I was tagged by the amazingly talented (and hilarious) Colleen Bennett, whoColleen Bennett also happens to be my Wonder Twin.  That’s her, over there –> (Hey Colz, I hope you don’t mind I swiped this picture off your blog!! Smile)  By the way – you should definitely check out Colleen’s blog where she shares her witty, yet poignant thoughts on MG writerly things. You won’t be disappointed!!

So…let’s get this party started.  Here’s the Q&A that Colleen passed my way:

1. What are you currently working on?

I’m working on the second draft of a contemporary YA novel called BETWEEN NEVER & ALWAYS.  And as you mentioned in your Not So Accidental Blog Tourist post, I’m driving myself and all the wonderful peeps in our writing group crazy with my plotting neurosis.  It’s because I tend to over analyze the story and then spend a lot of time re-visioning it.  Originally I wanted my main character’s grandmother to have a terminal illness, but have backed away from that story angle.  Yet as I go through the first draft, rewriting and removing references to the sick grandmom storyline – I kinda get sucked back into the original idea and then have to talk myself out of it again.  Yup – I have a lot of conversations with myself and my characters and most often the characters are going to win because it’s their story.  Oh my gosh – that didn’t even answer the question!

BETWEEN NEVER & ALWAYS is a contemporary YA novel featuring an elite high school runner named Callie and a neo-pro cyclist named Trent.  When they meet there’s instant chemistry between them, but Callie doesn’t date cyclists, especially one who’s already dating the daughter of the team sponsor.  There’s lots of almost kissing and angsty moments which has been so fun to write.  I hope to finish this draft in November and then send it off to my CPs and beta readers before I query it.

Aside from BN&A – I’m still trying to find a home for my YA paranormal – quite a hard sell now.  Sad smile  But I’m not giving up hope that one day that story will be out for the world to see.  I have about half of the second Culloden book written and am constantly jotting down scene ideas and dialogue exchanges for Book 2.

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

All my stories feature female athletes who are highly independent.  As a former professional athlete – I bring that perspective to my stories and I’ve been told that’s one of the strongest and unique aspects of my writing.

3. Why do I write/create what I do?

Remember how I said in the rambling answer to the first question that I have conversations with my characters???  That’s why I write.  I write young adult novels because I’m still a teen in heart and spirit and love capturing the feeling of firsts – first kiss, first love, first car, first jobs, first-firsts.  I write sporty chicks because I firmly believe being fit and active is super important for girls. It also brings just another cool dynamic to a story when the heroine has something they are passionate about, aside from playing kissy face with a boy. Smile

4. How does your writing/creating process work?

Oh gosh – that’s hard.  Basically it’s a character’s voice I hear in my head where I get the first ideas for a story.  Hokie and neurotic, I know – but that’s the truth.  I usually run through scenes in my head for a little bit before I decide if it’s enough to go with for a story.  Then I sit down at my laptop and brain dump IMG_3051what I know about the story and ideas for scenes.  If I’m lucky, I’ll end up with an outline and can start to write the first scene or two.  I plot and re-plot many, many times.  (Remember how I said I over analyze things?)  It’s usually in constant flux.  I also story board.  To the left is the story board for Book 1 of my Culloden story.  It’s told in dual POV so the pink is my heroine and the green is my hero and everything else is where they overlap.  I break the story into Act 1, Act 2 and Act 3, then I make sure the appropriate scenes are at the turning points, blah, blah, blah.  It’s great for breaking the story into manageable chunks and to make sure the pacing works.

Well – I think that about answers it.  I’m going to tag the always eloquent and awesomely creative Kelly Stone. Me picHer blog is called The Musical Fidget.  Isn’t that just the coolest name?  Be sure to check out her About Kelly page to read the story behind the name.  In the meantime, here’s a little about her:

Kelly is a writer living with her husband and two kids in a wonderful rural village in upstate New York. She’s been an English teacher, a Web editor, and a marketing specialist. She has always been a writer but just recently realized that is what she wants to be when she grows up. When she isn’t writing, Kelly enjoys photography, music, books, the outdoors (it is so beautiful in upstate NY!), and spending time with her family. She blogs about everything at The Musical Fidget.

All right, Kelly.  You’re up!! Smile