Friday, May 08, 2009

Ruby, Unscripted Giveaway!

We are pleased to welcome Cindy Martinusen-Coloma and to talk to her about her life, and her newest book, Ruby Unscripted,

Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

As a child and teenager, I’d make up stories in my head at night with some continuing for weeks or months. I still do this if I can’t sleep, but then I try waking up to write the ideas down.
I started my first novel at age 12. The book was about a girl and her friends seeking underwater treasure. It was very much an Indiana "Jane" type story, and yes, I was the lead in my own story (though with a different name).
Writing was one of many things I wanted to do. Mainly I wanted to be an archeologist or an actress. But as a writer, I’m an archeologist digging up a story and also like an actress playing different roles on the page. I get to live many lives and experiences through the characters.

When I was just out of high school, I became more serious about my writing. It sort of clicked that this was my calling.

My first sale was a play that I wrote and produced for my church. I was so excited! But after that early success, there were years of rejection. I’ve kept most of those rejection letters so that I could further triumph when I received the acceptances. I still have that file and I show it to my writer’s group sometimes.

My first novel sale in 1998 came 8 years after I started pursuing writing and publication. With it, two dreams came true -- my first published novel and the chance to go to Europe (I spent my advance on two research trips to Europe).

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.

I'd love to say that I have a "typical" writing schedule. I’m always trying to work on my discipline. Many writers, myself included, are natural procrastinators. And our creative natures make it hard to do the same exact thing consistently -- or that might be my excuse.

Mornings and late night are my best writing times. A few weeks ago, I was getting up at 3 or 4AM. This worked great, but I’m a natural night owl so I like working until 3 AM usually. This doesn’t work well with the family schedule however. So you can see my dilemma.

Lately, my husband and I have grabbed onto the joys of working at a coffeehouse 2-3 days a week (he’s a web developer and an aspiring writer). I get a lot done when I’m away from the house. I also enjoy the “characters” that come in, the conversations I sometimes overhear, and of course, the coffee!

I set daily word count goals (like 2,000 a day). But when a deadline is approaching, I'll work up to 15 hours a day. Then after the book is done, I have to catch up with life – reorganize the house, do more activities with the family, exercise and catch up with my neglected girlfriends.

Typical? I’m still trying to find that.

Please tell us about your latest novel and what we can expect from your characters.

I’m very excited about this new novel – my first Y/A to be released.

Ruby Unscripted is about a girl who moves from her small conservative hometown in California to an affluent town near San Francisco. It’s a different culture for her. And while it’s a dream come true in many ways, Ruby’s life is suddenly torn in two.

Ruby’s parents are divorced and both remarried with her father still living in her hometown. All of her friends are back home, and the guy she liked for a long time finally says that he likes her too – once she moved away (talk about typical!). There are a lot of exciting things in Marin County, but Ruby struggles to find her place among the wealthy and sophisticated people at her school. She works in her aunt’s coffeehouse/cinema, which includes a lot of foibles and interesting characters – one is a good-looking, mysterious guy who is part of the amateur filmmaking scene.

The characters of Ruby, her little brother Mac, and older brother Carson are definitely inspired by the personalities of my daughter and two sons. The story isn’t about them, but the personalities are definitely similar. That was really fun to write. My youngest son now wants a book written solely about him (the Mac character).

Ruby’s journey includes how we all seek to find “our art” and the challenges of going after our dreams.

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

Coming very soon (November), I have another Y/A novel called Beautiful. The novel is about two teen sisters who are complete opposites –Ellie has everything going for her and Megan is much more withdrawn and alone. When a tragedy occurs, the sister’s lives are irrevocably changed. They each have to make some hard decisions about what they want out of life, who they are to one another and what they each believe. They both must explore in their own ways what “being beautiful” is really about.

Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Belief, hard work and perseverance.

Many talented people waste their gifts because they lack these three elements.

My main advice for both aspiring and professional writers is for them to develop strong belief (in their writing and in God), work hard (the hard work never ends in writing), and keep going through rejections, criticism, late nights and characters who come to life and change your book completely.

Thanks so much for joining us here, and wishing you big success with this new book!

For our readers who'd like a chance to win a copy of Ruby, Unscripted, please leave a comment between NOW and Sunday, May 10 at 7 pm PST, to be entered. Best of luck!

28 fresh comments:

Sunnie said...

I would definitely love to win a copy! It sounds good.

TheBookworm said...

I've had Ruby, Unscripted on my wish list for 5 months, please enter me! :D

Llehn said...

I would love to read this book, so I would be very grateful if you could enter me. Thanks!

Janie Emaus said...

What a great interview. I can't wait to read both of these books.

TinaFerraro said...

Thanks to Cindy for joining us, and good luck to all the entrants!

Thao said...

Sounds like something I'll enjoy a lot. Please count me in!

biblauragraphy said...

Wow, both of your upcoming YA novels sounds great! I'll be looking out for these.

Kelly Parra said...

Sounds awesome!! Thanks for sharing with us, Cindy!!

Liyana said...

Wow, I'd love to win this. (:

Summer said...

great interview!

Steph Su said...

I would love to read this book. Thank you for the contest! :)

stephxsu at gmail dot com

tetewa said...

Enjoyed the interview, I'd like to be included!

Kathleen Elizabeth said...

Enter me! Thanks for the interview, it was very interesting :-)

Katie said...

This was a great interview. I would love to win a copy!

Diana Dang said...

I would love to read her novel =)

babygirlG said...

This sounds so good! I'd love to play please! Thank you.

Paradox said...

I've heard of Ruby, Unscripted! It sounds similar to a book I've read, Ruby Electric. Great interview!

GirlforChrist said...

Wow! This sounds like a great book! May the best commenter win! lol

sweetmelissa818 said...

It sounds great! And if it has coffee on the cover I have to read it!

The Giveaway Diva said...

sounds like a good one! =)

Michelle Kuo said...

Oooh I would love to enter! The book sounds really good :)


Amber said...

I would love to win a copy of this! It sounds really good and I love that cover!


Erika Lynn said...

great post, sounds like something I would really enjoy

annemarie said...

Sounds like an amazing book. Please enter me! :)

MarjoleinBookBlog said...

lovely interview, and I love the cover of Ruby Unscribted, would like to be entered

Meredith said...

Wonderful interview. I like that her son wants a book written about him! So funny. I cannot wait to read this book.

~Meredith F.
rosesaremyfavorite at hotmail dot com

cpullum said...

Wow count me in!!!!
I would love to read the book!

TinaFerraro said...

Okay, thanks everyone for entering, the contest is closed. Check back to see the winner!