I'm so excited to be "it" this week on the Writing Process Blog Tour that's been sweeping the blogosphere. The amazingly talented and Golden-Heart-WINNING Darcy Woods tagged me. Her YA contemporary SUMMER OF SUPERNOVA won the YA Golden Heart last year, and I had the privilege of reading it (you SO have to buy this book when it's released into the wild!) Check out Darcy's fun and fabulous plotter-pantser (plantser?) writing process here.
And now I tackle the 4 questions:
1. What am I currently working on? What am I not working on right now? :) That's how it feels anyway. While my delightful agent prepares to shop my Golden Heart finalist YA romantic mystery FOUR BULLETS to publishers, I'm knee deep and crazy-busy preparing for the release of the first book in my New Adult contemporary series, CHANNEL 20SOMETHING on August 12. It will be published under my pen name Amy Patrick. I'm just finishing Book 3 and beginning Book 4 and loving it! Book 1 features a group of friends just out of college working in their first jobs in TV news. It takes place in and around a small-market TV station in the Deep South, where what happens behind the scenes is the real story.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? New Adult romance is still a developing category of the romance genre-- one thing that makes it so exciting. Many of the books currently on the market feature characters who are in college, living away from home for the first time. I'm thrilled that NA readers are clamoring for variety, because my series features characters who are just beyond that point, dealing with first jobs, first apartments, striving for real independence from parents and home, and negotiating romantic relationships that actually have a chance of lasting. Which is wonderful but can be scary, too.
As far as my YA mystery-- I think it's the premise that sets it apart and caught the eye of agents-- Lauren's mother is prosecuting the biggest murder trial of her career, and Lauren's lifelong crush Bowie has finally noticed she's alive. Too bad it's for the wrong reasons-- his mother is the defendant. When Bowie uses drastic tactics to persuade Lauren to help him prove his mom's innocence, she knows the risks she's taking could finally win her his heart. But she could end up losing much more in the process.
3. Why do I write what I write? I absolutely love reading and writing YA and NA, because it's an amazing stage of life filled with excitement, romance, and decisions that can have lifelong consequences. You never quite get over what (and who) happens during these years. That's what I want to capture.
4. How does my individual writing process work? I pantsed my way through my first book and then took about a YEAR revising and re-writing it. Painfully. Then I read several writing craft books and soaked up some conference workshops... and became a plotter. Now I create a very detailed scene-by-scene outline before I begin actually writing my books. It's much faster, and for me, much more fun. I love to know where I'm going before I begin. Not that I have to stick to the road map. Sometimes a new path becomes the obvious course as I'm writing. The pre-planned map gives me the courage to get started-- I get adventurous and explore side roads along the way. When I'm powering through a fast first draft, I go to the most boring corner of my local library's reference section, settle into a chair facing a wall, and get to work. Every day. Messy first draft done, I do several more drafts before sending my ms to my wonderful critique partners, and after implementing their brilliant suggestions, on to my editor. Everyone has their own methods, but this is working for me so far. It's enabled me to write three books so far this year, with more to come!
I'm also having a great time narrating audio books for other authors. I've been a voiceover artist for the past 13 years doing radio and TV ads and corporate voiceover work. When I got the chance to combine that experience with my first love-- books-- I jumped at it. What's better than working in your PJ's? Not much!
Next week you're in for a tasty triple-dip of writing process goodness. I'm tagging two of my talented fellow Golden Heart 2014 YA finalists (go Dreamweavers!) and one of my Lucky 13 GH sisters (go Luckies!)-- who's another Golden Heart winner. I can't wait to hear about how they create their own romance-ish literary stylings. Let's meet them now...
Vanessa Barneveld lives in Australia. She has one husband, two cats, and three Golden Heart nominations in the YA category. When she’s not writing, devouring chocolate or studying for her master’s degree, Vanessa works in TV as a closed captioner for the deaf and audio describer for the blind. THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE, her 2014 GH book about a ghost who won't give up till he finds out who killed him, recently sold to Bloomsbury Publishing. Find Vanessa at her website. Or hanging out on Twitter and her Facebook page.
Jessica Ruddick is a 2014 Golden Heart finalist for her new adult novel, Letting Go, which was inspired by her own college experiences. She is married to her college sweetheart—their first date was a fraternity toga party (nothing inspires love like a toga, right?). These days she is a high school English teacher by day and young adult and new adult writer by night, lunch break, soccer practice, basically whenever she can squeeze in a minute to write. She is counting down the days until summer, which she’ll spend wrangling her two rambunctious sons. You can find her blogging at her website and connect with her on Twitter.