My Favorite YA Books and Iced Coffee: Interview with Book and a Beverage!

Iced coffee and porch reading makes for the perfect morning.

Iced coffee and porch reading makes for the perfect morning.

This week I’m over at the Book Addict‘s Guide, talking with Brittany about book recommendations, current projects, and how I keep myself hydrated while taking part in my favorite bookish activities. (I seriously sing “I love iced coffee” when I take that first essential sip.) Brittany asked such fantastic questions for her fantastic Book and a Beverage series; I had a hard time limiting my answers. And I’m so glad that Brittany is a fellow Scorpio Races fan!

Make sure to head over to the Book Addict’s Guide and check out the interview!

My Interview with Aisha Saeed at Story and Chai

Today’s post comes via Story and Chai, a fantastic website about diverse narratives created by Jennifer Zobair. I’m talking with fellow YA author and agent-sister Aisha Saeed about The Chance You Won’t Return, mental health, writing from outside your own experience, and more.

Aisha asked lots of thoughtful questions, and I’m so glad to have the opportunity to talk about The Chance You Won’t Return and what I hope readers get out of it about Alex and her family’s situation.

Click through to see the full interview, and make sure to check out the rest of Story and Chai!

My Interview with the Fearless Fifteeners

Today I’m at the Fearless Fifteeners blog, talking with my wonderful agent-sister and 2015 debut author Anna-Marie McLemore about The Chance You Won’t Return, writing, romance, neurological differences, and what I’m not afraid of.

Anna-Marie asked some fantastic questions, and I’m excited to share the interview with you all. We actually had to cut some material because we talked too much. But here is a little of the extra Q&A:

I’ve heard you say that one of your favorite writing tips is not to develop writing rituals. How has this proven good advice for you?
I know I would use rituals as a crutch (“I only write at night!” “I need to have coffee while I write!”) so telling myself that rituals don’t get the work done means that I can potentially sneak in writing time anywhere/anytime. Not that I always do, but at least it’s one less excuse. 😉

Do you have any writing rituals that have crept in anyway? A favorite time of day to draft? A favorite drink or snack while revising?
As much as I love coffee and tea, my favorite writing beverage is lots and lots of water. Woohoo hydration! I also tend to like drafting at night, but that might be because I do the day job thing so most of my writing time is in the evening. My biggest ritual is probably having carefully crafted playlists for each project. I can write without them, but I love having a book soundtrack playing in the background for inspiration.

Make sure to check out the Fearless Fifteeners blog for the full interview, and get to know some awesome 2015 debut authors like Anna-Marie.

Wednesday is for W.O.W.

Today I’m interviewed as part of the Writer Odyssey Wednesday series at Chasing the Crazies. Amy and I talk about querying agents, the inspiration for The Chance You Won’t Return, getting through the rough times, and my favorite piece of writerly advice. Thanks so much to Amy for including me in this fabulous series!

Click through for all the interview goodness, and check out the previous author interviews in the W.O.W. series.

Links Galore

Lots of cool links this week:

Ian McEwan, The Gauntlet, and the Nature of Time

From this interview, author Ian McEwan recounts the first time a book truly affected him:

Do you remember the first book that made you cry?

It was “The Gauntlet,” by Ronald Welch. I was 10 years old and in hospital, so I had time to read this wonderful historical novel for children in a day. Its hero, Peter, is transported in a dreamlike state back 600 years to a late medieval Welsh castle. Many adventures and battles and much falconry ensue. When at last Peter returns to the present, the castle is the awesome ruin it was in the opening pages, and all the scenes and the dear friends he has made have vanished. “Their bones must have crumbled into dust in the quiet churchyard of Llanferon.” It was a new idea to me then, time obliterating loved ones and turning them to dust — and I was stricken for a while. But no other novel on the children’s book trolley would do. The next day I read “The Gauntlet” again.

I love this memory–the excitement of the story, the pain of realizing that time must pass, the resulting emotional connection with the book. You can’t give up the first book that rocks your sense of the world.

I also like McEwan’s response to which literary character he’d like to be, so make sure to check out the full interview.

Inventing Characters

From this interview with Barbara Kingslover:

“Like all authors, I’m asked if characters are biographical, if I put people I know into my fiction. You can see from my process that that would be impossible for me. I begin by seeing a narrative, so I can’t put people I know in it—they simply wouldn’t behave properly, they wouldn’t be cooperative and do what I asked of them. So I invent the people I need, and that’s a lot more fun anyway. I can continually refine the characters, their histories, and their damage, until they are exactly the right people I need.”

I think this is one of the best responses to the “Who’s this character based on?” question ever. I hate when people assume that fiction comes entirely out of your life experiences. I tend to find the particular characters who are experiencing this particular story. Sometimes that matches up with things I’ve experienced or heard about in real life, but a lot of the time it comes from learning more about that character and that story.

Do you tend to invent your characters, use people you’ve met in real life, or a combination?