Monday, April 28, 2014

Blog Hop

Today I am so excited to have been asked by my good friend and fellow MG author, Ann Haywood Leal to participate in a Blog Hop. 
Here are Ann's questions for me (and my answers!)
What am I working on?
I am just finishing an MG chapter book about a 9 year old girl's adventures in fourth grade.  I'm having fun writing something that makes me laugh instead of cry.  I am also in the beginning stages of a YA about two teenagers who fall in love under difficult circumstances.  This one is harder to write - sometimes I have to step away from the computer just so I can breathe.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I think my work differs because of its emotional connection.  My goal is to take readers on an emotional journey and to allow them to feel something by taking them inside the minds of my characters.  At the heart of my work is a message of hope and of believing in oneself.  I want my readers to be empowered by reading my works to believe in themselves.
Why do I write what I do?
I have to write.  It feeds my soul.  I write stories for middle grade and young adult readers because when I was a young reader, books became a part of me.  And I wanted to touch at least one reader in that way.  Books we read when we are young stay with us forever so I consider it both a privilege and a responsibility to write for pre-teens and teens. 
How does my writing process work?
I am a type A, super organized person and that has always served me well as a student and as an attorney, but as a writer, it can be confining.  So I tend to avoid organizing my work--my idea of outlining is a page scribbled in a notebook.  I have a general sense of my story that way, but I am not hemmed in by plotlines.  I then meditate on the characters and allow them to become real to me.  When I can hear them speaking, I am ready to begin writing my first draft.  I write as much as I can in one sitting (which may be a short or a long time depending on my schedule that day) and then the next day, I re-read and revise what I have already written before I move on.  Sometimes I will jot down scenes on paper as they come to me and save them for the right time in the manuscript.  Then once I have the completed draft, I can begin revising and tightening the story, cutting things that didn't work and expanding ideas that want to take flight.  When I have something worth reading, I give it to my trusted first readers--my daughters, my sister, my writer friends and my agent, Stacey Glick. 
Thank you, Ann, for inviting me to Blog Hop today!
I have asked three writer friends to Blog Hop as well, Suzanne Morgan Williams, Rosanne Parry and Sydney Salter.  You can read more about them here.  Be sure to check out their answers to the four questions by visiting their blogs on May 5 and May 17!

Suzanne Morgan Williams (May 5) 
Suzanne Morgan Williams is the author of the middle grade novel, Bull Rider (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2009) and 11 nonfiction children's books with more books on the way. From the time she wrote her first book, Made in China, Ideas and Inventions from Ancient China, (Pacific View Press, 1997) to the present, her work has taken her into classrooms to connect with students, to universities and museums to work with experts, and to communities to share experiences.  Visit Suzy's blog on May 5,

Rosanne Parry (May 17) 
Rosanne Parry is the author of the award winning middle grade novels Written in Stone, Second Fiddle, and Heart of a Shepherd, all with Random House. She is represented by Stephen Fraser of the Jennifer Di Chiara Literary Agency. She lives in an old farmhouse in Portland Oregon where she and her husband are raising four children, three chickens and five kinds of fruit. Her office is a treehouse in her backyard.  Visit Rosanne's blog on May 17,

Sydney Salter (May 17) 
Sydney Salter’s novels include My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters, Jungle Crossing, Swoon At Your Own Risk, and Not A Doctor Logan’s Divorce Book. Sydney lives in Utah with her husband, two daughters, two dogs, two cats, a pair of quiet tortoises, rats, a goldfish, and a bearded dragon. When not writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, hiking, skiing, traveling, and searching for the ultimate cupcake. Visit Sydney's blog on May 17,