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Friday, April 9, 2010

More Author Insight: The Decision to Write

Did you always know you would write a novel? Why did you finally decide to write one and when?

"I always thought that I’d be a writer—at least since third grade. That was the year I discovered Roald Dahl, and the year my teacher asked us to write short stories about the planets, friendship, and guinea pigs. I built up the courage to try writing novel during my first year of college. While that one will never see the light of day, I’m glad I sat down to write the second one (Brightly Woven)." - Alexandra Bracken, author of Brightly Woven.

"No - but I always wanted to be a writer. I wrote my first novel about 25 years ago, and it sits (forever) in my files. The title was A Circle of Friends - used since, I believe!" - Janet Fox, author of Faithful.

"I always suspected I could write a novel but didn't know for sure until I finished the first one (I can't even remember the title!) in 2005. I started it to prove I could and finished it because once I'd started writing, I knew I'd never be able to live without it again." - Michelle Zink, author of Prophecy of Sisters.

"For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be writer except for a short time when I was five and I wanted to be a veterinarian, but I pretty sure that was only because I was so proud that I could spell it. So, yes, I have always wanted to be a writer and I knew that someday I would finally write a novel. Less than two years ago, when I was fifteen years old, I wrote The Fire Stone, the first of a five-book, middle-grade fantasy series called The Reign of the Elements. I wrote the next two books in the series, The Water Stone and The Wind Stone also while I was fifteen. While I was sixteen I wrote the last two books in the series, The Immortality Scroll and The Final Alliance, as well as the first two books of a YA urban fantasy trilogy. I am currently writing the third book of the trilogy. Once I got going, I couldn’t stop!" - Riley Carney, author of The Fire Stone.

"I'm not sure I always knew I'd write a novel, but writing in general was something I kept coming back to revisit. I adapted the sixth grade play from my favorite book, Cheaper By the Dozen and I have written several screenplays that are gathering dust in my drawer. My favorite: White Chocolate Mousse Pie. Change of Heart was my first full novel. I started writing it in the Fall of 2006 after seeing a television show where a young girl received a heart transplant. Watching her as she went into the Operating Room, unsure if she was going to live or die, I was haunted by the look on her face and thus, Emmi was born. So I don't know when I really knew I would write a novel, but I certainly kept coming back to it, like an old boyfriend you're never really done flirting with." - Shari Maurer, author of Change of Heart.

"No. When I first started writing, I wrote chapter books and picture books. I loved reading YA and MG novels, but I didn't think I'd ever write one. But the more I wrote, the more I wanted to try. And I finally decided, what do I have to lose? I Heart You, You Haunt Me was my first published novel, but I wrote three other novels before that. I now call those books my schooling!" - Lisa Schroeder, author of Chasing Brooklyn.

"I didn’t always know I would write a novel. When I was in high school and college, I wrote plays. But my love of young adult literature drove me to fiction, and in early adulthood, I wrote what I now see as a charmingly non-working novel called Too Soon to Tell. I did salvage the characters and world several years later, though, to write my first published book. That gives me hope for future charmingly non-working projects!" - Jessica Leader, author of Nice and Mean.

"I always wrote. It was how I expressed my feelings to my parents: writing notes in crayon, sticking it under their bedroom door and running away in footie-pajamas. I wrote my first full-length book at age 11. Its title was The Eye of the Ancients and it had 365 pages and probably that many characters and subplots. (This was after I discovered I could write on the computer, but before I discovered things like editing, character arcs, or revision.) Over 20 years and a lot of learning later, I have a book deal!" - Dawn Metcalf, author of Skin & Bones.
 "I think I was around 15 or 16 when I decided I wanted to be an author. I’d always dabbled in writing stories, but I do remember making a conscious decision that I would be an author one day. I think the first book I actually finished was called Silver and Starcats, or something like that. It was an animal book about…you guessed it…alien cats." - Julie Kagawa, author of The Iron King.

"I cannot remember a time when I didn’t want to write a novel. I think I knew I would for sure in 1996 when I attended the Antioch Writers’ Workshop. It took more than ten years to get here, but I made it! My first novel, The Tension of Opposites, will be released May 25, 2010." - Kristina McBride, author of The Tension of Opposites.

"I've been trying to write novels since I was seven years old, because I was under the impression that authors made a lot of money (only if you're Steph Meyer). The year I turned fourteen I successfully finished my first novel, which I think was called Read My Mind (the title changed often). It wasn't so much that I decided to write a novel, it was that the story just came bursting out of me. I can't not write." - Steph Bowe, author of Girl Saves Boy.

"I've been writing novels since about fifth grade, though the first novel I finished what called Shadow Kin, a 175,000 word epic fantasy with faeries, elves, and living goddesses. The usual. I was a senior in high school, and yes I tried to get it published. *shudder*" - Tessa Gratton, author of Blood Magic.

"I didn't, actually! I'd written plays and short stories, so tackling a piece longer than five thousand words seemed like a huge undertaking! Eyes Like Stars started as a short story that just wouldn't stay short (and its title was All Her World's A Stage...)" - Lisa Mantchev, author of the Theatre Illuminata series.

"Nope. The characters in a published short story wouldn’t let me alone until I wrote Island Sting." - Bonnie Doerr, author of Island Sting.

"No- I was a screenwriter for almost 15 years. I did short fiction as well- emphasis on the short. A novel was too much, too big, too ambitious. But in 2001, I was burned out on screenwriting, and I wondered if I might not be able to find 75,000 words of one story in my head somewhere. Turns out I did- it was a novel called The Weston Boys, which now lives in my drawer. I wrote the book that became Shadowed Summer in 2002- the first book I ever sold. (And I didn't sell that until 2007!)" - Saundra Mitchell, author of Shadowed Summer.

"I've been writing since I was in seventh grade, but I didn't get serious until about four years ago. At first I was just writing a book to share with my friends, sharing it with them by email chapter by chapter. But when it was done, I knew I'd found my passion. I've written about 15 books since then, the first published one being The Naughty List." - Suzanne Young, author of The Naughty List. 

"My first attempt at a novel came while I was still in high school. I can’t even remember the name, but it was highly derivative (i.e., a ripoff) of Bel Kaufman’s Up the Down Staircase. Another novel that I wrote in high school was called Remember Me; still another was called Nightfall." - Jennifer Hubbard, author of The Secret Year.

Stop  by on Tuesday to find what things these authors need close by while writing!
To see the previous post in this series click HERE.


  1. Great post, this is really inspirational!

  2. A great series, and so much fun to read everyone's responses!

  3. Love how you're collected all these responses and gathered them in one post, made for really great reading!!

  4. Love this series, S! It's really fun to hear inspiration from other writers and put a face to the wisdom.