Happy Black Friday. I’m not acknowledging that Christmas is approaching, so the only store that will see me today is Publix, doing my weekly grocery shopping since I have to be at work at 7-freaking-o-clock on Saturday morning to work the Alabama-Auburn football game. Roll Tide Roll and War Damn Eagle yada yada yada.
Anyway, if you read the blog last Friday, you’ll know that I treated myself to a new Kindle Fire and, as a result, am having a contest to give away my gently-used, much-loved basic Kindle that’s less than a year old. Four entries possible each Friday, in the usual way: one for commenting, one if you’re a blog follower (new or old), one if you’re a Twitter follower @Suzanne_Johnson, and a fourth if you Tweet or RT the contest.
In the meantime, yesterday was a lovely day with family and extended family in Atlanta. When you engage in small-talk with people you don’t know very well, at least in this part of the world, safe topics are 1) the weather; 2) SEC football; 3) whether you prefer your turkey fried or roasted (definitely fried); 4) the author in the room. Oh, huh, wait. That’s me.
I expected to be asked: 1) when’s the book coming out? 2) What’s the book about? 3) How do you go about getting a book published? Those aren’t the questions I got.
Here were my top questions:
1) How long did it take you to write the book? or 1) How long does it take to write a book?
Well…that varies wildly by author, you know? I can only talk about myself. Royal Street took about seven months to draft and revise. It took another six-eight weeks to do editor’s revisions. I wrote River Road in four months, but I was on a mad burn, and I’m still waiting on revisions to come in. I’m shooting at five months to draft the third book in the Sentinels of New Orleans series, tentatively titled Elysian Fields, with a March 1 deadline (see progress meter on the righthand column of this page). Working full-time at a non-writing job and doing blogging and freelance work in addition to writing at night, I can theoretically pen two books a year, which seems prolific to me. But I recently copyedited a YA novel that was drafted in six days–was that author on crack?! The mind boggles. I could never do that, and am not sure I’d want to. My process is much more deliberate.
2) Who are some of the characters in your book?
I loved this question, and it was from my eldest nephew, who’s 10. I have a wizard named DJ (a girl-ick); a pirate named Jean Lafitte, who is a real person (okay, he’s undead and shucked this mortal coil a couple of centuries ago but let’s not get bogged down by details); a voodoo god (confusion was setting in by now); and a big dude who likes to shoot things. I think I’d been officially pegged the crazy aunt by this point, and said child wandered away.
3) Did you write it or type it?
Uh…my signature is barely legible. If I’d written it in longhand even I couldn’t read it.
4) How do you know where to start?
Uh…these are hard questions. I stumbled over this one, and am not even sure what I said. I think it had something to do with homesickness and post-traumatic stress. Gonna have to give this one some thought in case anyone ever asks again.
3) Did you get to decide what was on the cover?
Well, yes and no. I got to say what I really didn’t want to see on the cover as well as general things I’d like to see, and I appreciated having that input because a lot of authors don’t get any say at all. What I didn’t want to see: a red-haired, leather-bustier-wearing kitten with a whip and a tramp stamp–nothing wrong with that, but it just isn’t who my heroine is. She’s kind of a down-to-earth quirky, geeky girl who honestly doesn’t realize how pretty she is. She’s not the most experienced hand on deck but she’s fiercely loyal, sometimes to people who don’t deserve it. I think the cover artist did a great job of capturing DJ and her spirit.
So…want another shot at winning the Kindle (drawing will be Dec. 9)? Ask me a question, or answer mine: What quality do you most like to see in a hero or heroine?