Many months ago, I finally had the opportunity — after reading this blog for nearly six years — to apply to be a Deb myself. I was excited beyond belief. I love this community — the commiseration and the camaraderie, the fun and the friendships. And it’s been everything I imagined it to be. I’ve made friends for life hear, and it’s been a treasure to share this journey with Amy, Colleen, Karma and Shelly. And to be honest, reading their take on Tiny Pretty Things, I smiled. And I cried.
Of course this post is late. That’s sort of become my trademark, right? So it’s to be expected, even (or maybe especially?) the week Tiny Pretty Things launches, when it’s finally my turn to take the Deb Interview. I never thought I’d get here, and honestly, it’s far from sinking in. So bear with me as I flail for a second, and then sit in a dumbstruck stupor.
Herewith, my take not the Deb Ball Interview:
Who is one of your favorite (fictional or non-fictional) characters?
Anne Shirley, the title character in Anne of Green Gables. She’s so fun and feisty, with a bold spirit and big dreams — and I always liked to think of myself that way. Plus, such a flair for drama. How could you not love that?
If you were a drink, what would you be and why?
My secret recipe adraki chai — filled with ginger, cardamom, fennel. Strong, spicy, unusual, and highly caffeinated.
Have you ever tried writing in a different genre? How did that turn out?
There have been so many twists. I started out writing screenplays — and one day, I hope to write a few again. But right now. I’m finding my groove in fiction. I write both YA and that nebulous thing called “women’s fiction,” and I’ll probably go back to screenwriting too at some point. (In fact, I’m making Dhonielle read a bunch of screenwriting craft books now). I think the structure and discipline of writing scripts really shaped my approach to fiction — I’m a definite plotter, and a big believer in the art of three-act structure. But I also love the freedom fiction brings as far as non-linearity and interiority. You’re allowed to get right up in the character’s head, which is pretty damn cool.
What’s your next big thing?
My current WIP is one that’s been with me in some form for more than a decade — first as a screenplay, then as a novel — and my mission now is to finish a draft by August. I can’t wait to see what it looks like in the end, I’ve been living with it for so long. It’s grown and morphed and shifted as I have, and hopefully it will become something worth the time I’ve devoted to it in the end.
What is your advice for aspiring writers?
Be persistent. Publishing isn’t an easy road — for any of us, even the ones who sell the first thing they write. And just having that first sale, or that fifth sale even, doesn’t offer any guarantees. People always say don’t quit your day job (and definitely, having a regular paycheck helps), but in a way, I think it helps to look at writing as a vocation as well as a creative outlet — you have to have that level of dedication and commitment, and you have to be in it for the joy of story, or you’ll drive yourself crazy.
GIVEAWAY: Comment on this post by Noon (EST) on Friday, June 5th to enter to win a copy of TINY PRETTY THINGS. Follow The Debutante Ball on Facebook and Twitter for extra entries—just mention that you did so in your comments. We’ll choose and contact the winner on Friday. Good luck!
An entertainment and lifestyle journalist published by The New York Times, People, Vulture.com, ABC News, MSN, Cosmopolitan and other major national media, Sona Charaipotra currently curates a kick-ass column on YA books and teen culture for Parade.com and is the co-founder of CAKE Literary, a boutique book development company. She studied journalism and American Studies at Rutgers before getting her masters in screenwriting from New York University (where her thesis project was developed for the screen by MTV Films) and her MFA from the New School. When she’s not hanging out with her writer husband and two chatter-boxy kids, she can be found poking plot holes in teen shows like The Vampire Diaries. Her debut, the YA dance drama TINY PRETTY THINGS (co-written with Dhonielle Clayton), hit shelves in May.