Today, Beth Fantaskey is joining us. Hi Beth! She’s the author of Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Darkside (Harcourt, 1/09). Read on to see why OCD is good and how ignorance about starred-Publisher’s-Weekly reviews can be very, very good.
1) What is your typical writing day like?
My typical writing day is pretty structured, actually to the point of being a little obsessive! I always start out the morning by clicking on some charitable sites, like hungersite.com, to show a little gratitude to the universe. Then I glance at my e-mail, put on some music, and open whatever I’m working on. I start about five paragraphs back, to sort of get back into the story. Then I forge ahead! Always in that particular order.
Pretty OCD, huh?
[Random Susan responds: Sounds like HEAVEN! OCD gets an entirely bad rap.]
2) Why did you decide to write YA?
The story dictated the market. I wasn’t really aware that YA was so very separate from “adult” literature. I just wanted to write a story about teenagers, and later found out this made it “YA.” Which is fine with me… I’ve loved getting feedback from teenagers.
3) What is the biggest surprise you’ve experienced when it comes to book publishing?
The biggest surprise was how s-l-o-o-o-o-o-owly things move. I sold my novel on Halloween day – 2006! My kids have moved on to different schools, I’ve gained a million gray hairs, etc. etc. since then. It’s been a long process, but worth it.
4) Do you ever have any “dark days,” when you wonder why you’re a writer? What are those like, and how to you get through them?
Oh, gosh – I have lots of dark days, as a writer. It’s not that I wonder WHY I do it, but just worry that I’m good enough to do it. I basically just keep working and power through it. I remind myself that sitting back and worrying won’t prove my talent or lack thereof any more effectively than writing, itself.
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 day was when my agent called and asked to represent Jessica’s Guide. I knew that she wasn’t looking for new clients, so I felt validated that my book was worth at least trying to sell. In a way, it was more exciting than even selling the book, because getting an agent is such a big hurdle.
PS) How did it feel getting a STARRED review in Publisher’s Weekly?
Getting the starred review was funny, because I didn’t really know what it meant. I’d seen reader reviews on Amazon and other on-line stores, but had kind of forgotten that “professionals” would review my work. (Which is probably good, because I would have worried myself sick.) When my agent called to tell me about the star, I had to ask, “How good is this?” And she said something like, “It’s go-out-and-celebrate good!”
So I did!
For more Beth, visit her site.