The kitties are home! I was planning on posting pictures of Maya in her lion cut, but it turns out that Maya with a lion cut is actually really upsetting to, because she's such a skinny, stressed out little thing. She's a big ruff of furface and then a scrawny little rat body. It's awful, and while I generally have no problem mocking my cats on the internet, it's just not sporting this time around.
Anyway, let's hit the next round of answers, shall we?
Jaime asked, "Do you use any certain music to set the tone while you are writing, as kind of a soundtrack to the books?"
I do! Each book has a soundtrack, though because TORN is a trilogy, some of the songs carry over from book to book. You can see the soundtrack for TORN here, and TANGLED here, and I'll be posting BOUND's soundtrack sometime next week. Here's one song I was particularly fond of, though.
Music is crucial to my writing process because it allows me to immediately slip into the story or a character, especially if I'm not writing at home. When I'm revising, it's a little different -- I tend to listen to scores from TV shows or movies. It's likely because I'm looking at the words on the page so closely that lyrics would interfere with my concentration, and I'd read more into the story than actually exists. My favorite score for revising, of course, is from Doctor Who.
Kim, who knows me very well, asked, "Besides being able to work in pajama pants, what is the best thing about being a writer of YA?"
The readers. Hands-down, the readers. I love talking with teens -- not just about my book, but books in general, and all of the other facets of their lives. Teenagers are smart, observant, funny as hell, and incredibly authentic, and getting to interact with them, whether through email or social media or classroom visits is the best part of my job.
Jess asked, "What's next for you? Any more books on the horizon? WIP's? I hope we see more!"
Thanks, Jess! I've got some projects percolating, but the bulk of my attention at the moment is focused on BOUND's release. And getting the backyard under control. It's still pretty bad. As soon as the current heatwave breaks, I'm going to learn how to use the weedwhacker.
Mont_4A asked, "What was the hardest part about writing your query letter? Is there a certain way it should be done?"
To which I say, "GAAAAAAAHHHHH QUERY LETTERS." I hate 'em. But they're a necessary part of the business, and so when it came time to query TORN, I posted a note above my computer that said, "Suck it up, Buttercup," and did precisely that. Here's what I think every query letter should have:
- word count
- brief, hooky description of your story
- RELEVANT professional credentials (ie, previously published work, membership in professional writing organizations, a career in publishing or the field your book is set in.)
- impeccable spelling/grammar/professional attitude
That being said, every agent has different requirements about what they like/don't like to see in a query. So you have to research EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. Yes, it's a pain. But remember: when you send an agent a query, they have to take time away from their current clients to read it -- following their directions shows you value their time, and increases your chances of getting a request.
The most valuable website I've seen about general query-writing is Kristin Nelson's Pub Rants. Read her entries on queries, google the bejeezus out of the agents you're most interested in, and be brave! It's hard to send your work out into the world, but if you want to be published, you might as well get accustomed to the feeling.
BN100 asked, "Who would you cast in a movie of your books?"
Oooh. This is really hard! Bookittyblog made a trailer for the series, and I thought she did a great job. I tend not to think of specific actors as I'm writing, because I'm afraid of letting their other roles influence my character too much. I think if I was going to cast a movie version, I'd want to find actors who were relatively unknown, at least for Mo, Colin, and Luc. And in Mo's case, I'd want someone who looked more "interesting" than "pretty," since she's convinced of her own unremarkableness. There's a ton of actresses I've seen that are conventionally pretty, but very few that don't seem like they'd already know it.
I'll answer more questions tomorrow, but I promised I'd announce the winner today, and it is...
BN100, who asked which cover was my favorite -- and I'll tell you that tomorrow! If you're BN, email me your snail mail address at erica at ericaorourke dot com, and I'll pop your book in the mail ASAP!