Shannon Dittemore
  • Writerly Things
  • July8th

    5 Comments

    Hey all! WELCOME BACK! We’ve got a new blog series going here. And by WE, I mean ME and the quotes of some of your favorite authors.

    Since writers are notorious for giving others advice, I thought it would be fun to dig up some of the most recycled tidbits on writing and share my thoughts with you. Not because I’m an expert. Not at all, but well, I covered all that self-deprecating stuff in my first post.

    Today, I have a piece of advice from an incredibly prolific author who’s given us a zillion one-liners to chew on. This is a personal favorite.

    Stephen-King

    Stephen King just kind of says it, doesn’t he? He’s good at that. And he’d better be with all that editing-is-like-murder business. But, I absolutely agree with him. And the longer I write, the more I appreciate this point of view. In fact, it’s increasingly difficult for me to turn off my internal editor now and simply read a book. I’m always editing other authors. Something I’m sure they appreciate. It’s okay; I know they’re doing the same to my books.

    The liberating, albeit terrifying, truth is this: it’s not only the writing of a story that makes your stuff uniquely you, it’s also the ruthlessness with which you edit.

    You should be overjoyed by this fact. It means that if you’re true to yourself and true to the process, your story will be unlike anything anyone else is creating. I know the crushing pressure to churn things out quickly. The haunting terror that someone, somewhere has already thought of all your ideas and written all your stories. It’s not true. It can’t be. Your voice is distinct, but so is that internal editor of yours. Find freedom in that.

    There are ways to lessen the pain of editing, but one more thought before we go there. That phrase Stephen King uses, bare essentials, is entirely subjective. There are books that meander more than others, stories that do not walk directly from A to B. There are authors who set out to lead you on a delicious, slowly unfolding stroll. I think of Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart trilogy and The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater. In each of these books, there are scenes that could have been sacrificed for pacing. But during the editing process, the authors decided those words were essential. And, honestly, who are we to argue?

    What I’m trying to say is that regardless of a story’s pace or word count, every good author cuts. They delete. They whip out their almighty hatchet and they swing it. A well-edited manuscript is not necessarily a manuscript void of description and full of short sentences. A well-edited manuscript is one that uses only the words necessary to tell the story trapped inside the author’s head. But necessary is entirely a matter of style and preference.

    That said, most of us meander more than we should. We need to unshackle our inner editor. The good news is that once you get a taste for hacking up a manuscript, there’s something very addicting about the whole bloody thing.

    But it can be painful. As the mother of two, I’m not convinced it approaches the despair of murdering children, but for the sentimental author, it can be a lot like shooting paintballs at puppies. And that is quite painful enough.

    Here are a few ways to dull the pain:

    1. Consciously celebrate this stage of the writing process. Treat yourself to a slice of cake and a balloon bouquet. You have drafted a novel. Being IN EDITS means you’ve accomplished something only a fraction of us ever will. YOU WROTE A BOOK! You now have the privilege of brandishing your shiny new machete and hacking it to bits. You’re in an enviable place. Let yourself appreciate that for a moment.

    2. Stop monitoring your word count. You did that all the way through the drafting process. You posted it on Twitter and all your followers squeed! I’m glad. Truly. We need others on this solitary journey of ours. But, now, stop watching those numbers. They will fall. You will lose a few brave soldiers, but this is war. Keep your head down and your eyes on your own work. It doesn’t matter that Suzy Floozy just tweeted out her impossible word count. What matters is that you’re past that now. You’ve been promoted. YOU GET TO EDIT!

    3. Keep what you cut. Not everything. Not the four billion adverbs you used. Strike those down and move on. But if you’re cutting the bulk of a chapter, keep it. When I’m editing, I have two Word documents open. One is my manuscript and the other is called CUTS. Whenever I decide to scrap a large portion of text, I cut and paste it into this other document. There are three reasons I do this. One, like you, I can get attached to my darlings and I don’t like to vanish them entirely. Even if I don’t use the actual words, I may need to reference them again. It’s good to keep them close at hand. The second reason is vanity. I like to see how glorious a word slasher I’ve been. For example, my current manuscript has about 80k words that I’m almost certain I’ll keep. But, on my CUTS document, there are over 15k words. I wrote those words. They cost me time and energy and they moved my writing forward. They taught me what WON’T work and that’s just as important as what will. And finally, I save what I cut because some of it may work as an ‘Extra’ later. Once my book is published (optimism, people!), I’ll have pages of deleted scenes that I can share with readers during the marketing effort. This saves me from having to generate new material down the road.

    So those are my thoughts on Stephen King’s advice. What are yours? How do you dull the pain of cutting the excess fat?

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  • June25th

    4 Comments

    AdviceWriters are in LOVE with words. We go out searching and when we find a few morsels worth savoring, we form them just so, and then we spit them out for others to digest. That doesn’t mean though, that everything we say has equal value. Nor does it mean that all well-intentioned advice has a place in your world.

    If a thought does inspire, even if it does look rather nice on you, the words may fit you in a way the advice-giver never intended and that should be celebrated as a glorious turn of events.

    New authors, especially, are on the lookout for the very best, most beneficial advice an experienced author has tucked beneath their keyboard. Some golden nugget that will spur them on in their journey. I do it. Constantly. With only three books on the shelf, I am still in the very early days of what I hope will be a career in writing and I am always looking for a new wind of inspiration. Words that will bring clarity to my writing.

    I’ve collected thoughts in this way. They’re pins on my Pinterest board, quotes shared on Twitter. They’re purple scrawled sayings on index cards around my office. Advice is everywhere. And I thought it might be fun to take a look at the tips most often given and share my thoughts on them. Not because I know more–because I certainly don’t. And not because I’m set in my ways–because wouldn’t that be nice. But because I remember how ugly I looked when I wrapped myself in ill-fitting advice like it was a one-size-fits-all uniform and tried to pretend it worked for me.

    So, over the next little bit, I’ll share some of the advice I’ve picked up and I’ll get real with you. I’ll tell you why it works for me and why it doesn’t. And while my experience with someone’s words should neither deter nor encourage you to try them, I hope it will at least free you from the idea that all writers write in the same way. We don’t. We are unique and that adds to our value, both individually and as a creative whole.

    So, let’s get started. Here’s a good one.

    Nora-Roberts

    This quote is by Nora Roberts, but variations of it have been given as advice by nearly every published author out there. That, in and of itself, tells you one thing. It’s good advice. It works. And I can find nothing of fault in it.

    Except . . .

    The problem I have with this advice is that it weighs very heavily on an author who finds herself in a busy season. We feel that if we can’t find the time, we must not be doing enough, being creative enough, being awake long enough to be a REAL author. It’s a struggle I know very well. My kids were on different school schedules this past year and I spent half my life driving back and forth, up and down the same roads, and sitting in overcrowded parking lots waiting for my munchkins. And while I absolutely agree that we have to MAKE time for the words, I decided a while back to MAKE kids and regardless of my passion for story, those kids have to come first. And not out of some moral obligation, but because I want them to be first. I want them to be more important than my stories.

    It may not be children for you. It may be employment or another relationship. It may even be another art form that demands your time, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t a REAL writer. Do real writers write? Absolutely. Do they make time? Most certainly. Will writing always be at the top of their priority list? Nope. Probably not.

    And that’s okay. I say, celebrate the season of life you’re in. Really, REALLY live it. Write whenever you can and when life slows down, you’ll have all the more stories to tell. You’ll have life experience and that is something you don’t get huddled in your writing cave. So, yes, I absolutely agree with Nora Roberts and everyone else who has given this advice, but I refuse to let it weigh me into depression. When I’m busy and enabling my children to live their lives and exercise their creative souls, it’s okay to take a deep breath and tuck the words away for later.

    It’s okay for me.

    And it’s okay for you.

    Really.

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  • August29th

    5 Comments

    Writers are an interesting breed. Not only do we spend much of the time trapped inside our own heads, but we can grow so accustomed to it that social endeavors begin to feel awkward. Oh, not social networking, but the actual go-outside-see-the-people kind of social. And you would think, truly think, that in our writing caves we would find solace, security. Inspiration even.

    IMG_20130803_145330But I find my writing cave to be a most terrifying place. Why? Because that’s where the dragons are. The fire-breathing inadequacies that tell me I’m not good enough. That tell me I can’t actually write another novel. That I have nothing left to say.

    They hide out in my cave. And when I get there, I have to somehow silence them so that the characters who have been talking to me all day can have a say. I have to try to capture what I see in my mind and transfer it to the page, all the while the flames are licking at my back reminding me that I just don’t have it in me. In my writing cave I am confronted with my own lack, while just outside the door my family waits, wondering what the heck I’m doing shut away with a candle and a keyboard.

    Why would I ever, EVER, lock myself away like that? Why would I willingly march into a place where fear and doubt crouch in the shadows ready to pounce? And while those are very good, very logical questions, the answer is a simple one.

    A story begs to be told.

    The plot and the characters are always hidden just behind my own anxieties and so I go into my cave, not only to escape the busyness of the world around me, but to face my deepest, darkest fears.

    Every time I sit down to write, I win.

    My writing cave is not a safe place. In it, I am tested. It’s there that I succeed or fail. It’s not my sales that determine that. Not my Amazon ranking. It’s whether or not I can shove past the darkness, light the candle, and put pen to the page. If I can do that, I cut down another enemy. And while fighting dragons can be exhausting, their presence reminds me that what I’m doing matters. That there’s a reason for the insanity.

    We all have monsters to hunt and insecurities that chew at us. I say, face them head on, swing that sword, and celebrate the victories as they come.

    And if you’re up for the fight, I promise, they will come.

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  • August22nd

    4 Comments

    Old books_candleLike most of you, I am a product of the public school system. I think we would all agree it has its issues, but looking back I can honestly say, I had some fabulous teachers. One of my favorites was my AP English teacher, Mr. Cimino. I can’t remember precisely which book he was lecturing on, but let’s just pretend it was Lord of the Flies (because I distinctly remember being mortified by that book).

    So, one, very normal, very school-type day, Mr. Cimino was dissecting Lord of the Flies and he made the point that Simon was the Christ figure in the story. Simon who was killed while trying to deliver truth to the others. For a preacher’s brat at a very public school, I was enamored. It was the first I’d ever heard of this Christ figure idea. But, as Mr. Cimino lectured on, I realized it was a concept that preceded me entirely. There were Christ figures in more books than I could count. My brain whirred and all of a sudden I had a Gru-like LIGHTBULB moment. I raised my hand, desperate to add to the conversation.

    “Doesn’t the very idea that authors are keen to place a Christ figure in their story prove that there is veracity to the Biblical account of Christ?”

    While I probably didn’t use the words keen or veracity, I’m certain I used the word prove. And I’m also certain that it amused Mr. Cimino to no end. He smiled down at me, the hideous fluorescent lights doing nothing to brighten the dullness of his old glasses.

    Prove is rather a stretch,” he said.

    And he’s right. The presence of a Christ figure in a novel confirms nothing about history, or even about the author. These days, I know plenty of lovely authors who use the Christ figure concept to much success, but many of them are not believers and others are very conflicted about Jesus in general. Even JK Rowling, who so brilliantly fashioned Harry after the Christ ideal, admitted in an interview with Oprah that yes, she believes in God, and yes, she does struggle with it. I think many authors find themselves in the same boat and I applaud them for being willing to wrestle with the idea.

    And yet, to this day, whenever I open a book, I actively look for a Christ figure. Sometimes, he’s not to be found. But, often, the storytellers of this world are drawn back to the Story of Stories. To the Hero of Heroes. Many of them do it subconsciously. Perhaps the only Christ figures they’ve ever known were Neo or Harry Potter, Frodo Baggins or Optimus Prime. But, there is something, SOMETHING about a character who would die for others that speaks to the soul of humanity. And while that in itself proves nothing, it does point to a people who crave the heroic.

    As a Christian, as an author, as a lover of story, that excites me. Sure, there are things in many books that I struggle with. Things that could be offensive, that misrepresent my belief system. But in most stories I can find hope and faith, and often, I can find some representation of Christ. It comes down to the eyes I see the words with, the lens I view the author and her characters through. I do not expect every storyteller to agree with my beliefs, but if literature itself has taught me anything, I can expect most of them to agree that the Christ figure is a compelling one and a concept worth examining.

    And that’s the kind of common ground I appreciate.

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Christ figure in literature. A Christ figure is usually defined as a character who shares more than one outstanding trait with the Biblical Christ. For example, a character may have an astounding birth story, the ability to perform miracles, a sacrificial death, or even an experience resembling the resurrection. Do you have a favorite character fashioned after this concept? Does it make a story formulaic once you’ve identified the Christ figure? Do you make a conscious effort to look for faith-resembling elements in books you pick up? Tell me! I’d love to know!

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  • June24th

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    CelesteHey friends! Meet Celeste Holloway! A few years ago, Celeste and I met on an agent’s chat loop. No, not our agent. Just some agent. We were in the whole aspiring phase. Oh, we were writers already, but we were aspiring to publication. And now, a few years down the road, we’ve both got books on the shelf. It’s been fun to journey together, and today, we’re celebrating the recent release of Celeste’s debut novel, Sebastian Falls. Celeste was kind enough to answer a few questions about her novel.

    You know I’m a huge fan of the weird and invisible things of this world. Tell us about the strange, inexplicable elements in Sebastian Falls. What inspired them?

    Oh, gosh, I guess I’ll have to go with admitting I’m a bizarre person with an overactive imagination because that’s way easier to swallow than the truth, but I’m hoping anybody who reads Sebastian Falls will be able to decode my beliefs and discover my inspiration.

    Sebastian FallsOooo cryptic. I like it. Now, were any of your characters harder to write than others? Do you have a favorite?

    Meadow was a HUGE challenge because I wanted to show her anguish without making her come off as a whiney idiot, lol, and while I love her, my heart totally belongs to Banter. I’d sooo fight her for him. 😀

    Boxing gloves or swords? Nevermind, we’ll discuss that later. Back to the important stuff. You were kind enough to share parts of this story with me very early on in your journey, and then a little later I read it after you’d put it through some self-editing. And NOW! Now, you’ve gone through the entire process with a publishing house. Has anything about the trek surprised you? Looking back, what advice would you give a new writer embarking on their own journey?

    Writing the book is only half the journey. The other BIGGEE is getting our babies noticed. I’m surprised how much time goes into promoting the finished product.

    So much time! That blew me away too. Still does. Okay, so tell me this, we all have a dream cast, don’t we? It’s one of the prerogatives of creating our own worlds. Who would you cast as your lead characters?

    Funny you should ask because I have my dream cast pinned on Pinterest. Most of my characters are nameless models, but I chose Liam Hemsworth for Banter and Colton Haynes was my pick for Casey. If anybody has better ideas, I’d love to hear about them.

    You have a family and a day job and a writing career! How do you juggle it all?

    It’s true, for a long time, I did have a day job, and my writing took place at night, (sometimes well into the morning) but last summer I decided to close my business and devote my days to writing. It was a hard choice, but it paid off because it allowed me to really focus and improve my work enough to interest my publisher. Now, while my daughter’s at school, I write. While she’s home, I try to get in a couple of hours a day and pick it back up after she goes to bed.

    You’re working on something else then! Yay! Dish, girl!

    I am! In fact, I’m busy with three new books. One is the sequel to Sebastian Falls, number two is what I like to call a pre-dystopian, (the world is on the verge of collapsing) and the third is a story about a battered woman searching for peace.

    Tell us about the novels that have made the most impact on you as a writer. We all have them. I’d love to know yours.

    All things Ernest Hemingway, his stories grip me, and his technique leaves me envious. I love how he says so much with so little words. I try to be a sparse writer, but nobody does it like Hemingway.

    When I was a kid I had a teddy bear named Hemingway. Writers are a wacky bunch, aren’t they? I keep green and silver glitter by my keyboard as a totem. Pixie dust, you know? For flying fingers. Do you have any writing totems on your desk?

    Ha, that’s great! Maybe I should copy you because it really seems to be working on your fingers! Sadly, I don’t have a desk, but when I’m rich and famous, (I can dream) I’m buying a fancy mahogany one, and I’m framing a bunch of heads-up pennies to place by my side and maybe a four leaf clover. 🙂

    Today, you’re hosting me over at your blog as well. THANK YOU, by the way. That was very kind. Among the fabulous questions you sent over, you asked about my guilty pleasure and now I’d like to know yours! 

    This isn’t very exciting, but I love playing hidden object games, especially the creepy ones with the eerie music playing in the background and the occasional creaking door. What can I say? I’m a dork!

    Dorks are very welcome here. Geeks too, for that matter. But before we wrap up, will you share with us a small excerpt of Sebastian Falls? 

    Gosh, this is a hard one, but I suppose I’ll go with the opening two paragraphs….

    The sun climbing over the horizon is cruel—a reminder there’s life left to live. In silence, I lie frozen, waiting. Daylight burns through my window and devours the darkness. Still, I don’t move. Not until I’m sure the last shadow is gone.

    At eight, music chimes from the clock on my nightstand, and the dancing ladies crank to life. Their mechanical cheeks stick in permanent, rosy grins as they lift their dresses and spin on their toes. If I had the energy, I’d smash away their cheer, but I save my strength to unwind the bloody sheets tangled around my body.

    Wow! THANK YOU so much for sharing with us Celeste.

    Friends, if you’d like to read more of Sebastian Falls, get it here. It’s crazy inexpensive right now and I guarantee that won’t last long, so go! Run! Or just click. That’d probably be best.

    Also! You can find Celeste on Twitter and Facebook. And on her blog today, she’s chatting ME up and spreading the word about the Angel Eyes trilogy. So go. Find her. Tell her I said, “hi!”

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  • May15th

    11 Comments

    You can do it 2I have these moments. They come hard and fast, drops of sunlight peppering my face as I sprint beneath a canopy of leaves.

    There and then gone.

    In these rare moments, I FEEL like a writer. Like a published author. Like someone who has the enviable job of writing stories for a living. They’re wonderful, these moments. They bring with them a simple, pure, always fleeting feeling of confidence.

    I can do this. I can write another story. I can BE this person.

    I work hard to respect these moments. To honor them by sitting down in my office chair and dumping words onto a page. Because the truth of the matter is, these inspirited moments are fragile. They dissolve at the very hint of negativity, at the first wind of frustration, at the stink of words like trending and bestseller. It takes very little to scare my muse away. And without that confidence, without the itch of inspiration compelling me to write, it can be a fight to keep my head in the game.

    I’m not alone in this, I know that. This isn’t even a problem unique to writers, but the truth is, these battles are fought in a place where you are of little help to me and I am of little help to you. Bloody battles are fought daily between my ears. In the noisy, crowded, aching place where my thoughts churn and churn with little relief. And when I’m losing, my very own mind flips those once sunny moments inside out and uses them against me.

    We writers spend so much (too much?) time here. In our own heads. We dissect everything we read, everything we watch, everything we hear. We try to fashion it and shape it and invert it into something usable. Into something we can write about. We pass a man yammering to himself on the sidewalk and, within minutes, we’ve concocted an entire backstory and plot. We know how we’d write this man.

    Or we don’t. And that kills us.

    We sulk away and claim writers block. We doubt we ever had THAT THING. That spark, that gift, that mojo.

    We doubt. We doubt. We doubt.

    We’re afraid to fail. So we stop writing. But that only angers the beast inside us and we’re reminded that just because we may not write in practice, we cannot simply walk away from the lens we view this world through. Whether you sit and write or not, your brain will not let you be. And so you have a choice: to write through the doubt or to let it gnaw on your gut as you wait for another passing moment of enthusiasm.

    Should you take breaks? Yes, absolutely. Weeks? Sometimes. Months? Maybe. But should you ever let doubt be the reason you walk away? I think, no. Doubt is a monster we should never, ever feed.

    I don’t know that there is one answer to the problem of self-doubt. But I think there are things that can help.

    1. Redefine success. This word doesn’t have to mean what you’ve always assumed it meant. Redefine it. What is success to you? To me success is mattering, making a difference to someone. That’s success. I’m a Christian so I want to honor Christ. Success. I want to be of value to my publisher. That’s real, that’s success. Your definition of success might not match mine, but you should take a moment to figure out what it is. And be willing to adjust your definition as you grow.

    2. Write through the doubt. It’s hard to swallow sometimes, but the only way to chase away the I CAN’Ts is to prove that YOU CAN. So prove it to yourself.

    3. Write fearlessly. Being afraid to fail is very real, but if you let it hold you back, fear wins. Want some truth? We’re all afraid. Doing it anyway is what makes us fearless.

    4. Look for inspiration. Those of us who write as a career have to learn something early on. Inspiration will not pay the bills. That said, perhaps you’re missing daily inspiration by assuming it will look as it always has. Try this, go outside. Be with people. Scrounge through bookstores and libraries. Go on grown-up field trips. Investigate the world around you. Inspiration may sporadically attack us, but if we go out looking it’ll have to try awfully hard to hide.

    And finally,

    5. Inspire someone else. Be the wind in someone else’s sails for a while. Put your pride, your competitive nature, your angst, fear, and doubt aside and lift someone up. Give them a sunshine moment. Not because you’re fishing for inspiration from their lips, but because we all need a little encouragement from time to time. And because others need to know just how valuable their contributions to the world are. Tell them.

    These are just a few of the things that help me when I’m lost in the darkness of my own mind. What have I missed? What advice would you give? Today, let’s choose action in the face of paralyzing doubt.

    YOU CAN do this. You absolutely can.

    *And for the record, that picture up there–me with the sign–was taken for a project the lovely Myra McEntire put together. She also has some inspiring words to share on the monsters of doubt and depression. Read them. Be encouraged.

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  • January15th

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    Hey kids!

    As promised, here are the FIVE readers who’ve won a copy of Krista McGee’s FIRST DATE. Check your email, friends, and send me your details.

    Judi Burgi

    Cheryl Olson

    Rachel

    SupaGurl

    Natalie Vandenberghe

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  • January11th

    21 Comments

    Hey all! Yesterday, I posted an interview I did with YA author Krista McGee and TODAY Thomas Nelson is letting me give away five copies of her debut novel, First Date.

    To enter, do these TWO things and I’ll pick five winners from the bunch:

    1. Leave a comment HERE on this blog. I want to know your favorite reality show and just why you love it so much.

    2. Zip on over to Krista McGee’s FB page and ‘LIKE’ it!

    That’s it! Do those two things and you are entered to win. I’ll notify the winners via email.

     

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  • January10th

    2 Comments

    Prepare to be all jealous and stuff, peeps.

    The other day, I was given the opportunity to chat up young adult author, Krista McGee. Her adorable debut novel, First Date, hits bookshelves TODAY, and would be a perfect selection for fans of contemporary Christian fiction and teens who like a little spunk with their inspiration.

     Here’s our chat:

     Tell us a little about your story development. The Esther parallels in First Date were a pleasant surprise. I didn’t see them coming. Did you set out to tell a story based on Esther or did that happen as you wrote?

    Esther was my inspiration. Girl from nowhere becomes queen and saves her people from complete annihilation. How cool is that? I’ve read Esther dozens of times, and for years I kept thinking, “I wonder what that story would look like if it were written today?” God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, right? The same God that called Esther to accomplish his purposes (to save a nation of people!) is working in our lives every day. I want girls to know that. Life can be tough. But God is always with us, working all things together for good for those who love him and are called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28). He may call us to do things or go places totally out of our comfort zone, but His plans are always best! That is the truth taught in the book of Esther, and I wanted to mirror that truth in First Date.

    Addy is set several challenges as part of the competition. If you were in her place, which one would you excel at? Which one would mortify you?

    Worst first – I would stink at golf. In fact, “stink” is being generous. My eight-year-old son can kill me on the mini-golf course. And forget real golf. I can dig an amazing hole with a golf club, but make contact with the ball? Forget it! I’m a lot like Kara, so performing on stage in front of a huge crowd would definitely be my favorite. Bring on the spotlight. I’m ready for my close-up!

    Girl drama is all over this novel. You also focus a ton on true friendship. Addy has some exceptional relationships—girlfriends who are there for her through this ordeal. You’re a teacher. You see these types of things all the time. How important would you say true friendship is during our teen years?

    I have an amazing group of senior girls that meet with me once a week for Bible Study and sharing. They keep each other accountable in so many ways and constantly encourage each other. I love watching them give hugs and pats on the back, and even a “girl, what are you thinking?” when needed. They have made it through high school with great testimonies and relatively few regrets, and I know that is because of the commitment they have made to God and each other.

    One of my favorite parts of First Date was the back-story involving Addy’s parents. Is missionary work something you can identify with?

    Yes. Our family had the amazing privilege of ministering in both Costa Rica and in Spain as missionaries. I loved living in other countries and seeing God at work there. Missionaries are my heroes, and I want to highlight them as much as I can in my writing.

    Addy is sucked into this reality TV experience quite unwillingly. Can you relate or are you a reality TV fan? Which reality show would love to participate in? Is there a show that would terrify you?

    Okay, confession time – I don’t even watch reality TV dating shows. I can barely stomach the commercials. All the crying and catfights and “oh, no she didn’ts.” No, thanks. I do love “American Idol,” though, and some of the other shows that allow talented, unknown people to have a shot at fame.

    What can you tell us about your next novel? Inquiring minds want to know!

    I am so excited about Starring Me. I had so much fun writing about Kara in First Date that I knew I wanted to tell her story when I had finished Addy’s. Hers is a modernization of the Isaac and Rebekah story. My “Isaac” is Chad Beacon, teen pop star, who is looking for a costar for a new teen TV show. Kara is picked to audition for the show, but, unknown to her and the other girls auditioning, there’s much more going on than just a talent contest.

    Dreamy boys, competing girls, millions of viewers, and a message for the ages.

     THANK YOU, Krista, for taking time to chat! I’m super excited to see First Date on shelves and can’t wait to pick up your next one.

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  • October19th

    8 Comments

    If you keep tabs on me at all (something I encourage, by the way), you’ll know I’ve been a busy little bee. This past Friday was a major deadline for me and on Monday, Thomas Nelson flew me out to attend my first ever sales conference.

    My two day trip went a little something like this:

    Fly, fly fly… Sacramento to Atlanta to Nashville. My gorgeous and amazingly statuesque editor, Becky Monds, picked me up at the airport and we scampered off to dinner with Allen Arnold.

    For the uninformed, Allen is the Publisher at Nelson Fiction. He is incredibly personable and not at all scary. Though he too is awfully tall. I was a bit jealous, to be honest.

    My seafood pasta was delish, though I ate most of it back at my hotel room cause I was far too chatty at dinner. What do you expect, right? Lock me in a plane for 6 hours and I come up with tons of material.

    But, I digress…

    Allen told me some cool things about my cover which I can’t reveal just yet, but SOON I’ll be able to share and maybe get your input on a few things. Becky and I spent the rest of dinner explaining to Allen just why Breaking Dawn is the worst book in the Twilight Saga. And yet, I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t be surprised if we showed up somewhere wearing matching I

    Again with the digressing…

    Tuesday morning, the insanely adorable Amanda Bostic picked us up at the hotel. And by ‘us’ I mean me and ANDREW KLAVAN. If you’re not familiar with his work, you so should be. I didn’t ask for his autograph cause that would be weird, but I did get to chat with him about writing motorcycle chases and about his upcoming release, CRAZY DANGEROUS. Comes out in May and I cannot wait to read it.

    Oh, oh, oh!!! Something else that comes out in May: ANGEL EYES. That’s right, my debut, originally scheduled to come out sometime in July, has been bumped to May. Tell me that’s not super cool?

    Back to the conference… Young Adult was up first, so Andrew got up there and did his thing… inspiring! And then Becky and I took the stage for a little Q&A. She asked me questions and I answered them, revealing far too much about my childhood obsession with Carman–sorry about that, Allen.

    And then, I was done. Phew! Got to watch the rest of the editorial team unveil a bunch of new books they have coming out–really, really great list by the way.

    Then I got to spend time with Eric Mullet from Marketing and Katie Bond and Ruthie Dean in Publicity. Got to chat with Jodi Hughes, Editorial Assistant extraordinaire and then they whisked us off to lunch.

    And that was a great experience. I got to sit around the table with our editorial team, publicity, marketing and three different buyers. Eye-opening and so much to take in.

    Before heading back to the airport, they took us back to the Thomas Nelson headquarters where I raided their book stash and filmed a short video for the team to use in promotions.

    It was an amazing time and I just have to say how impressed I am with the team at Nelson Fiction. They were so welcoming and supportive and just on top of stuff. I can’t believe how much work they do daily on behalf of all of their authors and our books. They really are making dreams come true.

    I’m just… grateful. Very, very grateful.

    THANK YOU, THOMAS NELSON!

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