Friday, September 18, 2009

Welcome Sydney Salter!

Two years ago, at the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrator’s conference in Century City, California, I enjoyed meeting newly contracted author, Sydney Salter. At the conference this past summer, I was delighted to get to buy a copy of her (very funny) book, My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters.

Sydney has been kind enough to join us for an interview and a book giveaway here at YA Fresh. So enjoy her interview, and please, leave a comment, to be entered to win a a signed copy of My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters!

Hello, Sydney! And welcome. Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

Writing for me started with keeping a daily diary during high school. I certainly didn’t expand much beyond gossip, adventures with my friends, arguments with my mother, and endless paragraphs about my various crushes. But I do think that keeping a diary helped me develop my teen voice. I did kind of hope to someday, maybe, write a novel—but how could I do something like that?

I didn’t write any fiction until I’d graduated from college with a degree in English (I was too afraid of failing to even take a creative writing class). I wrote truly terrible short stories that rarely received praise from my teachers or classmates. Until I returned to that adolescent voice… Hmm. But I wanted to be a “real” writer.

I didn’t start writing for a younger audience until I had children. Pretty quickly, I realized that raising two daughters would be the most difficult thing I’d ever do—so I might as well try writing. I wrote truly terrible picture books that resulted in stacks of rejection letters. And then I returned to that adolescent voice and wrote Jungle Crossing. I was hooked on novels—and wrote two more. I still collected rejection letters, but some of them had nice comments and suggestions. I revised, revised, and revised. Needing to shake up my writing routine (and rid myself of the rejection blues), I wrote My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters during National Novel Writing Month ( Realizing that it was my most commercial story, I submitted it only to agents. A few months—and some more revisions—later, I signed with Ted Malawer and he sold the book to Julie Tibbott at Harcourt.

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.

After I race my daughters off to school, I hurry home to make a cup of tea and dive into my writing. If I’m working on a first draft, I try to write a chapter a day. If I finish before school gets out, I’ll read someone else’s lovely edited and published novel or work on publicity tasks. If my girls are home, I’ll escape to a noisy café to write (where no one will ask me to help them find their blue shirt, or whatever).

When I’m revising a book, I’ll put in a full day, only stopping for lunch while watching a few minutes of Hot Topics on The View (I love bad television). I do try to stop working at the end of the school day.

Please tell us about My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters and what we can expect from this book.

The initial spark for the novel came from my worst-ever job experience—combined with the fact that I hated my nose in high school. Seventeen-year-old Jory Michaels gets a summer job to save money for a life-altering nose job. She wants to fit in with her “perfect” family, snag a boyfriend, and have an amazing senior year. Of course things go wrong (that’s the natural disasters part). The book is about learning to accept yourself, understanding your family, working things out with friends—and falling in love, of course!

Great, so what's up next? Do you have another project in the works?

My very first manuscript, Jungle Crossing, an upper middle-grade comes out this month (a testament to the power of revision!).

I also just finished copy-edits for Swoon At Your Own Risk, a teen novel about a girl with five ex-boyfriends who’s afraid to fall in love with again—but of course there’s this guy. Oh, and her grandma, a famous advice columnist has moved in for the summer. I hope to start another teen novel soon (I’m busy brainstorming ideas!).

Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Don’t give up! If you really want to write, keep learning, keep writing, and keep revising. I remember being so intimidated by a confident writer I met at my first writing conference. She seemed to know so much—and her novels sounded so amazing. But she never finished it. Way too many writers give up too soon. Just buckle down, soothe your sorrows with long walks and chocolate (okay, maybe that’s just me) and keep writing!

Thanks, Sydney!

And to all our YA Fresh readers, the contest starts NOW and concludes Sunday night at 6 pm PST. Best of luck!

17 fresh comments:

YA Vampire Books said...

Nice interview. Sounds like a good book!


Anonymous said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE that title, Sydney!
Interesting interview, too. Not just the usual thing.

Maja said...

Thanks for the encouragement! Your book sounds great!


Kelly Parra said...

Awesome interview! Thanks for sharing with us, Sydney!

Cuppa Jolie said...

Sydney...You rock! You,too, Tina! Thanks for the interview.

Monica said...

Can't wait to read it. Your personal story is very encouraging to those of us in the trenches.


Solvang Sherrie said...

I picked up the postcard for Jungle Crossing when I was at SCBWI-LA this summer. I'm looking forward to reading that one. Thanks for the inspiring interview :)

Sydney Salter said...

Thank you all so much for your nice comments!

lisa said...

Looking forward to reading your books. I love discovering new authors!

Aliya said...

Oooh, sounds awesome! Thanks for the interview, ladies =D


tetewa said...

I'd like to be included, count me in!

Anonymous said...

Great interview! Thanks, Sydney and Tina. :)

Llehn said...

I'd love to play please!


Riggs33 said...

Thanks for the interview! I love your book covers!

Anonymous said...

Count me in, too. Sounds great!

Sara M.

Anonymous said...

I've heard great things about this book.

TinaFerraro said...

Thanks to all who entered! The contest is officially closed. See the next post for the winner!