Today, I’m joined by fellow Bloomsbury Spark author Christine Duval. Her NA debut, POSITIVELY MINE, is out now!
I have been writing since elementary school and have always wanted to publish a novel. I even have an “About the Author” blurb in the back of one of my “books,” written in fourth grade, where I talk about how I’m an author who writes books for “older children.” Haha!
But life takes people in many directions and for me that included several years of living in New York City, where I attended culinary school at night and worked in sales and marketing by day, rarely writing anything outside of marketing plans and brochure copy. A career change into the world of social media and freelance copywriting allowed a lot more flexibility to explore creative writing. And by trial and error my first novel, Positively Mine, was signed and published by Bloomsbury in December.
2. Are you a pantser or a planner?
A little of each. I go into most projects having a pretty good idea what I want to write but outlining is not my strength. I spend a lot of time in my car and work the story out in my head before sitting down to write. But even as my best organized self, my characters seem to take on a mind of their own and I am always surprised at where they take me and the story.
3. Can you give us an idea of your writing process?
Process. Hmmm. That seems like such a big word for what boils down to one simple thing: discipline. I learned the hard way with several unfinished projects that the only way to write a novel to completion is to force yourself to look at it every single day. Writing here and there, with no discipline, causes you to lose momentum and then the work suffers.
4. Which authors have influenced your work?
Laurie Halse Anderson and Julie Buxbaum, at least for Positively Mine. I love their pacing, their build-up of tension, and the way both of them create flawed characters who are so real and likeable.
My novel Positively Mine released with Bloomsbury Spark on December 19, 2013 and is available everywhere eBooks are sold. It has been an exciting process and I am so proud of the end result. Anyone who has read it knows there is a huge cliffhanger ending and I’m happy to announce I’ve just completed the first draft of the sequel. Without giving too much away, I think it’s time to meet the mystery man.
6. Any tips for new writers?
I had a teacher in high school who used to say, “Just write.” In other words, don’t overthink it. Whenever I feel like I’m stuck, I think about those two words and I start typing even if I am uninspired and what comes out is nothing but drivel. In all truth, it is not uncommon for me to go back to edit only to find things like “And he says something brilliant here but I have no idea what it is yet” or simply “blah blah blah.” But doing so keeps me from getting caught in one spot when I might have something more productive to write in a later scene. And that is better than staring at a blank page.
7. Any tips for old writers?
Same as above.
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