Sharon B- If you could change one thing that happened in Shadow and Secrets what would it be? Why?
I’d have created a place that never existed. I feel guilty for messing with history the way I did. If there was an island a few hundred miles away from Ireland, it would have solved the problem, but I didn’t want to make Lord Morgan a king of sorts, so instead, I did it the way I did.
Sharon B- Do you like your Coke over ice or straight from the can?
Straight from the can, and it better be uber cold. I haven’t had one in weeks because it’s too hot for that this time of year. After a few minutes of being open, it goes flat and gets too warm. I rarely keep drinking Coke all through summer. I wait until it cools off a bit. There’s a chance I won’t start buying again at all this year. We’ll see. When I’m sick, I want Coke, and once I start drinking it… well…
Sharon B- What are your thoughts on Dr. Pepper?
I try not to think about it. *shudders*
Sharon B- M&Ms; plain or peanut?
I like plain because I can suck on them and that means I don’t eat very many for the same amount of pleasure. I like peanut when I am hungry and just want a quick tasty snack.
Sharon B- How often do you save your work as you type?
Usually at the end of every page, but my computer is set to auto save every 30 seconds.
Cari- In Willow you mention her, but she is also a character in your Aggie stories — How did you come up with the name Cari for one of the twins? The reason I’m asking is growing up I never met another C-a-r-i Cari and now that I’m an adult I’m seeing that name a lot more but it’s always younger people (30’s and under). Don’t want to just assume you named her after me. 😉
When I first started writing Aggie, I found Scotch names for all of the children to go with Stuart. I almost spelled it Stewart, but I wanted the “J.E.B. Stuart” feel too, so I left it with the alternate spelling. One of the names I found was a mouthful that no one would ever want to read over and over, much less spell, so I just named the child that and shortened it to Cari. The name reminds me of mine– Cairistiona. However, I have known many Caris over the years. I think it’s much more common on the west coast. I remember being excited when I got to that part in Willow, because by that time, I knew you well and it kind of cracked me up that a child who seems so opposite your personality would have your name.
Kristi in AL- Have you ever totally scrapped a partially written book, because you just didn’t like it?
Yes. Actually, you’ve “met” one of the characters. In Argosy Junction, when Lane has the allergic reaction to sheep, the man from the gun shop runs for help. That man is the main character in the book I scrapped. Also, I combined two books into one, so technically that might be considered a scrap.
Kristi in AL- How about for any other reason?
I’ve scrapped a lot of ideas for various reasons… including books that had up to five or six chapters already. I almost scrapped Volition. I did not like that book as I was writing it. I literally almost dumped it in the bin. It didn’t do anything for me, but since then I’ve reread it and I like it!
Kristi in AL- Which stage of the writing process is your favorite?
Conception. I love it when I’m doing something and an idea comes in. I love opening a new document and writing those first chapters of a story. I also LOVE that bit when you write the last few paragraphs and realize, “It’s done!!”
Kristi in AL- When your characters won’t behave, what do you do?
Usually, I go with things their way. Whatever they want, however they mess things up, I move with it. However, sometimes I can’t. When writing Thirty Days Hath, it was a nightmare, because I HAD to stick to the outline. That was the point of writing it! So, when Adric started to fall for the wrong people, it wsa irritating. However, that one I had to just go with. With NANO, you can’t wait it out until they decide to cooperate. With Cara, she wouldn’t fight. She had to fight. It was necessary for her to have that moment where she said “Wait, you didn’t even ask!” So, I waited until she decided to cooperate. Now I have to write it. I’m sure Michele will speak to me again if I do!
Kristi in AL- From Bethany (6yo): have you written any little kids’ books?
Yes. I’ve completed three, and have a series based on Willow planned. (And it looks like the first might come out in 2016… FINALLY!)
Kristi in AL- From Jeremy (16yo): on average, how long does it take you to publish a book?
Well, once the book is complete, and that varies depending on the book, then I have to edit. The first edit, I do alone. I reread every paragraph so I know what is coming, and then each sentence as it stands alone. I change words, add details, try to make it come alive. Then I do the next… so on until the paragraph is done. Then I reread the whole paragraph. Usually I have to cut some stuff then because I’ve over done it. I do that through the whole book, looking for spelling, syntax, grammar, and such. I miss a ton. Then I send it to my handy dandy editor. She checks it out, figures out what it needs, and sends it back with comments. I’m sure she shakes her head as she reads all the garbage. I fix it again. My edit usually takes me at least three to four weeks. Her edit usually takes three or four days max. (2016–my current editor takes much MUCH longer to go through it) I fix her edits, and she rereads, leaving me with a few more things. While she’s working on her edits, I find a picture for the book. That can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. I can’t make the cover until the book is done, because the number of pages in the book determines the cover size. Once I get the final edit back from Barbara, then I upload it to the website, get my cover template, and open Photoshop. Now the fun begins. I have a template I have to fit everything into. I can’t go too close to the edge, can’t mess up the spine, and there’s that pesky ISBN on the back just waiting for me to put words over it. I upload it and wait. At this point, it’s usually been four to six weeks since I started editing. After 12-24 hours, my manuscript is approved and I order a proof copy. Now there’s another week waiting for it to come. When I get the proof copy, I take it, a red pen, and mosey over to my favorite coffee shop where I drink an Italian Soda. Yeah, I don’t like coffee, but they have comfy couches and it’s very quiet there. It usually takes me about six to ten hours to finish reading and editing. I make changes in the book and resend to the publisher again. That’s another week until it arrives. So, usually, from the beginning of edit to final proof is a minimum of six to eight weeks. With Ready or Not, it was a full ten weeks. *insert banging head here* (2016- Things take much longer AND less time these days. It’s amazing!)
Kristi in AL- From Jeremy again: is it pronounced Win-wood or Wine-wood?
Win-wood. Emphasis on Win.
Kristi in AL-From Nathan: what is the most frustrating time in writing—beginning, middle, or end?
I find the most frustrating part to be whenever I figure out the end. Once I know what the end is, I go crazy until I can get to that part and write it. It’s particularly frustrating when I figure out the end early into the book. (And now it’s the reverse. If I love writing it, I don’t WANT it to end–especially if it’s the end of a series)