We welcome author Christina Mandelski to YA Fresh today, to talk about her debut novel,The Sweetest Thing. And be sure to comment to be entered to win a signed copy!
Hi, Christina! Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?
Christina: I've wanted to be a published author since I was very young -- I can remember going to the library in third grade and going to the spot on the shelf where my books would someday sit. I was a big journalism geek in middle and high school and then ended up getting a degree in English/Creative Writing. After college it took about ten years before realizing that if I ever wanted a book on a shelf, I'd actually have to finish one. It took another decade to make it happen.
My first sale came about after finding a great agent. Nine months after signing with Upstart Crow Literary, Egmont USA made an offer on my manuscript. It really was a dream come true.
Wonderful! 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.
Christina: I like to start my day getting the busy work out of the way -- I answer emails and take care of any publicity projects that I'm working on. I also update The Sweetest Thing's Facebook page (and peek around to see what's going on -- though I really have to give myself a time limit!). After that, I write. Soon I'll start a brand new manuscript, which I hope to complete (first draft, anyway) by the end of the summer. I do have two daughters, both middle school age, but I still try to get in about 3-4 hours a day, if possible, then spend the rest of the day being a mom.
Please tell us about your novel, THE SWEETEST THING, and what we can expect from your characters.
Christina: The Sweetest Thing is about a 15 year old cake decorating prodigy named Sheridan Wells. Her mother deserted the family years earlier, and Sheridan's fondest wish is to get her mom back to decorate cakes with her in their quaint western Michigan town. Just as she's finding some solid clues about her mother, Sheridan's father, a celebrity chef, announces that he's been offered a reality cooking show and he wants the two of them to move to New York City. So this is Sheridan's attempt to fix her life, with bittersweet results.
I’m looking forward to reading it! What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.
Christina: I've been working on what I'd describe as a Cinderella story with a Faustian twist. Very fun stuff. And I've just had a new idea (that I mentioned above) that I'm hoping I can crank out this summer.
Would you like to close with a writing tip?
Christina: I get this question a lot and I always feel compelled to give the same answer -- the most useful writing advice I've ever gotten is from my mother. Whenever I'd call her complaining about a plot problem or whining about being stuck, she'd say "Oh, Chris, just finish it." It's true -- for years I'd start something and the minute it got hard, I'd quit. But think of it this way -- if you write a story, it may never be published, but if you never finish it, the results are guaranteed. Just. Finish. It. Words to live by. Thanks, Mom!
And now for the book giveaway! Simply leave a comment telling us “a sweet thing” you enjoy. Be it a cupcake flavor, a smile from someone special in your life, a candy bar, a purring kitten...
Check back on Monday to learn the winner!