Dear Debut Author

Monday, July 11, 2016

Dear Debut Author, First off, congratulations! You have sold your first book! Your dream is coming true! Ahead of you is an absolutely thrilling, roller coaster of a year (or two), filled to the brim with new experiences and new people. You will do all the things that only writers daydream about—you will get your author photo taken and it will feel glamorous. You will receive blurbs from writers you…

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Hell, Yes, I Have Regrets

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

I confess: I’m jealous of Louise and Jenny, with their nonexistent and paltry lists of regrets. Because I do have regrets. Not so much on the real life side of the equation, where I share their look-forward-not-back attitude, but on the authorial side. And, being as how one of our missions here on the Ball is to offer guidance by reverse example, I am going to list them all right here…

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Being an Author, Not a Writer

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Something horrible happened to me the day I became an author: I stopped being a writer. I spent six years working on THE LOST GIRLS. It was the great pleasure of my life, second only to raising my children. Each morning I woke up and immediately started figuring out how I could avoid as many of my obligations as possible so I could spend more time writing. Days when I…

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How Not to Write

Monday, November 16, 2015

  Here is my time-tested, foolproof method of not writing. If you follow these seventeen simple steps, you may never write another word again!  1. Set your timer for the number of hours you have available to write before going to work, picking up the kids, going to the doctors etc. 2. Boot up your laptop. Read the pages you wrote yesterday, revising as you go. Do this until you reach a…

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How I Learned to Crush My Darlings’ Souls

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

As a reader, I’ve always understood how important it is for the characters in a novel to suffer.  If the main character doesn’t suffer enough, a novel fails to engage me no matter how much I might like the character or the prose.  As I look back at the books I’ve loved at different points in my life — from Little Women to The Lord of the Rings; from Catch-22 to The Remains…

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Conflict for the Conflict Averse: An Interview with Michelle Hoover

Monday, October 19, 2015

  I hate conflict, so I wasn’t surprised when I had trouble putting my characters into difficult situations. When I set out to write a novel, I wanted to create a town filled with people that I loved. Couldn’t I write a story about a bunch of people who cared about each other? Isn’t the world filled with enough trouble as it is? Don’t we read to escape stress? Needless to…

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How to Bake a Novel

Monday, October 12, 2015

I have a confession to make. I love my day job. I’m a baker. And everything* I know about writing a novel I learned in the kitchen. Here are some of the lessons. Always pre-heat the oven This is the dreaming time, where your novel is a spark, a collection of disjointed images and voices, and the bulk of the story is still to be discovered. For me this means…

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Publishing’s Best-Kept Secret

Monday, October 5, 2015

    When my revisions were complete, and my novel was in my agent’s hands, I got down to the serious business of daydreaming about selling my book. I wondered how long it would take. I tried to picture where I might be when I received the call (for some reason this was always outside of a café or restaurant, when in reality it happened in the women’s locker room…

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My Agent Story: Strength in Numbers

Friday, October 2, 2015

My fellow Debs have done an amazing job this week of demystifying the agent querying process. All have given stellar advice and/or shared their experience. I hope those new to the process are learning that there’s no typical success story, and every “yes” “no” or “maybe” from an agent is the result of a million different factors. That said, there are some particulars about my book that led me to…

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They read the slush pile!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

It was 2007 when I first set out to understand the query process with a manuscript much lighter than what I write now. I looked online for advice, and found mostly angry blogs and chat groups convinced no one read the slush pile. It was all very what’s the point in trying if your mom isn’t Judy Blume? Then I discovered a blog called Miss Snark. Miss Snark was a respected agent blogging…

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