CHASING THE SKIP comes out tomorrow (tomorrow!), so as a prelude, here are some thoughts about the writing and publication process.
My path to publication was a long one, spanning twelve years and nine books written. I'd like to pick up, though, in November of 2008, which is when I wrote CHASING THE SKIP. I'd been working on a novel I was writing as my creative project for my master's program. I'd chosen a difficult novel for my thesis--one with lots of characters and problems I didn't know how to tackle. I did that because I wanted to grow, and while four years later I'm glad I did it, at the time I just felt burned out and exhausted.
I had just turned the final draft in to my committee members, and all I wanted to do in the world was write something fun. So I pulled out an outline I already had for a book I thought would write up fairly quickly. It only had three main characters, and took place mostly in a truck or along the highway. And what was better, it was about bounty hunting. What could be more fun than that?
In the two weeks before I had to do final revisions on my thesis novel, I wrote half of CHASING THE SKIP. I took two weeks off for revisions, thesis defense, and then Thanksgiving, but after the break I came back to it and wrote the second half the novel in another two weeks. I ran the whole novel (in first draft, it was about a third shorter than it is now) through my last and favorite workshop class of my master's program. They liked it. I liked it. It felt good to be enjoying writing again rather than slogging through.
It took about a year after that before I signed with my agent, and another six months before we had a polished draft ready to send out to editors. Even after several drafts, it still went out my least-revised novel to date. I needed to embellish and develop a lot of things (one can't, after all, sell a YA novel at 30k words) but the core of the story didn't need to change. And when the book finally went out on submission in winter, 2010, my editor snapped it up in a pre-empt before a full month had gone by. Easily written, easily sold. These are, I believe, the only two easy things that have happened in my twelve years writing.
Two and a half years later, it's finally about to hit the shelves. It will be read by people I don't know. And I couldn't be more excited that it's this book--the fun one--that's going out first. I hope my readers will enjoy it as much as I did.
Janci Patterson writes fantasy, science fiction, and contemporary YA novels. Her debut novel, CHASING THE SKIP, will be released October 2nd, 2012, from Henry Holt. She lives with her family in Orem, Utah.