This week, we’re chatting up Lynn Weingarten, author of Wherever Nina Lies (Scholastic). Grab a drink, turn your computer screen away from your boss, and read on.
1) What is your typical writing day like?
My typical writing day usually involves some (if not all) of the following things: waking up, writing at my desk, eating breakfast, showering, going to the gym, writing at a coffee shop, meeting up with a writing friend to write together, eating lunch, more writing, checking my email, eating candy, writing, writing, writing text messages, writing, writing, writing, calling people on the phone and telling them I can’t talk because I’m writing, listening to the same song over and over, writing, writing, writing, writing, writing, writing, writing, writing, checking my cell-phone, listening to a 7 minute rainstorm mp3 on repeat, writing, writing, checking eavesdropping, writing group text messages to some friends about what the people I’m eavesdropping on are saying, chewing gum, writing, and making faces at myself in the mirror. Not necessarily in this order.
2) Why did you decide to write YA?
I love YA books. I used to work at a book packager/media production company making up plots for and editing books, including a lot of commercial YA fiction. Writing my own seemed like a natural next step.
3) What is the biggest surprise you’ve experienced when it comes to book publishing?
When I first got a job as an Editorial Assistant I knew almost nothing about publishing so everything was surprising to me. In particular I was quite surprised when I found out there was such a thing as a book packager.
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 yes, I definitely do. On those days nothing comes out right. I’ll find myself tweaking the same paragraph for over and over for hours and hours and then end up with something that I like less than when I started. Or I’ll write a whole bunch of brand new stuff and look back at the end of the day and decide it is all blecho. Or I’ll have a terrible time concentrating and barely type anything at all. When I first started writing full-time, having days like this used to freak me out a lot more than they do now. Crappy writing days aren’t what I would call fun exactly, but at this point I sort of just accept that having them is just part of the whole thing of being a writer (at least for me). Things that help me when I’m having a crappy writing day include reminding myself that I’ve had other days like this that have ended and calling various other writers/friends/relatives and asking them to reassure me that I’m right about that. Sometimes I can get myself out of it by just deciding I’m going to write anything and not worry at all about how it turns out. Other times I just abandon whatever I’m working on for the day and just wander around eavesdropping and looking at things.
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?
The day my agent called to tell me Scholastic was going to make an offer for what would end up being Wherever Nina Lies (it was untitled at that point) was a very good day. I do not remember many of the specifics of what she said, but I was awfully happy. As soon as I hung up I called my parents.
For more Lynn, visit her site.