Today, the GRAFFITI WALL has the pleasure to host an up and coming YA author. She's all the BUZZ...and she's nice.
Author of Paranormalcy, release date September 21st.
I'm so excited to have you here today, Kiersten. Thank you for adding graffiti to my wall. And to our readers, Kiersten's going to pay a visit in the comment section sometime today.
How long have you been writing? Was it always a passion or a craft you slowly grew to love?
I've always had a passion for reading and writing. For a lot of years I thought I'd write picture books...until I realized that writing picture books is freaking impossible. I think writing a novel is easier than writing a picture book!
I didn't start writing seriously until about five years ago when my husband was in grad school and I was home with a tiny baby. First it was entertainment, and then it was obsession, and now it's a profession. I like the progression!
That's interesting about pictures books. Another topic for another time. And your right, your progression from novice to professional is sweet!
Once you got down in the trenches of writing daily, what was your first impression? Was it a joyous event each day or were there a few plucking the hairs out of your head days?
My first three real novels were a total rush. I wrote the first drafts in mere weeks, constantly obsessing and thrilled. I haven't been able to have that level of obsession with the last few novels though, and they've definitely felt more like work and less like play most days. But I still get that rush when I think of a really great plot point, or write a flirting scene that I know in my bones works.
However, the more I write, the more fun it is, and the longer I let myself take breaks, the harder it is to get back into it. I never used to be a write-on-a-schedule girl, but I'm leaning more and more that way these days.
We know you're a busy mom, which can complicate things. Is there anything special you do to motivate yourself to write each day?
Writing is my motivation. It's my break from the beautiful monotonies of motherhood. There are certainly days when I'm too tired, or the kids don't go to bed until eleven, or a myriad of other things get in the way, but the longer I go without writing the twitchier I get and the shorter my fuse grows. Having this creative outlet makes me a better mother, and being a mother makes me a better writer. It's a lovely circle.
That it is.
I know this is a silly question but I just have to ask: Coffee or tea? If not, chocolate? The audience wants to know....
I can't even stand the smell of coffee, and tea has far, far too little sugar for my raging sugarholic tongue. I'm a Dr Pepper and chocolate girl.
Ooh, fellow chocoholic. Nice.
Are there any writers who've influenced you and your writing? Did you find a collective ingredient between them?
I would say JK Rowling, who opened up the world of middle-grade and YA to me. I never read them once I got past sixth grade, and rediscovering that entire group of books changed everything. I've been in love with YA ever since.
As far as my actual writing, I admire very, very many authors for their individual styles--Markus Zusak, Neil Gaiman, Lisa McMann, to name only a handful--and hope to have as distinctive but still variable a voice as they've all perfected.
This has been a hot topic lately. What is your take on social media/networking specifically for a writer?
Well, I blog daily and am a Twitter fiend, so obviously I not only think it's important, but I enjoy it. You can't force yourself to do those things if you don't enjoy them, but if you can find a way to make it fun, I think it's invaluable. I've made so many connections and gotten opportunities I never would have otherwise through blogging and Twitter. I think being active and approachable online is especially key for debut authors without anything else for people to connect with.
Great point about being approachable online.
What is the best writing advice you've received that you'd like to pass on to others? One of your own?
It's not very clever, but here is my advice: Work. Writing is work. It's fun and it's wonderful, but if you want to get "there" (wherever that elusive "there" is for you), you are going to have to work. The day I stop learning and trying to improve will be the day I stop writing.
You must be elated about the release of Paranormalcy in September. I know on your blog you've mentioned tidbits of your journey. But specifically with this story, how did it all come about? Was this a washed idea from the past or did it hit you out of the blue?
It hit me completely out of the blue. I'd written two other YA novels, one of which was out on submission. They were both paranormal suspense, without any sort of fantasy elements. A dear friend asked me if I'd ever do vampires, to which I responded absolutely not. And then one day during my son's naptime I figured out the only way I'd ever write a novel with vampires in it--and three weeks later I had a finished draft that ended up not being about vampires really at all.
When the book on submission didn't sell, I spent three months editing PARANORMALCY before sending it to my agent (who is notorious for hating any type of "creatures" in books). When she loved it we both knew we had something special. Sometimes I get all panicky thinking about just how random the whole thing was--what if my son hadn't napped that day?
I shudder to think about it : )
Hah, thank goodness he was. He gets the first piece of party cake at your release. ";-)
The premise of the book is so cool. Could you tell the readers a bit about it?
Evie is a sixteen-year-old girl working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency. They're like the UN, only with Tasers and charged with regulating all of the supernatural creatures of legend that do, in fact, exist. Because Evie can see through glamours to what paranormals really are underneath, she's invaluable to them.
But she'd rather go to school and drive and have, you know, a boyfriend and stuff than bring in stray vampires and locate hags. So when something starts killing immortal paranormals and she suspects it somehow involves her and a strange faerie prophecy, she's got to decide which is more important to her: figuring out how to be normal, or discovering how to be herself.
Your main character, Evie, is she anything like you?
I think she has a good chunk of my sense of humor. She's definitely very wry and sarcastic. But she's also far more confident than I was at that age, and, for someone who doesn't know who she is, has an excellent sense of self. So maybe we'd be second cousins or something?
Lastly, what are you going to do on Release Day!!
Oddly enough, a big group of really cool YA authors are coming to San Diego on my release day, so I'll probably spend it listening to them. I think it's fitting! And then that weekend, cupcakes! Launch party! And sleeping.
A group of cool YA authors sharing your day with you sounds awesome. Good for you. I'd like to thank you again, Kiersten, for sharing yourself with me so I can share you with our readers. Best of luck to you, Paranormalcy, and the two sequels you have to follow.
Interested in pre-ordering Paranormalcy? Just click or click on my widget of books for the link.
Kiersten can also be found here:
(Feel free to email Kiersten, but if you have a question check her website first. She may have already answered it for you.)