Today’s guest is Michele Young-Stone whose life’s dream was to write and publish a novel. A former English teacher, she achieved her dream and surpassed it with the release (this month) of her second novel Above Us Only Sky. Her first novel, The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors, was published in 2010 and was a Target Book Club pick in 2011. Lydia Netzer, author of Shine Shine Shine and How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky, says, “Young-Stone is a master writer, and her deft control of this novel’s many moving pieces puts her in the highest echelon of our craft.”
Michele is here with author Heidi Durrow for a discussion about the sophomore novel. Heidi is the author of The Girl Who Fell From the Sky, a winner of the PEN/Belwether Prize for Fiction, described by Barbara Kingsolver as “[A] breathless telling of a tale we’ve never heard before. Haunting and lovely, pitch-perfect, this book could not be more timely.”
“The sophomore effort—whether in novels, music, visual art or any soulful endeavor—is devastating to the ego, more so than the initial publication. You’ve already been rejected for the first book, most likely hundreds of times if you’re like me. But now, someone is counting on you, investing in you, to produce something of worth.
Of today’s post, Michele says: “The sophomore effort—whether in novels, music, visual art or any soulful endeavor—is devastating to the ego, more so than the initial publication. You’ve already been rejected for the first book, most likely hundreds of times if you’re like me. But now, someone is counting on you, investing in you, to produce something of worth. It’s assumed, presumed, and hoped that you have this gift in you, that you’re not a one-book wonder. The pressure is on. The school chums are gone. It’s all you! Can you do it?”
Michele lives on the coast of North Carolina with her amazing son, supportive husband, an obsessive-compulsive cocker spaniel and sensitive bearded dragon. When Michele is not writing, she is crafting in some form and doing Zumba. You can connect with her on her blog, on Facebook, and on Twitter.
Writing and Publishing that Second Book
Heidi Durrow and I met while we were both promoting our first novels, The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors, mine, and The Girl Who Fell from the Sky, hers. We met at Word Brooklyn where we shared the stage, discussing and answering questions about writing and publishing a first novel. It seemed only fitting that we now discuss the second novel, and how it’s an entirely different beast.
Michele: For you, what’s been the most difficult thing about writing the second novel? Do you think, as I do, that there’s a stigmatism about sophomore efforts, and it makes it even more difficult? Are you terrified of failing? I realize that while I’m writing, I have to forget the business side of it in order to be creative. [Read more…]