Today, I’m excited to bring you an interview with another YA Valentine, the delightful Anne Blankman. Anne’s YA debut, PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG, is coming in 2014 from Balzer + Bray/Harper Collins, and I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know her today!
One of my earliest memories is writing and illustrating a book about my family when I was four years old…but that probably isn’t the kind of writing you’re asking about! In terms of serious writing, I started in 2010. It took me about two years to write my first book, from getting the original idea to writing the final sentence. Two years sounds like a long time, but I was also teaching myself how to write a book– and trying to squeeze in my writing around my baby’s naps and my shifts at a public library. For me, the front end of the process took awhile, but once I felt my manuscript was ready, everything moved pretty fast. I met my dream agent at a writers’ conference, signed with her a week later, and three weeks after that we had a three-book-deal at auction! Obviously, I was incredibly lucky.
2. Are you a pantser or a planner?
Planner! Maybe it’s the organized librarian in me, but I work best when I’m organized. Plus, when you’re writing historical fiction, you’d better have your research done and your facts straight or you can find yourself stuck in the middle of your story, wondering if what you’ve just written is inaccurate or even plausible.
3. Can you give us an idea of your writing process?
I think the writing process differs from book to book. For my first book, PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG, I wrote the rough draft straight through, then went back and started ripping things apart and knitting them back together. Writing the sequel has been a completely different experience so far: I write a few chapters, then hear my editor’s voice in my head, pointing out the story’s potential problems, so I’m writing, revising, then pushing forward again. I think the main thing is to understand that each book will be different and to respect your creative process, whatever it may be for that particular project.
4. Which authors have influenced your work?
Where to start? I’m a firm believer in a varied reading diet, so I tend to read a bit of everything. One of my current favorites is Jennifer Donnelly. I love the way she weaves her characters and their story around real historical events. I adore A NORTHERN LIGHT so much that I reread it every few years.
5. What are you plans/future projects/new releases that we should be aware of?
PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG comes out next spring from Balzer + Bray/HaperCollins, with two more in the following springs!
6. Any tips for new writers?
Read, read, read. And read actively–don’t just lose yourself in the story, but while you’re reading, look for what works and what doesn’t. Sometimes reading a book you hate is just as valuable as reading a book you love.
And write! Write as much as you can. Don’t send a manuscript off and sit around anxiously, waiting for a reply, but jump into the next project immediately. Writing is like a muscle and needs to be exercised a lot.
7. Any tips for old writers?
I’m going to pass since I’m such a newcomer.
To learn more about Anne, visit her website: www.anneblankman.com