Friday, December 26, 2014

I WISH question - what was my favorite parts of writing about Lacey and Grant?

What was my favorite part of writing about Lacey? About Grant?

Lacey’s story allowed me to write about so many different kinds of relationships. She doted on her brother. She mourned the loss of one friendship and enjoyed the renewal of another. She found warmth with her friend Eli and something more with Grant. Mostly, though, she gave me the chance to explore the pain, exasperation, and love that can exist between mother and daughter.

Grant’s job, as a supernatural being, is to try to understand humans. He is so logical—almost Spock-like—that it became really fun to see human emotions through his eyes.

[I often get questions about writing.  I'll answer each of the most commonly asked questions in a separate blog post. You can navigate to them from my website, too.]

Thursday, December 25, 2014

I WISH question - is there a playlist for I WISH?

Is there a playlist for I WISH?

I didn’t really create a playlist while I was writing I WISH. I like silence when I’m writing. But, as I talked and brainstormed with my daughter about the characters in the book, she would suggest theme songs for Lacey and her relationships. So here they are.

Lacey and Henry
Lacey is a doting big sister for eight-year-old Henry. Her major focus is to keep his home life as worry-free and comfortable as possible (even though that is actually quite hard for their family). Henry adores her back.
“Rather Be” by Clean Bandit

Lacey and Crystal
Lacey’s relationship with her mom is complicated. Crystal’s depression and her seeming lack of interest in getting better are wearing Lacey down. But through all the anger and frustration, they still want to care.
“Shake It Out” by Florence + the Machine

Lacey and Eli
Lacey has known Eli throughout high school, and they’ve always been friendly. But now that he is coaching her brother in soccer, they have the opportunity to spend more time together. And friendly changes to friends.
“Lean on Me” with Glee cast

Lacey and Grant
I’m not going to describe their relationship. It unfolds and changes throughout the book. But I think "Break In" is just perfect for their theme song.
“Break In” by Halestorm


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

I WISH question - what was the hardest part to write I WISH?

What was the hardest part to write about I WISH?

Lacey’s mother, Crystal, is mentally ill. I would’ve liked to let our genie Grant wave a magic wand and make her all better. But that wasn’t realistic. So I had to let her suffer, stumble, succeed, and relapse. And in her pain, Crystal was often casually cruel to Lacey. That was hard to write, but necessary.

[I often get questions about writing.  I'll answer each of the most commonly asked questions in a separate blog post. You can navigate to them from my website, too.]


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

I Wish question - where did the title come from?

Where did the title for I WISH come from?

This is a genie book. The word “WISH” just had to be in the title. Since the story has a major subplot about a daughter caring for her depressed mom, the title had to be wistful, not cute or fun. I tried several ideas. “I Wished” had too much attitude. “Wishful Thinking” was too light-hearted. I went with “I Wish” because it felt just right.


Monday, December 22, 2014

I Wish question - what inspired the story?

What was the inspiration for I WISH?

I Wish came about when two ideas intersected.

I knew someone who was paralyzed by mental illness while her children fumbled around, trying to support her. I wanted to write that story—and the idea grew into a major subplot for I Wish. This book is about a depressed woman who wants to be a good parent but just can’t—while her daughter, Lacey, steps into the void to take care of the family.

The intersecting idea was about giving a heroine two guys in her life who were both amazing—but in very different ways. She could pick either guy or decide to say no to both—and all three choices would make sense. The story is not really a love triangle, although too many good options create a huge conflict for Lacey. She has no time for dating—and yet there are two hot guys who might be interested. What does she do with that?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Writing question - what is magical realism?

What is magical realism?

The first two series that I have published are YA magical realism.  In the magical realism subgenre, the main story is realistic in every way except one. There is always one magical element.

In the Whisper Falls series, the magical element is the ability to travel between present-day and a different year in the past. Mark and Susanna (the main characters of Whisper Falls series) encounter a waterfall who permits them to travel between Mark's world (now) and Susanna's life (turn of the 19th century). Otherwise, their stories are realistic for the time in which they ordinarily live. (Some readers might assume that this supernatural element makes this a time-travel book. I think it is better to consider this series to be magical realism with time-travel elements.)

For the I WISH series, the magical element is the presence of Grant, a supernatural being. Like a "genie", he can fulfill wishes, only they must be humanly possible. Grant is the magical element; everything else is realistic.  Part of the conflict in the I WISH series comes from Grant's desire to use his magic, even though it's not part of the rules.

So, in both series, the point of magical realism is not the supernatural element. It is about how the characters react to, live with, or hide that extraordinary circumstance.

[I often get questions about writing.  I'll answer each of the most commonly asked questions in a separate blog post. You can navigate to them from my website, too.]

Writing question - what I know about teens

What do you know about teens? What qualifies you to write Young Adult (YA)?

I have two kids in college, so I’ve lived through the process of parenting teens. I do recognize, however, that my daughters and their friends might not be typical of American teens in every region of the US, so I’m grateful to have an editorial staff that brings different perspectives to both my books as well as the dozens of other YA books they edit. 

My junior editor is in her twenties (recent college graduate and former teen). My senior editor at Spencer Hill Press teaches social studies to eighth-graders, so he’s surrounded by teens throughout the school year. Even my younger daughter reads all of my books multiple times to ensure that I’m keeping things realistic. I also have a set of teens (mostly male, since I don't have sons) who are willing to answer my questions about dialogue and plausibility.

I’m lucky to have such a solid team of people to find and point out my mistakes.
[I often get questions about writing.  I'll answer each of the most commonly asked questions in a separate blog post and include them in the FAQ on my website too.]

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Mega holiday giveaway

I'm published through Spencer Hill Press. Many of the SHP authors have banded together to create 3 huge prize "stockings" for the holiday season, with books (e-book and paperback), candy, swag, gift cards to varied retailers, and critiques of varied types/lengths.

In this post are 3 photos of the prize stockings, a brief look at their contents, and then the rafflecopter widget.  If you already follow me on twitter--that's a free entry for you!

Grand Prize: 18 books, $50 in gift cards, swag, candy, and (for the aspiring authors among you) a critique of query letter & synopsis. [This stocking has a signed copy of Whisper Falls !]

Second Prize: 11 books, $35 in gift cards, swag, candy, and (for the aspiring authors among you) 5 critiques

Third Prize: 8 books, 2 critiques, $15 worth of gift-cards, swag, candy, and (for the aspiring authors among you) 2 critiques. This stocking has a signed copy of I WISH!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, December 4, 2014

I WISH giveaway, Prince Charming, and a chair

Here’s an I WISH interview, with a giveaway for an e-copy or paperback copy. So find out about where I came up with the idea and what I think about Prince Charming. (Okay, so I just included that one here.)
  • Does Prince Charming exist?
Thousands of Prince Charmings exist. They sit next to you in class, smile at your ideas in meetings, hold the door for you at the store. They are good and kind and flawed and true—and when they love you and you love them back, there is nothing hotter in the world.

I'll be involved in a huge holiday giveaway with other authors from Spencer Hill Press. We'll be giving away books (paperback and e-book), gift cards, swag, candy, and more. It goes live this weekend--so check it out.

a SPENCER HILL PRESS / Rafflecopter giveaway

Finally, a wooden chair. From Williamsburg. Just because I think it’s pretty and I had no other place to post it.