Tuesday, May 27, 2014

All Day Q&A!

It's been a long while since I've done a Q&A, but today is the day! You have a question? I HAVE AN ANSWER. I will answer wherever you ask a question—in comments on my blog, on my Facebook page, on Twitter, or even Tumblr.

All questions are welcome, about whatever you want. Life advice, writings, my books, my life, whatever. You may ask MULTIPLE questions. Follow-up questions. Random, slightly awkward questions. Today is YOUR day. I am at your service.

I will answer as soon as I see the question, but it will be today for sure, if not immediately.

Luv,
Natalie

34 comments:

  1. Where did you find your critique partners?

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    1. I was in Vegas. I lost a bet. Things happened.

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    2. If only, for your sake, those things actually stayed in Vegas like the ad promises.

      If only...

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  2. Wishing you so much success cause your awesome, not really a question I think the last q and e I asked you a ton...I just thought if a question how do you delicately write romance scenes for teens without the ahem :)

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    1. Ha, I'm assuming the "ahem" is sex? Yes, I said the word. I have even written a couple "sex scenes"! I'm a rebel Mormon like that.

      So, here's the thing: Romance and sex are two different things. It is IDEAL if they go together, but we all know sometimes that doesn't happen. Writing ROMANCE for teens is about…well, the build up. Much like adults, really. But think of how much a Big Deal hand holding was when you were 14, or even that one boy you liked saying you were good at something.

      That is romance.

      Romance is two people gradually getting to know each other and seeing amazing things (and maybe some ugly things) in each other, but choosing to love each other nonetheless. At least that's what it is to me, and I believe teens experience this and can truly fall in love (though obviously it's not ALWAYS love, just like adults). I love writing that slow journey to understanding and caring about another person.

      Now, as far as The Sex Scene. I have seen some fairly graphic things in YA, though of course it doesn't go as far as adult. It doesn't happen on every page or in every chapter.

      For me personally, my rule on writing sex is: "Does this absolutely need to happen to progress the story?" If the answer is yes—I write it. If no—I don't. This is true for pretty much every type of plot point I have. I treat it the same from a writer's pov.

      When it comes to actually writing it, I prefer…a measure of decorum. I like a balance of "yes, this is happening" but NOT "omg this is erotica." It also depends on the story and audience, but that's my general rule. I like a tasteful door shut. Of course, that is MY thing. It's obviously a very personal preference and everyone has their own level. Which you have to accept when you write sex in YA. Some people are gonna freak out, and you have to be okay with that.

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  3. I've heard that the most important week for book sales is the first week after the book comes out, so I try to buy books in the first week after release if I can. But I live in Canada, and sometimes books are released several weeks earlier in the US. Do you think it would benefit the book more to buy it the first week of US sales, or wait until the first week of Canadian sales? Or is there any truth to the first week thing at all?

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    1. Era, it is important and it isn't…let me try to explain.

      It IS important if you are looking at a "bestseller" type model. Just like movies, there's a lot of weight put on that first week out. This is an old model of marketing from the nineties, when there was no "instant buying on the internet" and you had to go out and get a product or face the reality of a store running out.

      Things have kinda changed in the digital age—many consumers expect a product to be available for immediate consumption when they want it. They don't really pay attention to when it's coming out so much as how fast they can get it. Hence the huge success of ebooks and things like online streaming (Netflix, etc).

      But, well, publishers still heavily weigh early sales (even pre-orders are huge) as a measure of success. So if you are buying a Big 5 book, yes, it can help that author to buy it close to release.

      Then there's the flip side—longevity. Many authors, indies in particular, are finding that longevity is a key to their career. While it's great to have a good first week, it's fabulous to have continued sales and a healthy back list of books with *consistent* sales. Those sales add up to profitability, though it may never show on a bestseller list (those lists are based on volume sold within a short time). It's very possible for an author to be, in fact, selling more than a bestselling, but never at the velocity. I hope that makes sense.

      Anyway, it depends on what you think is the best help. For me personally, I am happy WHENEVER someone buys my book, be it the week of release or a year later. Both sales matter a ton to me as an author. I love both buyers because they bought my little book.

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    2. Thanks for the explanation! I certainly wouldn't hold back from buying a book just because it wasn't a recent release, and it's good to know those sales count a lot too.

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  4. I have three questions!:) First, is there a genre that you haven't written, that you would like to eventually? :)

    And second, I have seen you mention being a fan of My Little Pony, what's your favorite character from it? :)

    Who are a few of your favorite couples in YA books? :)

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    1. Jessica! Yay questions!

      1. I have written in pretty much every YA genre possible, though I haven't published in all of them. I hope to publish in contemporary YA, as it is a passion of mine. I also love fantasy and hope to see a book come out in that realm from myself:) But I will likely always stick with YA. I'm miserable at MG and not violent/sexy enough for adult, hehe.

      2. LOVE My Little Pony! It's hard to pick a favorite, since I think the six main ponies work so well together. For a long time I have been a fan of Pinkie Pie just because she's so funny, but lately I have been really appreciating Applejack. She is the strong, steady anchor of the group who you can just rely on. I don't think she gets enough love, but it's like she wouldn't even care because she's that kind of person who will do her part no matter what she gets in return. I love people (and ponies) like that;)

      3. One of my all time faves is Lola and Cricket from LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR. And another I've love since the second they met on the page is Isadora and Ry from THE CHAOS OF STARS. Addie and Trevor from PIVOT POINT is also another personal fave:)

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    2. Natalie, is it a coincidence that your favorite YA couples are all written by your friends? ;)

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    3. Ha, I don't know! Those were the first that came to mind today. Naturally, there are too many to really name. I go off the top of my head:)

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  5. Which one of your main characters are you the most like? I am sure you put a little piece of yourself in each of your books but which one is most like the girl in the mirror?

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    1. Oooo, tough question! It is definitely true that a little bit of me goes into every character, but the one MOST like me? Hmmm.

      I can tell you the LEAST like me is probably Jo from HOUSE OF IVY & SORROW. She is far more confident and proactive and out going than I will ever be.

      As for most like me…well, is it weird to say Tosh from RELAX, I'M A NINJA? I know he's a dude and all, but his cool-one-second-and-dorky-the-next is definitely my life experience. And his interests in video games/D&D come right from my life, and the way he falls in love is very close to how it happened for me.

      Another character I'm a lot alike with is actually another boy, but that book hasn't been published. Hopefully someday we'll get to talk about it;)

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  6. Did you say "bask in cupcakes" (twitter)?

    So opens up the food questions. Again.

    Favorite dish(es)? (that you make, versus others make; I am kind of assuming Asian cuisine)

    Favorite dessert? I am assuming cupcakes, but who knows...

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    1. Alligosh, I *totally* said bask in cupcakes. I do that on a regular basis:)

      I am a lover of all food, from Asian cuisines, yes, to even just a good steak and mashed potatoes setup. It's hard to even say what my favorite is because I have met very few foods I don't like.

      Favorite dessert, yes, cupcakes are up there. Cake in general. I just love all the various things you can make cake into—all the flavors and combinations. I also love a hot, fresh, chewy cookie. I'll never tire of the classic chocolate chip:)

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  7. Oh, and what determines "Good Cheese" (from your brief bio near the top of this page)?

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    1. Good cheese, to me, is something interesting and not "fake." Heh. Like, American cheese isn't really cheese to me. But a fantastic sharp cheddar is amazing. I love it. I love soft cheeses like brie and ricotta and bleu cheeses and sharp cheddars and fresh mozzarella. Cheeeeese. Yum.

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    2. Have you tried Seahive Cheddar? It's a Utah local cheese, sharp cheddar with a local honey element, quite good. Also the Italian cheese Bel Paese, works really well with red apples. Both available at Harmon's (they have a Cheesemonger on staff to help find all sorts of great cheese)

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    3. I haven't tried those but they sound yummy! I'm totally going to now:)

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  8. Thank you Natalie it helped and made me realize I have to go back and build the ahem tension. Also realizing if I can't say sex I may have to rethink writing scenes. The ufonybif this question I write erotica as well but I am braver when I write for adults but for teens I am conscious also I teach middle grade so I consider my writing for the ya genre.

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    1. Lol auto correct I swear that crazy word was ironic

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    2. You are very welcome! Writing "sex" for teens is definitely a different ball game from adult erotica, so I can imagine it's hard to switch over:)

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  9. Congrats on Relax, I'm a Ninja's release! *showers all with cupcakes* I can't WAIT to start it. x)

    - Do you eve read reviews of your own books?
    - Whenever you draft something new, do you worry about if it'll be "good enough" or do you just throw caution and write whatever?

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    1. Cait, I try not to go looking for reviews, mostly because the bad ones stick in my head too much. But I will admit that if someone @'s me a review on twitter—and it's clear that it's a good one—I will likely look at it. I enjoy knowing someone liked my story:) I can't admit that.

      As far as worry about a draft being "good enough," yes, that is hard to overcome for me. I'm not sure if ever gets any easier, too. Especially after finishing intense edits, it's difficult for me to switch back to a create place and let the story flow. But usually if I just keep trying it works out.

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  10. Last question would you ever write a novel inspired by your Polynesian heritage I must admit when I read a former post about your heritage I was stumped I originally thought you could have been from Ireland or Scotland (red hair) I appreciate also your post on diversity which many genres need a good dose of. What bothers me is society has become so politically correct and I think that affects writers too no one wants to misrepresent an ethnicity.( I understand I wouldn't want an author to write a black character that was a criminal, drugs, gang. Although some black teens endure that there are many great things black teens and other ethnicity experience.

    As a black aspiring writer I must admit I do write what's safe (white) but I changed that I write what feels right and if I begin a book and my main character is white then to me that's natural (based on outline, plot etc)

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    1. Keisha, I would love to! I haven't found the right story yet, but I hope sometime I can tell the story that I want and one I can fall in love with. I write a lot of diverse characters, so it's certainly on my list. But I don't want to force it, and right now I just don't have that story or character that sings to me.

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  11. Yay, I love your Q and A sessions! I wish all authors did this. Two questions today:
    1. What's something you've always wanted to put in a story-like a character or specific setting-that you haven't found a home for yet?
    2. Why is my library so mean to me? I told them "I want to read House of Ivy and Sorrow NOW" but they got all "Oh no, sweetie, eighteen other people want to read it first" and I'm all "No, they just THINK they want to read it first. Come on, I know you've got it hiding back there in your evil storeroom where you wrap books in crinkly plastic and slap the barcode right over the plot summary." Sigh. Don't you agree I deserve it now? Before those eighteen miserable piddlywimps? Come on, there are so many other books they could be reading right now. I just want this one little book. Well, that one and all the others I have on hold. But mostly that one.
    So, what I'm really asking is, if I bring a glasscutter, will you bring your ninja skills so we can team up and steal House of Ivy and Sorrow for me?

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    1. I'm glad you like this, Eliza. That makes me happy:)

      1. Actually, I JUST found a home for something I've wanted to put in a story for a long time: giant, man-eating boars. I know, weird, but the ever since I watched Pigs Gone Wild on the Discovery Channel, I've wanted to incorporate that somehow. Well, I finally found a story in which these boars will make sense after 2+ years—I hope someday I get to share it with you.

      2. I'm so sorry the wait list is so long! That must be hard. But I really appreciate your desire AND your good sense in waiting for a library rather than stealing my book. That shows your character and I love you for it. And while I DO have some ninja skills, I'm afraid I can't go steal my own book. Hope you get it soon!

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    2. It's okay, Natalie. There are only sixteen people now and I guess I can read other books until then. And for all I know, those people might die of completely natural causes and the book will be mine. MWAHAHAHA!

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  12. Are you planning a release party / signing for Relax? If so, when and where?

    (and would it be abbreviated "relax" or RIaN"?)

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