This week, the Randoms talk to Diana Rodriguez Wallach again, to talk about yet ANOTHER new book of hers, Amigas and School Scandals. Read on about how she’s publishing three books in five months and how 30 Rock plays a role in her success.
1) This is what, your fiftieth book out this year? How do you maintain a schedule for turning out more than a book a year?
Well, Amor and Summer Secrets debuted in September; Amigas and School Scandals, the second book in the series, came out in November; and the third and final book in the series, Adios to All the Drama, will launch in January. What can I say? I’m kind of lazy. Hehe.
I can thank a lot of my writing speed to my prior life as a reporter. When you work for a small editorial staff, you have to turn out lots of copy very quickly. I now apply that to my novels, and usually when I’m working on a rough draft, I complete 3,000 words per day. But to do that, you have to be willing to let yourself write organically, and not get caught up on every phrase or syllable—that’s what editing is for.
2) How do you keep your life in balance with family and writing and making sure the mildew in the shower doesn’t take on a life of its own?
Oh, my mom was quite the neatnik. She taught me well (I highly recommend a cleanser with bleach for that shower mildew). But in all seriousness, my husband and I are both workoholics. We don’t turn our laptops off until midnight Monday to Friday. But that usually gives me the weekends off. I rarely write on the weekends other than an occasional blog. So if I’m working on a Saturday or Sunday, it tends to be more related to the promotional side (like doing interviews!).
And it helps to have someone who’s content to sit beside me on the couch with a matching laptop tapping away during primetime TV. I find blogging and 30 Rock go very well together.
3) What do you envision yourself doing five years from now?
Hopefully still writing! And maybe doing a world tour like Meg Cabot or a concert series like Stephenie Meyer…I wonder if Bono is free? Dream the impossible dream, right? I’ll be happy if in five years, I’m still working as a professional novelist with new books under contract.
I pretty much compare the publishing game to Hollywood these days—you know how most struggling waiters in L.A. say they just want to be a “working actor.” I’ll be happy as long as I’m a “working author.” Will write for food.
4) Who are your biggest supporters in your writing life?
My husband Jordan, definitely. It helps that his experience is in marketing. He not only designs my website, but also my bookmarks, my business cards, my event posters, and he’s even dabbled in public relations. How many husbands out there will call up reporters and pitch a novel for a feature story? I’m very lucky.
5) What’s your advice for aspiring YA writers who are torturing themselves over getting the words just right on their yet-unpublished manuscripts?
I think that’s one of the biggest pitfalls. If you stare at that first sentence for a month, you’re never going to finish the novel. You have to be willing to plough ahead even if the words aren’t perfect in the first draft. Because the satisfaction you get when you type, “the end,” will give you the motivation to go back and massage the language as needed. Get the draft done, then go back and do several rounds of edits, find some Beta readers, shine the manuscript until it gleams. Striving for perfection should be left for the later drafts.
For more Diana, go to her site.