When I started reading young adult books again, one of the most inspiring stories was “Wish You Were Here.” Today we have fabulous author this story Catherine Clark joining us to share with us her writing process/advice. Let’s see what she has to say!
What is your brainstorming process for a new book?
That’s a very interesting question. I usually start with a phrase, or a character, that keeps coming back to me–starting as a sentence that I jot down somewhere, and find myself wanting to know more about. After a while, if it still interests me, I attempt to write up a few pages about what might happen in a story about that, or where that sentence might take me. If the few pages turn into more, and more, then it’s a going concern and I’ll try to finish it. I don’t always succeed, though. I’ve got some favorites half-written. Or, half-written favorites I guess I should say. Ooh, good title. “Half-Written Favorites”.
Can you explain your typical work week day?
I don’t have any typical days, but one I’m quite fond of is: I get up around 6 and look at all the stuff on my desk and freak out, then I have some coffee and decide I can do it all, then get our daughter up and after I drop her at preschool I rush to a coffee shop/office and work for 3 hours until it’s time to pick her up. Most of the time is writing, or outlining, or revising. A little of it is plain old emails and such.
Tell us about when you made the decision to write.
Hm. I think it’s a decision I’m still making. I mean, I could say that it was a certain time or place, but that wouldn’t really be true. Certain events made me want to write; certain people gave me the confidence to try it. And both things had to happen many times before it actually became the thing I do for a semi-living. 🙂 I can say that I really got into writing in high school; really got intimidated by it in college; and then got a lot of work experience editing and rewriting, and that was what I needed to pursue writing to the next level. There are tons more levels I still want to get to! (How many floors are there, anyway?)
What suggestions do you have for aspiring writers?
Practice your writing in any way you can, any way that you enjoy, and have fun with it.
Tell us about what you’re working on right now and what we can expect from you in the near future.
Well, I just finished revising a book called Sundae My Prince Will Come, which is the third book featuring a character named Courtney Von Dragen Smith, who keeps a journal and is slightly off-kilter and funny. It’ll be published by HarperTeen in Fall 2010. I’m now working on a couple of new (half-written) ideas and have a middle-grade novel I’m revising, just to keep things interesting. I hope to publish some of my more realistic fiction (like The Alison Rules) in the near future as well.
I can’t wait for “Sundae My Prince Will Come”! It sounds great! Thank you for joining us today, Catherine! For those of you who would like to read more about Catherine, you can check out her website for bio information. If you’d like to purchase her books you can check out your local bookstore or here.
Catherine Clark is the author of several young adult books, including The Alison Rules, Maine Squeeze, Better Latte Than Never, Rocky Road Trip, and Banana Splitsville. She grew up in western Massachusetts and is a graduate of Wesleyan University. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Colorado State University.