting writing my own fanfiction. This was spurred on by joining one of the best LJ comms around in the fandom. I also played around with Harry Potter fanfiction a teeny bit.
I majored in Creative Writing in college, but it zapped a lot of the joy from writing for me. And I think that had to do with a few things: the first was the knowledge that what I liked to read and write was either YA or "chick lit," which tends to get looked down on in academic literary circles. Another was that I was writing for a GRADE and tried to force myself into a style that I thought would please my teacher. And of course, part of my major requirements were non-fiction and poetry courses-- neither of which I have ever particularly enjoyed writing.
So. Then I graduated and found myself considering my first NaNoWriMo. In October of 2010, I took the seed of an idea that I had and I outlined it obsessively. I thought I was utterly prepared for the 1,667 words a day. I was not. I realized I do better first-drafting as a pantser to figure things out and fell short with Now and Again somewhere around 30,000 words. The next year (2011), I completely pantsed it with a throwaway idea called Word on Greek Street. I had a lot of fun with it, but ultimately it perpetuates a lot of sorority and fraternity life stereotypes, that I don't want to further on (there's more to Greek Life than drinking, I swear) so I have no plans to revise it. The good news: it helped me achieve my first NaNoWriMo win!
I started writing my current WiP (and third novel) about a year ago when a couple of other book bloggers and I started working on our novels and posting weekly progress on our blogs. I think I finished my first REALLY ROUGH draft of Apparent around September? Maybe October. I worked on revising Act 1 and when I was somewhat happy with it, sent that off to a CP or 2. I took Mandy Hubbard's YA writing class on LitReactor which was hugely helpful, and where I met Alex (along with some of you who are reading this probably ^_~).
This year for NaNoWriMo, I worked on draft 2 of Acts 2 and 3. Act 2 is mostly finished-- I'm now in the stage where I'm trying to tie scenes together and filling plotholes before I send that off to the CPs. Then there's just Act 3 to contend with! I plan to be querying agents this year, but only when I'm sure I've made it the best it can be after advice from my CPs!
And, I still cut loose and write Sailor Moon fanfiction from time to time.
Star Wars, Star Trek, or…Firefly?
Firefly Firefly Firefly. I hadn't actually seen Firefly or Star Wars until last year, when I decided that they were necessary parts of my "nerducation." I still haven't seen Star Trek, and feel less strongly about incorporating it into my nerducation. I liked Star Wars well enough, but it didn't give me the feels the way that Firefly (and Serenity) did. I'm now the proud owner of the series on DVD and refuse to delete the 10th anniversary roundtable with the cast from my DVR.
What song’s been stuck in your head lately?
If it's Friday, you may assume that the unfortunate answer to this is "Friday" by Rebecca Black. If it's another day of the week, lately I've been listening to "I Like Giants" by Kimya Dawson on repeat quite often. I heard it when I watched the livestream of An Evening of Awesome at Carnegie Hall with Hank and John Green and it almost moved me to tears.
Why do you write/read/lurve YA?
Oh gosh, I think I actually have a blog post on this topic somewhere, but I'll go for a redo on the topic. Basically, I think that teenage years are years when things are so much more open to possibility than being an "adult" and settled into routines and well... selves. Teenagers are still becoming who they're going to be.
Plus, it's a period of life when I think that emotions can be more intense and strong emotions can bring us closer to characters sometimes.
Do you have a favorite place/time of day to write?
When I talk myself into getting to work right away (except I'm NOT a morning person), I find that the morning is best, before I have a chance to become distracted by what I need to do/haven't accomplished yet that day. I can just fall into the story without the "real world" concerns.
If you could only pick one book to read for the rest of your life, what would it be?
This question is cruel, but not that unusual for us bookish folk, haha. I've cheated before and said "Harry Potter" meaning the whole series. If I was cheating still... THAT is my answer. Otherwise, Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I've already read it a few times, but it makes my heart ache in an exquisite way half the time and swoon and laugh the other half.
What was your favorite book of 2012?
Oh... hell. I read like 100 books or something like that last year. And now I'm DEFINITELY cheating, but here are a few that I loved a lot: Code Name Verity, The Fault in Our Stars, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, Cinder, Grave Mercy, and Bitterblue.
Is there a 2013 book you’re looking forward to?
There are MANY! But topping my list are Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins and Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (which I've actually already read and LOVED, but I want it to be out in the world so everyone can enjoy it-- it's out February 5th!)
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?
Spanish culture, by which I actually mean Spain for a couple reasons: the first being that I already have an idea for my next novel if the Apparent duology doesn't work out. It'll be a historical and take place at least partly in Spain. Next reason: I speak a teeny bit of the language (thank you, 5 years of middle and high school Spanish).
Anything else I might have missed?
Nothing comes to mind!
Thanks for participating in my random Q&A session, Jen! I'm going to add "not a morning person" to the list of more things that we have in common! Also, I think the Fangirl Flail has the potential to be the next big dance move...