Thursday, July 10, 2014

Writers Like Us - Alyssa B Sheinmel

This week I'm so very excited to have Alyssa B Sheinmel here for Writers Like Us! Her book SECOND STAR is one of my faaaavorite books this year--and a contemporary Peter Pan retelling!

In the search for her missing surfer brothers, Wendy Darling is caught up between the somewhat-childish, straight-laced Pete and drug dealer Jas and their turf war for the beach.

Alyssa B. Sheinmel did a fantastic job capturing the magic and adventure of surf culture, and drew some pretty awesome comparisons between those who don't follow a traditional academic path to college, opting for adventure. In SECOND STAR's case, boys who want to follow the waves so they can catch the biggest ones. So I loved, loved, loved it--and of course that meant Alyssa needed a space in Writers Like Us.

Alyssa's answers are below in bold.

Alyssa on Writing

  • I've written more… books – well, ideas for books – than I can count, but so far I’ve been lucky enough that four have seen the light of day, with a few more coming down the pike. Every time I have an idea, I start making notes and writing chapters, but very few of them turn into actual books. 
  • My favorite thing to write is... dialogue. When I was in school, dialogue really wasn’t my favorite part of writing a scene. But it’s become something I really look forward to writing. I think it’s when I get to know my characters best. 
  • No matter how long I've been writing, I still have issues with…um, everything? I feel like with every book I write, I learn something more about how to tell a story, but I also come away with a list of things I want to do better next time. 
  • A typical comment from my critique partner is… probably to slow down. Early in a draft, I tend to get wrapped up in either plotting or my character’s voice, and sometimes I need a reminder to slow down and try to do both. 
  • The book I wished I wrote is … I’m not sure I have an answer for this one. I consider myself more of a reader than I am a writer, so I don’t think I’ve ever come away from a book I read wishing that I could have written it. It’s more that I feel like the books I read teach me about the kind of writing I want to do. 

Alyssa on Getting Published
  • If my agent really knew how nervous I was, she would find out…I try to be sort of professional (well, relatively speaking!) when I meet with my agent and editors. But the truth is, most of the time I’m kind of goofy-nervous for every meeting and call. 
  • When I was querying, I felt...vulnerable, but also excited. 
  • The biggest mistake I ever made querying was…I actually had a really nice querying experience. I’d worked at a literary agency and then a publishing house for years before my first book was published, so I feel like I was lucky enough to know the way things worked before I dove in myself. 
  • The craziest thought I've ever had while being published is ... Oh my goodness, I don’t know! Pretty sure my thoughts have run everywhere from fear to misery to excitement to…etc. 
  • When I got "The Call," my first thought was ... I found out an offer had been made on my first book over email while I was on vacation, the day after my birthday. I think the first thing I did was call my best friend for advice. 
  • When I saw my book sale in Publishers Marketplace, I ... Actually, the first time I saw that the deal for my first novel had been announced was when someone else forwarded it to me – I think the subject line read “Is this you?” It was actually so lovely – I saw it because someone else was congratulating me on it. 

Alyssa on Life Outside Writing
  • If I weren't a writer, I'd probably be a ... Before I began writing full time, I worked in the marketing department at a children’s publisher. I loved my job, so I’d probably still be doing that. 
  • Secretly, I'm terrified of ... This isn’t much of a secret– most everyone who knows me know this – but the thing that scares me most is seeing dogs unhappy, neglected, or in pain. I have to run from the room when an ASPCA commercial comes on. (Usually straight to my computer so I can make a donation.) 
  • My secret girlfriend/boyfriend is ... This also isn’t really a secret, since I’ve written about it a lot: I’m a huge fan of The Vampire Diaries and The Originals. I want to be friends with the whole cast. And all the writers of the shows. 
  • Sometimes, when no one is around, I … talk to my dog more than is normal for a person to do. (To be fair, I do this when people are around, too. He’s truly an excellent conversationalist.) 

Want more Writers Like Us? Check out the entire series, including interviews with Elizabeth Fama, A.S. King, Sara Zarr, Jennifer E. Smith, Kristin Halbrook, Tara Lynn Childs, Robin Benway, Katie McGarry, Trish Doller, and many, many more.

1 comment:

  1. Valerie and Alyssa, that was a lot of fun to read----thank you :) Revisiting Peter Pan----how can you not love THAT? :)


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