Goodreads Book Description: Cheerleader Rose Whitfield's senior year goes up in smoke when she's framed for arson. Sure that the culprit is her neighbor Paxton, with whom she's been feuding since middle school, she sets out to clear her name and take Paxton down hard--not necessarily in that order.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Author Blurb: Andrea Colt grew up reading and squabbling with her identical twin. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia with her fiancé, a fridge full of cheese, and two feline muses. Visit andreacolt.com to get to know her better.
1. Can you tell us a little about your journey to becoming a writer?
As soon as I could read, my parents' main method of entertaining me was to take me to the library, so I grew up devouring books. Strangely, though, I never really realized that actual people wrote all those stories I loved, and that it could be a career, until I was midway through an engineering degree in college.
After college I began to write in earnest, and some years later, I had several books under my belt. They were terrible! Well, not great anyway, and they'll never see the light of day. But they helped me improve to the point that when I wrote Torched, it all just came together :)
2. I absolutely love your characters. Can you tell us a little bit about how you develop your characters? Did any of them surprise you?
Thank you! Rose actually surprised me, because she came about from a writing exercise: I took a random scene and wrote it from three different attitudes (sassy, rebellious, dreamy), and one of those voices connected with me. She was too fun not to hang out with, so I named her Rose, found her a perfect life--and then ruined it! *cackles*
As for developing characters, I just try to think of where they're coming from, and try to put real obstacles in their way, not just problems born of misunderstandings that could be solved with a simple conversation. Real conflict makes for fun drama!
3. For the aspiring writers out there, can you tell us a little about how you develop your plot? Do you outline a lot, or do you just see where the characters take you?
I definitely outline. For me, knowing where I'm going gives me the freedom to explore the characters on a closer level as I write. I'm not wondering what the plot is going to be; I'm digging into the protagonist's emotions. That said, my nice neat outline often gets changed when characters demand to go in a different direction. I try to listen to what is true to each character and what they would do, and sometimes you can't figure that out until you're in the middle of writing it. Or rewriting it!
To develop plot, I start vague: I'll write the 'pitch' of the novel first, and I highly recommend doing that before even starting the rough draft. It means that you can make sure the novel has a compelling hook--and if not, you can see that easily and change things.
Once I know the hook, I figure out two things: what the main "exterior" conflict is (in Rose's case, it's clearing her name of the arson charge), and the "interior" conflict (for Rose, it's realizing that she doesn't quite like the girl she has turned into, and taking steps to become a better person.) With those arcs figured out, the smaller pieces of the structure can fall into place.
As for the nitty-gritty of plotting, I will often open a blank document and type "So what exactly happens after this?" And then I free-write, essentially talking with myself on paper, until I figure out the next move.
4. OK, be honest. Were you a mean girl in high school? Or a total dork like I was? :-)
Ha! I was a total dork too - I was Vice President of the Physics Club! No joke. But I did have friends, and they were genuine and awesome, and I'm still in touch with several of them today.
5. What is your favorite YA book of all time, and what was your favorite read in the past year?
Ooh, definitely Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor! The sequel came out recently, and it's SOO GOOD - I can't wait for the final installment! I am a sucker for epic high fantasy with deep emotions, and this series hits all the right notes for me.
For contemporary YA, I love Miranda Kenneally's books - they're witty, and written with such heart. We're friends and she blurbed Torched, so clearly we have similar tastes in protagonists we like to root for :)
6. What was your prom experience like?
Junior year, I got way lucky, and my crush asked me to the dance! For senior year, I just went with a friend. Both times I had a blast :)
7. What do you have on the horizon?
Right now I'm finishing up edits on Wavecrossed, a YA paranormal about Cassandra, a selkie trying to free her family from the man who stole their sealskins long ago. Find out more on my website.
Cassandra's another protagonist I just love: she's feisty, smart and refuses to give up. She's also paranoid as hell, but she's got a very good reason for that--anyone could take her sealskin and make her their slave. For her, learning to trust is the scariest thing in the world, and sometimes she winds up being her own worst enemy. I can't wait to share her story with you all!
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