I was tagged by the loveliest of lovelies, Lia Riley, to chime in on this blog hop. Lia is the author of the New Adult OFF THE MAP series, with book one, UPSIDE DOWN, releasing August 5th. I do not say this just because I fangirl her ridiculously hard or because we grew up a stone’s throw away from each other, but I’m insanely excited to get my hands on these books.
Her ridiculously good-looking cover model only plays the slightest of roles in that excitement. No. Really.
It should also be noted that there was some speculation as to whether or not my writing process involved virgin sacrifices, hitchhikers, and dying whale noises.
|Spoiler: It does.|
WHAT AM I WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
I just recently wrapped up the first round of line edits on LOSING STREAK, the second book in THE LANE series and hot potato’d it back over to my editor. While waiting to get it back to tackle the next round, I have three different projects I’m playing with. One would be the third, and final, book set on The Lane centered around Jax. The other two are both New Adult standalones. I’m still in the beginning plotting/drafting stages with them, so there’s not much to tell except they both feature alpha heroines, because I like my girls served badass, and one of them deals with the weirdness of being the child of a gospel music singer. I’m pretty excited about that one.
HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS IN THE GENRE?
These questions are always weird for me since I was raised to be humble to the point that it’s almost crippling. That’s probably the absolute worst trait to have when you’re a published writer, since so much of marketing depends on shoving yourself up and out and I am not at all comfortable doing that. I’m more of the type who will relentlessly poke fun at myself rather than risk sounding like I’m being bragadocious. Because my grandma would totally kick my ass if she thought I was doing that. And because I was taught that if you’re going to play in the sandbox with other people, you should always, always play nice, I’m terrified of coming off like I’m insulting other writers and their works in an effort to talk up my own.
So, all that being said, and now that a certain level of awkwardness is expected, I’d have to say it’s because I refuse to pull punches. No. I’m going to hit you, and I’m going to hit you hard and I want you to feel every bit of it. I’m fascinated by life’s ugliness and when I tackle that in my writing, I don’t dump fabric softener on it. But I also think there’s a certain — poetry? to the dirty and the gritty and I strive to capture that. I aim to tear your guts out but paint pretty pictures in the blood, more or less. I basically have the soul of a poet and the emotional makeup of a junkyard dog (wonderful quote from Stephen King’s UNDER THE DOME, for the record) and I think my writing tends to reflect that.
Family dynamics, and how they shape a person, intrigue me, so everything I’ve done thus far has featured that to some degree. I’m also pretty big on personal growth and social justice and women’s issues/feminism so I tackle those things quite a bit.
Oh. And my heroines are pretty fierce and aren’t afraid to kick off their heels and play with the boys. They’re girls who save themselves and their relationships are born from want and not need. Whedon Girls, basically. Girls forged from fire.
Why do I write what I do?
I talk about this a lot. It’s become my thing, apparently, waxing on and on about New Adult and how much I adore it. I kinda stumbled into it, largely because that’s the age my Bri came screaming into my ear as. Once I got here, I kinda found myself. There’s such a magic to NA, and it’s such a unique, crazy time that I just can’t picture going anywhere else now.
How does my writing process work?
My writing process is probably the most chaotic, nonsensical, ridiculous thing ever. I can’t even claim there’s a method to my madness. It’s just madness.
Stories usually come to me in blurry snapshots. I’ll see a face or a name or maybe a piece of dialogue. When that happens, I will literally drop absolutely everything I’m doing to get it on paper. I’m serious. I will drop any and every thing. If you hand me your baby to hold, keep an eye on me, is what I’m saying. If my eyes get a little far-off looking and I shift toward the edge of my seat, snatch that child back because I’m most likely two seconds from making a mad dash to my phone or notebook. I have been known to run soaking wet and naked through the house with puddles of shampoo trailing behind me as I sprint toward my office. If I’m lucky, once I sit down to write it out (or stand in some weird position while wiping soap out of my eyes distractedly) I get an entire scene. More often than not it’s just random words that probably only make sense to me. (Example: WILD ONES was: Waitress. Bar?? SPEAKEASY YES. Boxer. Underground? Maybe underground. Dirty apartment. Yelling. “YOU’RE A MESS.” Burn. Burning house? SET FIRE TO EVERYTHING. Friends: “UNHEALTHY.” No fucks. It’s jacked but it works.)
I then start pacing usually, mumbling to myself while trying to grab onto anything solid in the shadows. Whenever I get something, I’ll stop long enough to jot it down before wearing a hole in the floor once more. I basically look like a mad scientist trying to work out the mechanics of an experiment. My house of menfolk tend to avoid even getting near my office door during this since I’ve been known to yell out random things when I see them. (“What if…..DRAGONS. Wait. No. MOB BOSS. YES. But not a dragon. No. God. BUT MAYBE.”)
From there shit gets weird. I make a playlist because I have to have a playlist. I start outlining, though I usually end up abandoning it. I pace some more, spin in my chair, crawl under my desk and rock, hide in closets wrapped in a blanket and scream that I’m Mexican food. I’m basically certifiable at that point. Once I feel like I have the bones of a good story, that’s when I sit down and just go. I do the bulk of my writing late at night, and I will go days without any real amount of sleep, just balls-to-the-wall, hard and fast, with twangy music wailing in the background. Which of course means shit just gets weirder and I’ll find myself doing things like, I don’t know, snapchatting my friends pictures of me as a Dalek.
I can be a super fast writer, but I edit slow as molasses. So I might write a rough draft in a month or so, but I’ll take 22 years to edit it. I’m also super ritualistic about certain things. Like, I have to write my first draft longhand. I don’t understand the science behind that but if I try to skip that, I just sit and stare at the computer screen for hours. I have these fingerless gloves my best friend knitted me, and for some reason that even I can’t figure out, I have to wear them while editing. I also write wrapped in a blanket a lot because it makes me feel like a wizard:
Well. And a burrito.
Now I need to tag the next round, sooooo: NINA MORENO, BRENDA ST JOHN BROWN, DANUBE ADELE, AND CHANEL CLEETON. I choose you pikachus!