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· Between the Lines (2011) [My Review]
· Where You Are (October 2011)
Gleaned (a looooong time ago) from a book called The First Five Pages: Go through a piece of writing and remove every descriptive word (adjectives, adverbs). Then replace the nouns and verbs with stronger nouns and verbs. (This is the best writing advice I can give a beginner who knows the “rules” of writing, but not the fine-tuning. Descriptive words have their places – but they should be used sparingly.)
You have a free afternoon. Would you rather continue writing on a story you're currently working on, or catch up on reading some books?
If I feel the need to write, I write. If I must write because I’m behind (this is a tough one because as an indie author, my deadlines are self-imposed!), I write. Otherwise, I read. Reading, for me, feeds the need to write. I can’t do one without the other. (I’m often knee-deep in a great book when I feel compelled to write. I’ve learned to just get up and follow that inspiration.)
What is it about the Young Adult genre that calls to you as a writer?
The age of 16-20 has always been appealing to me as a reader, whether in classics, contemporary fiction, or romance. It’s the age where everything is possible. The course of your life isn’t set. Your beliefs aren’t set (even if you think they are). The way you love, the type of friend you are, your prejudices, career paths—nothing is set. There are many points in life when you hit huge strides of self-discovery, of course, but I believe that the ability to self-shape during this time period is universal.
What would you say is the key to having a successful love triangle that doesn't push the boundaries of cliché or forced?
I actually don’t see Reid-Emma-Graham as a love triangle. Like Edward-Bella-Jacob, it’s more of a tug-of-war, where the person in the middle is going to get hurt no matter what, and the people at either end would prefer to lose each other. To me, a love triangle is attached at all three points. Jenny Han’s Summer books for instance – one girl, two brothers, or Arthur-Guinevere-Lancelot in Arthurian legend – one woman, two very close friends. The person not chosen loses two people, not just one.
As far as successful love triangles go, the author has to show genuine attachment between all three parties. No matter what happens, everyone is hurt. Very tricky. In a tug-of-war there must be a similar strong attachment between the center person and each of the outer people. A little less tricky, I think. Either way, if those attachments don’t ring true, people will see it as forced and unbelievable.
How did the inspiration come about to write a story about teenage movie stars?
Watching actors/musicians hit their late teens/early twenties and self-destruct is almost old hat. Will they come out the other end intact, or will they just ruin their lives and blow their careers? I have to wonder how much of this phenomenon can be attributed to the lack of privacy at this critical time in a person’s life. We all make mistakes while we’re growing and maturing, but most of us don’t have to see those mistakes “reported” on TMZ or parodied on SNL.
Your story wrapped up nicely with some unexpected twists. Did you pretty much know everything that would happen before you started writing, or did it just happen at the writing went along?
I had a vague idea of where it was going. The twists at the end of BTL were known ahead of time, because they were past events. The personalities of the characters have likewise been defined by those past events when the novel opens. That said, how characters react to what I throw at them isn’t always how I expect them to react. Sometimes they mess up my assumed little storyline with their decisions! But I believe firmly in letting them do that. (Even if sometimes I’d like to pull them out of my computer and shake them. Hard.)
Are you working on anything right now that you can share with us?
I’m working on a sequel, the prologue of which is Graham’s take on the last scene of BTL… The title is Where You Are and it should be out in October.