I was invited to participate in the #MyWritingProcess blog tour, which is a chain-letter style blogging tour where authors answer four questions about the writing process, then pass the torch on to three more writers. I imagine as the weeks go on, it’ll be hard to find writers who haven’t already participated! Thanks to my friend Dan Koboldt for inviting me to join the tour. Dan recently signed with literary agent Jennie Goloboy, and I can’t wait until he gets a book deal for his fantastic-sounding thriller!

Without further ado, here’s the Q&A:

1. What am I working on?

I signed with my agent Louise Fury a few months ago. During that time, I worked on a couple revisions of my YA thriller STEALING PARIS thanks to Louise and her team’s brilliant feedback. I’m working on a new YA thriller as well, but that project is top secret for now (sorry!).

In the meantime, I’ve been blogging a TON! I mainly blog in three places:

  • My author blog (you’re here now!). I try to post 1-2 times per week about YA books, book reviews, writing tips, or Weekly Digest posts on what else I’ve published on the interwebs.
  • My company’s blog. I post twice per week on HubSpot’s internet marketing blog on various subjects including social media marketing, blogging, and lead generation.
  • My social media blog. I try to post once a week on my social media blog, which I started as a result my not-so-gratifying first job out of college. I sell a couple marketing ebooks on there, too.

I’ve seen conflicting advice on whether or not platform matters for fiction authors. In my experience, and from my observations, platform ABSOLUTELY matters. Just look at John Green — if it weren’t for his blogYouTube channel, and 2.3 million Twitter followers, I don’t know if The Fault in Our Stars would have picked up as much steam as it did before even being published. (In case you didn’t know, it was the Amazon and Barnes & Noble #1 bestseller before John even finished writing the book.)

So when I’m not working on my next novel, I’m trying to build my web presence in preparation for marketing post-book deal (hoping, of course, that (1) the book deal happens and (2) someday I’ll be just as extroverted as authors like John Green).

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I like to write fast-paced thrillers with a strong female lead based on true events. A lot of YA thrillers these days are dystopias, fantasy/paranormal, or take place in your average high school. But I like to find crazy subcultures prevalent in today’s society, expose them, and show how anyone can find the strength to overcome even the most dire circumstances. For example, STEALING PARIS is about a sixteen-year-old girl who lives in a Romanian slum until her parents sell her off to a Paris pickpocketing ring. She must learn how to filch from innocent tourists or else be brutally beaten by her gang’s ringleader. And the thing is, this really happens. In real life. It’s INSANE.

The idea came to me when I saw a failed pickpocket attempt inches in front of me by a group of girls in the Paris metro, and I researched the heck out of these Paris pickpocket rings. Eventually, the characters floated into my brain, and I wrote the book. But many of the actual scenes in the novel are based on incidents that transpired in real life.

3. Why do I write what I do?

Thrillers are so fun to read, and even more fun to write. I love finishing a chapter on a cliffhanger just KNOWING the reader is going to have to turn that page, the way I do when I read Dan Brown or Michael Chrichton novels. But I also love YA because it explores issues from the perspective of someone first starting to embark into adulthood, and I enjoy writing in the voice of a late-teen. Sometimes I feel like a teenager trapped in the body of an adult — I’m still very naive about certain things, and that actually helps a lot because as I research some of these very real issues, my shock becomes my characters’ shock as well.

4. How does my writing process work?

I actually wrote an entire post on my writing process a few months ago. I know this seems like a total cop-out, but rather than copy/paste the whole thing here, I’m going to link to it instead. Here is a summary of my writing process, which you can read in the full post, How to Write and Revise a Novel:

  • Step 1: The Outline
  • Step 2: The Vomit Draft
  • Step 3: The 2nd Draft – Editing for Story
  • Step 4: The 3rd Draft – Editing the Copy
  • Step 5: The 4th Draft – Close Beta Feedback
  • Step 6: The 5th Draft – All Beta Feedback

One bit I didn’t include in this post — I spend a lot of time in between writing sessions listening to movie soundtracks and playing solitaire. Doing something mindless while listening to emotional instrumental tracks helps me visualize key scenes in my novels, and gives me the inspiration I need when I’m stuck on how a certain situation will play out. Since I’m now in the outline/vomit draft trenches, I’ve been playing way too much solitaire.

Up next on the #MyWritingProcess blog tour:

Francesca Zappia:

Chessie ZappiaChessie is one of my #TeamFury sisters, and I’m so pleased she agreed to be next in the blog tour. Francesca Zappia is the author of MADE YOU UP, due out in early 2015 from HarperCollins, and is represented by Louise Fury of the Bent Agency. Francesca is currently a Computer Science major at the University of Indianapolis, but spends less time doing homework and more time writing. She is also a contributor to @YAMisfits and @WeAreOneFour. You can find her on Twitter @ChessieZappiaTumblrInstagramDeviantArt, and Facebook.

Lauren Spieller:

Lauren SpiellerLauren offers query critique services and helped me get my query in tip-top shape. I got my first offer of representation within A WEEK, so I will be forever grateful! Lauren Spieller is a graduate of University of Illinois and University of Notre Dame. She writes young adult and adult novels, as well as short stories for adults. She enjoys adult literary fiction and young adult genre fiction above all else, but anything with a strong main character and an exciting premise will have her hooked. Lauren also offers query, pitch, and synopsis critiques hereLauren is represented by Jim McCarthy of Dystel & Goderich. Follow her on Twitter @laurenspieller

Corrine Jackson:

Corrine Jackson Corrine is the super-talented author of several published novels. She offered me such wonderful words of wisdom during my brief time of querying, and is a fantastic writer and marketer. Young adult author Corrine Jackson lives in San Francisco and has over ten years experience in marketing. She has bachelor and master degrees in English, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University. Her novels include If I Lie (Simon Pulse) and the Sense Thieves trilogy (KTeen), comprised of TOUCHED, PUSHED, and IGNITED (5/27/14). Visit her at CorrineJackson.com or on Twitter at @Cory_Jackson.

 

 

Want to share this post? Here are some ready-made tweets:

Click to tweet: My Writing Process & What I’m Working On Now [#MyWritingProcess Blog Tour] – http://bit.ly/1rPlevE by @DianaUrban

Click to tweet: Next in the #MyWritingProcess blog tour – YA author @DianaUrban shares her writing process. Check it out: http://bit.ly/1rPlevE

Click to tweet: Read YA author @DianaUrban’s writing process! http://bit.ly/1rPlevE Up next: @ChessieZappia @laurenspieller @Cory_Jackson #MyWritingProcess

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