HOW DID YOU AND CLAUDIA GABEL MEET?
Claudia was my editor at Random House and edited both LEARNING TO SWIM and THE PRETTY ONE.
WAS IT WEIRD WRITING WITH YOUR EDITOR?
No, probably because she wasn’t my editor when we began writing together. After we finished THE PRETTY ONE, we had such an easy, wonderful working relationship that we became friends. We both like to laugh, which comes in handy. And I knew Claudia was an established author herself; in fact we both had books released around the same time and did several book signings together. We began our formal writing partnership by developing projects for Hollywood, writing a TV script and some movie proposals.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA FOR ELUSION?
Claudia and I both knew we wanted to do something bigger and more complicated than what we had attempted by ourselves. One day we were talking about how much time we all spend on our personal devices. Even though it seemed like all this technology was making life easier-was it really? Or were we paying a price? Was it harming us in some way? Once we settled on a concept, we treated it like any other story. Who are the characters? What is the conflict?
HOW DID YOU CREATE THE CHARACTERS FOR ELUSION?
This is going to sound odd, but I’ve found that a lot of times the characters end up creating themselves. And I think that was true with Elusion. For instance, in the first draft, Regan wasn’t all that strong and capable, but with each subsequent draft she kept getting stronger and stronger.
WITH TWO WRITERS, HOW DID YOU WRITE IN FIRST PERSON PRESENT?
The first draft of Elusion was written in third person, but we felt like we weren’t really hearing Regan’s voice. We tried it in first person and ended up liking it so much that we rewrote the entire book, each one of us taking chapters. After that, we took turns editing the manuscript. We both have been over ELUSION so many times that I can’t remember who wrote what.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE TO WRITE ELUSION?
It took us about two years.
WHAT’S THE MOST DIFFICULT THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
For someone as naturally social as me, it’s definitely the time alone.
WHAT IS YOUR WRITING PROCESS?
I write almost every day for varying times, depending on what I’m working on. For me, writing the rough draft is the most difficult part, so I write in short spurts and then comb over it again and again, each time spending more and more time in front of the computer until I feel like I have it. Transferring the scene from my mind to the page is kind of like solving a puzzle.
IF YOU COULD GIVE ANY ADVICE TO WANT-TO-BE-WRITERS, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Keep writing. (It’s a lot harder than it sounds.)
WHAT IS YOUR PSEUDONYM FOR YOUR ADULT BOOKS?
I could tell you, but then I’d be forced to read you the collection of poems I wrote as a kid. It’s not worth it, trust me.
DO YOU HAVE ANY WRITING TIPS?
Everyone has a different style, but I always outline the entire book first. And then I like to write the book as quickly as I can, doing a minimal amount of edits. When I’m finished, I usually have a pretty good idea what works and what doesn’t. And that’s when the editing and rewriting begins.
I REALLY WANT TO CONTACT CLAUDIA GABEL! HOW DO I DO THAT?
Lucky you! Here’s her info: