Today is the Genre Favorites Blogfest hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. One blogfest, four favorites!
We are supposed to list our favorite genre of: Movie, Music and Books. If you'd like to read more about this blogfest or see the other blogs participating, please go HERE.
Please forgive me for posting this so late...my Internet was out yesterday. Thank you, Time Warner.
I would have to say my favorite genre of movie is action/adventure. I love a movie that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Although, my favorite movie is The Princess Bride, which is not really in the action genre, per se.
I have very eclectic tastes in music. I like everything from jazz to country and blues to hip hop and even some rap. It really depends on my mood. Lately, I find myself listening to a lot of alternative. Mumford and Sons, Florence and the Machine, The Killers, The Black Keys etc. The song I can't get enough of this week is Too Close by Alex Clare.
As for genre of books, well anything goes there too. I like mystery, murder, suspense, romance, YA, chick lit, and more. I think my favorite is probably Romance, which would be my guilty pleasure. I love a good fairytale ending.
What about you? Do you like these genres? Heard this song? Extra points if you can tell me which commercial it was on.
Today for my author interview I have Deborah Lynn Jacobs. I met Deborah at a Writer's Workshop earlier this summer. She was filling in, at the last minute, for the speaker who was sick. It was scheduled to be a talk about YA. Unfortunately for Deborah wasn't aware she was going to be filling in until the last minute, so she didn't have any of her talks with her. It was, however, fortunate for us in the audience. It turned into a wonderful Q&A. We asked Deborah any and every question we could think of about writing, publishing, and querying. It was a very informative hour.
While there, I bought her book Choices. I loved it! It was a quick easy read, but the content was anything but easy. Kathleen has major choices to make and none of them are simple. It's a book that even after you put it down, you can't help but think back about the concept an story. It was wonderfully written.
Thanks, Deborah for answering all my questions!
JS: You’ve had three books published. Can you tell us a little about them?
DLJ: Sure. The Same Difference is about a girl with Asperger’s syndrome, who has an autistic twin sister. The book explores the similarities and differences between the two girls, and between Casey and her high school peers.
In Powers, two teens with latent psychic powers unlock each other’s potential, with disastrous results. Written in two voices, Powers is a story about power in all its guises. It’s a page-turner, with elements of mystery, suspense and a dash of romance.
Choices explores the road not taken. Kathleen shifts between copies of herself in alternate universes. She both changes her life, and is changed by the choices she makes. In the end, she must make the most difficult choice of all.
JS: Choices is a book about a girl who shifts between alternate universes. How difficult was this to write? Did you do anything special to keep the universes separate?
DLJ: It was tricky keeping the characters separate and unique. As you know, the book starts with Kathleen, but splits into several versions of her as she shifts between copies of herself in alternate universes. I had to keep track of what each character was doing, even when they were off screen, because I would eventually come back to them. I used a flowchart, which I obsessed over, marked up with colored pens, stuck sticky notes on, erased, rewrote—you get the idea. By the end, I was juggling eight separate plot lines. I once woke up at three in the morning in a cold sweat, and had to run downstairs to make sure I hadn’t made a continuity error on my flow chart!
JS: What are you working on now?
DLJ: I’m currently working on a novel that explores privacy issues and government meddling in individual’s lives. It was sort of “future fiction” when I started it, but is rapidly becoming the evening news!
JS: How long, on average, does it take you to write a book?
DLJ: Depends. Six months to ten years, ha, ha. The ten years was for Powers. I was learning to write as I went along. I did so many revisions, and versions, and plot lines that it’s all a blur in my mind. Finally, I learned enough to get it right—or at least, semi-right.
JS: How did you get your inspiration for your books?
DLJ: I read a lot of science fiction when I was growing up. There wasn’t much written for young adults, so I went from juvenile fiction to adult novels. I loved the “what if?” nature of science fiction. I still love asking, “What if?” and going from there.
JS: When did you decide to write your first novel?
DLJ: My youngest was in junior kindergarten, half days. I’d see her off on the bus, walk the dog, then write until the bus dropped her off at noon. I wrote a novel in one school year, and revised it the next year. It was a terrible first novel, and didn’t sell, but the need to write was in my blood and I haven’t looked back.
JS: Have you always wanted to be a writer?
DLJ: That’s actually hard to answer. I wrote my first book when I was eight, but got stuck in the middle and stopped.
I wrote for my school newspaper, and, later, in my job as a college counselor, I created a departmental newsletter and wrote a guide for adults returning to school. When we moved to a small town, I needed to cobble together a career. I taught at the college, worked at the employment center, and started writing for the town newspaper and some local magazines. Eventually, I got around to writing novels again. This time I finished them!
JS: How many query letters did you send out before you got an agent?
DLJ: Somewhere between five and ten, I think. Some rejections were brutal. The worst, in my opinion, was a stock rejection, printed on a third of a piece of paper, and cut at an angle. Obviously, they’d printed a standard rejection three times on a sheet of paper, cut it into three (badly,) and sent it to three people. I mean, my work didn’t even warrant a whole piece of paper? Ouch.
JS: Is it easier to get published once you already have an agent and books published?
DLJ: I think so. Many houses are closed to unsolicited queries, and will only look at agented submissions. One way to break in is to go to conferences. If you write for kids and teens you can join SCBWI (Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators.) There are regional and national conferences, as well as local events. Usually, an agent or editor will accept submissions directly from conference attendees, allowing you to get your foot in the door of closed publishing houses.
JS: What advice do you have for any unpublished authors?
DLJ: I would say to polish your manuscript until it is the absolute best you can make it. If you have any doubts about it, don’t send it out yet.
A critique group can be invaluable in helping you spot flaws in your own work.
Vanilla or chocolate?Chocolate. Coffee or tea?Both! Tea at breakfast, coffee at dinner. Beach or snow?Snow. Last book read?Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs.
Currently reading the second volume of Game of Thrones, by R. R. Martin. Favorite author?
That’s hard to answer! I read mostly YA novels, since that’s what I write. There are so many authors I admire: Gail Giles, Neal Shusterman, Alex Flinn, Jorden Sonnenblich, Brent Hartinger, Arthur Slade, Linda Sue Park, Cynthia Lord, Eric Luper…I could go on and on! Most played song on iPod?
Anything by Daughtry, David Cook, Rob Thomas—I’m partial to male vocalists. Favorite movie?
A Knight’s Tale, Fiddler on the Roof, Pretty Woman, Shanghai Noon, Romeo and Juliet (Franco Zeffirelli version,) Hamlet, First Knight, Galaxy Quest. Outliner or panster?
I start writing by the seat of my pants, but resort to an outline once I get lost in the story and need a plan. Flats or heels?
How about bare feet? Lipstick or chapstick?
Chapstick! I squirrel them all over the house, so I’m never without one.
Deborah Lynn Jacobs is the author of three books for young adults. Her most recent book, Choices, follows Kathleen as she slips between alternate copies of herself in parallel universes, trying to undo a tragic, irreversible choice. Choices was a Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, A Stellar Book Award winner, Sunburst Award Finalist, and was on the NYPL Books for the Teen Age list. Deborah is a transplanted Canadian, and has put down roots in Wisconsin. She is an active member of SCBWI, and enjoys outdoorsy things like gardening, bird watching, camping and canoeing.
GUTGAA is going strong and today over at Deana Barharts's blog is the pitch polish. So if you think you know a thing or two about query's head on over there and give some constructive critiques. There's a little over a hundred of them in all different genres. Go HERE
WRiTE CLUB over at DL's blog is still battling on! If you haven't checked it out yet, you should. It pits writer against writer and only the strong survive. Go HERE.
And last but not least, Natalie over at Literary Rambles is interviewing Matthew MacNish from the QQQE's daughter Mady. So if you get a minute run over there and show her some blogger love. Go HERE.
How was your weekend? DO anything fun. Have an announcement? Are you participating in GUTAA or WRiTE CLUB?
The first Monday of every month some of us like to get together for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. It's a wonderful supportive group started by Alex J. Cavanaugh, where writers can talk about all the things that make us insecure. If you'd like to find out more about it or see who else is participating please go HERE. If you are visiting my blog for the GUTGAA, it's the next post down.
This past week has been especially hard for me in terms of insecurities. For two reasons, I think.
One, I'm neck deep in edits and well, when all I'm looking at day after day are all the things that are wrong with my MS, it gets a little disheartening. I try to remind myself that I want these comments. I want to make it the best I possibly can and if no one told me the things that were wrong with it, I couldn't fix them. But, It's still discouraging to stare at all the things that I've done wrong.
Two, Thursday, Matthew over at QQQE featured my query letter. (Thank you so much Matthew!) I got some wonderful feedback and some great suggestions on how to make it better. It was however, the first time I've really put anything regarding AWAKENED out there. I got a few comments that were a little disheartening and made me question myself and my story, for about a day.
Then, I talked to some great friends, thank you, and they helped me realize it doesn't matter. I didn't make up the story. The story chose me to tell it. I know that there will be haters out there no matter what and I just have to grow my skin a little thicker. I love my story. I love my characters. And in the end... THAT is what really matters.
So, I'm buckling down, getting my edits done and redoing my query letter. Making them both the best I possibly can. And reminding myself that I'm doing this because I have to and I love it.
And if you believe in fate... then maybe you think it was looking out for me, 'cause tonight at dinner... here was my fortune cookie.
What do you think? Was it fate? Does editing get you down? Have these same issues? Any advice?
This is the first week of GUTGAA- Gearing Up To Get an Agent. It's a month long blogfest hosted by Deana Barnhart. If you'd like to know more about it or see who else is participating please go to Deana's blog. For the first week we are doing a meet and greet. Where we get to know a little about each other. Thank you so much, Deana for hosting this great blogfest!
A little about me... I'm married and have three kids. When I'm not writing, I work as a nurse. I've been writing/blogging for about a year now, so still pretty new. I just finished my first YA novel and am working on the edits while trying to get my query letter just perfect. Questions for the Meet and Greet
Where do you write? I write just about anywhere. Have laptop will write. I don't have a work space per se. My favorite spots to write are my chair in my living room and my back porch.
Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see? There's an end table next to my chair.
Favorite time to write? At night after the kids go to bed. It's quiet and I can concentrate.
Drink of choice while writing? Water or if I have a particularly long day I may have a glass of wine. Which can sometimes get me into trouble.
When writing, do you listen to music or do you need complete silence? It depends on my mood. I have a writing play list that I listen to, but sometimes I need quiet.
What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it? I was lying in bed one night and started to daydream. I wanted my remote, but didn't want to get out of bed. It spiraled from there.
What's your most valuable writing tip? Don't let anyone tell you, you can't. If it truly is your passion go after it. The only thing stopping you is you. Write, write and write. The more you write the better and easier it gets.
Well, there's my answers. What about you? Are you participating in GUTGAA? Have any of the same answers? Hope you have a great week!
Hi, I'm YA author, Jessica Salyer. I'm busy writing down the current story in my head and trying hard to be patient while querying. Thanks for stopping by. You can also find me at www.JessicaSalyer.com