The Writing Process Blog Hop of 2014

I was tagged by the amazing, Kristine Wyllys, to participate in this blog hop. Kristine is not only a wonderful writer (her NA debut, WILD ONES, is SO good) but she also has the distinction of having the funniest Twitter stream I've ever read. She's all around good people. 

I meant to do this like a week ago but I've basically been a chicken with my head cut off lately, so here goes. 

WHAT AM I WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?

I'm finishing my copyedits for LONDON FALLING (the sequel to I SEE LONDON) which I'm turning into my editor tomorrow. I'm also working on a new NA series that's kind of a secret.

I'll say this about the first book- it's completed and I've probably read it a dozen or so times but I was at the gym this weekend and decided to reread it on my Kindle and ended up working out for twice as long as I intended to both days because I love it that much. And this is coming from a girl who hates working out with the fire of a thousand suns.

Normally by the time I finish a book I'm SO sick of it, but for whatever reason, every time I read this one I fall a little more in love with it. It's a first for me! I've started drafting the second book in the series and I'm starting to fall for that one too. I can't wait to be able to share more about it :)

HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS IN THE GENRE?

I think everyone's work differs because we each put parts of ourselves into our novels. I draw a lot from my life experiences, from dreams I've had or fears of mine. I put pieces of myself in all of my characters--good or bad--because it helps me to relate to them and to understand their motivations.

I set my first two NA books at an international university in London (with a culturally diverse cast of characters) which was a bit unique for the genre but for me it was really just an opportunity to remember my own years attending an international university in London. It was my own personal love letter to London and to the amazing people I met there.

WHY DO I WRITE WHAT I DO?

I write NA because honestly, those were some of the best years of my life. I remember feeling like everything was a big adventure--each day held so many possibilities and the chance to shape my future. It's an amazing time when you're growing into yourself without the added responsibilities of mortgage payments and all the chores that come with being a full-fledged adult. I really found myself during my NA years and I love writing the opportunity for my characters to do the same.

HOW DOES MY WRITING PROCESS WORK?

It really varies book by book. There are a few constants: I'm a total pantser (unless it's a contracted book & I HAVE to turn in a proposal), I write in a linear fashion (the only deviation is occasionally I will write the first and final chapter to frame the book), I go through at least five drafts (usually more), I edit one draft by hand and at least one draft on my Kindle, I write short and add as I edit, and I've never cut a scene. Other than that, it really just depends on the book.

Some books involve lots of cursing, soul searching, chocolate, and alcohol. Other books basically write themselves and I end up staring at the screen in awe, wondering if I'm dreaming or if it really was that easy. I can never predict which it is going to be and invariably I either have to fight with a book until I come out battered and bloody or it's a breeze. There's never an in-between. 

I've never had writer's block but I fully embrace Nora Roberts's advice to allow yourself to suck on the first draft. So I don't worry too much about the first draft but instead focus on getting words on the paper and then clean it up in revisions and editing. I also love to edit. 

I typically write daily even if it's only a little bit at a time. I'm desperately trying to get a little more balance in my life so the plan is to start taking weekends off but so far that hasn't happened. Fingers crossed. 

What else? I make playlists for all of my books that fit the plot, mood, characters, etc. and listen to those while I write. Music is a HUGE part of getting me in the right frame of mind to write. I also am horrible about getting distracted if I write at home so I tend to do my best work in public. In the US I loved writing at Panera (iced cookies didn't hurt) but here in Korea I tend to work at Starbucks. I miss the iced cookies although my thighs probably don't. When I do write at home I tend to have a yorkie on my lap.

That's it for me!

I'm tagging Colette Ballard, Cherylanne Corneille, Kayla Thomas, and Stina Lindenblatt for the next round!