When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
Mrs. Schroth was the strictest, smartest, most no-nonsense teacher I ever had. She assigned our eighth grade English class to either act out a scene from Romeo and Juliet or rewrite the ending.
I was a monstrously tall twelve-year-old with feet like canal boats, and traipsing in front of my class in a play was NOT my idea of fun, especially since I knew I’d want to be Juliet, but would have been cast as Montague Thug # 3 or Wizened, Toothless Apothecary.
I opted for the re-write, and it was like Texas Goblet O’Poison Massacre. There were a lot of soon-to-be corpses moaning all over the pages, saying poetic, melodramatic things.
And Mrs. Schroth was smitten! She read it out loud, gliding around the room and giving the characters all of this life with her perfect reading voice while I blushed with the purest happiness I’d ever felt! Everyone else was probably just glad we didn’t have to spend the period reviewing SAT vocabulary lists, but I got bit by the writing bug big time! I always secretly hope Mrs. Schroth stumbles on one of my books someday and feels proud!
I love this! So awesome! I'd rather re-write as well. Acting is not one of my strong suits...
Do you have a writing schedule, or do you just sit down whenever you get a spare moment?
What I have is a five year old!
She’s extremely charming. And extremely good at convincing me that it would be so much more fun to bake cookies/have a picnic/make tissue paper butterflies/dress up as princesses/read Pinkalicious just one more time/play hide and seek than type at my computer!
But I get caught up in my stories, and try to keep a really strict word count. If it’s been a really busy cookie/butterfly/game /book day, I just give my husband a call when he’s on his way home from work, and he lays on her floor in a tiara or plays endless rounds of Guess Who to keep her occupied.
I write every second I get, for as long as I can and lose lots of sleep for it. I have no particular place or background noise or schedule, because I can’t! It gets crazy, but sometimes I wonder if I could do it any other way…writing is my time that’s just for me, all for myself, and I really treasure it! It’s definitely not a chore at all.
(Though I do sometimes watch longingly as my husband and daughter play long, complicated games of Rapunzel and the Horses Visit Mermaid Town and Get Their Hair Done. That game is one NO ONE wants to miss!
Writing is definitely "my time" as well. It's so nice to sit down and just write. Relax. Not worry about chasing little kids around after they go to bed. It's one of my favorite times of the day.
Could you tell us a little about yourself? Random facts? Hidden talents?
I am double jointed in both thumbs! It’s proven completely useless so far, but I’m fairly convinced one day I may get kidnapped by pirates and need this skill to wiggle out of the ropes they’ve tied me up with.
My mom named me Elizabeth Garrett Gorman, after the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning. I wound up winning the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Contest in high school. My mother immediately declared herself directly responsible based on her choice of name alone. And I never argue with my mother!
My little sister and I don’t look much alike (she’s a petite, fine boned beauty; I’m a gawky, smiley giantess), but once in a while people would randomly say, “Wow, you two look so much alike, you could be twins!” To which Katie (my sister) always replied, “Oh, we were triplets, but Liz ate the other one in utero.” Two years ago, I had to have a cyst removed from an ovary. When they opened it, it was full of human hair. When she saw me after the surgery and heard the news, she crowed, “See! I told you! You DID eat the other baby!” (I didn’t. I swear, I have no idea what was up with that cyst!)
Oh. My. Heck. I am laughing SO hard right now! Ba ha ha ha ha!!!! That's so gross, but so funny at the same time! :D
If you were stranded on a desert island, what is one thing you couldn't live without? (Besides your family and a laptop of course.)
A huge tub of the highest SPF sunscreen known to man , because I have never been able to be in the sun for longer than three minutes without turning a lovely shade of lobster! I’m like a vampire…not the kind that sparkle!
What is one book you could read over and over and over?
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. I have this huge love for my mom and for my daughter, and Tan’s story is just so gorgeous and real and wonderful…and, sorry, I’m drooling all over and brimming with envy and completely in love! Tan just makes me a giggly, insane fangirl!
I'm sad to say I've never read it. But I'm adding it to my list right now! :)
What book are you dying to read this year?
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins!
Are you all counting down?! I am! Were you all in love with Anna?! I was!!
And I had this lovely, sweet reviewer who I just wrote to and told her how psyched her review of Lola made me and she wrote, “I wish I knew you wanted it! I just gave my ARC away, and would have been happy to send it to you!”
I am not ashamed to say I gorged on comfort pudding and sniffled for a while after. I am SO READY to read this book!!
I have to ask ... have you read this yet? What did you think if you have? I know it came out after I interviewed you. Just curious! :)
What genre do you write and why?
My first love is YA contemporary romance.
After I killed off every single character in Romeo and Juliet back in eighth grade, I guess I just got all that misery and tragedy out of my system.
I’m a huge romantic at heart. And sixteen. I love new love, first kisses, first crushes, prom, dates…the whole thing. I love how raw and real and obsessive that whole time is.
I really enjoyed my teenager-hood, but I also love thinking ‘what if.’ And I was a really, really good teen and my husband was a big rebel, so I always wondered what it would be like if we met in high school.
Oooohh! So, do you like the rebel guy in books? I'm guilty of the bad boy syndrome. Can't help but love them.
Do you have any writing rituals? Music, silence, eating, etc.
I LOVE my iPod, Pandora, Youtube…and earbuds!! I love having background mixes and replaying certain songs. Some people need silence; I just need to not constantly hear the theme song from Yo Gabba Gabba! (Muno!...He’s tall and friendly!...Foofa…She’s pink and happy!...)…
Luckily my kids have never had the urge to watch that one. I've heard interesting things about it...
Where do you come up with your ideas? Dreams, while driving, etc?
I love when I read a book or watch a show and connect with what’s on, but think, “Wow, if I wrote/directed this, it would be so different.”
A huge catalyst for Double Clutch came from reading Meyer’s Twilight series and standing at the ironing board, ironing on letters for my Team Jacob shirt.
Please stop laughing. I know you’re jealous!
As I was ironing letters on for my sister, sister-in-law, and myself, I started to think about writing a book where it would be really, really hard to pick which guy’s team you’d be on. Because, even though I am firmly Team Jacob, I knew that as far as a romance with Bella was concerned, that boy didn’t stand a chance!
You know, I think I’m going to make a Team Saxon/Jake shirt for myself! Or maybe I’ll just be Team Brenna. I love her best anyway!
I totally have a Team Edward shirt in my closet... No shame here. :)
What has your publishing journey been like so far? The good, the bad, the ugly?
The good has been the amazing, wonderful, very cool blog/FB/Twitter/Goodreads community that is taking an interest in my book and just being generally awesome! I had this huge fear that I’d put my book out there and would wind up facing a ton of criticism. But it’s been the opposite; everyone has been really willing to help and had such supportive things to say!
The bad was the road I took to getting this published. Not that it was so bad, but I had this thought in my head that traditional publishing equaled success and self-publishing meant you had given up. Now I realize that there are so many ways to interpret success, and so many ways to find it. I had to decide what was more important; sticking to a set of “rules” I’d made up for myself or getting my book out there for readers to enjoy. I’m really glad I made the decision I did!
The ugly, I have to admit, is mostly in my own head. I think every writer struggles with self doubt, but for a traditional writer you probably have an agent who loves you and editors excited to see your work and other writers in your agency who tell you it’s all going to be all right even when you just worked a crocodile attack into your romance and don’t know how to get your hero out of the swamp now that his arms have been bitten off!
And self-pubbed writers can have a great support system, but it’s up to us to unearth our own supporters and reach out to them. When I feel really discouraged or scared or obsessive, I now have the people I know will give me the support I need and be really cool about encouraging me!
I totally agree about the writing community being amazing. It doesn't matter which road to publishing you take. There are so many supporters and friends to meet along the way that want you to succeed whichever way you choose! :)
Tell us a little about your book.
Double Clutch is about this very cool girl, Brenna, who’s kind of the girl I wanted to be in high school. She designs t-shirts, runs track, does share-time at the academic and vocational high schools, and has two really hot, drool-worthy boys desperate to be with her. Through the book she learns about these two guys, who are each wonderful and flawed in their own way, and she has to decide who to give her heart to. But she also learns so much about herself.
My favorite thing about this book is that it’s about being true to yourself. When I was in high school, I was totally floundering to find my own style and way to stand out. What I wound up doing was just kind of being weird or goofy to get noticed. But since I was writing this book myself, I was able to give Brenna anything I wanted. And the biggest gift I could give her was self confidence. There are a million ways she could have been the coolest girl ever, as long as she liked who she was.
And there’s also lots of kissing and angst, late night phone calls, motocross races, punk concerts, more kissing, Dirty Dancing, even more kissing and a teaser chapter for my next book, Junk Miles, which is coming out in November!
My kind of book! :D
Advice for aspiring authors?
Find someone whose writing you love and who you really like as a person and switch manuscripts with them.
You can search online, ask around at school, watch people at Starbucks with their laptops, but find someone. Preferably a few someones.
Let them read your stuff.
Tell them to be honest.
Buy a lot of pudding, or whatever your comfort food is.
They’re going to send your work back to you with their comments.
DO NOT OPEN THE COMMENTS!
Immediately write them or call them and tell them how much you love them and how much you appreciate the work they put into your writing and let them know it’s such good stuff, you need a few days to look it over.
Open the work up and look at the comments.
Shake your fist in the air! Tell yourself you DO NOT abuse adverbs/overuse dialogue tags/make everyone smile at least three times on each page! And even if you do, so what! You are an artist!
Get it all out!
Gorge on all the comfort pudding!
Then think about their suggestions. Don’t worry about every single one. Just try implementing a few little ones. Ask yourself if it helped. Ask yourself if your writing is better/stronger/cleaner. If it is, keep sifting through and make any changes they suggested that are good with your gut.
When you’re done, write them a real email/note that genuinely thanks them for loving you and your work enough to tell you where and how you could improve. And if you are lucky enough to have a people who wind up being both awesome critique partners AND good friends, hold on and NEVER LET GO! You, my friend, are lucky!
AMEN! Love this. Thank you so much for being here, Elizabeth!
If you'd like to check out Double Clutch, click here.