Kath here. I’m so very pleased to be able to announce that WU contributor extraordinaire Lydia Sharp‘s debut novel, Twin Sense, will release November 23. Even better, she’s allowed us to pick her brain on her writing process and the inspiration behind her YA novella in today’s Take 5 interview. Lydia’s posts with WU always resonate, and I’m so excited to read her story, which has all the ingredients for a rollicking ride and a “woah, I did NOT see that coming” twist.

two boys + two girls = one big mess

As girlfriends of the Taylor twins, Layna and Sherri have only been friends by association. But when Sherri breaks up with Keith (for real this time), and Kevin gives Layna a promise ring (whoa, what?), Layna’s whole world spins off balance. She avoids Kevin’s unwelcome pressure to commit by spending more time with Sherri.

Without the twins around, Layna and Sherri are tempted to go beyond friendship status. Then Keith tries to win Sherri back, and Kevin apologizes for rushing Layna. Now she’s stuck inside a love quadrangle that has her reaching for the consolation cheesecake. The only way to sort out this mess is to make an impossible choice—between the one she wants and the other one she wants—or she might end up with no one.

I know, right? Hee HEE *rubs hands gleefully*

For more on Twin Sense, visit Lydia’s her website. And enjoy this Take 5 with Lydia Sharp.

What’s the premise of your debut novel?

Twin Sense is about a girl who must untangle herself from the love quadrangle she created with her boyfriend, her boyfriend’s twin brother, and her boyfriend’s twin brother’s ex-girlfriend. It’s a teen romantic comedy with a bisexual twist. 

What would you like people to know about the story itself?

Although this story is labeled GLBT, it is not really about GLBT issues. It is not a YA issue book, it is a YA romance. The main character, Layna, does not ever question her bisexuality in the story (the word “bisexual” is not even used in the story’s text), she questions who it is she really wants to be with. So this story is about self-discovery, but the issue at hand is not something specific to GLBT youth. I think just about any teen who’s ever been in love can relate to Layna’s story. 

What do your characters have to overcome in this story? What challenge do you set before them? 

Indecision is Layna’s biggest hurdle. When I first set out to write this story, I knew it would be about a girl who must decide between two people she loves. That is the definition of a typical love triangle, but I didn’t want this to be typical. I like to change things up and keep the reader guessing in all my stories, so this was no exception. This story is actually about two love triangles–or, you could say, twin love triangles–and this creates a love quadrangle.

One of the biggest complaints I see from readers regarding love triangles is that the story is obviously slanted toward one love interest over the other right from the very beginning. So by the time they reach the end, the main character’s decision was no surprise. That, and the author makes it too easy to dislike the love interest that loses in the end, so the reader becomes annoyed with the main character for liking that person in the first place.

I didn’t want my readers to experience that. As a reader myself I find it extremely frustrating. Both of the main love interests in Twin Sense have good traits and bad traits, but all things considered, they both appear to be a good choice. So Layna’s tendency to be indecisive, and to only make choices that are obvious one way or the other, is really put to the test in this story.

What unique challenges did this book pose for you, if any? 
As I mentioned in my Writer Unboxed post earlier this month, this story came about in a unique way. I was in the thick of one of the lowest points of my writing career thus far, and needed an escape from all that stress. I wanted to write something just for me, just for fun, and this is what resulted. I drafted it fairly quickly, taking a good deal of the story elements from my own life and taking creative license with the rest of it. When everything was finished, I knew I had something worth sharing, even though that wasn’t my original intent. It was supposed to be for me, but I just couldn’t keep it to myself.

The only real challenge I had with this story was deciding where I should submit it for publication, mainly because it is novella-length. Novellas are gaining popularity as ebooks, but YA ebook novellas are rarely seen as stand-alones. They are usually sold as an extra “story in between books” to support a traditionally published series. Examples of this can be seen in Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series, Jonathan Maberry’s Benny Imura series, and Marissa Meyers’ Lunar Chronicles series, to name just a few.

YA novellas as stand-alone ebooks are not considered a risk worth taking by the majority of publishers, including some ePublishers. So I was lucky to find a home for my story with Musa Publishing, and a good home at that. They’ve given my little ebook the same editorial care and attention to detail as I’d expect any major publisher to give a full-length novel. They’ve also been readily available to answer questions through every step of the publishing process.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of having written this book?

I love to laugh, I love to read humor and wit in any story, so whenever someone reads a story I’ve written and mentions specific lines of narrative or dialogue or a specific scenario they thought was hilarious, it always makes me teary-eyed. Humor writing is extremely difficult, but the best humor feels effortless to the reader, and most days I don’t feel worthy of calling myself a humor writer. I’m really not that funny in person. I’m not a comedienne anywhere but on the page. Whenever I tell someone that my book is a romantic comedy, I have to pause for a moment because it still doesn’t seem possible that I wrote something funny enough to get published as such. So just knowing that I’ve brought a smile to someone’s face as they read this story is a HUGE reward for me.

Thank you so much for hosting me here on Writer Unboxed!

Thank you, Lydia! We wish you the best on your new release. Twin Sense is available November 23 from Musa Publishing.

About

Writer Unboxed began as a collaboration between aspiring novelists Therese Walsh and Kathleen Bolton in January, 2006. Since then the site has grown to include ~40 regular contributors--including bestselling authors and industry leaders--and frequent guests. You can follow Writer Unboxed on Twitter, or join our thriving Facebook community.