Friday, November 12, 2010

Welcome to Christy Raedeke

I met debut YA author Christy Raedeke a couple years back through a fellow writer on Facebook, in a Scrabble game. She's a very strong player, I must say, and now that her first book, Prophecy of Days-Book One: The Daykeeper's Grimoire, is on book shelves, I can attest that she's a very strong writer, too!

Hey, Christy, so glad to have you here.

Thanks so much for inviting me to YA Fresh. I loved meeting you at a Facebook Scrabble game--the power of the internet to connect word lovers everywhere cannot be underestimated!

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

After majoring in journalism in college, I worked in high-tech Marketing and PR, but always loved fiction and continued to take classes at night and on weekends. I was kind of focused on the short story and didn’t think I had a book in me—-little did I know the book inside me would be so big I’d have to break it in two and sell it as a series!

I met agent Laura Rennert at the Big Sur Writer’s Workshop that the Andrea Brown Literary Agency puts on every year (best workshop out there, in my opinion!). Laura was one of my “faculty” and I was workshopping the book that would become Prophecy of Days. I left with great direction on how to tweak the book, so I went home and worked on it for a few weeks and then sent it back to her. She signed me and then the real revision started!

Andrew Karre was at Flux at the time, and it was he who acquired the book. I was elated. After several years, my dream had come true--I was going to be published! As soon as it hit me that people might actually read the book, the terror set in…

Yep, know that terror well! Now, 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.

Sadly, “typical schedule” could never be used to describe my writing time. When I was writing
Book I of Prophecy of Days, I was home with young children and I would write while they napped or were at preschool. Last year when my youngest entered elementary, I went back to work in the world (and oh, how I missed my writing cave!). I still had a lot to do on Book II after I started work, so I’d write at night and on weekends. It’s most helpful for me to go away for a weekend and do a huge number of pages—I prefer to really get in the groove and crank stuff out. If I have to I’ll do an hour here and an hour there, but mostly I write when I know I have at least 2-3 hours in front of me.

Please tell us about your novel, Prophecy of Days-Book One: The Daykeeper's Grimoire, and what we can expect from your characters.

Hmmmm. Well, I suck at the mini-synopsis, but here goes. It’s a story about modern technology and ancient mysteries, about adventure and travel and discovery. There’s a girl, her friend, a boy, and a mysteries monkey who communicates through origami. Add in some Mayan astronomy and people with evil motives and intrigue and mayhem ensue… (Here is where I rely heavily on the ellipsis to imply that there is so much more! Which there is! I promise!)

Sheesh, can you believe I’m in marketing? It’s like how the cobbler’s children have no shoes—the marketer sucks at packaging her own books!

Haha, well, I think it sounded great! So what's up next? Do you have another project in the works?

I do have a new project! It’s so fun to be in the courtship phase where every idea my new novel has seems just charming and full of possibility. We have not yet had our first argument and I have not discovered that he actually does watch Sports Center every night despite saying that he’s all about the foreign film. It’s blissful. Can you tell I’m only on page 28? The book is contemporary YA with a male protagonist, so it’s really different from the Prophecy of Days books.

I also have another finished manuscript that’s sort of marinating. When I feel stalled with my new love I will go back to that for a cold read. It is the manuscript that An Na chose to win the Holmes Fellowship for YA Literature from Oregon Literary Arts, so it feels very special to me—though I know it needs tons of work

Would you like to close with a writing tip?

My favorite writing tip came from author Teri Hall (The Line). When I was just losing so much time on “research” (aka legitimate Google searches for the book that somehow ended up as Scrabble games or Facebook stalking) she suggested the 40/20 thing. Turn off all distractions, get some tea or coffee, set a timer for 40 minutes, and write straight through. Use the following 20 minutes to do whatever Google/Facebook/Tweetish thing you need to do and then go at it again. It’s amazing how much you can get done!

Also: write the book you want to read. You have to read the damn thing so many times that if it’s not something you love you might go insane.

That is all the wisdom I have! It’s been fun to be on your blog, thanks for the interview!

Thanks--and a great tip for me, too, to keep some control over my hours of Scrabble!

6 fresh comments:

Kelly (Lynn) Parra said...

Thanks for sharing with us, Christy!!

Robin said...

Great interview! Thanks so much for the introduction, and best wishes to Christy!

Anonymous said...

Interesting interview. Honest to a point.

Janet said...

Christy, I know your very proud Mom, and I can see how she bursts with feelings of accomplishment at how you have grown into a productive mother and author. Of course, the grandchildren must be listed first! :)

Teri Hall said...

I echo the comment from “anonymous” – it’s refreshing to hear pointedly honest responses (I assume this is what Anonymous must have meant) from authors about how hard it is to keep a writing schedule (especially with a day job), how difficult it is to pitch your own book, and the strange flip-flops your stomach does when you imagine readers actually holding your finished book in their hands.

I know Christy's journey pretty well, and she has done a great job of telling about it here.

TinaFerraro said...

Thank you, Teri! And I second what you are saying about the difficulties of juggling one's schedules and one's emotions along the path to publication, and appreciate how Christy has shared that with us.