R.T. Freeman tagged me in the Kidlit Blog Tour. Thank you, Rosemary!
What are you working on right now?
I'm about halfway through my second round of revisions for my middle grade verse novel, RED BUTTERFLY.
How does it differ from other works in its genre?
My book fits quite nicely in its genre, but I still hope it's unique. There are other wonderful books that are contemporary, multi-cultural, middle grade novels in verse, too, but I haven't read one (yet) about adoption in China. My character, Kara, is stuck in an unusual situation: she's a Chinese orphan raised by American foster parents in China. The story is about loss and abandonment and finding yourself when nothing of your old life remains.
Why do you write what you do?
I started RED BUTTERFLY as an experiment, because I had a YA manuscript that wasn't working the way it was. I love MG verse novels, so I wanted to see if my protagonist's voice would work better if she were a younger person, and if she told her story in poetry. It turned out to be a good decision!
How does your writing process work?
As Rosemary noted about her own process, mine is also evolving. I'm still a "pantser" (a writer who starts with an idea and lets that idea carry them along without a plan) who admires "plotters" (writers who make detailed plans before they start writing). Once I get the whole idea out in a rough draft, and am pretty sure it will work, I do revisions and then finally hand it off to a trusted critique partner who will tell me if I'm crazy or not. (I have one YA manuscript that is currently shelved after a critique partner told me, very nicely, that I WAS crazy. I have to figure out a completely different plot. So, yeah, I take my critique partner's advice very seriously.) If I'm not crazy, then I keep revising, keep sending it out to other critique partners until it's as close to perfect as I can get it. When my critique partners hand my manuscripts back to me after a few days and say they couldn't put the book down, and they've given me minimal feedback, then I know it's ready for my agent.
Any departing words of wisdom for other authors?
Write about subjects you find fascinating, something you could talk about for hours. When you have that much passion for a subject, it will show in your writing. It was incredibly fulfilling to finally discover a fictional plot for a topic that is so important to me--adoption and the plight of Chinese orphans. Of course, don't start out with the purpose of getting on your soap box. That could derail your story. At the same time, it's cool to write about something you love and to witness your own passion bleeding onto the page.
I'd like to nominate my pals, Julie DeGuia and Melissa Sarno, to continue the grand tradition of the Kidlit Blog Tour. Hope you decide to participate, ladies!