Geek Girl | Createspace | YA/Teen | 7/23/10
Please tell us your latest news!
I am currently in heavy editing mode for my second novel, "Heart on a Chain," which I'm hoping to release late this year or early next year. It's the story of a severely abused girl finding love, and her own self worth, during the course of her high-school senior year.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
It's the curse of any author, I think, to constantly second-guess yourself. There comes a point at which you have to just let it be and publish it, otherwise there would never be a single book published. So, yes, there are some details I would change, maybe explain some things better. But as an overall, no, I would leave it as is. The essence of the story is what it would be whether I changed those things are not, and that's the important thing. I'm pretty happy, generally, with it as is.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Oooh, that's a tough one. There are so many that I love. My library of books literally fills one wall in my living room - side to side and floor to ceiling - and that doesn't count the hundreds of books I have on my Kindle. I read nearly every genre out there - YA, romance, sci-fi, fantasy, horror, suspense, mystery, classics...if it's a good story, I'm there. To narrow it down to one is impossible. Recently, I've finished both the Hunger Games series, and the Maximum Ride series, both of which I really enjoyed. I'm a big fan of reading anything new by debut authors. Of course, I read YA more than anything else.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I find I'm much better at telling a story if I'm doing it in first-person, so you will likely find all my books written in this manner. I like to get inside the head of my heroine, find out just what makes her tick. I also like to put my characters into bad situations (abuse, foster-care, social pariahs, etc) so that I can help them rise above that. I hugely admire real people who themselves have taken a bad situation, and turned it around. I also have a bad habit of beginning sentences with conjunctions ("and" and "but" being my favorites), so I have to work really hard at not doing that. I trade chapters with a few other authors for editing and critiquing, which is a blessing so they can point them all out to me.
Do you see writing as a career?
It's more of a passion for me. I've been writing my whole life (my office is littered with half-finished manuscripts from years past). It's a dream come true to finally be able to publish. I think every writer would love to be the next Stephenie Meyer, or Sarah Dessen, or James Patterson but let's face it - select few will achieve that kind of success. So, I'm happy to just keep writing and if I sell a few books here or there, that's good enough for me. So far, I think I've given away more of my books that I've sold!
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Clearly. I had an honors English teacher in high school who took my love of reading and turned it into a love of writing. Each day in class, we began with him revealing a subject, and giving us 10 minutes to do nothing but write about that subject. It became my favorite part of the day - and to this day remains my favorite part of high school. So, thanks, Mr. Bickmore, for fanning the flames with your own passion for literature.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
First and foremost, learn your craft. Correct grammar and punctuation are everything. You might have a great idea, but if it's poorly written, no one will want to read it. Spell-check is great, but it isn't everything. Even in the simple things, like pitching your ideas or writing your blurb, you need to do correctly. Once you've mastered that, then don't let anyone tell you that you don't have the right to pursue your dream. Go for it with everything you have. There's no such thing as too old or too young to be an effective writer. If you have a passion for it, then follow it.
How does your family feel about having a writer in the family? Do they read your books?
They've been surprisingly supportive. I didn't tell anyone what I was doing until Geek Girl was actually published, thinking they might think I was silly, I guess. Or more likely afraid they would mock this dream that was so precious to me. I couldn't have been more wrong. They are all really proud, and yes, they've all read it - even the ones who don't normally read. I completely underestimated the great family I am blessed with.
What did you do before you became a writer? Do you write full time?
Mostly, I've been a wife and mom for several years. My husband and I own a cabinet making business, so that's also taken up much of my time. Writing has always been something I did just for me. Then I began writing for my daughters, and they loved what I was doing, always begging me for more. That's when I began to truly see writing as something more than my own entertainment. Now I spend several hours each day writing. And I've never been happier.
What is your writing process? Do you outline, fly by the seat of your pants or a combination of both?
I completely fly. I think for me an outline would feel too much like work, and would constrain me. When I have an idea, I might write a few scenes that will come in the middle of the book, then set them aside and start at the beginning. Sometimes the story arcs in a way that takes me to those scenes, but sometimes it goes unexpectedly in a completely different direction. My characters often surprise me by things they do! I definitely write in scenes, seeing each one as part of the "movie" running through my head. I want my readers to feel like they're reading an interesting movie, if that makes sense.
Do you have a favorite object that is pertinent to your writing? If so what is it and please describe it. (Pen, Coffee Cup, Pet, Blanket, Chair)
My laptop is my baby, of course. I have a certain spot on my couch where I can put my feet up and totally immerse myself in writing. I also use my ears a lot - to listen. The world is full of fascinating people with intriguing stories. Everyone has a story, even if they don't know it. It's amazing what you can learn, what can inspire you, by just paying attention and asking a few questions.
Do you have a ritual when it comes to writing? Example..get coffee, blanket, paper, pen and a comfy place
I'm usually planted on the couch in the middle of the family room, surrounded by life. Oddly, I even usually have the TV on. If I hit a block, and need to get the creative juices flowing, I might listen to music or watch an inspiring movie. I find I am most likely to find ideas either in my dreams (yes, I dream much of my stories up, literally) or riding down the road on my Harley (yes, I ride a Harley and no, you would never guess it to look at me).
What main genre do you write in?
Teen / Young Adult
I would love to hear from you. Visit my website and send me an email from there!
Never stop dreaming,
Cindy C Bennett