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Blog Hop: Tag, I’m it!

I’ve been tagged by the lovely, super-awesome Edie Hemingway to participate in a fun Children’s/Young Adult Author Blog Hop! Edie is the author of ROAD TO TATER HILL, a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that was a winner of the 2009 Parents’ Choice Gold award:

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She’s also the owner of an adorable writing cabin that I secretely plan on moving into the next time she’s on vacation. Shh, don’t tell anyone, ‘kay?

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But first, I have four questions to answer just like Edie did in this post over at the One Potato … Ten blog and then keep the party going by tagging three more young adult authors to do the same!

1. What are you working on now?

Okay, not to get all paranoid or anything, but I’m still in semi-closed-door mode over my current project since my editor hasn’t seen it yet. My agent has already given it a big thumbs-up, but I don’t want to jinx things since I’m completely, totally, deeply in love this book … more than anything I’ve ever written before.

Which scares me to death.

I will say it’s a mid-grade about girl’s baseball in 70’s, and is something I was inspired to write after a visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame Women in Baseball display left me in joyful tears.

2. How does it differ from other works in the genre?

Thanks to many brave young ladies throughout history, girls were granted the right to play youth baseball in several leagues in the mid-70’s, but despite these rule changes, girls’ baseball has never become popular in America. The reasons why is something I hope to address.

3. Why do you write what you do?

I absolutely love, love, LOVE mid-grade and young adult novels! Ever since I first read Joan Bauer’s HOPE WAS HERE – one of my favorites – I knew these genres were exactly where my voice belonged … and not just because I’ve yet to grow up.

(Well, that might have a little to do with it. ;))

My current novel has a similar feel to my other books, since it’s full of quirky, flawed, dynamic characters in a small town who come together to form a family and heal each other’s pain. I’m a sucker for stories about people who create families for themselves! But I’d like to take this opportunity to say that despite there being another crappy mother and long-lost father in this book, it’s NOT a reflection of my own parents! My parents are lovely. 🙂

4. What is the hardest part about writing?

Geez, where to start?

Well, there’s dealing with that awful voice in my head, the one who says I’m not talented, I’m a horrible writer, and my story is stupid, stupid, stupid. And then there’s my buddy, Procrastination, who often whispers, “Facebook! Twitter! RunDisney forums, come play with us!” And speaking of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and other TimeSuckR’Us sites, there’s so much pressure for authors to create these amazing social media platforms as well as amazing books.

But over the years, I’ve learned how to deal with the above.

For that pesky voice in my head? I tell it to piss off, I’m busy writing, whenever it pops in to say hello, horrible author. Most times it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

For my buddy, Procrastination? Here’s a tool I learned about from the amazing Jeri Smith-Ready: A kitchen timer!

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Simply set the timer for however long you’d like to write, (I mostly go with four hours,) and every time you stop to refill coffee, make tea, go to the bathroom, post something on Twitter, catch up with your Facebook news feed, put in a load of laundry, or what have you … stop the timer!

The first time I tried this at a coffeeshop, I started at 11:00 but didn’t get my full four hours in until … 6:00. What? How was that possible? I mean, sure, a girl has to eat lunch. And I was downing lots of tea which = lots of bathroom breaks. And I did have to discuss As The Eraser Burns business with my co-bloggers, plus there were a few times I forgot to start the timer right away. But seven hours to get in four hours of writing, are you serious??

Let’s just say it was an eye-opener.

So now, my writing time is more focused and by the time those four hours are finished, I feel much more accomplished.

As for the third thing–the pressure authors are under to have great social media platforms–well, that’s just part of the business, so I’m sucking it up by getting back in the blogging groove and doing things like … blog hops! And now that my turn is over, I’m tagging three other writers. Once their posts are up, I’ll be sharing their links!

Until then, happy writing, everyone! 🙂

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