This week, we talk with Nora Raleigh Baskin, author of ANYTHING BUT TYPICAL (Simon and Schuster, 3/24/09). Read on to learn more about short stories, tantrums and resurrections.
1) What is your typical writing day like?
I definitely do not have a typical writing day. When I m working on a book, either first draft or revision, I could write all day long, break to eat and run, maybe make dinner. That could go on for weeks. But there are days and weeks I don’t write at all. When I am teaching I find it hard to write. I get very involved with my student’s work and being there for them.
2) Why did you decide to write YA?
I started out trying to write for adult short stories but I found I was always writing about children. When I wrote my first children’s story for my son’s second grade class, I got the best response and I found the most satisfaction. When I began sending out my children’s stories and got the nicest, personal rejections, I knew I had found where I belonged.
3) What is the biggest surprise you’ve experienced when it comes to book publishing?
That I don’t make any money… Ha! Just kidding. Sort of. Maybe the biggest surprise was how many books are actually published out there–and even when you get good reviews it takes a lot to stand out in this market. I haven’t figured it out yet, but it takes something. Big.
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?
Never. I wanted to be a writer since I was in fifth grade and most of my young adult life I spent trying to get published. I am grateful every single day of my life…seriously.
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 certainly remember the “call” from my first editor when my first manuscript was bought. She was the first one to read it. I remember my older son was having some kind of tantrum and I was terrified that she would hear him in the background and that she would change her mind about the book. I also remember the call from Publisher’s Weekly that I had been chosen a Flying Start. I felt like a star for a brief moment or two. That’s nice.
BONUS QUESTION: This week, we talk about the heroines that got away. Do you have one that you want to write about one day?
I don’t think any of my heroines have gotten away because they are always resurrected in one form or another. For example, I wrote three books in a series called The Life and Times of Natalie Appleby that was never published. More than ten years later, she reemerged as Natalie Gordon, a fifteen year old in ALL WE KNOW OF LOVE (Candlewick, 2008).
For more Nora, visit her here.