Surprise readers! Today we have a local YA author, Kristina Springer, in a Writers Inspired exclusive interview (and book giveaway!) Doesn’t that just sound tweet-worthy? Well, go ahead and Tweet it, baby! But be sure to add your comments or questions here – one lucky winner will be randomly selected to win Kristina’s hot YA book The Espressologist.
Interview by: Mary Jo Campbell
- On YA themes: What are your thoughts on relationships and issues teens face today and how do you incorporate theses themes into your books?
I think they are similar to the relationships and issues I had as a teen only a lot more intense. It’s way harder to be a teen now with all of the technology we have. When I was a teen no one carried cell phones and the Internet wasn’t as big as it is now. Geez, I could only make one phone call a day for a max of 30 min (sounds like prison huh? J ). But now if you’re having any trouble at school it follows you home on facebook and twitter and texting etc. It seems a whole lot harder to navigate through the teen years today. I try to stay really aware to what teens are dealing with now and reflect it in my writing.
- On YA Characters: How do you research and stay current on teen-speak, dress and gestures when writing a realistic teen character?
I never grew up and I watch way too much reality TV (I love The Hills and can’t believe it’s over.) and teen dramas. I obsessively read magazines like STAR and I’m online constantly so it’s easy to research what’s hot right now. Oh, and since I do most of my writing in coffee shops I occasionally eavesdrop so beware! J
- On YA feedback: What has been the response from your readers on your books (any ARC’s out on My Fake Boyfriend is Better Than Yours?) How do your readers relate to your stories? What about parents/teachers?
It’s been really great! Reviews are rolling in now on My Fake Boyfriend is Better Than Yours and so far it’s been all good. So I’m very happy about that! And there have been lots of awesome reviews of The Espressologist and I’ve gotten really great letters from readers (both teens and adults). Most fans tell me about their coffee drink preferences and how they match up with their boyfriends/husbands. There are a lot of Espressology believers!
- On Writing: Your website says you drafted your first book in FOUR MONTHS, not to mention your role as wife and mother of four!) Did your experience as a technical writer prepare you for writing quickly? Can you tell us about your writing process from idea stage through rough draft, revision and querying agents?
Wow, great question! No, technical writing is pretty different from fiction writing. Although, I learned to type really fast as a technical writer. And all of my great grammar skills came from that time in my life. Of course, I’ve since learned my grammar skills aren’t quite as awesome as I thought they were. J Actually I think being a mom has helped me to write so quickly. Lots of writers work full-time at writing and my kids are little so I’m with them full-time. So whenever I do get a break, like late in the evening or someone else is taking care of the kids for a bit, I need to make the most of my time.
As for my writing process, I love to just sit down and let the book fly out of me without any hesitation or worrying about structure etc. With The Espressologist I wrote the entire book from the same table at my local Starbucks. Then I revised it as much as possible and sent it off to my critique partners. Then I revised more based on their notes and when I felt the book was ready I started querying agents to see if they wanted to read it.
- On Deals: Tell us how you got a two-book deal! Are the two books related? Was the second book drafted or completed when the first book went to auction?
My agent sent out the submission to a bunch of publishers. Four publishers wanted The Espressologist so my agent then set up an auction and each publisher offered their best deal. I went with Farrar, Straus, and Giroux and they bought The Espressologist and a second unnamed book. I had no idea what the book would be at the time of sale so no, they weren’t related. I wrote My Fake Boyfriend is Better Than Yours last year and that became the second book in the deal.
- On Experience: What has been the best part of this whole writing, publishing, promoting experience for you so far and why?
Oooh, that’s hard. It’s been a lot of good! It might be a tie between first selling the books and seeing my first book on a shelf in a bookstore. As for why they’re the best, well, both were dreams that seemed so far out there and reaching them was amazing.
- On Teaching: Can you offer some tips for young writers starting out?
Don’t give up! There will be a lot of rejection but you have to keep plowing ahead. And get critique partners who write in the same genre as you. You want people who will tell you the truth and rip your stuff apart and offer advice. Not the kind that say “oh it’s so good, you’re brilliant!” That’s your mom’s job. J
- On Tomorrow & Beyond: Tell us what’s next for you and your books!
THE ESPRESSOLOGIST, *In stores now* from Farrar, Straus and Giroux
MY FAKE BOYFRIEND IS BETTER THAN YOURS, 8/31/10, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
PUMPKIN PRINCESS, Fall 2011, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Leave a comment or question to be entered! (Winner announced tomorrow, Aug 3. US residents only, please.)
Are YOU local? Sign up for the Young Writers’ Summer Studio- workshops begin August 9th! Kristina Springer is making a special guest appearance to discuss writing and publishing with young writers. Email me for info today!