salsastar asked: I ask you a question before, but I'm a writer for my school paper, & my last article was a review on GC, and we'd love to do an interview. We have four questions in mind. First question, What was your writing process for the book? Second question, What made you think to write the book(s)? Third question, How did you think the book would sell? Did you ever imagine it spawning a movie and three sequels? Last but not least, are there any other books coming in the Series? Thanks in advance!
I hope I’m not too late on this. Sorry, there tends to always be a delay in my getting back to people. Too much email!
(1) My writing process is basically this. I brainstorm, going on walks, writing notes, trying to come up with a story idea — something that excites me that doesn’t feel like it’s ever been told before. Once I have what seems like a good idea, I try to develop it in the form of an outline. Basically, I write the story up in ten pages or less. If I think that this IS a good idea (and most of the time, I don’t, so the process stops right there), then I start to write the project itself. I become sort of manic, just trying hard to get a rough draft down in my computer. I don’t really care about the writing at this point, and I often even leave certain scenes blank and move forward to the scenes that most excite me at the time. I write AT LEAST 2000 words a day — I don’t let myself go to bed until I’m done. Once I’m done with the rough draft, I go back and fill in all the blanks and revise everything. This can take a long time — almost as long as the first draft. But once that’s done, it goes to my partner, who gives me his feedback. Then I rewrite based on his notes, and send it out to four or five of my friends. I rewrite it AGAIN based on their notes. Then it finally goes to my agent and/or editor, and then rewrite it at least one more time based on their notes.
Nutshell? The old adage that “writing is rewriting” is really true for me. The “first draft” is really only about 1/4 of the process.
The other thing that’s true for me is that writing involved a lot of feedback — and a lot of criticism! Thin-skinned people shouldn’t be writers. Seriously.
(2) Why did I write the Russel Middlebrook books? It’s a simple answer: at the time, I didn’t see anything like them, and I really wanted to read books like mine. I figured if I liked the idea other people would too.
You can read the whole, convoluted story of how and why I wrote the books here. (And feel free to quote!) It also answers your “Did I think it would sell?” question.
(3) Sadly, it’s getting kind of hard to remember what my exact expectations for the project were, but I can tell you that for almost all my projects, I alternate between thinking they’re great (and that they’ll be wildly successful!), and thinking I’ve missed what I set out to do and I’ve ended up with a book or screenplay that’s a complete failure.
As with most things in life, in most cases, the truth is usually somewhere in between.
But one thing that HAS surprised me is how quickly LGBT-themed works have been financially viable. When I was starting out (in the 1990s), EVERYONE told me I was wasting my time. Turns out I wasn’t at all! I was just ahead of my time.
(4) I haven’t started book #5 (although I know what it will be about — it jumps ahead five years), and I can’t say for sure that I’ll write it. I have lots of other projects that I also want to write. But I think I will eventually, probably for late 2015.
Good questions! Thanks for asking em. :-)