I would like to welcome Stephanie Morrill and Jill Williamson to my blog today! I am so excited that they took the time to do an interview with me. Here is a little bit about them:
Stephanie Morrill and Jill Williamson have written a combined two dozen speculative and contemporary novels for teens. They also blog obsessively at www.goteenwriters.com. When not writing or blogging, they can be found at the teen table at writer's conferences or wherever chocolate is being given away. Come hang out with Stephanie at www.stephaniemorrill.com and Jill at www.jillwilliamson.com.
Why did you choose the genre that you did?
Stephanie: I feel like “contemporary young adult” chose me, honestly. I wanted to write deep, serious books that might get studied in English classes … but I never had any ideas for deep, serious books, so that flopped. My ideas, even after high school, were always for stories about girls and the boys they liked and the complications in their family.
Jill: Because I’m weird! Ha ha. Seriously, though, my brain is always way “out there,” imagining strange things. I could have probably done okay writing a historical genre or mystery/suspense, but I think that speculative fiction is the best match for me. There is nothing more entertaining than creating an entire world of my own.
What is your favorite part of the writing process?
Stephanie: I adore the brainstorming and writing the first couple scenes. That’s when the story feels the easiest, and when it feels so fresh and fun that it’ll be a breeze to write. Around chapter three, reality sets in… I love the rest of the process too, but it takes a bit more work.
Jill: Editing. I hate writing that first draft. It’s super painful for me. Even though I’ve put in time brainstorming, I’m still learning who my characters are and creating my storyworld. But once I get the thing done, then I can play. I can go in and make things better, add plot twists and characterization. It’s the best time for me. It’s much less stressful. Sequel first drafts are easier for me than book ones or standalones.
What is one author who you wish you could model your writing after?
Stephanie: Oh, that’s so tough! The first author I remember marveling at was Barbara Kingsolver when my English class read The Bean Trees. I thought if I could learn to describe things half as well as she did, I could be happy. I really admire literary writers like Lisa Samson, who have such beautiful language and imagery. And writers who weave in poetry like Janet Finch did with White Oleander. My own style is fairly straight-forward, though. Sigh.
Jill: I’d say J.K. Rowling, but not because of her craft. It’s because of her innovation in creating her storyworld and plot twists. From the moving faces on newspapers to flying airplanes at the Ministry of Magic to the cool plot twists in book three … she thought of everything. And it delighted me. I always strive to create such a strong storyworld and plot when I write.
What is your favorite part about being an author?
Stephanie: The writing. I love other parts to—like hearing from my readers or being able to teach. But writing is the one part of my job that I would never, ever give up. Even if I never had another book published, I would still be writing them.
Jill: Creating new storyworlds is my favorite. It’s so much fun. I could sit for months, daydreaming up a new land and the people in it and what’s going to happen to them. It’s better than Disneyland. I mean, wow. This is my job! How cool is that?
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel that you would change?
Stephanie: Oh, probably. I never read my books after their published because I know I would see stuff that I wish I could change. It’s hard to let go!
Jill: Yes! I would change tons of things. And I agree with Stephanie. It’s painful to go back and read my old books because I see things that I’d do differently now, but I can’t.
Have you ever written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
Stephanie: Yes! Two of them, actually, though I haven’t tried very hard yet so hopefully once I brush them up a bit, they’ll have a chance of seeing the light of day.
Jill: Sure. So far, both of those are contemporary novels with no speculative elements. They’re normal! And publishers and readers don’t want normal from me. Someday, maybe. But for now, I have to keep writing weird things.
Tell us about your upcoming book?
Stephanie: Go Teen Writers: How to Turn Your First Draft into a Published Book is the first non-fiction book either of us have ever written. It was born out of the joy we find in working with teen writers. We both get asked so often about how to get published and the topic is so big that we decided to write a book tackling the process of making your first draft into a book someone will want to publish.
Aside from the Go Teen Writers book, I have a new fiction release coming out in May called The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet. It’s about a teenage girl who gets left behind by her friends when they enter high school, so she copes by writing them into a book. It was so fun to write, and hopefully that means it’ll be fun to read too!
Jill: I, too, have the Go Teen Writers book. But besides that, I have Captives releasing soon. It’s a dystopian novel about three brothers whose village is conquered. The survivors are taken captive into a crazy city called The Safe Lands, that’s not at all safe. And the brothers have to try and rescue their people and get them out before bad things happen. That might sound a little vague, but I don’t want to give too much away. *wink* Click here to read more about the book on Amazon.com.
|This is me with my copy!|
Stephanie and Jill are also giving away a free download of their book Go Teen Writers: How to turn your first draft into a published book!
a Rafflecopter giveaway