Quick note: Maria Schneider (former Editor-in-Chief at Writer’s Digest magazine) is doing a poll, looking for the top 25 writing blogs. We’ve been nominated under fiction blogs. Want to play? After registering, you can vote for us–or whomever you like best–HERE. Voting ends tomorrow, 9/8.
When Kath and I founded Writer Unboxed in January 2006, our mindset was something like this: We’ll create a blog, gather followers, and then when we’re published we’ll have a ready-made platform. We’d rule the world! Mwahahahahaha!
Yeah, we pretty much knew it was a long shot. But we had things to say, stories we wanted to analyze, tips we meant to share and authors we wanted to interview, so we did it anyway. And guess what? Now– 3 1/2 years later –Kath and I are going to be published within a month and a half of each other. Kath’s first YA novel, Confessions of a First Daughter, released under the pseudonym Cassidy Calloway, was released last week. I’m so excited for her and the chance to interview my dear friend and fellow blog mama right here at WU. In fact, Kath’s interview–part one of which went live this past Friday–marks the one hundredth interview here at Writer Unboxed.
Wait, let me say that again: Kath’s interview marks the one hundredth interview at Writer Unboxed. How cool is that? And Kath will be returning the favor next month, when my novel, The Last Will of Moira Leahy, debuts October 13th.
With 100 interviews under our collective belt, Kath and I have had a lot to reflect on. We’ve had some great interviews here, and we each have a few thoughts to share re: our personal highlights.
Kath, you first. What were your favorite moments as an interviewee for WU?
KB: Interviewing Jasper Fforde by phone. It was a rare phone interview, but wow, Jasper Fforde, author of THE EYRE AFFAIR and other lunatic and wonderful Tuesday Next books. Of course I agreed to a phone interview. He happened to live in Wales, U.K., in a time zone six hours ahead of mine. But whatever – JASPER EFFING FFORDE!The two hour interview was the funniest, most fantastic conversation I’d ever had with a stranger. Jasper is as delightful as his books. He also had a long trail of rejection on his way to the big time. His mantra was “Stay true to YOUR style of writing, and keep at it.” I think of his advice often.
A second memorable moment was when I’d gotten a YES from Diana Galbadon for an interview. Folks need to understand that I worship Diana Galbadon. OUTLANDER kicked all kinds of butt in terms of plotting, voice, pace, and characterization. And it was her first book. I could not wait to interview her.
Her interview was fantastic, too: a long delightful ramble that always came to a major moment of writerly wisdom. Galbaldon made me realize that it’s okay to go paddling out in a lake without a plan. The plan will emerge via the writing. I remember that when I get stuck. Just write, I tell myself, just start paddling. And eventually, I end up figuring it out.
A third memorable moment was developing an online friendship with UK editor Victoria Holmes. The Internet makes the world a small place, and exchanging e-mails about the weird world of publishing fiction with someone so successful just shows how small the world is now. No one is further than an e-mail (or Skype conversation) away. I could be e-mailing Ray Rhamey, who lives in the Pacific Northwest, and follow up a message to Sophie Masson, who lives in Australia, all in a matter of minutes. I feel as though if we were to all meet face-to-face, we’d know each other immediately!
I’ve had many other memorable moments, too numerous to list, but my biggest was when my dear friend Therese Walsh realized her dream of publication after long years of toil. I still get verklempt thinking about that phone call. As long as I’ve know Therese, she’d be working on UNBOUNDED, now retitled THE LAST WILL OF MOIRA LEAHY. As soon as I read the first draft, I knew it was special. It was only a matter of time, revisions, luck, hard work before it’d get published. Therese’s path to publication is what it’s all about in this business: you learn your craft, you get rejected, you revise, revise, revise. And you don’t give up. I’m so, so proud of her, and I’m so pleased I was able to witness the birth of a great new voice in women’s fiction. Her book will BLOW YOUR MINDS, PEOPLE.
TW: Aww, thanks, Kath! Okay, my turn. Biggest moments:
As time consuming as they can be, I agree with Kath that the rare phone interviews can deliver something special. Mine were with Chris Baty, the super friendly, witty and ambitious founder of NaNoWriMo, whose mantra “Why the hell not” sticks with me to this day; Barry Cunningham, the Publisher and Managing Director of The Chicken House, an imprint of Scholastic Inc., and one who made the publication of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter possible; Michael Hauge, script and storytelling consultant, and someone who has a remarkably insightful understanding of the emotional beat of Story; and Brunonia Barry, author of The Lace Reader, and one of the most down-to-earth people I’ve never met.
Another special phone interview was one I had last year with Blake Snyder, script- and storytelling consulting, and author of one of the best craft books out there, Save the Cat. Blake was friendly and accessible and radiated a quiet wisdom–not at all the Hollywood stereotype. It was clear he understood and loved story deeply; he had a way of taking difficult concepts, prioritizing them, and packaging them so that everyone might understand what they were and how to approach them. I felt it like a personal blow when Blake passed away last month; his loss is a loss for us all.
While Kath worshipped Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, I adored Audrey Niffenegger’s Time Traveler’s Wife. How happy was I when she agreed to an interview with me? Very. And I think it was my first interview for WU, too–and firsts are always special.
It’s been a pleasure to interview other people whose work I admire, too, like German author Cornelia Funke, author of the Inkheart series; elusive but oh-so-saavy editor Dave King, author of Self-Editing for Fiction Writers; and agent and author Noah Lukeman, author of A Dash of Style. Even better? Interviewing someone whose work I admire, inviting them to become a contributor here, and having them agree–like industry pro, agent Donald Maass; and novelists Marsha Moyer, Juliet Mariller, Allison Winn Scotch, Barbara Samuel (Barbara O’Neal), and Ann Aguirre.
And, another highlight: I’ve interviewed one of my best writer buds, Kathleen Bolton. Have I mentioned that she’s the 100th? And that I think that’s seriously cool? Well, it bears repeating, because it doesn’t get much better than that.
Take a trip through our 100 interviews anytime by visiting the WU sidebar.
Have thoughts on interviews? Have things you’d like for us to change? Things to you’d to see more of or less? The floor is yours. Write on, all!
Photo courtesy Flickr’s Smabs Sputzer