Thursday, May 31, 2012

Revision Me This

First revision letter. Second revision letter. Line edits. Copyedits. The whole process from beginning to end (full disclosure: I am not yet at the end, as I am currently waiting on my copyedits) is the best of the times, and the...

Well here's the thing. I am one of those people who just loves revising. So for me it was the best of times and then more of the best of times. Oh sure, there were moments when I felt a little overwhelmed and didn't know where to start... but I would say that my level of anxiety at those times was around the same I feel when staring through the freezer doors at the grocery store trying to decide which flavor of ice cream to buy. Yes, there is a chance I'll make a terrible choice (blech, this lemon meringue pie ice cream tastes like chemicals), but it isn't anything that I won't be able to easily fix (luckily, it was 2 for $5 and I bought some chocolate chip cookie dough as back-up).

If you are one of those people who also love revising, you are probably nodding your head and thinking, "yes exactly!" If you are not one of those people you are probably right now reading these words with the stinkface on full stank mode.

I know this face, because it is the same one that I get when those people who just love writing first drafts are like, "So how was your week? Mine was terrible. So unproductive. I was only able to finish three different first drafts." And my response is, "Oh yeah, wow, that's rough. I actually had a really great week. I got 1000 words down on the page and then thought really hard about what my next 1000 words might be."

For me first drafts are a slog, while revisions are fun and make me feel clever. Well, clever most of the time... except when I received my first round of line edits marking all of my repetitive word choices. Here's an example of an awesome sentence that was on the second page of my manuscript:

"Except the one missing piece - where I'd been during the missing year."

Speaking of missing, how many times had I read that sentenced and never noticed once the duplicate missing's.

Another revisions blooper was when my amazing editor very gently pointed out that I might want to weed out a few of the "just" and "though" word choices sprinkled throughout my manuscript. "Just" clocked in at 374 and "though" popped up 140 times. Oops.

And then there was "then." Also, "and then." And "back." My characters looked back, stepped back, went back in the house, handed something back, and went back to black. I also had things fall down. They couldn't just fall, they had to fall down. Otherwise, someone might be confused and think that maybe something had fallen up.  

We will not get into my problems with punctuation. The forgotten commas. The unnecessary commas. But mostly my endless and ultimately futile struggle to use dashes correctly.

So yeah, that stuff was definitely not the yummiest ice cream choice... but still way better than having to start from scratch and invent a whole new flavor of ice cream.

Kate Karyus Quinn is the author of ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE, coming in 2013 from HarperTeen. You can find out more about her book on Goodreads, and read more about Kate on her blog.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The joy of edits, the joy of cake

Let it be said before anything else: I am not one of nature's editors.  There are many, many authors who love the revision process, and who feel that it's where the book really starts to take shape.  As I said to someone last summer, editing isn't exciting because I already know how the book ends.  (I don't know all the details while I'm writing, because I'm not one of nature's plotters, either.  Seriously, you guys, this whole writing thing is a real high-wire act.) 

But, a funny thing's happened during my revisions of CODA, both last summer for my agent and this year for my editor.  Yes, it's still hard, and yes, I have to bribe myself with prodigious amounts of cake, but I've learned to appreciate the process a lot more than I used to.

Back in February, I got my first revision letter from my editor--the first for CODA, the first I'll ever get, no matter how many books I write.  It was maybe the coolest moment ever, and also the scariest.  I stewed on her thoughts, spoke to my former agent and my current one, and spoke Lisa the Excellent Editor herself.  I made notes and took long showers, during which I scribbled thoughts on the tiles with bath crayons.  I ate cake.  A lot of cake.  I spent three days paralyzed with fear over how to fix something and then suddenly remembered I'm not alone in this.  Another five minutes on the phone with Lisa fixed the problem, and we spent another few talking about…cake.

All that leads me into my best editing tip: for all the times we call it an "editing cave," that cave is a better place when you throw a party in it.  Agents, editors, your beta readers and critique partners who probably thought their job was over are all invited.  Check out the cool paintings on the wall and ask them for help.  Listen when they say you can do this.

Think.  Make notes.  And then get to work.  Because there's this magic point, even for people like me who don't salivate over the idea of editing, when the book becomes not just the book you wanted it to be all along, but even better than that. 

Dudes, that is a cool moment.  I felt like a really real writer with an actual book.  It's work but that's okay, because the whole process, now including editing, is work I love and OMG someone's giving me the chance to do what I love as a job.  We're the luckiest people on earth, and that's not an exaggeration. 

I got my second round of edits about two weeks ago, and I'm cheerfully in the middle of them now.  Probably the only people happier than I am are my local suppliers of decent cake.


Emma Trevayne is the author of CODA, a YA cyberpunk novel about an evil corporation who use music as an auditory drug to subdue a futuristic society, out Spring 2013 from Running Press Kids.  She can be found on her blog, on Goodreads, or on Twitter.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Apocalypse Now: An interview with Shannon Dittemore, author of ANGEL EYES

Today we are so pleased to speak with Shannon Dittemore, author of the fabulous new book Angel Eyes, the first book in the Angel Eyes trilogy, which hits the shelves TODAY! Congratulations, Shannon!

A bit about the book, from Goodreads:

"Brielle’s a ballerina who went to the city to chase her dreams and found tragedy instead. She’s come home to shabby little Stratus, Oregon, to live with her grief and her guilt . . . and the incredible, numbing cold she can’t seem to shake.

Jake’s the new guy at school—the boy next door with burning hands and an unbelievable gift that targets him for corruption.

Something more than fate has brought them together. An evil bigger than both of them lurks in the shadows nearby, hiding in plain sight. Two angels stand guard, unsure what’s going to happen. And a beauty brighter than Jake or Brielle has ever seen is calling them to join the battle in a realm where all human choices start.

A realm that only angels and demons—and Brielle—can perceive."

Hi, Shannon! Thanks so much for talking with us! At the beginning of your book, we learn that Brielle has suffered a devastating loss for which she blames herself. However, we don't find out exactly what happened until quite a bit later in the book. Did you always know what Brielle's traumatic experience was? Or did she reveal it to you slowly as you wrote?

I knew from the beginning what Brielle was dealing with, but her own guilt and the relationship she had to the incident developed later. It was a risk starting her story with a tragedy, but I thought it was important to her journey. 

Aside from the epilogue, Angel Eyes shifts perspective between three characters, but Brielle is the only one whose sections are written in the first person. Why did you choose not to write from Damien's or Canaan's point of view?

I did, originally. In early drafts I got a little POV crazy and had first person perspectives written from nearly everyone who takes the stage. I was learning. I'm still learning to craft stories and to tell them in a way that isn't jarring for the reader. The decision to move Canaan and Damien's chapters to third person came out of a desire to keep the reader in Brielle's head as much as possible. My preference is always first person, but it was a sacrifice I made for the flow of the story. 

You attended Portland Bible College and help run a youth ministry, so you must be intimately familiar with Christian texts. How much of your descriptions of angels and demons—their appearance, their hierarchy, their backstory—comes directly from Christian tradition, and how much is your own invention?

Much of it is my own invention, but I will say that the Bible certainly informed my imagination. The Bible talks of angels with multiple sets of wings, it talks of swords and spiritual warfare. I let my imagination chew on those things and then I ran with it. I like asking the "what if" questions and when it comes to the appearance of angels and demons, their hierarchy, and their larger role in the universe, there's a lot we don't know. But the Bible does provide clues and that mystery is fun to explore. The one thing I did try to avoid was running into my theology. As a student of the Bible, it's hard for me to turn off the things I've learned and the things taught in scripture. With Angel Eyes, I tried not to blatantly contradict biblical teaching. 

Brielle struggles with questions of faith throughout the book. As a youth minister, you must encounter lots of young people struggling with similar questions. Did their experiences inform how you crafted Brielle? Are any of their stories woven into yours?

Absolutely. I'm certain some of my students will see themselves in Brielle and in the characters that surround her. But, Brielle isn't based on any one person. Nor is Jake or Marco or Kaylee for that matter. But, death and fear were subjects that were very real to the group of students I was working with while drafting Angel Eyes. I had students who lost family members and dealt with life-altering diseases. I remember watching as fear became a strange new companion to them. I wanted then what I want now: for kids to stand up to fear. With Brielle, I got to imagine what that might look like. 

One of my favorite things about your book was your terrifying imagery regarding fear, which you describe as a sticky, black, tar-like substance that literally paralyzes people (but which we mortals cannot see.) What inspired that image for you?

A lot of it came from watching others, from watching just how paralyzed fear made them. But, most of it came from knowing what fear did to me. I dealt with a debilitating kind of fear for a season and it was awful. I had no trouble imagining what that might look like to the angelic. 

Brielle's passions are ballet and photography, both of which you write about in great detail. Are (or were) you a dancer or a photographer yourself?

I dabbled in photography back in high school, but I've never been a ballerina. I chose it as one of Brielle's passions because of the fragility and strength these dancers seem to marry so effortlessly. And because of the sparkly tutus, of course, but that's something different altogether.

Did you always intend for Angel Eyes to have sequels, or was this first book originally a stand-alone?

When I first sat down to write, I just wanted to tell a story and I didn't know how many books that would take. But as I wrote, I fell in love with the characters and it wasn't long before I envisioned Brielle's journey as a series. That happened long before I ever went out on submission. 

We at the Lucky13s are curious about other writers' superstitions and lucky charms. What are yours?

 Oh goodness! I'm gonna have to cheat on this one because I don't actually have any superstitions or lucky charms. But, the thing that keeps me writing (and often keeps me FROM writing) is my kids. My seven year old son is fascinated with books and storytelling and is still nursing a bruised ego because I won't let him read Angel Eyes. And my three year old daughter can put all the love in the world into a single nose kiss. Whenever I'm suck or frustrated or my characters throw a tantrum and refuse to talk to me, I seek out one of my kids and feel like the luckiest person on the planet.

Thanks, Shannon! Congratulations on your release!

Shannon Dittemore has an overactive imagination and a passion for truth. Her lifelong journey to combine the two is responsible for a stint at Portland Bible College, performances with local theater companies, and a focus on youth and young adult ministry. The daughter of one preacher and the wife of another, she spends her days imagining things unseen and chasing her two children around their home in Northern California. Angel Eyes is her first novel.

You can purchase your copy of Angel Eyes at your favorite local indie bookstore or online at IndieBound, Barnes and Noble, or Amazon.

This interview was conducted by Lucky13s member Alison Cherry as part of an ongoing series of interviews with The Apocalypsies—YA, MG, and children's book authors debuting in 2012.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Road to Revision Hell is Paved with...OBSESSION!

Hi, my name’s Melissa, and I sold the first book I ever wrote.

Before you curse my name and draw a twirly moustache beneath my nose, let me tell you, it didn’t happen overnight. Or over a hundred nights. Or even six hundred. I rewrote ALIENATED five times before it sold. Notice I didn’t say ‘revised.’ No, sir. I wrote that mofo again and again and again. If we’re being honest, I was a tad obsessed. Minus the tad.

I don’t think I’m alone, either. I’ve always suspected that most writers have obsessive tendencies. Why else would we beat our heads against the keyboard every single day in pursuit of a dream that might never come to fruition? Why else would we choose to spend our free time in the company of imaginary friends instead of real-life human beings? Why else would we query agents and editors, then refresh our gmail accounts hundreds of times per day awaiting their response? (Not that I’ve ever done that. *cough, cough*)

Clearly, we’re a quirky breed.

But this can be a good thing! Let’s face it—revising and rewriting is painful stuff. A few times, I’ve gone to bed at an indecent hour feeling grey matter leaking from my ears. If it weren’t for my borderline-unhealthy attachment to my characters, what would keep me moving forward? Certainly not self-discipline, not from a gal who plows through a bag of Peppermint Patties each week. No, I NEED my obsession. It’s like a double-shot espresso for my soul, propelling me onward.

Who’s with me? How many of you are driven by something that’s not entirely healthy? Does obsession compel you to persevere through countless revisions?

Melissa Landers is the author of ALIENATED, a seriously foreign exchange, coming in 2013 from Disney Hyperion. You can learn more about Melissa on her website, and she’d love for you to add ALIENATED to your Goodreads shelf! Additionally, Melissa write contemporary romance for adults under the name Macy Beckett.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Beyond Words: Art and Photos of Luminance Hour

I've always been a very visually oriented person. As an architect's daughter raised in one of the most beautiful cities in the US, I was taught to appreciate the aesthetics of everything around me. The beauty of a brass, lion-head door-knocker. How the exact shade of blue paint on a certain house blended with the high-noon sky. Small details that add untold wealth to your surroundings.

As I grew in my love of writing I learned how to paint those details with words. How to add those extra descriptions that make the world of my novel leap-living and screaming- from the page. Every time I read LUMINANCE HOUR (and believe me, I've read it far more times than I can even remember) I see the settings perfectly in my head.

But as far as words can take your imagination, there's just something about seeing things with your own eyes. Every time I stumble across a piece of art or photography that reminds me of LH, I have such a surge of excitement. Some of these pieces are so eerily similar to scenes I've imagined in my head that I can't help but wonder if the artist was hovering over my shoulder reading the Word document! Sometimes art and photos hold that extra punch that words alone can't deliver. I've even been known to consult my LUMINANCE HOUR Pinterest board during edits to help translate the substance and feel of my setting.

Here are some of my favorites.

This image reminds me very much of my main character: a redheaded Fae named Emrys.

Emrys and the Black Dog. I just love the ominous feel of this image (the girl and the dog with the gravestones). It very much captures one of the book's more intense scenes (which also involves a graveyard and some not so nice Black Dogs).

I love the etherealness of this model in the cathedral setting. She could easily be a Fae guarding one of the royals in Westminster Abbey.

I love this picture because it really speaks to one of LUMINANCE HOUR's major themes: the combination and clash of magic and machine. And it features Parliament's clocktower. (Always a plus!)

Source: via Ryan on Pinterest

Storm over Windsor. I'll just let this picture speak for itself.

Source: via Ryan on Pinterest

The hour of luminance over the Thames. Such a beautiful time of day.

This is just a visual sampler of a much vaster, intricate world. You can whet your appetite for LUMINANCE HOUR with the rest of the images here.

When she’s not writing and drifting around the globe, Ryan Graudin enjoys hunting through thrift stores and taking pictures of her native Charleston, SC. Her novel LUMINANCE HOUR (working title), the story of a Faery who falls in love with the prince she’s forced to guard, is due out with HarperTeen in 2013. You can learn about all of these things and more at You can also follow her on Twitter at @ryangraudin and add LUMINANCE HOUR to your shelf on Goodreads.

Friday, May 25, 2012

If a YA Author Wrote Your Love Life...

Some vaguely spoiler-y details of popular YA romances contained herein! Proceed with caution!

Let’s face it: sometimes we YA authors give our characters pretty crazy love lives.  Not like my ex-boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend threw a pizza at my car crazy, but like we are all literally going to die crazy.  And while these are awesome to read about, they might be terrible to actually experience.

Let’s see here:

If Cassandra Clare wrote your love life:

--Chances are there’s a boy who’s very sarcastic and likes to lean against things.
--You and this boy will have some very steamy kisses...
--...which will probably be interrupted by demons and/or a vengeful family member intent on ending you.

If John Green wrote your love life:

--Your love interest is terminally ill or predisposed toward car accidents.
--Or the person you like is way cooler than you.

--Either way, you’re probably not going to end up together, but you will be wiser for the experience.  Which isn’t much consolation when you’re going to be alone for the rest of the year.

If Maureen Johnson wrote your love life:
--There’s a really cute guy around, who’s fun and quirky!
--But you can’t date him because he’s spoken for/your brother/policeman of the dead.
--But, hey, there’s also a really cute girl around!

If Sarah Dessen wrote your love life:
--You’ve met your soul mate!
--Wait, this guy might not be your soul mate after all...
--But everyone loves bittersweet goodbyes, right?

If Markus Zusak wrote your love life:
--You get the girl.
--But you had to join a fight club/run mysterious errands/die in the middle of the street.
--And Death peeps in on you getting your swerve on.  Creepy, Death.  Voyeur much?

If Stephenie Meyer wrote your love life...wait, that one’s obvious.  Next!

If Suzanne Collins wrote your love life:
--You are probably very hungry.
--Oh, and you’re probably trying to kill each other...
--But it’s okay, because someday you can have Vietnam flashbacks together.

If Francine Pascal wrote your love life:
--You and your twin will inevitably kiss the same boy. And then write about it in a secret diary.

--Don't Go Home With John.
--Watch out for that doppelganger!  She’s crashing the New Year's Eve Party!  With a knife!  And holy crap, is she wearing your dress too?!

And, finally, if I wrote your love life:
--You have radiation poisoning.
--But dashing uniforms crushed against your corset!  *squee*
--Oh, but ze angst.  She is strong within you.

Are there any authors I missed that make awesomely crazy love lives for their characters?  What would my love life look like if you wrote it?

Bethany Hagen is a young adult author living in Kansas with her husband and two children. When she's not reading or writing, she's chasing tiny people around her house or rearranging her bookshelves. Her debut YA novel, Landry Park, comes out from Dial in Fall of 2013.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Getting in the Writing Mood

One of the things I love most about my writing career is getting to dream up different worlds. But that’s also one of the hardest parts. To create a story that is deeply evocative of a certain time or place, and to pull readers into a new world, requires (at least for me) constant concentration. In order to create a certain mood, I also have to live in that mood. 

Sometimes I feel like one of those method actors, like Christian Bale or Daniel Day-Lewis, who immerse themselves so much in a role that it bleeds into their real life. (OK, maybe not that extreme. I don't plan on sleeping with a knife under my pillow any time soon.) 

 One way I do try to surround myself in the world of the book I'm writing is through inspiring images. For early drafts, I use a writing software program called Scrivener. One of the best features is that it lets you write full-screen with any background of your choosing, like this:

 You can change your background depending on the particular mood or setting of the scene you’re working on:

 I also find music very inspiring, though if I listen to music while I write I tend to get too distracted. Instead, I’ll find a song that fits the right mood for the scene I’m working on, listen to it a few times, then turn it off and write. Scenes from movies work well, too. Whenever I have to write a fight scene with lots of people, I watch this awesome scene from the Matrix II to get in the right mind-set:

Thanks, Neo!

Megan Shepherd is a young adult writer living in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Her debut book, THE MADMAN'S DAUGHTER, will be published in January 2013 by Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins as the first in a three-book Gothic thriller series. She is represented by Josh Adams of Adams Literary. Visit Megan at her website, on Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Art and Photos that inspired The Oathbreaker's Shadow

Art and photography have always inspired my writing, in a multitude of ways. In 2006, when The Oathbreaker’s Shadow was just an idea floating around in my head, I headed down to an achingly hip part of Toronto known as The Distillery District, a pedestrian-only zone lined with the converted Victorian industrial buildings of the old Gooderham and Worts distillery.  It’s packed with art galleries and amazing coffee shops (head to Balzacs immediately if you’re searching for good coffee in Toronto), and a fabulous place to spend an afternoon.

That day, I stopped off in the Gibsone Jessop gallery, which features contemporary modern artists from around the globe. In that gallery, I found an artist whose work seemed to display on the canvas the very beginnings of this little novel I had umm-ed and ahh-ed about writing but hadn’t yet committed to the page.  

I’ve written before that the inspiration for Oathbreaker came from my Medieval literature and Chinese history lectures blending and muddling in my brain. The idea of fealty in particular was fascinating to me – as in, the pledge of allegiance from one person to another – and how important that idea became in both Western Medieval Europe medieval Genghis Khan-era Mongolia (and others). The concept of The Oathbreaker’s Shadow sprung from that: what would happen if that pledge, that oath, was taken to the extreme, and the consequences for breaking that oath became physically embodied.

Apparently I wasn’t the only one interested in juxtaposition between West and East, and in the artist Kiron Khosla I found a sort of kindred spirit. His art (and in particular this painting, with its European knights on a Chinese-style background) inspired me to start putting those words down onto the page.

'It's like this' by Kiron Khosla

After that, other art that inspired me includes David Roberts, a 19th Century Scottish painter who travelled to places like Jordan and Egypt creating detailed lithographs and paintings of places that most people could never hope to visit themselves. Although I’ve been lucky enough to visit some of those places in person, I still find his artwork (and the depictions of those ancient sights as they appeared almost two centuries ago) really inspiring.

'The Royal Tombs' by David Roberts

For more art and photos that inspired The Oathbreaker’s Shadow, please head to my Pinterest board!  


Amy McCulloch is a girl of many publishing hats: author, editor, and reader. Originally from Ottawa, Canada, she currently lives in London, UK. Other than books, she is addicted to travelling, running and Starbucks coffee.

Her debut novel THE OATHBREAKER'S SHADOW is due Spring 2013 from Random House Children's Publishers. Find out more on her blog or feel free to say hello on Twitter

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

APOCALYPSE NOW - Interview with Jenny Torres Sanchez, author of THE DOWNSIDE OF BEING CHARLIE

The Downside of Being CharlieFrom the back cover:

Charlie is handed a crappy senior year.  Despite losing thirty pounds over the summer, he still gets called “Chunks” Grisner.  What’s worse, he has to share a locker with the biggest Lord of the Rings freak his school has ever seen.  He also can’t figure out whether Charlotte VanderKleaton, the beautiful strawberry lip-glossed new girl, likes him the way he likes her.  Oh, and then there’s his mom.  She’s disappeared—again—and his dad won’t talk about it.

Somewhere between the madness, Charlie can at least find comfort in his one and only talent that just might get him out of this life-sucking place. But will he be able to hold his head above water in the meantime?

Hi Jenny, welcome to the Lucky 13s and congratulations on the release of THE DOWNSIDE OF BEING CHARLIE! What will you be doing to celebrate?

Well, I will be doing a signing at my local bookstore when it comes out.  That’s pretty thrilling since I’ve walked into that store countless times wondering what it would actually be like to have a book on a shelf there.  Once…I even took a picture of the shelf where my book would go if I ever got published.  I know, that’s a little embarrassing to admit but that picture somehow gave me a lot of hope.  

So, I think I’ll just celebrate by taking a moment to look at The Downside of Being Charle on the shelf—maybe take a picture.  That’s going to be pretty cool.

I absolutely loved the book - Charlie’s experiences felt so real and raw, and I was cheering him on right from the start. I loved Ahmed, too! Can you tell us a bit more about the inspiration behind the characters and the story?

I had already stopped teaching when I wrote The Downside of Being Charlie, but I missed it a lot.  And I missed my students who every day reminded me what being a teenager had really been like and what a complex and fantastically warped time those years are in our lives. I wanted to give a voice to that experience, so even though Charlie wasn’t inspired by anyone in particular, my students in general definitely inspired me to write this story.  Charlie’s outlook on the world and his feelings are so much of what of what I observed as a teacher and remember from my own teen years.

What did you enjoy most about writing the book?

Seeing how the characters develop.  That’s always the really cool part to me because suddenly they become real and they have histories and memories and that’s just amazing to me.  I loved seeing who Charlie became and I loved getting to know him and Ahmed and the other characters in this book.  It’s like when you meet someone and you feel connected to that person and you don’t really know why, but you do.  And somehow you know he/she is probably a pretty interesting individual. 

Was there anything about it that surprised you?

I’m surprised by how much my story changed from the one I set out to write.  This was originally going to be a story about Tanya told from Charlie’s perspective. But as I wrote, I noticed that Charlie was somewhat sympathetic to Tanya’s struggle and I wondered why. The more I wrote, the more I realized Charlie had some major struggles and suddenly his story seemed to take over and be the one that needed to be told.   So the book went in this whole different direction, which I think probably happens pretty often (and also happened to me with my second novel), but it still surprises me.   

What has your journey to publication been like?

It’s been cool and strange. Sort of surreal really, because even though you hope and tell yourself it will happen (and take pictures of books on shelves) because that’s the only way you can justify all the work you put into something that has no guarantees, when it finally does happen, you kind of don’t believe it.  I kept waiting to hear that somebody had changed their mind, or somebody made a mistake and they were looking for another Jenny Torres Sanchez who had written a different book about some other boy named Charlie.  But, incredibly, it was me. Sometimes I don’t think about it at all and then out of nowhere, it will hit me—this is really happening! And I get a bit choked up because it’s been a long journey.  I’ve had a fair share of rejection and self-doubt and yes, tears.  So it feels pretty amazing. It’s just crazy.

Do you have a typical writing day, and can you describe it?

I definitely have a routine and almost to a fault.  If I don’t follow my typical writing day, I feel like I can’t write at all.  This is how it goes: After I drop my kids off at school, I head to the bookstore, order an Americano, and sit in a corner seat for the next two to three hours staring at my screen, or off into space with little spurts of writing. I probably look a bit miserable and unfriendly as I sit there staring/writing because I scowl a lot when I’m thinking hard about something.  So, sometimes I get weird looks.  But something tells me this is true for many writers.   

What’s next for you?

My second YA novel is Death, Dickinson, and the Demented Life of Frenchie Garcia.  It’s a story of a teenage girl dealing with an unlikely death by hanging out at the local cemetery, talking to Emily Dickinson’s corpse, and chilling out at places like hole in the wall clubs and tattoo shops.  It’s dark but funny and I can’t wait for readers to get to know Frenchie Garcia.

And last of all, because we’re a superstitious lot here at the Lucky 13s, we love to find out what other writers’ superstitions and lucky charms are. Do you have any, and if so, what are they?

With The Downside of Being Charlie, it was a particular writing spot at the local café.  I wrote the whole manuscript there (and I’m a little ashamed about how territorial I got about a particular seat).  But then they got these big comfy chairs and moved the furniture around and it just didn’t feel the same any more. Apparently, I write best at tiny tables while sitting in hard, uncomfortable chairs. Who knew? Anyway, I found a new corner spot at the local bookstore and although initially I kind of felt like a trader, I’ve made peace with it.

Before writing her debut novel, The Downside of Being Charlie, Jenny Torres Sanchez studied English at the University of Central Florida and taught high school for several years in the Orange County school system. Her students were some of the coolest, funniest, strangest, and most eclectic people she's ever met. She's grateful to have taught every single one of them and credits them for inspiring her to write YA. Jenny currently writes full-time and lives in Florida with her husband and children.

You can follow her on Twitter at @jetchez, find her on Facebook at
and you can check out her website here:

Thanks for such a fab interview, Jenny! It's been great to have you on the blog, and here's wishing you every success with THE DOWNSIDE OF BEING CHARLIE!