Wednesday, October 10, 2012

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT by Colleen Clayton [Q&A & Giveaway]



Colleen grew up in a small, suburban town just outside of Cleveland, Ohio. After graduating from Kent State University, she worked as a social worker in a residential treatment center for teens in Cleveland, Ohio and then as Program Supervisor for Big Brothers & Big Sisters in Youngstown/Warren, Ohio.  In addition to being a wife and mom, she writes Young Adult fiction and earned an MFA through the Northeast Ohio Consortium. She also teaches writing at Youngstown State University.




1. As a young person who did you look up to the most and why?
My mother and father. They worked factory jobs on assembly lines their whole lives and even though we didn't have much money as a family, they put my sister and me through college without ever taking out a loan. They went without on so many fronts in order to pay for us to go to college. They wanted better for us than what they had growing up. They taught us that you can't just have everything you want the second you want it. You have to work really, really hard to get the things you want.
2. What was your first job? 
The front register at McDonald's
3. Where do you write and do you have special rituals?
I write in my house on my laptop, usually on the couch with the TV on, cat, dog, kids, husband all buzzing around me. I have no rituals. (I probably should get some!)

4. Which one of your characters is most like you?
As a teen, I was a bit like Sid. I wasn't as outspoken and articulate as Sid but I think I had a certain spunk about me. I felt a lot of the same things that Sid feels but didn't yet have the language to express it properly. As an adult, I would say that I am very much like her mother, Katherine. I think it is important to be your child's parent first, above all things. Being considered "cool" by your kids is a bonus, not a requirement. 
6. What was the hardest scene for you to write? The easiest?
The opening scenes were tough. In the earliest drafts, the ski trip was told in flashback. In "real time," Sid was at home, simply recalling what had happened. It was flat and all wrong. I realized this after I had queried quite a few agents. I realized that the story was starting in the wrong place and that I was robbing the reader of the "in-scene" igniting conflict that sets the whole ball of wax rolling. Some of the easiest scenes were the romantic scenes with Corey. When you're enjoying yourself as a writer (and believe me, I was!)  often the words come more easily. I enjoy writing romantic tension and I hope it shows. 
7. What's the best advice you've received about writing and who gave it to you?
Not sure who said it but writing (and publication) are a  marathon not a sprint. Most writers endure many years of rejection before they see a book on the shelf. It's not going to happen overnight, rejection is part of the process. Rejection never gets easier. It hurts each and every time it happens. You just have to brush yourself off and keep going. 
8. Are you a pantser or plotter?
Mostly a pantser. I'm experimenting with plotting/outlining and I think that's going well, too. 
9. What do you want readers to remember (learn) from your book?

That there is always hope for a better day. 
10. Please list 5 likes and 5 dislikes. Go way random.
Like: Hot peppersRaylan GivensHalloweenSnowFacebook

Dislike: OkraSnookiEarly morningSweating
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