Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What's Fresh with Carrie Jones's Love (and other Uses for Duct Tape)

In the follow-up to Carrie Jones Tips on Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend, Belle is closing in on her last few months in high school. With a cool and loving straight boyfriend, the bestest best friend a girl could ask for, and a house full of fans when playing her guitar, things are much better than they were before.

But everyone else seems to be more excited with the upcoming changes in their lives than Belle. Her mom has a new boyfriend who makes her giggle and her best friend Em and boyfriend Shawn are madly in love and always showing it! Even Belles ex is happy with his new guy, Bob. So whats wrong with Belle and Tom? Nothing is whats the matter. Nothings happening at all. No sex, no "I love you." Nada. Whats a girl to do?

Hi Carrie, thanks for joining us! Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

Carrie: I was a newspaper reporter and editor but I was tired of having to tell the truth all the time and going to planning board meeting where the members argue about land use regulations until 3 a.m. So, I started writing a story for my daughter. I'd tell her a little bit every time we took a car ride that lasted over 10 minutes. Since we live in rural Maine this meant a lot of car rides qualified. The story got longer and longer and I realized that making up stories was a lot more fun than newspaper writing. Then, I realized if it was so fun I should probably study how to do it. I applied to Vermont College's MFA Program in Writing for Children and Young Adults. They actually took me, which was surprising.

After a year I submitted TIPS ON HAVING A GAY (ex) BOYFRIEND to Flux.

It began as all good things do with an email announcing the creation of Flux, an imprint of Llewellyn. Flux was accepting YA novels. Hhm? I thought to myself. I just wrote a YA novel. Sure, I hadn’t shown it to my advisor at Vermont College’s MFA in Writing Program. Sure, I hadn’t let ANYONE read it. Sure, I only just wrote it in the last month and it was rough, rough, rough. But I sent it in. I chugged out a cover letter. I found some stamps. I mailed it.

Here is what followed, taken from my livejournal entries.

Sweet Editor Man called me within a week of me mailing the manuscript. Seriously. It was wild.

The 30th, 2006

Okay. Here’s the big question of the day: Why am I so stupid?

I will work on the self esteem exercises tomorrow… but today! Today! Today I am allowed to realize the full extent of my idiotness.

Here’s why.

I sent out some manuscript queries on Thursday.

I get a phone call this morning, from a real live editor who says, “Um, is this C.C. Jones?”

“Yes,” I say while pouring out cat food.

He then proceeds to tell me he got my query, wants to see more of my manuscript, but his email requesting it bounced back.

“Really?” I say. “That’s weird.”

“Let me tell you the address,” he says. “cjonese at…”

“Oh,” I say. “Oh. Oh. Oh.”

“What?” he says.

“There’s no e on the end of Jones.”

“I didn’t think so,” he says.

I then apologize and berate myself for not even being able to spell my own last name! What an idiot. He gives me an email address. I send him the rest of the manuscript.

He is a very nice man and he took it anyway.

Haha! We've all made those kind of mistakes, Carrie! Readers and writers often like to get a behind the scenes peek of an author's writing routine. It would be great if you could please share your typical writing day schedule.

Carrie: 1. Wake up.
2. Check email.
3. Sit at computer.
4. Try to write words.
5. Try to write more words.
6. Get antsy.
7. Go use the treadmill for half hour, try to time this so it's at the same time as a Daily Show repeat.
8. Try to write more words.
9. Cry.
10. Go on cross-trainer for 15 minutes.
11. Revise words on page.

Please tell us about your latest novel Love (And Other Uses For Duct Tape) and what we can expect from your characters.

Carrie: LOVE (AND OTHER USES FOR DUCT TAPE) is from Flux. It's the sequel to TIPS ON HAVING A GAY (EX) BOYFRIEND and it was released on March 1, which is my birthday.

All the characters are negotiating their relationships. Belle, the main character, is struggling with the fact that her boyfriend, Tom, hasn't attempted to couple with her and whether that means:
1. He doesn't like her that way.
2. She's uncouplable.

At the same time her best friend, Emily, is dealing with some very heavy issues and Belle's trying to be the best friend she can.

Sounds great! What's up next for you? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.

Carrie: My next book arrives in August. It's called GIRL, HERO. It's about Liliana Faltin. Her stepdad has died. Her biological dad seems to be having some cross-dressing issues, and her mom has a new man coming to stay with them. Liliana's a ninth-grader struggling with trying to find a father hero, and so she writes letters to John Wayne, a dead movie star. Eventually, she figures out that she can be her own hero. That sounds like a song from FAME! doesn't it? Yikes. I think it was... "You gotta be your own hero."

Thanks so much for sharing with us, Carrie! I wish you the best with your writing career. Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Carrie: Writing is when multiple thoughts attempt to create a single entity. It's fun and fabulous and amazing, but it's okay to sometimes get annoyed with it. It's like having a husband/wife/life partner. Sometimes you think it's the greatest thing ever. You can't live without it. Sometimes you just want it to hand over the remote, sit on the couch, and be quiet. If you look at it as a big, fun experiment those good times seem to occur more frequently.

Carrie Jones likes Skinny Cow fudgsicles and potatoes. She does not know how to spell fudgsicles. This has not prevented her from writing books. She lives with her cute family in Maine, but she grew up in Bedford, NH where she once had a séance with cool uber-comedian Sarah Silverman.

The Meyers brothers are from Bedford, too, so you’d think it would make Carrie funnier, coming from Bedford N.H. Obviously, something didn’t work.

Carrie has a large, skinny white dog and a fat cat. Both like fudgicles. Only the cat likes potatoes. This may be a reason for the kitty’s weight problem (Shh… don’t tell). Carrie has always liked cowboy hats but has never owned one. This is a very wrong thing. She graduated from Vermont College’s MFA program for writing. She has edited newspapers and poetry journals and has recently won awards from the Maine Press Association and also been awarded the Martin Dibner Fellowship as well as a Maine Literary Award. Visit her website at CarrieJonesBooks.com.

6 fresh comments:

Melissa Walker said...

Carrie sounds hilarious! Great interview!

TinaFerraro said...

Absolutely, Melissa, she sounds hilarious! And I've got her first book on my bedstand now, waiting to be read...

yabooknerd said...

Can NOT wait to read this book. The first one was great. Love the story about the wrong email address. Great stuff :)

Heather said...

Awesome interview! Carrie Jones is always so hilarious. I loved TIPS, but when I went looking for the sequel today at two different book stores, neither had it. *sigh*

bria said...

What a fun interview - Tina, you're killing me. Every time I stop in my TBR pile gets bigger

TinaFerraro said...

LOL, Bria. Well, far be it from me to try to make your life simpler. :) Keep coming 'round and we'll keep your stack growing. ('Til it looks like mine!)