Before I get into this, just to let you know (and because I need to make a note of it somewhere myself) there ended up being 75 other entries to the comp I entered the other day. Some are quite obviously good, some could use some work (IMHO). Now I just have to wait a couple of days to see what the agents come up with. I've picked one that really stood out, that think will probably win. So I'll be interested to see if it gets a placing.
Q Typical writing day for you?
A At the moment, I don't have a typical writing day. They're a thing of the past since my daughter came along. But I will say one thing; I'm sorry, but I DO NOT write in my pj's, I never have, and I never will. The reason behind this is because writing is my job. Would you go to work in your pj's? No. I get up, have breakfast, shower, get dressed and then sit down and do my job. Sure, it's not a paying job at the moment. But I'm still going to treat it as such. So apologies for the rant, but I do wonder about the writers who sit around and write in their pj's all day. However, I suppose that's their prerogative. For myself, I'd rather keep my mind in the frame of a job. I think that way, I can handle rejection more easily, but that's a whole other matter.
Q What did you read growing up?
A From when I could sit down and read myself, I used to love reading my dad's Footrot Flats books. They were what you'd call now a 'graphic novel' I suppose. It was about a New Zealand farmer and his boarder collie named Dog. I still love to get them out sometimes, they're so funny. Anyway, after that I moved onto the Silver Brumby series by Elyne Mitchell, first published in 1958 (anyone who isn't Australian won't have a clue what I've been talking about so far, sorry!). They were a series about wild horses we have here in Australia (we call them brumbies), they could talk to one another and spent their time trying to avoid being caught by us humans. They were actually quite brilliant. That was towards the end of primary school. For a little while when I was about thirteen, I was into the Goosebumps books by RL Stein, by I soon moved onto his Fear Street series, which I just never got enough of. My favourite was the Fear Street Saga, which over three books went back in time to how Fear Street had become cursed in the first place, beginning with a young girl being mistakenly accused of being a witch and burned at the stake. Just talking about it makes me want to go back and read them again!
Towards the end of high school I didn't read anything specific, just some mainstream fiction. When I was nineteen, my sister-in-law gave me Julie Garwood's Honor's Splendor to read and the rest is history!
Q Are you a 'Pantser' or 'Planner'?
A I'm kind of on the fence when it comes to this one. I'm probably 75% pantser. I often have an idea of where I want the story to end up, and several key points along the way, but most of it comes to me as I write. Even I'm surprised at some of the stuff that happens sometimes. Often I'm like "Oh my god! You can't do that!" But my characters just tend to do what they want. They pretty much have total control of the story. I think its an exciting way to write, since the plot is revealed to me a bit at a time, like sitting down and reading a book. So far I've never had any major problems with this method of writing. The only point I need to be careful is to make sure my revisions are very thorough, sometimes I need to go back and add in information, to make sure the story is complete.
Q How do you handle rejection?
A I've had lots of practice with this now! Of course the first few were very disappointing. Like all new authors, I had high hopes that I would immediately be picked up and told how brilliant I was before selling a million copies of my first book and hitting the top of the New York Times Bestsellers List. Ok, I wasn't that delusional, but I did hope I'd get my first book published off the slush pile. I'm older and wiser now, and rejection doesn't really bother me much at all. Yes, it still is a little disappointing (I think there would be something wrong if I didn't get disappointed about it!), but I never take it personally and just remind myself that I'm one more rejection closer to my 'yes.' The way I see it, fate has a certain number of rejections lined up for me and I just have to work through them to get to my 'yes.'
Like I said, writing is my job, and if an agent or editor doesn't want my work, it's not a personal attack against me. I choose whether or not I wish to take on any comments they may have made and then continue on planning how I can approach the next proposal. I'm always planning that sort of thing, because I think its smart to plan what is essentially my career, to do constant revisions and reconsider which direction I'm going in. The most important thing I value is my confidence and my positive attitude. I have no doubt that one day I will get published because I will persist until I'm successful (I'm kind of stubborn that way). I have so many books I want to write, and I could spend my entire life doing it and know that on the last day I ever write a word I will still have learnt something. I just need to find a way to show the agents and publishers this!