I love the writing community. At every stage of my journey to publication, I have been supported by fellow writers. They have been my cheerleaders throughout this whole crazy process. I have made connections with people who have changed my life for the better. Today on the blog, I’m participating in the “My Writing Process Blog Tour.” If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, amazing authors have shared their insights about the craft.
My agent sister, AJ Pine, tagged me to join the tour. Her NA debut, If Only, was released a few weeks ago with Entangled Embrace! I devoured this book and can’t wait for more from AJ!!
So, here’s how the tour works. I’ve got a few questions to answer for you, and then you’ll get to meet a couple other authors who will join the tour next week!
1. What am I working on?
At the moment, I am working on the second book of my NA contemporary romance series. I can’t really say much right now, but I will have a fun announcement in the VERY NEAR FUTURE.
2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?
My first book, Unethical, is a NA contemporary romance. I really love focusing on gray area issues in my writing. In this one, the main character (MC), Payton, is dealing with her mother passing via assisted suicide—that was administered by her dad. I like to delve into topics that are unusual and uncomfortable. Since I was a biology major with a pre-med focus for the first three years of college, I like to incorporate the pre-med aspect into my characters’ lives. Think of it like the younger version of Grey’s Anatomy.
3. Why do I write what I do?
College was one of the happiest times of my life. My first real taste of freedom from my parents. Making bad choices. Going to tons of parties. And, oh yeah, studying my ass off. All while trying to figure out who I was, and who I wanted to be. Hell, I’m 26 and still trying to figure it out! When I first read Easy by Tammara Webber, I fell in love. I kept it by my bedside so I could reread passages because they were SO GOOD. I really loved how she dealt with serious issues, such as rape, and handled it with such grace. And then I thought to myself, maybe I could try this. Maybe I could write about tough issues that interest me. I grew up in a medical family (I am the black sheep in the family; everyone else is either a doctor, nurse, or pharmacist). When I was younger, dinner conversations consisted of interesting/disgusting things that happened at the hospital. Sometimes I’d even go in with my dad to the hospital and help him with his rounds (he was grooming me early to be the next doctor in the family). That’s where most of my ideas spawn from. And also my perfectionists streak a mile wide…but we’ll save traumatizing study sessions with my dad for another time. My dad has been a wealth of knowledge and it’s been a great bonding experience talking about medical issues (even if I didn’t become a doctor like he had hoped). Along with tough issues, I love to add some steamy tension, and sizzling romance, because who doesn’t love flawed characters getting their happily ever after?
4. How does my writing process work?
I am a total plotter. I wish I could be a pantster, and I envy those who are. When I try to be, I end up adding subplots that make my critique partners (CPs) go what the hell was that, Jen? And I just shake my head and shrug, because I don’t know what in heaven’s name just happened. Before I even start a story, I chat with my CPs and bounce ideas around, seeing which one would be interesting enough to pursue. Once I figure out my topic, I then go to my writing bible, Blake Snyder’s beat sheets. If you haven’t used this to plot out your novel, YOU ARE MISSING OUT. This helps me ensure that I have enough going on in the story so my character goes through a nice pretty little arc. Or in my case, that I sufficiently torture them enough until they get their happily ever after. After I finish the beat sheet, I write out a few chapters and try to really hone in on the character’s voice. Since I write dual POV, it’s really important I make sure the characters each have a distinct voice of their own. When I wrote Unethical, I seriously felt like I was bipolar. Being in the heads of both my characters was both very fun, but exhausting. I think my husband really thought I was crazy, because I was talking about the voices in my head. Some things only a writer will understand…Anyway, after I finish my first draft, I send to my CPs who then tear it apart (thank goodness). They make notes in my MS to tell me where I need to add more, what’s working, and what’s not. I edit based off of their feedback, and my manuscript is so much stronger because of them. If you are a writer in the query trenches, and you haven’t done so already, invest in some critique partners. They will keep you sane throughout your writing process and make you a much better writer.
That’s all from me. Next week you can learn about some other amazing authors–two of my fabulous CPs–one whose book, JUST SING, comes out in JUNE, and the other who is in the query trenches as we speak. Also tagged is my good friend, who has one of my favorite blogs that I resorted to all the time when I was querying. I had the pleasure of beta-ing her fantastic book. Keep on the lookout for all three of these talented ladies!
René Gilley is a young adult and new adult author. She’s a mom, wife, and breast cancer survivor. A portion of René’s book profits will go to support breast cancer patients, awareness, and research. JUST SING, her debut young adult book, will be available in ebook and paperback, June 5, 2014.
About JUST SING:
Between the arrival of her rich new neighbors and the canceling of her school’s vocal program, Lily is sure her summer is going to suck. She never thought a simple friendship with the neighbor’s son would give her the strength to walk away from her tried-and-true plan and follow her dreams.
But when Lily’s family is about to lose their home, she puts wishes aside and finds the answer to save their ranch in the last place she expected.
Jessica Harvey is a New Adult Fantasy, Sci-Fi and Romance writer. When she’s not working or writing her own New Adult novels, she can be found watching old sci-fi shows, hiking the forests of New England, or attending to her ever-growing To Be Read pile.
Amy Trueblood is a freelance writer who spends most of her time penning press releases for her favorite non-profit. When not “chasing the crazy” dream of being published, she feeds her addictions to good TV (Bones, Castle & Fringe), Barnes & Noble and mango ice tea. Her short stories, “Emanate” and “Unearthed” are part of The Fall and Summer’s Edge anthologies published by Elephant’s Bookshelf Press. While her story, “A Seat For Every Soul” will appear in Pen & Muses’ Dark Carnival collection this fall. Her writing has also appeared in Liquid Imagination.