REPOST: How to: When writers want authors to Guest Blog…

While speaking at the wonderful Whidbey Island Writers Conference this past weekend, I was asked a question: “If you’re not a literary agent, how do you get an author to agree to appear on your blog?” Oooohhhh. It struck me that it must seem MUCH harder than it actually is to interview an author for your blog or to have them guest blog for you. So raise your sword because I swear by the power of Grayskull…you can do this.

…and here is how, aka, follow the pictures.

Pick an author. For our purposes, we will choose an author that has appeared on This Literary Life: Gitty Daneshvari. Author of the School of Fear series.

Now, there is a reason I chose Gitty. It wasn’t a random choice. I KNOW my readers. They are writers and they write children’s books. This was a calculated choice. You do not want to feature an author whom none of your readers will identify with. Plus, Gitty is just absolutely fantastic.

So, I’ve selected my author. The next thing you will want to do is get in contact with your author. Sometimes you will not be able to do this, and that’s just a fact. But for every author who does not put contact info on their Web site, there is an author that does. So I head on over here:

Then I went here:

Can you feel it? We’re getting closer…

VOILA! So the truth is, the easy part is over. Now you write an EXTREMELY polite and informative email to the author and…WAIT. DO NOT PESTER. I don’t think I can stress that enough. Write once, and wait. If they never get back to you, move on.

So this was my next step:

It took her a few days to respond, and we found a time that worked for HER (do not make this about yourself, they are doing you a huge favor. You work on their time schedule).

A word about blogs: Always tag and use categories on your blog!!! When tagging or using categories, use “hot words” like Gitty Daneshvari and School of Fear and Middle Grade Books, etc. “Hot words” are words that people use in a Google search. You do this so that your blog has a higher chance of appearing when someone searches these words. Advice: Look through your entire blog post after you have finished writing it and think to yourself: what key words or ideas are used in this post that people would Google search? Then tag them or use them in the categories.

Also, use images. Not only does it make reading a blog post much more exciting, but when people Google Image Search for Gitty Daneshvari, the image I used of Gitty will appear with the many others, and will drive traffic to my blog.

ALWAYS feed your blog link through other social media sites: Twitter, Facebook, etc.

**It’s important to remember that authors are people too. Which means a few things: They love to promote their books, as well they should. It also means that they have crazy hectic lives just like all of us, and “no” is very much a reasonable answer. So, be patient, choose wisely, and remember that “if you never ask, you’ll never get.”

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February Hot Blogger (a bit unorthodox) Kate Grace AND Bree Ogden

Kate= Purple, Bree= Blue

Let’s get this started…this is some intense stuff we are talking about today…

Don’t Fear the Reaper… or Commitment.

(Visit Kate’s site at www.abitofgrace.com, and watch the trailer for Burden of the Soul here.)

I stepped off the backline and took the seat next to my improv comedy teammate, mirroring the small, intricate motion he was doing with his hand as the scene started. Between two fingers I mimed holding a small, rounded object while my other hand twisted another small object over and over as if screwing a nut onto its bolt. Or, as my mind saw it, making bullets.

I wasn’t so far off because the scene started around us with dialogue from two other team members. With comedic measures, our scene was the meeting of a murder club, a completely ridiculous spoof on Fight Club.

The creative collaboration of the scene took shape and I was the simpleton member who answered only by nodding her head yes or no (and still got it wrong) and just loved making her bullets and lining them up in neat rows.

But then the scene was made even more ridiculous when the conflict was introduced. The newest member was told he had to “kill” the next person that walked in the door or he would be out of Murder Club. Enter another teammate pretending to be a cute girl scout selling Samoas.

The scene continued from there and I could feel my simpleton character breaking. I could feel the laughs coming and the desire to be an audience member taking over. But I caught myself by internally stating, “You will stay here. Stay right here.”

Literally. My inner voice became the inner drill sergeant. “You chose to be the creator and not the viewer so commit. You WILL stay here.”

Commitment: it’s something stressed in every improvisational theater school and needed in any creative process. It’s also something guys say they’re afraid of, but I’m convinced it really means, “Your toothbrush doesn’t belong there, it belongs way far away in your apartment.” But that’s for another day.

Commitment in your creative writing process is huge, and so important, because as you fall deeper into the writing coma you feel as if you shift from writer to transcriber. The story is taking place in your mind like a movie and you’re just kicking back going along for the ride, watching your characters’ lives play out…

…and sometimes end.

Your fingers freeze and the silence in your room is overpoweringly loud now that the clickity clackity of keyboard keys has called it quits. Your brain stops for a moment and you think, “NO!” For so many “reasons” such as: “It’s so early, what if I need her/him later?” or “I could be shooting myself in the foot here,” or “That’s way too dark.”

But mostly, those are just excuses because what you can’t necessarily admit is somewhere along the way you went from writer to reader and became emotionally attached to your characters. You can’t let them go emotionally.

I’m working on the additional books in the Burden of the Soul series and I’ve come up against this wall a number of times already. I gave over fully to the writer’s coma and trusted the story completely. So when I had a hunch to visit a shooting range for research, I didn’t question it. When I felt a hunch to start asking car specialist about the mechanics of car chases and crashes, I didn’t question it. When I started Googling “Krav Maga classes” near me, I didn’t question it.

I gave over completely to my sense of creative process. I became that same simpleton just lining up the bullets, never piecing it together where those bullets would go.

So then the moment came where the story and my subconscious actually put it on the page. My fingers froze and the silence in my kitchen became overpoweringly loud when the clickity clackity of keyboard keys called it quits. My brain stopped for a moment and I thought, “NO!” Then, “Oh shit, Bree is gonna kill me,” because Bree is emotionally attached to these characters too.

But then another voice kicked in, stern and convincing. “You will stay here. Stay right here. Commit.”

Still I didn’t budge. Then a softer voice: “Trust.”

Slowly, the clickity clackity returned.

It’s such a difficult balance to strike as a writer, trusting your inner storyteller and your inner reader and hoping they agree at least majority of the time. As the moments piled and got bigger, darker or more tragic, I finally had to take it to someone. The doubt was setting in.

Sitting on the grass along the Missouri River in St. Charles, I told the darkest of these moments to Bree Ogden in great, vivid detail. She sat really quiet looking out over the river.

She. Didn’t. Say. A. Word.

I panicked and started the rewrite in my mind immediately and continued it on the flight back to Michigan through the night and into the next day.

But then came the Facebook message, the email, the text. Her reaction was… Well, I’ll let her tell you.

Bree?

I’m going to take a step back for a moment. There are several authors whose words stick with you long after you read them. For me, one of those authors is Chuck Palahniuk. Often times I’ll read something he has written, completely unaware of the impact it will have on me later that week.  And then, I’ll be going about my life and POW, this insanely strong emotion will set in and I won’t recognize its source. This happens often with Chuck. And it happened with Kate.

I read Kate’s manuscript, the one I currently represent, Burden of the Soul a few times, and was emotionally involved with the characters. And that day, sitting by the river, I learned of the absolutely gut wrenching, and I mean absolutely rip-your-heart-out-of-your-chest-with-a-fist, complete story of a few of these characters.

I was heartbroken. It wasn’t necessarily the loss of the characters. It was the way I had to watch them fade out of my life. But life went on. It’s just a book right? They’re just words. Right?

Weeks later, I felt sad. Really sad. I felt like something was missing in my life but I couldn’t place it. It was the same feeling I had after I read Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk. And when I recognized that feeling, all of a sudden a bloody, tear-streaked montage played through my head. Blood drenched hands. Chains. Anger. Tears. Passions and admissions—I remembered what Kate had told me in Missouri.

I felt genuine pain for her characters. And I knew that as much as I hurt for them, Kate must hurt for them ten-fold. Still, weeks passed and at random times of random days, I would feel the loss.

As an author, this is the type of devotion you want your readers to feel towards your characters. And it’s okay to take them away from the reader. Rip them away from us, smash them to bits, tear them into pieces, splatter the reader with their blood and guts if you must. But make sure that your reader has had the chance to develop some sort of emotional connection with these characters before you do so. You want your reader to be wiping tears from their face along with the blood and guts of your characters.

In Invisible Monsters when I’m mentally watching a character write haunting words on the wall in her own blood—I’m crying, and I’m re-reading, and I’m unsure—but I’m hooked.

Kate?

The doubt faded and the inner artist smirked with an “I told you so, you idiot” gloating air.

Because if we trust and commit, and give over fully to that artist living inside those chunks of meat in our chests, then something amazingly powerful will come out of it. You must trust. And you must commit.

This isn’t dating advice, but it is relationship advice for you and your Work in Progress. Trust it. Don’t give up on it the moment it shows its less attractive, gritty, dark side. It’s never going to be all bubble gum and roses. What may strike you as “too far” and difficult to accept may just end up being your most haunting plot turns or the moments in your story that the characters pull at your readers’ emotions and ignite empathy.

Your characters have a story to tell. Your characters are chomping at the bit to connect with your readers, so step aside and let them. Think of yourself as the conduit.

And as for Murder Club? I did stay there and the scene continued to wonderfully absurd heights where the Girl Scout revealed she was an orphan, could sing and dance, and saw nothing but the beauty of endless possibility and rainbows outside the window. The newest member struggled and eventually got kicked out of Murder Club, unable to make the kill.

Admit it. At first read you cringed at the thought of “Murder Club”, and now you want to see that scene where a sweet little Girl Scout outsmarts a room of trained killers.

And BLACKOUT!

October Hot Blogger: Jonathan Maberry

Last May, I had the absolute pleasure of sitting down with Simon & Schuster’s Children’s Editorial Director David Gale to hear about his upcoming projects. When he walked back from his bookshelf with a gargantuan looking book and set it on the table in front of me, I nearly passed out. The image in front of me was breathtaking. Granted, I’m probably one of the few to call this type of image breathtaking, but that’s what it was. Rot & Ruin. David informed me it was written by Author Jonathan Maberry, but I had already spied that on the cover. Having read Patient Zero, I was well aware of Mr. Maberry and a very huge fan.

Then I was informed that the book didn’t release until September 2010. My mind did a quick mental sweep of the months between. Close to 5 months I would have to wait to get my hands on this book. I tell you this, my friends, because I was a fraction away from snatching that copy of Rot & Ruin off of one of the most influential editor’s table and making a mad dash for the elevator.

I thought about Rot & Ruin for the next 5 months and salivated every time. I kept playing over and over in my mind what David Gale told me was being said about it: Rot & Ruin is George Romero meets The Catcher in the Rye. Swoon.

Then it released. I read it. Twice. Cried. A lot. Contacted the amazing Jonathan Maberry and asked if he would grace my blog with his typographical presence. And he replied, “I’m in! Sounds like fun!” Such a humble and gracious man. In the midst of a book release, book tours, release parties, and numerous book signings, he was able to find the time to be This Literary Life’s October Hot Blogger.

Please tap your keys loudly for Mr. Jonathan Maberry, New York Times best-selling and multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning author (meaning, I would pay close attention to his hot blogging advice if I were you):

A funny thing happened on the way to writing an adult horror short story.  I wrote a teen dystopian novel instead.

That’s kind of how my career’s been going.  I wear seatbelts when I write because I always seem to be taking hard curves at high speeds.  And I couldn’t be happier.

When I first started fooling around with the idea of trying my hand at fiction –after writing magazine feature articles, poetry, plays, greeting cards and really bad song lyrics for 25 years—I received a couple of bits of advice.  Some useful…others only useful as catbox liner.  I was told to find a niche and dig in (bad advice).  I was told that switching genres was a career killer (really bad advice).  Stuff like that.  Phooey.

I constantly switch genres.  I love switching genres.  It’s defined my career, and it’s also put me in the path of a lot of interesting projects.  Genre hopping is also one of the reasons I’m now a full-time author making a very nice living.  A lot of my friends are still working day jobs, or seeing their careers dry up because their genres stopped being hot.  I’m certainly no better a writer than them…but I’ve learned to keep my options open.

I started out writing mostly articles nonfiction books on martial arts (kind of a ‘write what you know’ thing, which IS good advice), then shifted that to write textbooks on women’s self-defense and safety awareness.  That may sound like a similar type of book to the martial arts books, but it’s not.  Different audience, different info, different style.  Different genre.

Then in 2001 I started writing about the things that go bump in the night and have since written four books on the folklore/legends of vampires, werewolves and other critters that get all bitey when the sun goes down.  People warned me that it was career suicide…switching from writing scholarly books on martial arts to pop-culture books of supernatural folklore.  They were wrong about that, too.

The first one I did was THE VAMPIRE SLAYERS FIELD GUIDE TO THE UNDEAD (released under my one-time-only pen name of Shane MacDougall); then VAMPIRE UNIVERSE (Citadel Press, 2006); THE CRYPTOPEDIA (co-authored with David Kramer; released in 2007); and ZOMBIE CSU: The Forensics of the Living Dead (2008), THEY BITE (also with David Kramer, 2009) and the just-released WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE: Vampire Hunters and Other Kick-ass Enemies of Evil (with Janice Gable Bashman).  That opened up a whole new world for me, and a new audience.  It was a fun audience, too!

While doing the research for these books, I wrote my first novel, GHOST ROAD BLUES, in 2005 and sold it to Pinnacle Books.  It was the lead-off to a trilogy of supernatural thrillers set in a fictional small Pennsylvania town of Pine Deep.  It won the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel, which –I have to admit—kind of validated my whole ‘should I try writing fiction experiment’.  The sequel, DEAD MAN’S SONG came out in 2007; and then BAD MOON RISING the following year.

Instead of pounding away at horror (a genre that has been a ‘soft market’ for years anyway), I decided to try my hand at a much,much healthier genre: thrillers.  I wrote the pitch for PATIENT ZERO, a bio-terrorism thriller in which a Baltimore detective (Joe Ledger) is recruited by a government agency to combat a terrorist group bent on releasing a plague.  St. Martins Griffin bought that and two sequels (THE DRAGON FACTORY, which came out this year; and THE KING OF PLAGUES, due out in March).

Sure, switching genres meant re-branding myself to a new audience.  And, sure that meant doing a lot of social network (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Goodreads, Shelfari, etc.) and a blog and other stuff to get on the radar of the new audience.  That’s a pain in the butt if you don’t like the nuts and bolts aspects of publishing-oriented marketing; and it’s fun if you’re like me and you digEVERYTHING about the publishing world and the writing life.

Somewhere around the time I was wrapping PATIENT ZERO, I got approached to try something new.  Because of my presence on the social media sites, Universal Pictures sought me out when looking for someone to write a novelization of the remake of The Wolfman.  Had I ever done a media tie-in book?  No.  Had I ever adapted anyone else’s work?  No.  Did I take the gig?  Hell yes.  When Tor Books released THE WOLFMAN in February it clawed its way right onto the New York Times bestseller list (my first visit to that lofty peak!)

Then came ROT & RUIN.  That was kind of a double genre shift for me.  It started out as a short story for an adult anthology called THE NEW DEAD, edited by Christopher Golden for Griffin.  Golden asked each of the contributors to do something different, something they had never done before.  I had never written a post-apocalyptic story, so that’s what I wrote.  The story was called ‘Family Business’, and it’s been cited in a lot of the reviews of the book (which is packed with superb stories by superb writers like Max Brooks, Kelley Armstrong, David Liss and others!).

I showed the story to my agent, and she said that it was the opening of a teen novel.  I was surprised.  I’d had no intention at all of writing a dystopian teen story –and in truth the short story version has violence and harsh language.  My agent suggested I read some of what’s being published in the teen market.  I did.  Wow.

So, I let her shop an outline for a much expanded version of the story, and almost at once we had competing bids for what they were calling ‘a dystopian novel for the middle grade boy market’.  Really?  I had no idea.  Simon & Schuster won the bidding war and bought ROT & RUIN and its sequel, DUST & DECAY.  Now I was writing teen fiction.

So…where’s all this going and why am I pulling on your coat about it?

The economy is still in the crapper and the publishing industry is walking with a limp.  A lot of writers are hitting closed doors at full speed.  A lot of writers are being chased out of the biz by the need to find a job that pays the bills.

I’m doing great.  As I said, this is not because I’m any better or worse than these other writers (and some of them I know damn well are better than I’ll ever be).  But I move around.  I follow the trends.  I put myself in the path of publishing success.  It works.  I’ll also try just about anything.  Over the last few years I’ve been invited to write short stories or novellas in a variety of genres including mystery, military science fiction, horror, psychological suspense, comedy, regional folklore, fantasy, pulp, thrillers and even toy-related media tie-in fiction (such as GI Joe).  My gypsy tendencies have put me on several radars.  Some haven’t led to anything.  Some have lead to big things (Marvel Comics scouted me to write super hero comics –Wolverine, Punisher, Captain America—after an editor read one of my thrillers.)

I didn’t invent this process. Some of the most successful writers in recent history have stayed in the game by using the same genre-hopping process.  After all, Stephen King has published books that are technically horror (SALEM’S LOT, THE SHINING), Young Adult fantasy (THE TALISMAN), adult fantasy (THE DARK TOWER series); science fiction (CARRIE, FIRESTARTER, THE CELL), urban fantasy (LISEY’S STORY), post-apocalyptic science fantasy (THE STAND), young adult drama (THE GIRL WHO LOVED TOM GORDON), suspense (MISERY), and a whole bunch of other stuff that would fit on a dozen different bookstore shelves.

So…to all of the writers reading this –those of you who are published and those who are not yet published—if you want a tip from someone who is living the writing life and having a blast…consider opening yourself up to…anything.  If you’ve been shopping a YA paranormal fantasy for three years and haven’t gotten a bite…keep shopping it, but maybe try a Steampunk novel.  Or a dark fantasy for the adult market.  Or a romance.  Or…anything.

Who knows…maybe your first success will be in a genre you always thought was ‘not something you’d ever try’.  Shake loose from that kind of thinking.  Try anything.  Try everything.

Yeah…it works.

-Jonathan Maberry

www.jonathanmaberry.com

Follow Jonathan on Twitter/ @JonathanMaberry

This writing thing…it’s hard work

Yes, I am an agent. But oh did I used to write, my friends, I wrote. Not novels, not short stories, not poetry. Nope, this girl is a trained journalist. So in a small, tiny way, I get it. I understand how hard it is to write. I understand writer’s block. I understand laboring and sweating over word usage. I understand rejection, red pens, copy editors, and the feeling of impending failure.

Recently, I spoke with a client who mentioned that the week after he signed with me, he had nightmares and couldn’t sleep. He was so stressed because now he was (roughly paraphrased) expected to deliver the goods. Last night I signed a wonderful talent, and if I may quote directly from her blog, she said “I lay in bed swooning over the good fortune that had befallen me when – like a bird into glass – the thought hit me: I could fail miserably. Not only could, but very likely might for there is an immense amount of writers out there who continuously blow the stacks off chimneysI lay in bed with my face in the pillow. Oh Dear Lord what have I done.” (You can read the whole post here)

With her post, she included an original painting. Which inspired me to write this post.

“Will Work for Success.” Hmmm…

I told her that this should be the elixir of motivation for all writers. This isn’t just a motto. It should be your doctrine as a writer. William Faulkner said, “A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others.” Do these come easily? Maybe to some. But for most, these require work.

This is a tricky game. It takes hard hard work. It takes experience, observation, and imagination. It take perseverance. And it takes chances. You will have trouble writing but you will write because you have these qualities. And you will continue to write because you have worked hard for these attributes.

But you must “Work for Success.” Every successful book has a motivated and hard working author behind it.

Please welcome to This Literary Life:

[tweetmeme source=”breeogden” only_single=false]

…Kody Keplinger, author of the soon-to-be-released The DUFF (Poppy, September 2010).

This is Kody’s debut novel, and from what we’ve all heard, it’s a doozy. The YA world has been crazy buzzing about this release, so I was honored when Kody agreed to be interviewed for my blog. She’s fantastic!

Q: Alright girl, first let’s address the underage elephant in the room. Eighteen years old?! What the WHAT? You have managed to accomplish something that about 97% of the adult population wishes they could accomplish. What do you have to say for yourself?

A: I have to say that I’m insanely, incredibly lucky. This didn’t happen overnight – I’ve been writing since I can remember – but I know people twice my age who have been writing just as long and working just as hard.  Knowing this makes me realize how blessed and happy I am to have my dreams come true at a young age.  I’m incredibly grateful to be a teen writer – and in good company, too! There are others, and they are fabulous.

Q: I’m a little older so I had never heard the word ‘Duff’ until this book, but I definitely had Duffs back in high school. I’m 99% sure I was one. You mention on your Web site feeling like a Duff yourself, was it taxing to write about something so emotionally close to you? Especially because you were writing about it while you were in the mix of it.

A: Honestly, no.  I wrote THE DUFF shortly after I first heard the word, and I was convinced it was me – I was the DUFF of my group. But as I kept writing and talking to my friends about the word, I quickly became aware that they felt like DUFFs too – which blew me away!  I think I really discovered the truth – that we’ve all felt like the DUFF at some point – while I was writing. It took writing this book for me to see how universal it was. So really, the book was a learning experience for me in some of the same ways it was a learning experience or Bianca, the main character.

Q: I know that you talk about this book having started out as a joke, but in the end, how much of it turned out to be autobiographical? Are many of the characters based on real people you know?

A: You know, I get asked this a lot, and it kind of makes me laugh.  The book is very, very far from being autobiographical. I once told my editor that the only things Bianca and I have in common are the fact that we both have beautiful friends and our love of converse tennis shoes.  That’s it.

That said, I do think aspects of the book, while not autobiographical, were filtered in from real life. The character of Casey, a best friend, says things like OMG and BTW and WTF a lot – that is so how I talk.  That character and I have nothing in common aside from that.  I think little bits of my personality were sprinkled into all of the characters, but all in all, it has no basis in my own life.

Though, I say that with a tiny bit of regret. I’d kill to have a Wesley around sometimes. *grin*

Q: How would you qualify The DUFF? Do you think this is a book that teens and young adults can learn from? Or is it just meant to be a fun, snarky, albeit fantastic read?

A: I went in with no intention of “teaching” anything. I wanted this book to be fun, first and foremost, and for readers to relate and enjoy the story.  But if anyone comes away having learned something or feeling inspired, I’m thrilled and honored. I hope the story does touch people, but if it just serves as a fun read, that’s all I can ask for. I just hope people enjoy it!

Q: Your editor at Poppy is Kate Sullivan. I had a chance to meet with her a month ago in New York…what an absolute doll she is. We bonded over our mutual love of horror and the fact that we are both zombie purists to the core. You must have absolutely loved working with her. Can you tell our readers a little bit about the relationship you have with your editor? How does that process work?

A: Isn’t she fantastic?  The first time I met Kate in person, I was with my mom, and she and Mom had a zombie convo. That’s one of the many things I love about her – she has a wide range of tastes! (There are no zombies in THE DUFF, sadly.)

I actually really enjoy revising/working with an editor. For me, that part is more fun than a first draft. I get to take what I already have and reassemble it, like a puzzle. And I’m so, so lucky to have someone as intelligent and thoughtful as Kate guiding me through this process.  I could not have asked for a better person on my team!

Q: From what I have read, it seems like this career path sort of fell into your lap. Is that a correct assumption? Is it your intention to continue to be an author for as long as we’ll have you? Or do you dream of doing something else?

A: I definitely wouldn’t say this career fell into my lap. I’ve wanted to be a writer since elementary school, but my mom told me to always have a backup plan because writing is such a longshot.  My first backup plan?  To be an actress. Yeah, I was a smart child.

I didn’t actually plan on pursuing writing as a full time career when I decided to major in writing. I wanted to try to get published, but I’d decided to find another job I’d enjoy, too.  I can’t imagine just writing. I want to do so many things in my life that only one career forever is scary to me!

I plan on writing as long as I live. It’s my passion and it has been since I was 4 and first put my fingers on a typewriter in my mom’s office – granted, I didn’t know anything about using a typewriter, but I hit the keys and I pretended I was writing back then. I can’t imagine a life not writing, and I don’t plan on giving it up anytime soon, though I do want to have a day job, too. It’s actually my dream to work on both sides of publishing.

I make my followers answer these questions, so how about you give it a go:

Q: I noticed on your Web site that your writing is very inspired by music. I love that you have a DUFF soundtrack on your site. If you could pick the ultimate theme song for The DUFF, what would it be and why?

A: “I Can’t Stay Away” by The Veronicas.  That song is the entire reason I wrote the book. Without that song, the plot might have never hit me. Definitely the best theme song for the book.

Q: Now this next question will require a more cryptic answer, which will be good for the fans, keep them on their toes: What would be the theme song for your upcoming novel?

A: OH!!! Good question. I’m actually making the soundtrack for that one RIGHT NOW.

Hmm. . . I’d say “What It Feels Like For A Girl” by Madonna, but that might change depending on my mood.

Q: Who would you choose to play Bianca in the movie version of The DUFF? What about Wesley?

A: Bianca, from the beginning, I’ve imagined as Ellen Page. Wesley, for me, is a combo of Steven Strait and Ed Westwick, if you can imagine that.

Q: What is your perfect writing situation? Obviously you like to listen to music while you write…do you ever find yourself needing to be around people to be inspired, or do you need to be alone? Desk or comfy chair?

A: Normally, sitting on my bed in a room while other people are having a quiet convo–but not talking to me–as music plays and I drink Mt. Dew.  I need the noise to write. Silence freaks me out a little.

Aww, a girl after my own heart. I have to have people around me to get work done. Silence is no bueno.

Q: So I haven’t read the DUFF, because like a good girl, I kept my only ARC giveaway in pristine condition. I can’t wait until it’s official release. However, I did look at the last page, and read the last paragraph (I know, so naughty)…and what a GREAT last few paragraphs. So real. It speaks to me and I am 26 years old! ANYWAY…when you read books, do you ever skip to the last line? Or is that a huge no-no for you?

A: I DO IT ALL THE TIME!!!!!!!!

I also skip ahead to see if the main characters ever get a hot make-out scene. I can’t stand waiting to find out if they get together!

Q: What book is your guilty pleasure and on the other hand, what book is your ultimate reading Tour de Force (like Tolstoy or Wittgenstein)?

A: I really don’t feel guilty about any book I love. If I love it, that’s enough!  But I used to get teased in high school for only reading the upper YA that I knew had super steamy romances in them. If there wasn’t a hot romance, I had a habit of putting it away. I grew out of it, but what can I say? I loved my romance.

Also, I read a lot of fan fiction (and wrote it, but we won’t talk about that *cough*)

As for Tour de Force – I once tried to read Dickenson’s Great Expectations.  Never again.  However, I did find that I had a very intense passion for Jane Austen during my “I only read the classics!” part of high school. Haha.

Q: What books are you drooling over right now? What releases are you so excited for?

A: I’m obsessed with ANYTHING by Elizabeth Scott.  Her books are all very drool-worthy. I’m also kind of in love with the way Simone Elkeles writes steamy romance – hawt!

I can’t wait to read JANE by April Lindner (I just got an ARC! Eek!).  I’m also looking forward to THE MOCKINGBIRDS by Daisy Whitney, PERSONAL DEMONS by Lisa Desrochers, and next year, LIKE MANDARIN by Kirsten Hubbard. There are a ton more – I’m really stoked for the books by Leah Clifford, Courtney Moulton, Michelle Hodkin, Scott Tracey, Lisa and Laura Roecker, and Victoria Schwab, too. Gah, I’m a to-be-released nerd. 2011 is going to be a great year for books.

***JANE by April Lindner is my next ARC Giveaway (stay tuned…readers.)***

Q: Can you give our readers some hot advice; anything for them to soak up and use in their quest to be published?

A: Don’t be afraid to try.  If you let rejection scare you, you’ll never get anywhere. Be okay with taking risks!

A HUGE thank you to Kody. She is a doll, a very talented doll, and I know we are all chomping at the bit to read The DUFF. Look for it in early September. You can visit her website at here.