Friday, March 18, 2016

About Me: Writing

One of my resolutions this year (and to be honest almost every year) is to talk more about myself on the blog. Me in a nutshell: I'm a Librarian. I'm a blogger. I'm a reader. Here's a little bit about me outside the bookish world.
I've talked about my writing a little bit before on the blog. But here it all is...

I started writing a Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice Fanfiction in 2007. I never finished it, although I think about going back to it. 

Then in the middle of November I heard about NaNoWriMo and I thought it sounded awesome, but it was too late in the year to start something, so I kept in my mind for the next year. 

I've been writing books (finishing drafts) since 2008.

Being a YA Librarian influenced my writing choices. I wanted to write about a girl heading off to college and experiencing freedom for the first time. It's a novel in verse, influenced by Sonya Sones and Lisa Schroeder's works. I really loved this book and it's the first piece I ever finished.  But, I wrote it before New Adult became a thing and no one was interested in a girl going off to college because it couldn't be marketed or placed on bookshelves. Naively, I thought that because teens in my library wanted stories about older characters, there was a market for them. It didn't work that way and someone gave me a straight answer, which I appreciated. Recently I read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and while mine is different and much shorter, it's sort of similar. 

The second year, I wrote a YA fantasy novel about a Princess who couldn't rule her kingdom. Her father died before having the law changed. In order to prove her worth, she must locate a magical item lost to their world. She goes off on her quest with her lady in waiting and a knight for protection. There are dragons (who are the librarians of their world), an evil man who wants control of the kingdom, and a council of men who may or may not take the Princess's side. I really love this book, but the middle needs some work. Of  course there's a feminist side to it and a romance. I'm  coming back to this one because I think I can fix it...

The third year, I wrote about video games and camp - mostly a modern Ender's Game minus the aliens. This one will probably never see the light of day, but it was interesting to write. 

The next year I tried writing an adult cozy set in Vermont. It's about a travel writer who is writing up an article for the grand opening of her best friend's new inn. At the party, her friend's ex-husband shows up and is murdered. Of course, she knows her best friend is innocent and of course she stays in town to hang out with her and to solve the murder. Small town charm. This one is super fun, but needs a little work tying the ending into the beginning. 

After that, I wrote up a sequel to cozy, set in Bath, England during the Jane Austen festival. Mr Darcy is the murder victim (or rather an actor who played Mr. Darcy.) My character spots the body and has the perfect cover to nose around and ask questions. Of course the lovely city of Bath and it's history comes into the novel.

After that, I decided to write a YA novel set on a Christmas tree farm - set in Vermont. Here the main character is a senior in high school and has been dating a boy for just about two years. And it's not going well. Should she stay with him when everyone tells her it's a bad match? They do have fun together - sometimes. They fight sometimes. Her best friend is tired of hearing about her relationship drama. The book takes place during the three weeks leading up to Christmas. I call it my hot chocolate romance (thanks to Jessica Miller) because it's a perfect book to read over a cup of hot chocolate and marshmallows.

Then I decided to try my hand at YA version of Pride and Prejudice - set during basketball season. Jane and Lizzie aren't sisters, but best friends. There's a twist here (doesn't there have to be?) and lots of friendship, family, and romantic drama.

After working on this, I realized that I could do something like Stephanie Perkins and Miranda Kenneally and write about characters in the same high school in a connected series way. So I wrote Emma and then Persuasion. Both are different from the original tales. Emma takes place during the summer and Persuasion takes places during the fall. Emma works at an ice cream parlor and attempts to help Harriet find true love. That doesn't go well. She and her friends spend their time at the beach and meeting boys. Wentworth plays football and it's his ticket for the future. Anne's family owns a chocolate shop that she wants to take over eventually, but right now it's struggling and no one wants to listen to her ideas. Persuasion is a duel POV story (my first).

Next up is Sense and Sensibility retelling.

I also started working on a Taylor Swift song inspired book. I haven't finished the first draft yet. It's a nonlinear unreliable narrator story. And if I can work out the issues, it would be amazing. 

So there you have it - my years of writing in a nutshell. 
This is around the time last year I joined RWA (Romance Writers of America) and the CT Chapter. It's been hard for me because I'm an introvert, but the people are really nice and really helpful. Last year I went to the national conference (it was in NYC). This year, I'm going to the CT conference Fiction Fest. I'm excited about it. Lots of great ideas and lots of inspiration come from these conferences. 
I still have a bunch of ideas to write. I'm still writing. I'm still in the process of trying to find an agent. I don't know if anything will sell, but it would be amazing if they did. I have had some close moments and some good feedback from various agents. One day it will work out. 

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