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  • I read a lot, and I have a lot of opinions, so I can't believe I haven't made a list like this before. If you are even a little bit like me or you want to get a peek into my psyche (you probs don't), these are the books to read.

Posts Tagged ‘interviews’

All around the Internet today

Posted on April 29th, 2014 by annakjarzab

Just dropping by for a quick post. I don’t talk too much online about what I do for a living (besides write), but I’m actually the Digital and Social Marketing Manager at Penguin Young Readers Group, where I’ve worked for about five years or so. I’m not going to lie to you, it’s a pretty great job; it’s hard and I work long (sometimes strange) hours, but I feel very rewarded by the work I do on titles ranging from The Fault In Our Stars and books by Gayle Forman and Sarah Dessen to Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series and everything in between! Anyway, if you want to know a little more about the day-to-day of my job, head on over to Pub Crawl where I was interviewed today by Alex Bracken (author of the phenomenal Darkest Minds series). I’m happy to answer questions, so pop into the comments over there and ask away if you want!

Relatedly, my friends at Penguin USA just relaunched the site and it looks fantastic! They asked certain staff members for book recommendations and because there’s nothing I love more than gushing about books that I love, I took the bait and gave them a (very) short list of my in-house faves. Obviously there are a million zillion Penguin (and non-Penguin) books that I love, but I was told I could only pick a handful, which was hard for me but I ultimately succeeded. Check them out!

An interview with the Tandem cover designer!

Posted on September 30th, 2013 by annakjarzab

tandem cvr quoteI don’t know about you guys, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE the cover for Tandem, my third YA novel that comes out next Tuesday (!!!!). If you haven’t seen the interiors of the book, they are also super beautiful. I’m totally fascinated by the process of creating packages for books–it’s a lengthy, and often much-debated process that people outside the industry don’t always get a glimpse into. So I asked Sarah Pierson, the designer of both the cover and the interior design of Tandem, a few questions about this mysterious but very, very important part of making a book.

You are a book designer at Random House–does this mean you design all aspects of the book: cover and interiors? Do you work on all imprints and age groups, or do you focus on YA/novels?
I currently work on all aspects; jacket, interior, and the hardbound case cover. I work on middle grade and YA for the Knopf and Delacorte imprints. I also do paperbacks for the Ember and Yearling paperback imprints.

Once you have a title assigned to you, what steps do you take? Does the editor usually have very specific ideas of what they want, or do you read the book and come up with a proposal of what you’d like to do?

This process varies book to book! I read the most recent draft of the manuscript. It helps me come up with ideas, from big concepts and motifs to small details. Having a strong sense of themes and mood is important to be able to approach the design. After reading the manuscript, I’ll sit down with the editor and talk about how they envision the cover. They tell me what they want the cover to convey and they may ask for specific imagery. Then I start making cover comps based on a few different concepts, either my own ideas, the editors’ or something we arrived at together.
How did you become a book designer? Did you go to art school? What made you want to design books for a living?
I went to Drexel for graphic design and I worked at the library throughout college. I’m embarrassed and ashamed to admit that I’ve never been a huge fiction reader! But I loved working at the library because I love books…jackets, paper, ink, bindings, headbands…I love them. I spent way too much time shelving art, design and photography books, stopping to leaf through them. I came across unusual old engineering and science books, and popular fiction was always circulating. I studied everything from a design perspective. Junior year I got an internship at a super cool independent publisher called Quirk Books. A few months after graduating in 2005, I got a job in the picture books group at HarperCollins and have been designing books ever since.
What are some other books you designed, besides TANDEM?
Mister Max by Cynthia Voigt, The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, The Selection by Kiera Cass, Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, Posses by Gretchen McNeil, Wildwood by Colin Meloy. Check out my website.
What was your thought process behind designing the TANDEM cover? Was your first idea much like the finished product, or did it go through a lot of revisions? How did you go about bringing together all of the visual elements (the girl, the bird, the colors, the amazing title treatment, etc.) into the beautiful cover we have now? 
I read TANDEM very closely. It was so good! The story felt intricate and intimate and epic at the same time. As I was reading, I made note of different things could work as imagery for the cover. I had several ideas at first, and one of those eventually became the final cover. I searched for and used stock photography to use to build the image, combining elements in photoshop in a similar manner from the beginning. After initial comps were promising, I was directed through rounds of revisions adjusting the composition and scale, typography, color, and different models and poses for Sasha.
tandem cvr comp1a
tandem cvr comp1b
tandem cvr comp1c

These are some of the comps from the first round. The basic concept and all the elements are here, but it took time to get to the end result.

tandem cvr comp2a
tandem cvr comp2b
tandem cvr comp2c

Trying out different girls, sizes of the girl, typefaces, colors, ways of blending the sparrow and girl. I had the basic composition and down. This is just a few of the variations.

tandem cvr comp2d

This is when we felt like we had hit it.

tandem cvr comp3

Livened it up with some color. I tried several different background color variations at this stage.

tandem cvr quote

More color to Sasha’s face, more depth in the background, and some fine tuning. Series title is in place and quote at the top.

Knowing that TANDEM was the first book in a series, did that affect how you designed the cover? Did you design it with how you would create the covers for the other books in mind?

I kept in mind how I would change the various elements. I tried working on the second book along with the first once it was more developed to see how they would look together. The sort of soft glamourous starkness is what I hope will carry over through the series.
Okay, let’s talk about the interiors! What was your thought process behind how you did the interior design (which is really quite complex and thought out!)? Do you usually create such design-heavy interiors, or was this out of the ordinary? 
I do not usually design such complex interiors but with its 3 parts, different points of view, and day countdown TANDEM presented a unique chance to do something interesting. At first I was totally stumped about all this! I think I spent a whole week just getting my head around it. I chipped away at it starting with the parts (Earth/Aurora) and then more ideas came out of that. I eventually mapped out the whole structure because it was helpful for me to see it that way.
What is your favorite part of the TANDEM interiors (or the cover!)? 
I like the lines of little dots on the flaps, back jacket, under the page numbers…other places too. It’s a small detail but I think they’re elegant and have a little meaning. They represent ‘many worlds.’
Is there anything else you’d like to share about the TANDEM cover or interiors? Any designs that didn’t make the cut? 
A part of the interior design was inspired by a music video from 2011! I am pretty sure music videos have less cultural impact these days but I find them to be a really nice source of visual inspiration!

Thanks so much to Sarah for giving us a little insight into how a cover gets made! You should absolutely check out her website, which showcases many of the beautiful book covers she’s worked on in her career, including many I know you’ll recognize.


Posted on March 30th, 2010 by annakjarzab

I know I haven’t been around much, but that’s because I have been writing! Which is really what I should be doing, right? Riiiiiight. Anyway, I just wanted to take care of a few housekeeping things:

  1. I have an event on Thursday, April 1 (that’s this Thursday), in Centerreach, NY (that’s on Long Island, near my favorite stop on the LIRR–Ronkonkama! Seriously, how fun is that to say?) at Best Bargain Books. It’s my first event, so I am both excited and nervous about it. I even had a stress dream about it last night, where I was inappropriately dressed and the entire staff of Teen Vogue (I would wonder about this, except I watched The September Issue last night) was there to watch me fall on my face. I also dreamed, because you care, that there was a made-for-TV movie based on AUT, and even though it was ostensibly based on the book it didn’t really, um, have anything to do with AUT. And Carly was blonde. So…what? But yes, Best Bargain Books on Thursday, April 1 at 7 PM. Be there or be…somewhere else, I guess. But if you’re there you’ll have more fun.
  2. Speaking of events, my April 17th event at Mysteries on Main Street in Jonestown, NY has been moved to the following weekend, April 24th. Visit the events page for more details.
  3. Courtney Summers, who is by far one of my favorite YA novelists and the author of the kick-ass Cracked Up to Be and Some Girls Are, was lovely enough to interview me over at her website–and she’s giving away a copy of AUT! Run, don’t walk.
  4. I have another event to put on the events page–I’ll be at Anderson’s in Naperville, IL on Friday, May 14th. Yay! Come visit me!
  5. I’ve created a Facebook fan page for All Unquiet Things, in case you wanted to shout your love for my book from the rafters (insofar as that’s a thing that is possible on the Internet). I’ve posted my growing library of photos taken by friends and fans in an album there–if you have anything to contribute, you should email me!

Also, I’ve been getting some fan mail recently, and I just want to say a blanket “Thank you” to all the people who’ve taken the time to write to me. I will write you back, I promise! I’m working on it piece by piece. But this is a preemptive thank you, because you guys are awesome.

Another interview

Posted on November 24th, 2009 by annakjarzab

Just in case you’re interested, Briana from The Book Pixie just posted an interview with me on her site. Just your everyday Jarzab ridiculousness, with plenty of run-on sentences, in case you’re into that sort of thing.

On the record

Posted on October 30th, 2009 by annakjarzab

I put up a new post at The A Team about recording an interview for the audio book of All Unquiet Things. It was such a fun, cool experience, and I hope I wasn’t too much of a spaz (scratch that, I know I was, but hopefully in the most amusing way possible). The Random House audio people are the best. It went really well, and I am psyched.

Brightly Woven + Interview

Posted on August 22nd, 2009 by annakjarzab

Okay, first off, the lovely folks at Teens Writing for Teens saw fit to interview me, and so of course I took this opportunity to talk shit about creative writing classes. Go ahead and dissent if you must.

Second of all, I got to read Brightly Woven by my friend Alexandra Bracken. JEALOUS?! I know. Alex and I live in the same city, which is awesome and allows us to get to goss about publishing and writing and the whole nine, plus exchange ARCs because we are just that impatient!

Can I tell you how much I hearted Brightly Woven? I have to say, I’ve been raving about Tenner books, and yes, these people are my friends, but also I am critical so when I say I love something I mean it! Brightly Woven is wonderful. I’m not just saying that because Alex is wonderful, which she is. I’m saying it because I truly loved the book, loved every second of reading it, loved North and Syd and the world she created. I’m not a high fantasy person, not going to lie, but when I picked up BW I knew I was going to enjoy each line and I did.

Because you know what? Syd is no wallflower. I love a good, headstrong, stubborn main character who makes decision based on gut instinct. Sometimes they screw up. That’s the best part! Syd is amazing–she is never once unsure of who she is, even when she’s unsure of everything around her. She knows what she wants and has from the beginning. She also has a huge heart and great reserves of sympathy, which is really important, because being headstrong and stubborn is all well and good, but if you don’t use that for good you’re just kind of a jerk.

I know I’ve been kind of MIA recently, and I know I said I was going to try to update more, and I realize I’ve been largely absent from Twitter as well, but a new era is being ushered in–I’m getting an iPhone! Probably. So I can Twitter from ANYWHERE I WANT soon. The tweets won’t stop. I want to blog more, too, but there’s not a whole lot going on with me at the moment. I’m just working and writing. I really need to find a name (or at least an acroynym) for the family drama (which has taken on some mysterious elements, because I JUST CAN’T HELP MYSELF) so I can talk about it without writing a huge sentence like I just did, but basically that book is going well. Almost 150 pgs, and I can tell this book will be smaller than AUT and MB, so that’s probably 2/3 done. GR is stalled, but I figure I’ll go back to it once I’m done with…the family drama with mysterious elements. It’s more of a dramedy, really. Dramedy/romance/coming-of-age/mystery. Shoot me.

Still waiting on an editorial for MB so that I can start revisions on that, and that’s pretty much all the news there is to use on the publishing front. Oh, and I visited the Listening Library offices the other day to drop off my audio contracts, where I met the lovely Rebecca Waugh, who acquired the AUT audio rights. She took me to the audio closet, where they keep all of their extra copies of the audio books, and I got to wander through and pick out a couple. I got Feed by M.T. Anderson and Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You by Peter Cameron, and Rebecca and I had a talk about how I really love YA novels that deal with the issue of spirituality in a smart but not evangelical way. This discussion was sparked by Madeleine L’Engle, whose audio they do.

So I think that’s it for me. Oh, and because I have them up in my browser right now, here are some things that are inspiring me currently. Random, huh? I promise, someday it will all be very clear.

21 Questions

Posted on June 3rd, 2009 by annakjarzab

Yesterday, Dog Mutha Heidi Kling had an amazing idea: Ask a Tenner. She opened up an unlocked post on the Tenners LJ and invited teens, bloggers, book fans, and other writers alike to post a question for the Tenners to answer. It was an amazing success–500+ comments and counting! To be honest, it made me a little cross-eyed, but it was so fun that I’m still answering questions, and I know lots of Tenners are, too. We’ll probably do it again, along with chats, so be sure to watch the LJ, follow us on Twitter, or keep an eye on this space for more opportunities to bombard us with awesome questions.

Along those lines, I thought I’d use today to answer the 21 questions New York Magazine asks prominent New Yorkers on their Daily Intel blog. Okay, I’m not a prominent New Yorker. But come on! Don’t you want to know more about ME? Oh, you don’t? Okay, well then you might not want to venture into the FAQ section.

Here we go:

Name: Anna Jarzab

Age: 25

Neighborhood: Morningside Heights

Occupation: Writer, marketing ninja

Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional? Stumped on the first real question. Is it stupid to say Chuck Bass? Also, Edna St. Vincent Millay, just because I think she’s so interesting. I keep meaning to go to her old house in the Village, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. Have you read Savage Beauty? You should.

Also, Jill Zarin. Sorry, Marc Indelicato, I copied you. Team Jill!

What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in New York? I don’t tend to eat very fancy, so I’m probably going to go with the Napolitana macaroni & cheese from Pinch ‘n S’mac. I know that makes me a seven-year-old, but what are you going to do? Also, the pulled pork sliders at Bua.

In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job? Well, my day job is top secret, but suffice it to say I spend a lot of time on the Internet. For my writing job I…spend a lot of time on the Internet. Let’s face it, I live in cyberspace, so really I should just go all “Kill Switch” and upload my brain to the web and be done with it.

Would you still live here on a $35,000 salary? …Yes

What’s the last thing you saw on Broadway? Equus, right before it closed.

Do you give money to panhandlers? Sometimes.

What’s your drink? It used to be Diet Coke, but ever since I gave it up for Lent I’ve been trying to cut back, and I’ve been reasonably successful. I drink a lot of iced tea now, peach Snapple and lemon Lipton’s from the mix.

How often do you prepare your own meals? This goes sort of week by week, but I would say 4-5 out of 7 days.

What’s your favorite medication? Excedrin. I’ve been headache/migraine prone ever since early childhood, and my TMJ exacerbates that, and Excedrin is really the only thing that works. That said, my tolerance for everyday aches and pains is pretty high and I’ll usually wait until I’m miserable to take anything.

What’s hanging above your sofa? A bare lightbulb. Seriously. Our couch is in the middle of the room and after I replaced the lightbulb in the ceiling, I couldn’t get the fixture back on, so it lives on our floor. It’s not cute.

How much is too much to spend on a haircut? Anything over $50.

When’s bedtime? Midnight, usually. I try to be in bed with all but my reading lamp off by then.

Which do you prefer, the old Times Square or the new Times Square? Times Square changed in, like, the eighties right? When I was a zygote? So I’m going to go with the new Times Square, since it’s the only one I’ve ever experienced. That said, I hate Times Square and avoid it at all costs except to go to the theater and when people are in town and want to go, but I will not go quietly! It edges the old Times Square out for me only because I hear that the old Times Square was seedy and dangerous.

What do you think about Donald Trump? I can’t see how this is a relevant question, but okay. I don’t think about him at all.

What do you hate most about living in New York? How much time you got? Just kidding…sort of. I hate how there’s so much noise it’s like living with a radio implanted in your brain. I hate the expense. I hate how hard it is, how stressful, how much of a struggle every day can be.

Who is your mortal enemy? Um, I don’t know. I guess I don’t have time for mortal enemies–that sounds like a lot of work. I do, however, have a few people that I adamantly don’t trust or like, but it’s not the sort of thing I feel without provocation–that’s a hard-earned status.

When’s the last time you drove a car? Hm, January I think. When I was in California for Christmas. So, a while.

How has the Wall Street crash affected you? I have a couple of friends who are out of jobs, which is sad and upsetting to me, especially because I want so badly to help but I can’t. It also caused rents in New York to go down, so that’s good for me. Mixed bag. Mostly bad, though.

Times, Post or Daily News? None, really, I don’t tend to read the paper, but I guess the Times online.

Where do you go to be alone? My bedroom.

What makes someone a New Yorker? I don’t know. I tell people that if you’re not planning on getting the hell out of dodge after a year, you’ve earned that title. Unless you’re being subsidized by your wealthy family, being young in New York is hard work, so if you don’t run away screaming after a year, you’re one of us.


Posted on April 9th, 2009 by annakjarzab

Even though I said I probably wouldn’t set up Google Alerts for myself or my book, I totally did, which I then regretted, because I would always get emails about blog posts I’d put up myself and, like, every use of the word “unquiet” on the Internet, which is not that many.

BUT! That changed yesterday. First, Kelsey at Reading Keeps You Sane named All Unquiet Things as her “Waiting on Wednesday” pick this week, which was so flattering. I actually just found out about Kelsey and her site a couple of days ago while perusing Gayle Foreman’s blog (I’m reading If I Stay right now and even though I’m only in the beginning, I can already tell it’s going to be very good) and added it to my Google Reader, only to click on it yesterday afternoon and see my cover (which is pretty much a hit with everyone, great news for me because I love it) front and center. Thanks Kelsey!

Also, an interview I did with fellow Tenner Christy Raedeke‘s blog went up last night. It’s my first official interview, which is terribly exciting, and Christy is hilarious and awesome, so I was really excited to be featured on Juvenescence. Christy’s done a lot of interviews with other Tenners, all of which are different and interesting, so I suggest heading over there and checking them out.

Futhermore, you’ll see that Eric fixed the comments problem. Things are going to be changing a little bit on this site for a few weeks–including the most important thing, which is the adding of the HIDDEN! CONTENT!–so don’t be alarmed if you see something new or weird or out-of-place, although if you notice a bug or catch a problem feel free to email me. Also, my blog roll was lost in transit from WordPress to…this thing that looks like WordPress but isn’t exactly that I use to update the site, but I plan to have that back up. I think I have to manually put all the links in again; it might take me some time to complete but I really want a comprehensive blog roll, so that’s coming.

Update: I just put up a post about the website (and my plans for HIDDEN! CONTENT!) on The A Team. Checkitowt! Also, if you have any ideas for what sort of hidden content you might want to see (so far I have some stuff, including a map for All Unquiet Things and scans of some of my handwritten character manifestos, but I can probably do a lot of different stuff–puzzles and playlists and secret contests and sneak peeks of material-in-progress. I’m totally open to suggestions) then comment here or at The A Team or email me.

My first author interview

Posted on March 4th, 2009 by annakjarzab

Ah, so many firsts associated with this awesome job. I snagged a copy of This Is What I Want to Tell You after I was matched up with Heather Duffy-Stone for the Debreview feature we Tenners are doing, and I really liked it. It’s the story of two siblings, twins Nadio and Noelle, whose lives change forever when Noelle’s best friend Keeley comes home after spending a summer in England with her parents. Noelle feels as though her relationship with Keeley has been ruptured and looks for something different in the arms of an older boy, and Nadio rediscovers Keeley as the girl he never knew he always loved. As Heather says on her website, This Is What I Want to Tell You is about “falling in love, and maybe getting a tattoo.” So head on over to my interview with Heather to see what more she has to say about her debut (March 1, Flux, buy here).

My first interview

Posted on January 5th, 2009 by Anna Jarzab

Yo yo yo check it you guys: somebody saw fit to interview me. Psych! I twisted her arm and made her do it, and by “her” of course I mean my friend Katie. We did this interview on December 11 and then it was Christmas and New Years and I forgot to post it because I am a loser. Sad pancakes. Whatever, better late than never. Hope this tells you some random information about me you never knew, as interviews should.

Oh, and I suppose I should warn you that this is rather long. Enjoy!


Katherine: so let’s talk books and writing and all that jazz-o-la

me: let’s do it to it

Katherine: so i looked over my questions that i wrote out ages ago when you first asked me to do this and . . to be honest they’re kind of lame

but let’s see how some of them go anyway

me: okay, we’ll make them fun

Katherine: soooo, books and stuff

lame question numero uno:

when did you first realized you wanted to be a writer (this is a lame question because everyone must ask this but seriously i want to know because it feels like you’ve known you’ve wanted to be a writer forever)

me: good question

i don’t know the answer

in my head, it’s age eleven, because that’s how old Mallory from the BSC was when she was “writing her novel”

me: yeah, but probably around that time, twelve or thirteen or something

Katherine: btw you and this interview just went big screen in my browser, now its on

me: hahaha awesome

Katherine: mallory, excellent

me: IMAX interview

Katherine: i always really didn’t like mallory actually

Katherine: like less than . . kristy . . .

me: yeah i didn’t like her either, but i think i got to the point where i was like, “that bitch is writing a novel? i can do that!”

wow, that’s harsh

Katherine: haha, nice

me: less than kristy?

Katherine: yeah, hard to believe

me: it is

so yeah, probably around then

i know i was serious about it in high school already, i finished my first novel or whatever my senior year

Katherine: what’s the most important thing you did as a precocious teenage novel writer that you felt helped prepare you to get where you are Ms. Tenner and all

me: haha um i kept my crappy writing to myself

i was so secretive about it

because mostly i was writing thinly veiled plagiarism of the books i was reading at the time

Katherine: do you like the novel you wrote in HS?

me: i haven’t seen it in a really long time

i seem to have lost copies of all of my trunk novels, as we call them in the biz

they live on now only in my memory, which is a good thing, because i think if i read any of them now i’d be disgusted by how bad they were

Katherine: that’s your legacy! not something disgusting

me: no seriously dude

they are ridiculously bad

Katherine: fine fine

what’s the worst writing advice you’ve ever received?

me: the worst writing advice…i have to give this a think for a second

well, nonspecifically i think any writing advice that is touted as THE ONLY WAY TO DO IT is categorically incorrect

and there’s a lot of that floating around the net

i can’t think of anything specific, but also pretty much all advice i got from people in my writing classes in college was bad

Katherine: okay, next question then! onwards and upwards!

me: haha i’m a terrible interviewee!

Katherine: what are some ways you deal with creativity “doledrums”? (honestly, i wrote doledrums on this piece of paper here)

me: i listen to a lot of music and i read a lot of books

and also i write a lot of stupid things that will never see the light of day

Katherine: you read a lot of books period!

me: somebody smart (not me) once said that writing is like a muscle and you go stale if you don’t use it or something

yeah, i do, but i read more, and i try to read a variety of stuff in lots of different genres

but also, if you’re not feeling creative, sometimes it’s best to just take a break

i come at writing really organically, as in i only write when i have ideas, so if i don’t have an idea i don’t strain too hard, none of my good ideas ever came from that

Katherine: i think you’re mixing your metaphors there ma’am unless my muscles really can go stale

in which case

that might explain the smell

me: shame on me

Katherine: how do you feel about the idea of writing communities?

me: writing communities…i think there are a lot of people that get a lot out of them

but i know for pretty much a fact that i am not one of those people

i don’t have critique partners, either, which a lot of people do

i’m a really solitary writer

so i don’t want to be all, “i don’t need a writing community, i’m too cool for that!” but I also think there’s a point where writing groups can hold you back

you don’t need feedback on every page, i think that can stifle you

and most people, even other writers, don’t know what they’re talking about when it comes to your work

which is not to say all feedback or critique from other people is wrong

it’s not very black and white, it’s a personal thing, and personally i eschew it

Katherine: what do you do when you’ve finished writing a book?

me: throw myself a party

Katherine: streamers and balloons?

and bud light?

me: absolutely

just kidding

i start working on something new

almost immediately

because i usually have about one or two things waiting in the queue (in my head)

and i need time before i can revise

Katherine: what part of the writing process is the most difficult for you?

me: revisions!

and i’m not even just saying that because that’s what i’m doing right now

i really hate it

Katherine: haha

me: it’s hard and it forces you to look at all the flaws and the truth is that those flaws are YOUR fault and YOUR responsibility to fix

it’s all very discouraging to me

Katherine: sounds scary.

me: yeah it is i’m not going to lie

i’m grateful to people for pointing these things out to me, but grudgingly so

and this is not me smack talking my agent or editor, they’re brilliant and just doing their jobs

me: it’s the drama queen in my head wailing and flailing about

Katherine: how do you feel about your first go on the publishing merry-go-round?

me: publishing merry-go-round…

well, nothing too crazy as of yet

i’m actually really happy with my experience so far

i’m sure there will be parts i don’t like in the future, parts that are scary and hectic, but to me, right now, everything seems to be working as well as i expected and even a little bit better

Katherine: as you’re working on a book and you’re getting your ideas out there, what is a thing that you think enables to do it? like actually write a book?

me: hm, what do you mean?

like what makes it possible to get from concept to “the end”, as it were?

Katherine: basically

actually that is really what my questions was almost verbatim

but then i changed it

me: haha we’re psychically connected, i have proof

Katherine: creepsauce!

me: well at first i think it’s a lot of fumbling around, when you first start writing, your first novel

at least it was for me

i just kept writing and writing until i had two hundred and fifty pages or so

they were absolute crap, but they were there

now it’s different

now i prepare

i come up with a concept and i do a lot of pre-writing–character manifestos, synopses, maps, etc.

i need that synopsis, it’s like that string theseus uses to get through the labyrinth [Loser! -ed.]

having a reference point whenever i’m stumped usually saves me at more than one point

but more abstractly i think you really have to believe in your story

i come up with a lot of ideas that don’t flesh out into novels, because they don’t take root in me

so you have to be incredibly persistent and be emotionally invested in the work, which then you have to shake off as well as you can when you’re querying and getting all these rejections

Katherine: i’m guessing you learned a lot during those first “crappy” 250 pgs?

me: oh yeah, and i mean i wrote three crappy novels of varying lengths before i wrote one decent novel that i sold

you do learn, that’s the only way you can learn

through doing

Katherine: who’s your favorite character you’ve ever written? why?

me: neily

i can’t really say why, but i suspect it’s because he’s kind of like me and i’m a narcissist?

but let’s give me the benefit of the doubt and say that’s not true

neily and i have been living together in my head for almost seven years at this point

i feel like he’s a friend of mine

but in terms of what everybody else can understand, i like him because he’s smart and he’s funny and he has a hard time trusting people but he really WANTS to, and sometimes he lets down his guard and he gets burned and he lets himself be wounded

he doesn’t pretend he’s not who he is and he feels things keenly and he doesn’t act like he doesn’t

he’s honest

i like that in a person

in AUT there are two narrators, and one is very emotionally honest and one is emotionally dishonest

or maybe dishonest is the wrong word

she’s more emotionally reticent

i prefer more emotionally honest people

and i like neily because, to me, he’s the ultimate emotionally honest person

me: that isn’t to say i don’t love audrey, of course i do, but for different reasons

me: any more questions?

Katherine: hmmm, how are your two unfinished projects going? are they progressing? either physically or mentally?

me: ha! no

no nothing is getting done right now on any project except AUT

i’ve been working on AUT and MB for so long, I’m interested to see what it’ll feel like to work on a project almost from scratch

that’ll happen in, like, february or something, maybe

Katherine: cool

honestly i can’t wait

me: me neither

i have no idea what they’re about!

that’s a lie, i do, but i don’t have synopses for either of them

Katherine: haha

me: and i haven’t even decided which i’m going to work on first

i guess maybe joanna will have a say in that

Katherine: do you think it will make the writing process different from beginning to end having joanna around ?

me: i’m not sure actually

i mean, technically i wrote MB while i was agented

and it didn’t really change my process

except that i had someone to immediately give me feedback

but it probably will be a little different because I knew MB was going to be my next project

Katherine: yeah

me: and I had some leeway because we hadn’t sold anything at the time, and now we have and I think Random House gets first dibs on my next project

like, they get first look before we shop it around anyplace else

so probably what will happen is when i’m done with AUT and MB, I will write up proposals for both books and then joanna and i will have a discussion about which to submit, in what order or together, etc.

so i take it back, it’ll be totally different


Katherine: haha

okay well i think that’s it, really

me: coolio

thanks for doing this katie

me: it was super fun

Katherine: YEAH

super fun

i think we should do another one ages from now when AUT comes out

me: your questions weren’t lame at all

yeah we should

and then we can be all, “retrospective!”

Katherine: awesome.