Today, The Randoms get to make friends with Susan Juby, author of Getting the Girl: A Guide to Investigation, Surveillance, and Cookery (Oct. 1, HarperTeen). Susan talks to us about napping like a toddler, superstars who were in the right place at the right time, and laugh-crying.
1) What is your typical writing day like?
I wrote my first two books in the morning before work, so that turned me into a morning writer. I sit down to write as soon as I’ve fed the dog and made coffee in the morning. I write until I hit my page count or run out of steam. I take a break to walk the dog, eat and then I edit or return emails or update my blog. In the afternoons I try to have another writing session or do a bit of editing. If I’m researching a project, I usually do that work in the afternoons. Somewhere in there I fit in the all-important writer’s nap. I’m like a toddler: I’ve got to have my nap.
2) Why did you decide to write YA?
I didn’t consciously set out to write YA. I wanted to write about teenagers because I think that’s a fascinating time of life. After I finished my first book, the publishers I showed my manuscript to informed me that it was a teen book. That was fine with me!
3) What is the biggest surprise you’ve experienced when it comes to book publishing?
How much of it comes down to luck. The right person reads your book on the right day and you have a book deal. You decide to write about [fill in the blank] just when books about [fill in the blank] are blowing up and you’re a superstar. It’s quite fascinating. Of course, there’s a lot of talent and persistence involved, but I know writers who have both who still struggle.
4) Do you ever have any “dark days,” when you wonder why you’re a writer?
Only every third day or so.
What are those like, and how to you get through them?
Often they involve someone not liking the books and wanting to inform me of the fact. This is usually a reader or a reviewer. For me, the writing is the easiest and best part. It can be tough when a story goes veering out of control or dries up, but most of my angst occurs when my books are released into the world to make their way. Poor little books!
5) Authors talk about “the call.” Usually, it has to deal with getting an agent or getting published or getting an accolade. What was the best “call” you ever received in terms of your writing, and how did it go down?
I think my best call was the day my agent telephoned to say that she’d received multiple offers from great publishers on my second book. I was at home alone and I went into hysterics. Laugh-crying and carrying on. Then I doubled over and couldn’t breath. Yeah, that was a fun phone call. My agent was almost as excited as I was. I wish everyone a call like that.
Thank you Susan! For more Susan Juby, click here.