Recently I had the immense pleasure of answering a few questions about what it is like to be an author. Mrs. Hayes third grade class from Nashville, TN created a fantastic list of questions for me and I was very impressed with how much they understood about the writing and publishing process. They had eleven questions and I gave them twelve answers. Today I’ll share with you the first half of our conversation and tomorrow I’ll reveal the exciting conclusion, giving you a chance to ask a few questions, too.
1. How did you get the idea for your book?
I had a beautiful dream that was a little bit scary at the end. You see, I was this girl, dressed all in white, standing with a bunch of people near a waterfall. People were splashing and playing in the water and I laughed because they were grown-ups but acting like kids. I looked up to say something about it to my friend, who was the prince, but I saw a man in a black cape coming down the hill to attack him. So, I ran to stop him from hurting my friend the prince. I jumped in front of him and then… I woke up.
2. When did you start working on this book?
Well, I woke up from this dream and couldn’t stop thinking about it. I wanted to know what happened. I wanted to know how I became friends with a prince. I wanted to know who the girl in white was since she didn’t seem very much like me and I thought it was weird that she thought she could fight a big bad guy like the one in the black cape. So, I got up out of bed and found a notebook and started writing notes. I thought about it all day long and most of the day the next day. Then, I put it away. About a year later, my brother, who is a writer, said to me, “You should write a book. Let’s both write books in November for National Novel Writing Month.” So I did. I wrote the whole book just to see what happened next.
3. Was your book rejected before it was published? If so, how many times?
Oh Yes! Many times! I tried for a whole year to get it published and I received 14 rejection letters. Many agents wouldn’t even respond to my letters. They didn’t think my book would make any money, so they didn’t waste their time writing to tell me so. It was very depressing. I actually gave up trying to get published. BUT, I did not give up writing. Once I realized I could write a book, I wanted to keep writing books. It felt good. So, I wrote another and another and another.
4. How did you find a publisher?
Actually, I never did find a publisher. I gave up, remember? But a funny thing happened. My brother had written a lot of really good books and he had been trying for many years to get published and then one day he decided to publish his own books. Now that many of us have computers, we can publish books for ourselves. So, my brother figured out how and he made so much money that was able to quit his job! Then, he taught me how to do it, too. Now I am writing every day and this year I plan to publish three books all on my own. That is called self-publishing, but most of us call ourselves Indie Authors because we are independent, we don’t rely on publishers.
5. Did you type your book on the computer? If so, what program did you use?
What a clever question! I started out writing in a notebook. Nearly all of my stories start in a notebook. Then, I took the pages I had written and typed them into the computer using Microsoft Word so that I wouldn’t lose them. Also, it is easier to add more or to edit if you are using a computer. Then, when I started really writing on my book during National Novel Writing Month, I used Google Docs because I could easily share my work with friends or family and I could save it at home, go on a trip somewhere and open the internet and be able to see my document no matter where I was or what computer I was using. Isn’t that cool? Now I use Word, but I save everything I do in google drive so that I can still reach it from any computer.
6. Why did you choose that candle for the cover? Was there an illustrator?
I chose the candle as a symbol. The girl in my story is very special and she is asked to do something really unique. She is supposed to tell the people she meets about the god of light who wants to help them. While she’s trying to do that, the god of darkness is trying to stop her. So, she is like a little candle in a very dark place. If you blow out that one little candle, then the whole place will be dark.
My sister is an amazing photographer. I asked her to create the cover for me so that I could tell people that my family is awesome (because they are) and because I trusted her to make the cover the way I wanted. She did a great job and she is going to create all the covers in this series.
I met a girl who is a very talented artist and I asked her to read my next series which is about a few kids who wander through a portal into another world and follow a wizard to fight a mean woman who has kidnapped his queen. She read the book and loved it, so she agreed to paint a cover for my book. I think she did a fabulous job and I wish you could see it. I have the paintings hanging in my office and soon my sister will take special photos of them and turn them into a book cover on the computer. Isn’t that amazing?
Do you have any questions for me? Ask away and I’ll do my best to answer it for you.