Lisa Brown Roberts will be the Author-in-Residence on November 19th for a Wandering Jellyfish Write-in. Her young adult titles include How (Not) to Fall in Love, The Replacement Crush, Spies, Lies, and Allies, and The Bookworm Crush. Register for the write-in here. The write-in is free, but registration is required. Click here for details and to register!
1. What got you into writing and what genres inspired you in your early writing career?
I started writing stories at age seven, using my teacher's "shoebox of ideas." I still remember the day she told me I didn't have to use her ideas and could use my own. As an only child, books were my companions and provided all sorts of imaginary friends and adventures. In college I tried (and failed) to write literary fiction, when what I really love is genre fiction, especially mystery and romance.
When I joined SCBWI many moons ago, I thought I wanted to write middle grade, but then I figured out my YA voice comes naturally. I thought I'd write coming-of-age family and friendship stories, which I do, but I didn't anticipate that I'd turn into a romance writer and that would become such a big part of my books. I love it, so I'm happy that my first editor encouraged me in that direction.
2. What was the greatest challenge you dealt with while writing your book and what advice would you give to young writers?
Finishing my first book was the hardest because I didn't fully understand story structure. Also, I spent a tremendous amount of time tweaking what I'd written rather than finishing the ugly first draft. My advice is to expect and accept that most first drafts are just that - the first of many drafts. Push through to the end. The magic is in the revisions.
3. What purpose do you find in your writing? In other words, why do you write?
I can't not write. It's part of who I am, and I'm unhappy when I'm not creating. Also, now that I have multiple books published and a core audience of readers, I want to make them happy and keep telling the stories they love.
4. What is the question you wish people would ask during interviews, and what would your answer be?
Great question! Maybe, "Is being a published author everything you dreamed it would be?"
The answer is "Yes and no. The experience of seeing my books in bookstores and libraries, being well-reviewed, and connecting with strangers who actually love my books has been incredible. I've also met so many wonderful author friends. But the process of extensive revisions and working with multiple editors with varying expectations is much more challenging than I expected. I've developed a thick skin and learned to distance myself emotionally from my manuscript as it is shaped into a marketable product."
BONUS LIGHTNING ROUND
Favorite procrastination snack and/or activity?
Solitaire phone app and puffy Cheeto-s
Would you rather write in a secluded lighthouse or in a cabin in the woods?
Book or movie you could read or watch repeatedly?
Pride and Prejudice - the brilliant novel and the movies. Also, my family and I watch the complete Harry Potter series every winter break. We have the scripts memorized and take turns being different characters.
Pen, pencil, typewriter, or computer?
I started out on a typewriter many moons ago. I don't miss the correcting tape! Mostly I write on my laptop, but sometimes I write longhand in a notebook. Recently, I've been trying dictation, which gets words on the page faster.
What’s your favorite One-True-Pairing (favorite fictional romantic relationship)?
Lizzie Bennet and Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. From my own books, I'd pick Toff and Amy from The Bookworm Crush. :)
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