Debut Authors Bash – Interview with author Laurie Devore

  1. What is your writing routine? Do you aim for a word count, to tackle a certain number of pages at a time, or do you go scene by scene? (Something else?)

My writing routine is absolute chaos. I work a day job so I have to take my writing when I can get it – this means a lot of long weekends spent in coffee shops and very late weeknights. I find my writing goes best when I have a vague outline and write in order but still have some freedom in character development.

  1. 51kurggcybl-_ac_us218_What was your inspiration for your book? What was the most fun and the most difficult part of getting the story just right?

I’ve long been fascinated with messy, complex female characters. I noticed that pop culture seemed overrun with one dimensional mean girl characters. How to Break a Boy was built out of my desire to dig under the surface of those girls and find out what makes them tick.

The most fun part of the writing was probably the relationship between Olivia and Whit as they break each down other’s barriers and begin to find ways to complement each other. I found the most challenging part of writing this book was figuring out Olivia’s background – specifically her relationships with her ex-best friend and mom that had been the main building blocks of her character.

  1. What are your favorite books? What authors inspire you the most?

Courtney Summers has always been one of my favorite young adult authors as she has written a number of incredible, “unlikable” female characters. Some of my favorite books I’ve read in the past few years include Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld, The Royal We by Jessica Cocks and Heather Morgan, and Song of the Current by Sarah Tolscer.

  1. Odd question – what TV shows do you like?

I LOVE TV and find it the perfect inspiration point for writing. I just finished Parks and Recreation and found it so deeply touching, sincere, and hilarious. Some of my other favorites include Game of Thrones, Veronica Mars, The Wire, and the Mindy Project. I’m also really looking forward to watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Marvel’s Runaways over the holidays.

  1. 5188gbugi6l-_ac_us218_Lastly, is there anything else we should know about you? Do you like to listen to music when writing? What book projects are on the horizon for you?

My next book, Winner Take All, is out on January 30th. It has a hate to love relationship, competitive girls, and a dash of angry feminism. It’s not only about a volatile romance, but also about the difference in the way boys and girls are treated in society. As I mentioned before, I love complicated girls so it was really exciting to dig into from a different perspective.

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Debut Authors Bash – Interview with author Jodi Kendall about THE UNLIKELY STORY OF A PIG IN THE CITY

Jodi Kendall

  1. What is your writing routine? Do you aim for a word count, to tackle a certain number of pages at a time, or do you go scene by scene? (Something else?)

I work best in the morning, so that’s generally when I schedule my writing time. When I’m first-drafting, I do like word sprints and setting word count goals to help me keep moving forward, but mostly I just time myself to stay focused. I do “pomodoros” which is a time management technique. I use the website Grooveotter.com (it’s free!) and set 25-minute sessions on the clock. I aim to do a few Pomodoros a day on my writing days (which is not every day).

  1. What was your inspiration for your book? What was the most fun and the most difficult part of getting the story just right?

THE UNLIKELY STORY OF A PIG IN THE CITY was inspired by a real life childhood experience of mine, when my brother saved a runt farm piglet from certain death. The pig’s name was Ellie and she lived in our home for an adventurous six months! (You can read more in this recent Columbus Dispatch article: http://www.dispatch.com/entertainmentlife/20171024/joe-blundo-familys-novelty-pig-inspires-novel-by-upper-arlington-native). I had a lot of fun developing Josie’s character and creating bonding moments between her and Hamlet, the mischievous pig, and the sibling relationships. I’m from a big family, and I love big family stories. The most difficult part of working on this book was going through the multiple stages of revisions. It felt a bit like narrative surgery with deleting scenes, moving events around, smoothing the narrative, eliminating unnecessary characters, figuring out how to stitch it all back together. But I actually love revision, so even though it can be a bit scary (and messy!) dissecting a manuscript in a detailed manner, there’s a point when the chaos becomes.

Jodi Kendall

  1. What are your favorite books? What authors inspire you the most?

Oh, so many! I’m passionate about nature, conservation, animal advocacy, and human-animal connections, so those stories tend to really speak to me as a reader and an author, but I’m an eclectic reader. WISHTREE by Katherine Applegate was such a beautiful story; Katherine’s very much one of my inspirations. In the middle grade space, I also loved A DOG’S WAY HOME by Bobbie Pyron, THE WILD ROBOT by Peter Brown, and PAX by Sara Pennypacker. Growing up, some of my favorite books were CHARLOTTE’S WEB and all of E.B. White’s stories, HATCHET by Gary Paulsen, MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN by Jean Craighead George, and anything by Roald Dahl and Judy Blume. I love to read YA and recent favorites are DEAR MARTIN by Nic Stone, THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas, and CARAVAL by Stephanie Garber.

  1. Odd question – what TV shows do you like?

I don’t watch a lot of television, but when I do I usually prefer something that’ll make me laugh like SILICON VALLEY, CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM, and SNL. I’m also a huge GAME OF THRONES fan.

  1. Lastly, is there anything else we should know about you? Do you like to listen to music when writing? What book projects are on the horizon for you?

Let’s see – I’m a mom to two wonderful little kids, and I live with my family in Manhattan. As much as I love being in the Great Outdoors and around animals, I love the energy, excitement and convenience of city life too. New York City is my favorite city in the world. We spend a lot of time in the parks here (which are so wonderful!). I’m a vegan, Christian, and into weightlifting. We’re fostering our first rescue dog right now (check out Waggy Tail Rescue if you’re in NYC or LA!) and go to small venue concerts when we can (CAAMP at Mercury Lounge was amazing recently!). I do listen to music when I write, but I prefer peaceful guitar, jazz, classical, anything without lyrics. I am finishing up copyedits for book two, the sequel to THE UNLIKELY STORY OF A PIG IN THE CITY, which publishes in Fall 2018. I’m also working on a new, unrelated middle grade book proposal, which is a lot of fun! For aspiring children’s book authors, I’m a debut author featured in the 2018 Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market Edition (Writer’s Digest Books) and interviewed in the January 2018 Writer’s Digest Magazine (on newsstands now).

More info on www.jodikendall.com

THE UNLIKELY STORY OF A PIG IN THE CITY is available now wherever books are sold!

Unlikely Pig

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Friday Reads for 26 Apr 2013

I’m still reading Divergent. I had to return the eBook on my Kindle to the library, but I have the print copy to finish up with now. I’m still only a quarter of the way through it. I’m up to the part where Tris realizes her mother was Dauntless. She even says a few times that their training methods aren’t a big secret so, hello, why would you sign up to have knives thrown at you? I can only assume we’re supposed to empathise with Tris as she turns cold and spiteful, but then she’ll redeem herself later on in the book.

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

My finds:

  

Sweet Evil by Mindy Higgins

Line by Line: How to Edit Your Own Writing by Claire Kehrwald Cook

Charlotte Street by Danny Wallace (read the first chapter here.)

Book List Update for March

Lately I’ve been book hopping and I’ve built up an even bigger “Reading / To-Read” list:

WWW Wednesday: 16 Jan 2012 (Find out what I’m reading this week)

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading asks you to answer the following three (3) questions…

What are you currently reading?

I know I’m posting this on Thursday, but I didn’t want to skip my reading entry for the majority of the week.

I still find this book very prescriptive and dull. There’s no real inspiration behind the ideas we’re given for the writing process and now that I’m 105 or so pages in and still needing to get the 198 to finish it, I may very well just quit.

The ideas are fine and it is interesting to see how people can think of novels but using charts to divide up how many pages you give each character isn’t interesting in the slightest. Again, as I say, most writers are not going to turn off once you show them numbers and charts and percentages – at least I do.

What did you recently finish reading?

Nothing recently.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I think I’m going to just finish this one up next. I had to return Along for the Ride to the library.

Friday Reads for 11 Jan 2013

My Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2013 is to read (at least) 30 books. I looked around my couch and made a list of 26 “to read” books that were either on my Kindle, Nook, or coffee table. Some of these are Friday Finds because I recently got them in ebook form from the library.

There are plenty of books I have stashed away that I can still get to but after making this list, I get the idea that I do not need to purchase any more books. Well, until I bump my challenge number to 40 or 50. I don’t think I’ll ever stop finding new books I want to read.

  1. Novel Writing – Marshall
  2. The Truth About Forever – Dessen
  3. Along for the Ride – Dessen
  4. Beautiful Creatures – Garcia and Stohl
  5. Reading like a Writer – Prose
  6. Liar and Spy – Stead
  7. The Diary of Anne Frank – Frank
  8. If I Stay – Foreman
  9. Eve – Carey
  10. Adoration of Jenna Fox – Pearson
  11. Cold Kiss – Garvey
  12. Hollowland – Hocking
  13. Must Love Dogs – Cook
  14. The Summer I Turned Pretty – Han
  15. The Great Gatsby – Fitzgerald
  16. Bright Young Things – Godbersen
  17. Pretty Little Liars: Killer – Shepard
  18. Pretty Little Liars: Heartless – Shepard
  19. Burn for Burn – Han and Vivian
  20. Matched – Condie
  21. One Day – Nicholls
  22. The Secret Life of Bees – Kidd
  23. Glass – Hopkins
  24. Mockingjay – Collins
  25. All the Wrong Questions? – Snicket
  26. Divergent – Roth

Of course I also have classics to finish reading like Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre.

Again, these are books that I can access right now. There are plenty of others on my “to read” list.

WWW Wednesday: 9 Jan 2013 (Find out what I’m reading this week)

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading asks you to answer the following three (3) questions…

What are you currently reading?

I got this book for the Nook at the library. It’s really prescriptive, which isn’t my thing or a lot of other writer’s way of setting up a novel, but it’s interesting. Well, it was during Part 1 where it talked about how to set up (stereotypical) characters, who should be the lead, the anti-hero, the confidant, etc. Then in Part 2, things got really confusing. Writers are word people and trying to explain how to mathematically break up a plot and judge how many pages a book in your target genre should be was kind of ridiculous. (I mean, if you read books in your target genre, won’t you already know a rough number of pages that each include?)

Marshall started discussing formulas and came up with,

Book lines on a full 9 = number of words

On a full 9 what? Full 9 pages? Why would I have to do this? There are plenty of web sites out there that tell you how many words books in your genre should roughly be. Page number is going to be different depending on formatting. I think it’s a bit overboard to go into detail about how you can find this out. Marshall even included a full page chart on how to decide how many sections you need per you word count and how many goals you should have for each section.

Again, the tips are way too clinical and most writers know how plot works (There was actually a little box diagram to show that plot was a 1/4 beginning, 2/4 middle, and 1/4 end, instead of the typical triangle diagram with intro, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.) If this has to be explained, I’m guess this book is targeted for new writers and those who are writing mystery/crime thrillers.

There’s nothing wrong with that at all and it’s fine to see how other people think about creating their plot. I just sort of zoned out during this second part because it’s not about art but about formulas. Of course we all need some kind of organization so, again, if this is helpful to writers, that’s fine.

What did you recently finish reading?

I haven’t read anything in its entirety for a while except for my Life in the UK test booklet.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I already have two Sara Dessen books checked out so I’ll get through those next.