Wolfy Chicks Bite into Author Interviews: They're GR8! The same 8 questions for YA authors answered so many different ways. Today we're picking the brain of YA author Jessica Verday - she's got a nifty trilogy coming out and has one of those road to publication stories that we all wish for...
1. What projects are you working on / have published?
I'm currently working on the second book in THE HOLLOW trilogy. The first will be published Oct. 6. But I also have a couple of other ideas up my sleeve for future projects that involve demons, mermaids, zombies, robots...
2. What's your "road to publication" story?
Kind of short in the scheme of things. THE HOLLOW is the first novel I actually sat down to write and finished. (The only other stories I have written are a 3,000 word picture book and 20,000 words of a chick lit novel.) I got the idea for THE HOLLOW in early 2006, went to visit the town of Sleepy Hollow and the cemetery in May of 2006, and then finished the book in mid 2007.
I queried for about 2 months, received four offers of representation, signed with an agent, and had my book sent out for submission about a month later. My editor received the book on a Thursday, we set the auction for the following Tuesday and the rest is history! Everything has happened amazingly fast for me and I am exceedingly grateful for that.
3. Why YA?
It's what the story dictated. The first line I heard in my head was spoken by Abbey, and I just knew instinctively that she was a teenage girl. As I started thinking more and more about this story I started seeing certain scenes in my head (prom night, for instance) and everything fell into place. This was a story about a normal girl who goes to high school, has a curfew, and is waiting for her parents to let her get her license. Everyday things that most teenagers go through.
4. Best writing advice you've heard?
Hmm, this is a tough one because I haven't actually heard a lot of writing advice. I would have to say though that probably the best advice I could give is to just keep going. If you think you'll never come to the end, never finish that scene, never slog through enough words to keep the story interesting...just keep going. One day, you will be able to write the words "The End."
5. What inspires you?
Everything. Music, movies, pictures... Sometimes it's a certain phrase that I hear that makes an idea pop into my head. Sometimes it's a certain image that I see that makes me wonder what the story behind that picture is. Sometimes it's an inscription that I come across while wandering through a cemetery. There is inspiration all around us. You just have to find what it is that makes you say "What if..."
6. Did you write stories as a teen? If yes what has/hasn't changed?
I wrote beginnings to stories. I didn't even realize I did this until I came across some of my old saved elementary school work. I usually didn't finish the stories, only started them. Over and over again I did this. I look back and wonder now what if... What if I had finished one of those stories? Where would I be now?
7. Describe your office/workspace/writer's cave.
I have several places I write, each having to do with whatever stage of the process I'm in. For the first draft, I handwrite everything, usually late at night, in bed. I keep a stack of books by the bed, usually ones I'm either waiting to read, or ones that are my favorites. I like to keep them as tools to help me strive to inspire someone else to want to read my words over and over again. I also keep several blank notebooks and black pens at hand in case I run out.
When I'm editing, I work on the floor or the couch, with my trusty black lap desk at hand. And then for a final edit, sometimes I'll work on my desktop computer in the office. It's black and metal and is surrounded pretty much on all sides by to-do lists, post it notes with hastily scribbled scenes or ideas written on them, pictures that I've saved because they invoke story ideas, reminders of things that I need to remember/accomplish, etc...
Then there is my two headed cow bobble head, my group of metal sculpture insects playing instruments, mini desktop gargoyles... All things that inspire me.
8. Who is your favorite character in your work? Why?
I think my favorite character is a tie. I really, really, really love Abbey. To me, she's broken, yet strong. Lost, yet ambitious. Wounded, yet trusting. I just love all the different facets of her character. Plus she has dreams and goals that play a really important part of this story. Her goal is to turn her hobby of perfume making into a business one day, and that's really interesting to me because so often when I read other YA books I want to know MORE about the main character's ambitions. Don't just tell me that someone wants to be a vet one day. Show me how they help wounded animals, or take care of sick ones, or spend all their time reading animal books.
I love the fact that she has a goal and has put time and effort into researching how she can accomplish that goal. ...But then, of course I have to say that I love Caspian as well. He's mysterious and sexy and romantic...how can you NOT love that?
Indeed. I'm predicting YA fans will eat this trilogy up and pester you for more, Jessica. Thanks for hanging with us! I so love your cover art. ;) You can find out more about Jessica and her stories at: www.JessicaVerday.com