National Poetry Month Day 9: Inspired by a question This…
3 Little Known or Interesting Things About You
- I had no interest in reading or writing as a kid, much to my bookish parents’ dismay.
- No one told fourth grade Becca you weren’t supposed to brush a perm. It made the 80’s even more tragic, really…
- I think candied nuts in a salad are an abomination.
Hogwarts House and/or Camp Halfblood Cabin (If you have not been sorted or if you have not taken a quiz, I have linked them for you.)
Hogwarts all the way. Ravenclaw.
If you or one of your books was the answer on jeopardy, what do you imagine/wish the question would be?
This modern Middle Grade fantasy examines making mistakes–both grave and seemingly trivial–and the power of forgiveness.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I am terrible at writing a first draft. I recomb through the first few chapters endlessly, trying to make them perfect, without getting the rest of the story out. My write/revise balance is completely out of whack.
What is the first book that made you cry?
Probably To Kill a Mockingbird in high school. The ending caught me completely by surprise, and I was devastated. I didn’t know a book could wreck me until then.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Depends on the day? There is nothing like a truly great day of writing. That is one of the most energizing things in the world. But, the reality, for me, is that those days are pretty rare. There are far more exhausting sessions than I would like to admit.
About Your Books
Tell us about your book(s)-length of time it took to write, journey, publishing, release dates, etc.
I started writing THE MISSING PIECE OF CHARLIE O’REILLY (March 2019) in the summer of 2013. It took me three years to write, and then the editing/publishing process took almost three more years. It sold quickly, but then literally nothing happened for the first year after it was purchased. Once the publishing ball started rolling, revisions/copy editing/first past pages and cover development took a year and a half. I was so glad that someone had warned me about the really long process after acquisition. It really does seem to take forever.
I am currently in copy edits with my same editor on my second MG novel, THE IN-BETWEEN, which is slated to be out early 2021. This story took two years to write, and when all is said and done it will be a ~4 to ~4.5 year process from beginning to end.
Favorite line or quote from one of your books.
From CHARLIE: “Things just aren’t the same around here when one of you is gone.”
It doesn’t seem like much by itself, but in the context of the story, it always makes me smile.
Describe the character that is most like you.
I see myself in two different characters from CHARLIE:
- Ana, Charlie’s twelve-year-old best friend, is very much like my twelve-year-old self. She is sporty, loyal and completely bull-headed. She is a know-it-all who will also fight anyone to protect her pack.
- Brona. I won’t say too much about her, but her fierce, undying motherly love comes very much from my own emotions toward my kids.
Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Have faith to tear it all down. Write, rewrite, delete, rewrite, delete again. Even those sections you thought were absolutely perfect, those darlings you have to kill? Kill them. If you wrote something so beautiful, something you loved so much, you have the talent to write something beautiful again. Something new and wonderful. Something even better.
I also suffer from the affliction that I have to “get it right” from the get go. The advice I have to tell myself ALL THE TIME is, seriously, let the first draft be hot garbage. Learn what the story is! THEN fix it. I have this quote from Shannon Hale hanging by my desk: “A first draft is simply shoveling sand into a box so that I can later build castles.”
Leave us with some wise words. What advice would you give the readers of this interview?
Be kind to yourself.
The writing life is a lonely space often filled with self-doubt and fear. No amount of advice for anyone will change that very basic fact. But know that we are all in that same space together. Give yourself the grace to have terrible writing days. We all do. They’re actually necessary.
Then sit back down the next day and write. Always sit back down and write.
Leave some links for us to follow you and buy your books:
On twitter: @RebeccaKSAnsari
Links to buy THE MISSING PIECE OF CHARLIE O’REILLY: