Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Writers Like Us - Nova Ren Suma

This week, Nova Ren Suma is here to share all her writing and publishing secrets! Not only is Nova the author of such amazing books as Imaginary Girls and 17 & Gone, but she also teaches workshops, chats with Sara Zarr, and heads up two of my favorite blog series Turning Points and Book Of Your Heart.

Nova's answers are below in bold.

Nova on Writing

  • I've written SIX books (under my own name... I also ghostwrite more than seventeen books, including series novels and movie tie-ins and very weird things you would never expect of me!), and FOUR of my own books have seen the light of day.
  • My favorite type of scene to write is something dreamy. I’m also a fan of epiphanies, but I try to not let them go on too long. (Sometimes someone needs to stop me.)
  • No matter how long I've been writing, I still have issues with the P-word. Plot.
  • A typical comment from my critique partner is, “What should we order for dinner?” No, seriously, I don’t have a critique partner. I show all my writing at every stage to my other half, E, who is my first reader. We often don’t know what to order for dinner, that’s true, but he always knows what to say to help me reach my goals for each of my books. He’s my secret weapon.
  • The book I wished I wrote is The Diviners by Libba Bray. She’s a mad genius.

Nova on Getting Published
  • When I was querying, I felt like giving up. I queried an adult novel to many agents years ago... and DID give up. Then I found YA and wrote something new and... here I am!
  • The biggest mistake I ever made querying my YA novel was not giving all the agents who were interested enough time to respond. I chose the right agent for me, and I don’t question that. But I didn’t act professionally—I was rushing, and way too excited!—by not notifying one of the agents in time, and he still teases me about that to this day.
  • When I got "The Call," my first thought was, “Sit down.” In my excitement, I somehow found myself standing up on top of the couch.
  • When I saw my book sale in Publishers Marketplace, I didn’t believe it was real. I had to stare at it for a while to be sure.

Nova on Life Outside Writing
  • If I weren't a writer, I'd probably be a photographer. When I was in college, I had two dreams and a self-designed combined major including both writing and photography. Then I got into MFA programs in fiction, and so I chose writing first, and never found my way back to making pictures. I still wonder what would have happened had I chosen photography, but I think the visual influence has made it into my fiction even still.
  • Secretly, I'm terrified of BATS. Actually, my fear of bats is no longer a secret, because when I was away recently in the mountains of California teaching a writing workshop, my students got to see up close and personal just how afraid of bats I am... because on two nights, bats got into the barn, and I freaked out. I was totally cool with the spiders, though.
  • Sometimes, when no one is around, I dance around my tiny city apartment with abandon. It helps with the writing stress. I’ll do it for ten, fifteen minutes... then I’ll get back in my desk chair and write.

Nova Ren Suma is the author of the YA novels Imaginary Girls (Penguin/Dutton, 2011) and 17 & Gone (Penguin/Dutton, 2013). She also wrote the middle-grade novel Dani Noir (Simon & Schuster/Aladdin, 2009), reissued as Fade Out for a YA audience (Simon Pulse, 2012). Her new novel, The Walls Around Us, is forthcoming in March 2015 from Algonquin YR.

Visit Nova online at www.novaren.com or read her blog at www.distraction99.com.

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.

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