Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Interview with Kiersten White – New York Times Bestselling Author of “Paranormalcy” - Part 2

Oral Interview with the charming Kiersten White continued . . .

Julia: How long have you been writing?
Kiersten: I have been writing seriously now for, I would say, since the summer of 2008 was when I got really obsessive about it, but I’ve been writing books since 2004. I was at home and my husband was in law school, and I had a very fussy baby, so I started writing just to entertain myself. My first book was a middle grade novel. And then in the summer of 2008, I started writing YA and that first book I wrote in a month. And then I wrote another book that December. And “Paranormalcy” I wrote the next January.

J: Now that you’re published, how does it feel?
K: Most of the time, it doesn’t feel any different. Honestly, it’s still quite surprising when I get an email from someone I don’t know who read my book. It is a little more intimidating to write than it was before. Writing under contract is a different experience because there’s a lot of pressure. You essentially are writing something you already sold. But it’s a little more exciting to create things because there’s not that question of will this ever have an audience. I know it will have an audience.
J: You’ll have me, for sure.
K: I know Julia will read this. (J & K laugh)

J: How did you make getting published happen?
K: I did all the research I could. I learned everything I could about the industry . . . The first book I wrote, I really had no idea what I was doing. I would send out one query letter a month, which I hadn’t really edited the book, hadn’t workshopped it, and didn’t have any critique partners. But once I started writing YA novels, I said, “I’m gonna make this happen.” I sent out fifty query letters before I got my agent. It was over the course of about three months and then once I signed with her I kept writing. I always say persistence, know what you’re doing, how the system works, keep writing, and always moving on to the next thing. Start writing the next project while you are querying.

J: What advice would you give aspiring writers?
K: Don’t write because you want to be an author. Write because you love it. Learn how to edit. You can have the best ideas in the world, but if you don’t know how to self-edit and streamline your story, and make that initial draft into a book, you’re not going to go anywhere with it. Be prepared to work because it is a lot of work at every stage. If you want to be successful as a writer, you have got to know there’s gonna be a lot of rejection and it’s gonna be a long process. And like I said, I’ve been writing since 2004. I have other friends who have been agented and on submission for a year, a year and a half, and they still don’t have any sales. Most of my author friends did not sell their first book—even the book they got an agent for. And most of them that got an agent, it was not on the first book that they wrote. It isn’t to say that it can’t happen because it does happen. It happens a lot, but you know there’s a learning curve, as there is with anything. Be informed and be persistent.

The End.

If you haven’t read “Paranormalcy” yet, you are definitely missing out. Buy it now. I promise you’ll never regret the investment. Plus, it’s a series, so you’ll have two more books to devour after this one.

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