October 31, 2012

Tag, I'm It! THe Next Big Thing Blog Hop

Elsie Chapman, my Random House sibling and fellow Lucky 13-er, and author of a book I am DYING to get my hands on this winter, DUALED, has tapped me to take part in a blog hop today with the theme, The Next Big Thing. We're supposed to answer ten questions about the next big thing that we're working on and then tag some other lovely writers to do the same. Since the big thing I'm working on right now is the sequel to my debut novel, THE SILO, I'll be answering all of these questions with both books in mind. Once you're done here, you should really stop by Elsie's blog because she has ALL KINDS of interesting stuff going on over there.

1) What is the working title of your book?
THE SILO is the title of book one and the sequel is VERY tentatively called THE COMMUNITY--but don't get comfortable with it since I am almost one hundred percent sure that I'll change it as I get closer to finishing.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

I was watching this show on TV about people who are prepping for the end of the world this year and all of the underground shelters that have been built recently--some very elaborate and expensive. It fascinated me that there were people out there willing to shell out millions of dollars for a luxury shelter because they were that convinced about the end of the world. It got me thinking about how people who are intelligent and well off could become convinced of something that seems sort of looney tunes to most us, so convinced that they'd pull away from regular society to prepare. The book really just grew from there.

3)What genre does your book fall under?
Strictly speaking, my book is a contemporary. Everything that happens could and in some instances has happned, but I do think that there is definitely a dystopian vibe to it because the community I'm writing about is self-contained and basically self-governed in a sense and it's own little world inside of our bigger one.

4) Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I actually don't know. I google pics of regular type people for character inspiration. I might google something like: red haired boy or some such and pics of normal people will show up amongst the movie star ones. I'm more drawn to the regular pics. But for Pioneer, my cult leader...if pressed I'd say the actor who plays House, Hugh Laurie, most closely resembles him.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
THE SILO and it's sequel are about a girl who's grown up in an apocalyptic cult who has to decide what she believes in and what she's willing to do for those beliefs in the last few months leading up to what just might be the end of the world.

6)Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Both of my books are being published through Random House Children's and will come out in Fall 2013 and 2014 respectively.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I don't know. The truth is that I never actually finish a draft until after the revisions are done. I save the last few chapters to write once the rest of the book is polished. So, to give some sort of an answer, I write a draft in 7 months, but at the end of seven months it's polished.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Good question. I honestly don't know. I purposely avoided any books that were about cults to make sure that I didn't unconsciously borrow from them. But there is a movie that I watched shortly after I finished book one that has some similar elements---Martha Marcy May Marlene. Not a YA movie, but definitely has the same pyschological themes.

9) Who or What inspired you to write this book?

My need to understand why someone would chose to give up their freedom and ability to think critiquely to belong to a group. I am a control freak and I just don't get it. I think I'm closer to understanding it now, though.

10) What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I think the fact that everything that happens in it could happen to contemporary teens. It's scary and creepy and terrible and heartbreaking in some senses and absolutely inspired by news stories from our past and from now.

Tag, now YOU'RE it!

I'm breaking the rules just a bit now since I was elbow deep in revisions the last few weeks and many of the people I reached out to tag (very last minute *hangs head*) were already tagged by someone else. SO, in leiu of tagging, I'm going to propose that  anyone reading this blog that's interested in taking part is officially tagged to take part in this hop next week. Just put your link in the comments and I'll edit this post to also put it up here. You will need to answer the ten questions above on your blog next Wednesday, November 7th and then tag five others to do the same for the Wednesday after.

And we have some players!!!

Check out these blogs next Wednesday:

Katie over at Breath of Books 

Rachel over at Rachel Writes Things


October 25, 2012

Guest Blogging Today

Okay, I am totally not keeping my word and blogging all regular like. SORRY! Life keeps getting in the way. Namely edits for my book, THE SILO, and trying to finish it's sequel by my deadline. In the pajamas now as I type...at noon...on a weekday. Haven't been outside of the house since the weekend. Falling apart here a little, people!

BUT in the midst of this, I wanted to let you know that I'll be at The Luckies blog today talking about crushes and writing. If you want to stop by, I'd be over the moon.

In the meantime, I'll be back here blogging in the next few days, really, no really, I MEAN IT. Gotta show you the awesome front yard scape the hubs did for Halloween among other things. SO KEEP CHECKING IN!

October 15, 2012

Anyone Up For NaNoWriMo?

I am just about done drafting the sequel to my book, THE SILO, which means time for new projects and trying new things. SO, I'm going to dip my toes in the NaNoWriMo water and see if I can bang out a fairly sucky first draft next month for a new idea I've been toying with. Have any of you attempted it before? If so, how did you do? I figure it's a good idea because I find that first draft phase to be the longest part of the process for me and I tend to write the first half of the book over and over again before I tackle the end. Now I'm wondering if maybe shaking up my process and forcing myself to write one entire draft without tinkering might help me in the long run go quicker. I'll probably still have to throw out quite a bit of what I write next month before I have anything workable, but who knows?

My Goals:

1. I'm going to try and be just slightly more ambitious than 50k, but only because I write full time and can devote more writing time per day...so unofficially my goal is 60k.

2. I'd like to complete the first draft of a sci fi piece that's a bit of a mash up of a YA Total Recall/Matrix and is a complete departure from what I've been writing recently. Time to challenge myself, I think and to cleanse my writing palate...too much time spent researching the inner workings of cults and fringe groups can mess with your head.

If you are going to sign up this year, I'd love it if you'd drop me a line about it in the comments and then if you wanna, :-) you can hop on over to the NaNoWriMo site and we can be writing buddies. I'm there under amychristinepar1 *Jumps up and down* Can't wait to get started!!!

October 9, 2012

My Process

So, I'm in the final stages of writing the sequel to my book, THE SILO. Yay!!! And since I'm at the end I've been thinking a lot about the process I go through to get from the idea to the finished book...and here's the thing...it's not the most efficient or speedy method. I start out with good intentions, outlining and mapping out day to day what scenes I'll work on, but I'd say for months I end up writing a lot of scenes that I ultimately end up throwing out. I take every possible wrong turn it seems until I finally find the right road to take story wise. I read an interview with Libba Bray recently where she said that part of her process always involved writing the book wrong before she could get it right and I am exactly the same. I throw out just as much, if not more as I keep with EVERY SINGLE BOOK. And I don't foresee that changing. I have notebooks and notebooks of words that will never see the light of day again as well as a whole host of typed in scenes that are going to launguish in my computer forever. I keep hoping that I'll somehow figure out how to skip this part so I can go faster, but no matter how much preplanning I do, it doesn't happen. And this is what makes writing a novel hard...because the part where I write all the wrong stuff...isn't fun. Somehow I can always feel it, even when I'm in the midst of writing it, but still I have to soldier on because for me it's the only way to get to the stuff that'll stick. Which means that about 90% of my writing time feels forced and hard. Things only get fun at this stage--the one I'm in now, that last 10%-- when I know exactly where I'm going. At this point the words come easily and I can't wait to get to the computer and have to drag myself away from it at night. How about you? Is your process similar or do the words come easier?

October 1, 2012

Five Strange Things You Didn't Know About Me Until Today

Okay, so I am off on a kick butt family vacation, soaking up sun and frolicking. Here:

In honor of my gulp fortieth birthday which is October 3rd. It will be my last by the way. After this I refuse to get any older...that's right, you heard me Father Time, the madness stops here. Anyway, so I will be off the grid until Friday, but in my absence I'm leaving this post.
Five Strange Things You Didn't Know About Me Until Today:
1. I had a giant (and I do mean GIANT) poster of Bo and Luke from The Dukes of Hazard above my bed when I was in second grade and I used to kiss Bo right on his paper lips regularly. It was this picture. Seventies/eighties style sexy!
2. I once got stitches in my forehead because I hit the corner of a glass end table with my face when my brother and I decided to try to see who could knock over who first...with our hands and feet bound together with socks. Yeah, we were BRILLIANT.
3. In third grade my favorite past time was popping in my parents' eight track of Barry Manilow and doing seventies style karoake to "Copacabana". I was so edgy. I can still sing that song by heart. Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl...
4. I once beat up a boy when I was in fourth grade who was trying to bully me---with my violin case.
5. One of the most embarrassing things I have ever had to do was when I was a teacher in inner city Atlanta. I used to meet with some of the teachers to work out after school and when my principal caught wind of it she made us get up and do an aerobics routine in front of ALL THE PARENTS on meet the teacher night. Picture a very white and non rhythmic me surrounded by three very overweight elderly black ladies (doing a much better job working what the good Lord gave them) in front of a room full of gangsta style parents and grandparents from a neighborhood that's one of the roughest in ALL of ATL. doing a sort of weird Richard Simmons type thing. IT WAS NOT PRETTY. There was a lot of laughing going on...and pointing....and I wasn't the one doing it.