This is an interview I did for Maria Anderson, one of my Street Team members, for her Instargram fan account. Since I’ve been getting quite a few fan emails lately asking some of these same question, I thought I’d run the interview here.
1. After Shadow Falls and Shadow Falls: After Dark will you be writing any other teen novels?
Yup. I’ve already sold another series. I’m really excited about it, too. It’s tentatively titled Glimmers. It’s a story about descendants of grim reapers. It will be spooky, and sassy just like my Shadow Falls books.
2. Did any of the Shadow Falls characters have different names before the ones they have now?
Funny you would ask that. Miranda was Isabella. And it was as if when writing her dialogue, she turned and told me, “I hate that name. You have to change it!” So I listened to her and gave her Miranda. And Lucas was named Hunter. But then I had one of the duh moments and realized that his first name would be the same as my pen name. So Hunter became Lucas. I think I like Lucas best, too.
3. Do you have a music playlist you write to or that inspires you? What are some of the songs?
I get asked this a lot, and sometimes I want to lie because my answer is so boring. But the truth is that I can’t write to music. Well, I can’t write to music with lyrics. If I do, I stop listening to the words in my head and start listening to the words in the song. But I do have a song/video that almost seems as if it was written and filmed to be about Shadow Falls. It is called Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield. Here’s the video.
4. Do you have any advice for future writers?
I have three pieces of advice for new writers. First, remain positive and focused on your goal. What works for me is to do something each and every day to achieve that goal. It can be a little thing, such as researching something you need to know before you write a scene, or it can be something bigger, such as writing X number of pages. One thing I really believe in is that keeping a positive outlook is vital to building a career as a writer. Surround yourself with people who share your positive outlook, and try to limit your contact with those who spread negativity.
My second piece of advice goes along with my first, and that is to work hard to become a better writer every day. Take a writing class or workshop or read a how-to book. Expand your horizons and read widely. Become a sponge and soak up as much about the writing process as you can.
Last, and perhaps most important of all, accept that rejection will happen, no matter if it’s your first book or your 20th, and it’s never personal. I worked hard to get published and believe me, I had my share of rejections before I published my first novel with Silhouette Romance in 1993. And I’ll admit—I thought all my worries were over once I signed that first contract. I thought I’d made it and the days of getting rejections were over but I was wrong. The rejections kept coming. When I wasn’t having any success selling a second novel, I decided to focus on my freelance non-fiction. I did well with that. I’ve had over 3,000 national credits and my non-fiction writing assignments have taken me all over the world, but along with that success came a lot more rejections. And when I switched back to writing my adult romance novels, I racked up more rejections and even after I broke back into the market (I sold four novels in a single day), I still got my share of rejections. But I never, ever let those rejections stop me from pursuing my dream. And neither should anyone else.
I hope my writing advice helped those of you that aspire to be writers. If you do want to be a writer, what sort of books do you want to write?