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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Author Interview: Becca Wilhite, author of "My Ridiculous Romantic Obsessions"

 BTW, a {resounding} thank you to Becca for being so willing to participate! Expect great things from this.

Me: Sarah has a fantastic, fun, witty voice. Is she (or her story) inspired by a real person or real events? If not, how did she come to be?
Becca Wilhite:Sarah is NOT ME. But she feels like me. I was the insecure-to-the-point-of-obnoxious girl, in high school and at the university. I got over it. (Not in such a dramatic way, though.) The British voices in her head are mine, too -- squabbling ladies reminding me that I'm not as normal as I'd like people to think I am.

Me: Must know: Is Jesse inspired by a real person or event? 
BW: I don't know anyone like Jesse, thank goodness. He's the total high school villain -- just nasty enough that people wouldn't see his evil unless they were looking. And nobody really goes looking.

Me: Who is your best writing buddy or cheerleader? (If the spot is available, I'd definitely like it.)
BW: I have a few amazing friends who read my work in varying states of disarray, and that is priceless. The really helpful ones take a deep breath before telling me how much work I still have to do. :) Also, I have 2 teenage daughters and a precocious 10-year-old who give me loads of positive feedback, which is awesome, if not completely helpful  on an editorial level. (My son thinks I should put more explosions in. Also dinosaurs.) {Mmmm. Dinosaurs, I love it. My husband is always asking for more action in my romance books . . .}

Me: I have a lot of aspiring authors who follow the blog. Can you tell me about your publishing experience and any tips you have for someone hoping to become published?
BW: I am a slush-pile success story. I submitted a complete manuscript of Bright Blue Miracle to Shadow Mountain Press, and after long, painful, ulcer-causing months of checking email 29.7 times every day, they told me they wanted to buy it. Then I gave them MRRO, and they took that one, too. It never ceases to make me giddy, that moment when Someone Real says, "Hey, Becca, nice book. I want it." And a publisher is Someone Real. And so is every person who buys, borrows, or in any other way reads and likes a book I wrote. 
Tips for an aspiring author:
1. Write. Write. Write.
2. Read. Read. Read. 
3. Let someone read your work. It's okay if someone (besides you) knows the ending. And they can help you make the ending more awesome. Trust me. 
4. Your first draft is not the one to send for critiques. Probably not your second, either. I usually go four drafts before I'm "confident" that a story is ready to go out into the hands of my beta readers/critiquers. By then I need a few weeks away from it anyway. 
5. Want an agent? Go set up an account at QueryTracker.com. It's not beautiful, but the technology answers all your needs for putting your work into the hands of national agents. This part takes forever. Writers with character will work on the next great book while they wait. The rest of us eat far too much popcorn, staring at the email icon on the computer.
6. Conference. Sign up for writers' conferences. They are the path to enlightenment (but don't tell Buddah -- he might get miffed that it could have been so easy). Go to free ones. Budget for expensive ones, if it doesn't mean you'll go hungry. Do all the ones in between. Listen to what other writers are saying about these conferences. They're not lying. Again. Conferences = Good Idea.
7. Publication is not the answer to your self-esteem issues, is not the solution to your financial woes, and is not the end of your road. (I never believed people who said this, but it's true.) Write because you love words and stories. Write because you love writing. If I never published another book, I'd still write. Because it's FUN. And guys, fun is what this is all about. If you write, you're a writer. Enjoy that. Because it's FUN. 

Me: If MRRO was made into a movie, who would you choose to play the characters?
BW: Here's the part where I show that I have no pop-culture savvy at all. Also, I don't picture what my characters look like too closely. (Because then I cry when covers come out ALL WRONG.) And when I'm character-building, I create them from the inside out -- reactions, humiliations, those kinds of things are all clear before I have an idea what the person might look like. So, what I'm saying is, if you know an actress with out-of-control curls and a crippling self-esteem issue, send me a note. 

Me: What is your favorite book?
BW: Next you're going to ask me which one is my favorite child. (I can give you a Top 4 of the children.) For books? Let's go with Pride and Prejudice, The Poisonwood Bible, Peace Like a River, The Book Thief, and I Capture the Castle. 

Me: What do you listen to while you write?
BW: Silence. I know. It's so uncool. But music distracts me. I can put on something non-lyrical, occasionally, but I can't do normal-people music because I'm always singing along or something. 

Me: And something that's becoming a habit of me to ask: Favorite flavor of ice cream (because if you don't like ice cream, I'm not really sure we can be best writing buddies/cheerleaders.)
BW: This month, Dreyer's Samoas Girl Scout Cookie ice cream. (Except I'm off sugar. Bummer for me. But don't worry. I've got some in the freezer for negative six pounds in the future.) In non-Girl Scout cookie months, I love Blue Bunny's Bordeaux Cherry Chocolate. Or fresh peach. Or strawberry. In my little town we have a burgers-and-shakes place that makes this insanely delicious Strawberry Cheesecake shake. Come, and we'll share one. What I'm saying is, I'm not likely to say no to ice cream. 

Me: Finally: What's next for Becca Wilhite?
BW: I have a manuscript finished of something COMPLETELY different. (Well, not completely-completely. There are words, about humans, and relationships, and some dialog, and clothes. But nobody eats ice cream in this one. That's a first for me.) I"m excited to see what happens with this one. 

{Thanks again, Becca! And readers, stick around. I'm definitely putting Bright Blue Miracle on my TBR list . . . and who knows what else we may hear from Becca. ;)} 

1 comment:

  1. This is awesome how many blogs I've seen promoting "Obsession". Can't wait to read my copy.


About Me!

I've been writing since I was old enough to grasp a crayon--my grandma even has an early copy of a "book" I made her. I have a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Wyoming and will (hopefully) soon be starting a graduate program in English. When I'm not breaking up impromptu UFC fights in the living room or losing miserably to my boys at Uno, I'm ... well, writing or editing, of course! I'm married to my best friend, and we have three rambunctious but simply amazing little boys.


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