George (through Mindy) asked me some questions. I'm happy to answer.
1) What are you working on?
I'm working on book three in my Never Forgotten series. It feels somewhat strange to say that, since book one is not even available yet! The first book, called Never Forgotten, will be out in June 2014.
2) How does my book differ from others in its genre?
Great question, George. You're one smart basset hound! My book takes a lesser known mythical creature and spins the story in a unique way. It also focuses a lot on relationships, such as Meara's relationship with her mother and Meara's path to build a relationship with her estranged father. She forms lifelong friendships and falls in love, too.
3) Why do you write what you do?
You wish I wrote about dogs, don't you, George? Actually, Meara's boyfriend Evan does have two dogs. They're springer spaniels though, so we won't talk about them. I'm writing this series because I'm absolutely smitten with these characters. The world building has been so fun, and I really hope my readers enjoy the book.
I'm the first to admit it. I'm a book geek. I love Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Twilight, The Mortal Instruments...need I go on? I see almost every movie at the midnight (now 10pm) release, and I buy the swag. You know, sweatshirts, T-shirts, key chains...you name it. What I don't buy into is the idea that every book written since these books were published are cheap knock offs, nor do I subscribe to the belief that each of these books is one hundred percent original in its own right. After all, wizards, war, and vampires existed long before J.K Rowling, Suzanne Collins, and Stephanie Meyer incorporated them into their stories. I'm sure if you asked them, they'd tell you the same thing.
Humans are inspired by each other's stories. Since the beginning of time when stories were told verbally, one story would trigger another story would trigger another, and so on. So my question is, Why must readers criticize other authors and claim that their original stories are copies of the aforementioned or another existing series? In a similar vein, why can't a story that incorporates magic stand on its own without being compared to Harry Potter?
I'd like to propose we give all authors the credit they deserve. Writing a novel is hard work, imagining the characters, the setting, the plot. Please don't undermine a writer's creation by calling it a copy. Unless it's plagiarized, which of course is illegal, it's not a copy. It's the blood, sweat, and genius of the person who wrote it.
Writing is an exciting journey. I started Never Forgotten back in 2008. Initially, the story came fast and furious. I wrote the first half in about two months. Then the ending came to me. I didn't know what to put in the middle, so I jumped ahead and wrote the last three chapters.
"Wow, " I thought. "I'm two-thirds done. The rest should be easy."
Not. I must've jinxed myself, because I was hit with the world's worst case of writers block. At the time, it was just me. No writing group, no author friends. I put my story on the shelf and walked away, busy with my two young children and my full-time job.
Fast forward two years. A friend who knew I wanted to write a book shared a Groupon with me. The Groupon was for a novel writing class at Allwriters' Workplace and Workshop. I signed up for that first class, not knowing what to expect, and was welcomed with open arms. The next two years, I shared my novel in workshop. First, completing the first draft, then polishing it through two more rounds of revisions. I learned that talking about my story with other writers and readers really helped. It was ready for submission by end of June 2013.
I spent the next month writing my query letter and synopsis and researching where I wanted to submit. I submitted, then waited. And waited. And waited. When I received a rejection, I'd send another query. The most disappointing part of the process was how few agents and publishers actually responded back. Those that did typically gave a polite, but generic, "Thanks, but no thanks."
Then, I found Clean Teen Publishing. I read their business model and was intrigued. I loved the idea of a rating system. It's so true - the movies have one, television has one, why not books? I also liked that they provide full disclosure, but do not censor. It's a personal decision what you want to read, and what you're willing to let your children read. Maturity levels vary greatly, but it's nice to know that before you even lift the cover of the book, you know what you're getting into. I submitted my query, and the rest, they say, is history.
I'm so proud to be part of the Clean Teen Publishing family. The works they represent are well written, entertaining stories. The kinds of books that I like to read. I can't wait for my story to come out, for others to read it. It's been an exciting ride so far, and something tells me, this is just the beginning!
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