Today on the blog we have a fabulous debut author and newbie to OAAA. I snagged a copy of her book in this last Fierce Reads box and I couldn’t believe I’d found another Ohio Author. I’m so happy she agreed to join me today.
- Hi Chelsea, you’re an OAAA newbie and a debut author so would you like to take a moment to introduce yourself?
Hi! I’m SO excited to be a part of OAAA this year! I was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, I’m an Ohio State grad, and I moved to Northwest Ohio for my husband’s job after college, so I’ve been a Buckeye my entire life! My debut novel, THE WOOD, releases on August 1, 2017, and it even takes place in Columbus!
2. What is your writing process like?
So, I’ve actually just recently come to a realization about my writing process. When I’m drafting, I always have to take a step away from that manuscript after the first 10k-20k words, then again around the 40k-50k word mark. This break is usually no shorter than a month and can even be several months long (if I’m not on deadline), during which time I usually work on something else. When I go back to it, I revise the words I have (often changing the plot where it feels weak and strengthening the characterization and voice), then continue on from there. I didn’t do this for my first three manuscripts because I needed to prove to myself each time that I could actually finish an entire book, but now (currently writing manuscripts 8 and 9) I recognize it as a very integral part to my process. If I don’t take that time away while drafting, I often lose focus and a bunch of random things happen to my plot that I’ll end up needing to make major revisions on later, whereas when I take that time away and get some perspective mid-drafting, I often save myself from having too many plot holes to untangle later.
3. Do you have any writing superstitions or traditions? Writing foods or drinks? Special music? A specific place?
I have an eight-month-old daughter who has changed my writing traditions dramatically! Pre-baby, I loved to brew a cup of Matcha green tea, light a candle (for THE WOOD, it was usually something dark and woodsy, like campfire), and play instrumental music. Now, I still have a cup of tea and listen to music when I can (I especially love the Olafur Arnalds station on Pandora), but since I’m usually listening for baby while I’m writing (typically, I only get the chance to write when she’s sleeping), music doesn’t play as big of a role anymore. I’m also very aware of how limited my time is, so I don’t usually light a candle because the two or three minutes it would take to pick out the candle and find the lighter is time I could be spending writing.
4. What are your favorite kinds of books to read?
So many different kinds! I love pretty much all genres in YA. I also love middle grade, cozy mysteries, women’s fiction, Christian fiction, and some biographies/nonfiction.
5. If you could tell your pre-published self one thing what would it be?
Don’t give up! You’re closer than you think you are to seeing your dream come true.
Do you have any writing advice for any aspiring authors out there?
The same advice I gave myself above. It sounds cliché, but it’s true. There’s so much rejection in this business, and it can be so easy to want to give up, to wonder if this is something you really should be doing, but if you live and breathe stories, if you can’t imagine not writing, then don’t give up! You never know how close you are to living your dream.
Tell us a little bit about THE WOOD.
Winter Parish cannot forget the rules of the wood. There are three.
Do not travel from the paths. Do not linger after dark. Do not ignore the calling.
These rules are easy to remember. Her father drills them into her head every day over cereal breakfasts and walks to the bus stop. He repeats them on their after-school patrols through the wood, and at night before she goes to bed. But then her father does what no other guardian has ever done. He ignores the first rule.
Now, Winter is the sole guardian of the wood behind her house and the time-traveling portals it conceals. Her job is simple: catch the travelers who fall through the portals and send them back before they can do any harm to themselves or the space-time continuum. But when a boy from the eighteenth century tells her the wood is dying, and that her father’s disappearance may have something to do with it, she lets the boy through into her world, putting everything at risk for the chance that maybe, just maybe, her father can still be saved.
What was the first thing you did when you finished the book?
It’s been so long, I don’t even remember now. I probably ate some chocolate and binge-watched a TV show as a reward. I do remember the first thing I did after getting the call that Feiwel and Friends wanted to publish it. I had to go to the grocery store, and I had the biggest smile on my face the whole time I was there. I got so excited thinking about it at one point that I just started jumping up and down and basically freaking out in a random aisle. I can only imagine what the other shoppers thought of me.
9. What do you do when you’re not writing?
I spend most of my time taking care of my beautiful daughter, as well as taking care of my German shepherd/lab mix, and binge-watching shows with my husband. I also try to read as much as possible.
10. Anything else you want to talk about?
Thank you so much for having me! I had a blast answering these!
Enter to win a copy of THE WOOD in the giveaway.