by Susan Dennard
Guys, I am SO incredibly excited to be able to share this interview with you. Kiki gives some fantastic, thought-provoking answers, and...well...I haven't exactly hidden the fact that I'm totally fangirling over her novel, The Faerie Ring.
If you want to read my review of this fantastic addition to YA fantasy, head here. Otherwise, onwards to the interview!
So, Kiki, when you started writing THE FAERIE RING, which came first for you: the characters or the plot?
The characters came to me first. Tiki was there and I knew she was a pickpocket. After she stole the Queen’s ring I suddenly t hought – what if somebody else wanted the ring? And that’s when the faeries showed up.Wow, I had the same experience with my own characters--they came first, and then I built in the plot. Very cool. When you sat down to write the novel, what was the biggest challenge for you?
To be honest, there wasn’t a hard part. The story just fell out of my head onto the page and I had to type as fast as I could to keep up!!!! However, I’ve had hard parts in other stories and there are a couple of things I do: 1) keep writing and see if I can get the momentum going again and figure I’ll fix any problems in revision. 2) Think up the worst possible thing that can happen to my main character and throw it in there, or 3) figure out where I got stuck – sometimes plots will take a wrong turn and if you go back and eliminate a scene, you can get things moving again.Um, okay, I'm officially jealous. My first drafts are like giving birth...for 30+ days straight. Once you had a finished book, what was your journey to publication like?
I think my experience has been pretty typical. THE FAERIE RING was actually my second book. An agent had requested a partial of my first book and I wrote TFR while I waited for her response. She asked for a revision on my first book and I mentioned I’d written a second book so she said send both back. At that point, (November 2008) the agent (Kate Schafer Testerman) offered to represent me and she went out first with THE FAERIE RING. We got close several times but it took about nine months to find the *right* editor at Tor.And what a great fit it was! The end product for THE FAERIE RING was fantastic! Now, as an eager fangirl, I have to know: What’s your next writing project?
I just finished writing a YA contemporary called THE LAST DANCE. That one just fell out of my head onto the page too. So much fun to write! I will probably write book 3 of THE FAERIE RING series this winter and I’m halfway through a historical kind-of steampunk fantasy right now.Historical steampunk. Clearly you and I were meant to hang out at some point (I don't mean that in a creepy fan-stalker way...er...not completely, at least). As a fellow historical/steampunk/fantasy writer, I am very curious what a typical writing day looks like for you?
It varies. I have to spend a lot more time with marketing now, so that takes up an enormous chunk of my day. Also, I’m a mom to a teenage girl so I spend a lot of time with her. Plus the cooking ,cleaning, laundry business. Yuk. But I write something almost every day – seven days a week. I do that instead of watch TV.ME TOO! No TV, and 7 days a week of work. (I stand by my hanging-out declaration!) Do you have a critique partner or beta reader?
Yes, I have a couple of people who I trade manuscripts with.As do most professionals, I think. And, when do you decide your book is ready for your agent's/editor's eyes?
It depends on the feedback I get from my crit partners. If their suggestions aren’t huge, then I know I’m close.That's a pretty good approach, methinks. So, now that I've finished THE FAERIE RING and am searching for my next read, I have to know: what are YOU reading?
I’m reading an ARC of Laini Taylor’s DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE.ACK! That's at the top of my TBR list! (These similarities are uncanny, Kiki. ;)) Now, before we wrap this interview up, do you have any final words of advice or inspiration?
If writing is your dream than you can never give up. The industry is VERY competitive and you have to go into it knowing that rejection is not personal. It will take time to sell your book. You might not sell your first book. (I didn’t.) One editor / agent will love a story and the next won’t. It’s subjective. But stick to it and write for the love of telling a story. There’s a lot to learn about writing and you will be well-served to take classes, join critique groups and attend writing conferences. Always be open to revising to improve the story and never give up!!
Ain't that the truth? Never give up, never surrender! (Any Galaxy Quest fans out there? Anyone, anyone?)
Thank you so much, Kiki, for taking the time out of your busy, laundry/cooking/writing-filled life ( ;) ) to answer my questions, and I can’t wait to more of your books in stores. (Um, and more Rieker--can you possibly give me some more of him too?)
Susan Dennard is a writer, reader, lover of animals, and eater of cookies. She is repped by Sara Kendall of NCLit, and her debut, SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY, will be available from Harper Children’s in 2012. You can learn more about her on her blog or twitter.