How do you come up with your titles?
Titles can be a real community effort—and are sometimes the hardest part of the entire process! My first novel, A BLUE SO DARK, was actually acquired under the title THE OCEAN FLOOR. My editor was really lukewarm about it, and encouraged me to troll the manuscript in search of a phrase that would make a good title.
My mom (also my first reader) and I both trolled the manuscript in search for titles. I shot my editor several—he instantly fell in love with A BLUE SO DARK (originally from my mom’s list). And PLAYING HURT was her suggestion, too, as I was writing it.
My first middle grade novel, currently under development at Dial, doesn’t yet have a title—I only know that it won’t be published under the title it was acquired under…I can’t WAIT for it to be finalized, so I can shout it from the rafters!
You have an active blog. (I see you won an award recently too; congrats!) Do you feel that actively maintaining a blog helps you connect to book reviewers on the Internet better? Were you a blogger before your book was released? If not, what made you decide to blog?
I wasn’t ANYWHERE online when I sold A BLUE SO DARK. No Facebook, no Twitter—nothing. I was a bit leery of it, at first. I’m just the wrong age—when I was in high school, there was no Internet. Nobody had a cell phone. I didn’t even have an answering machine in my house. I just didn’t have the right mindset for it.
My editor at Flux encouraged me to get online when I sold BLUE. And at first, when I started blogging and made my announcement about my book sale, I felt like I’d officially answered the question, “When a tree falls in the forest, and no one’s around to hear it…” But I soon discovered the book blogging community, and fell in love.
Writing’s pretty solitary work—to be able to connect with readers as close as a mile away, or as far away as India, via the Internet, has been absolutely priceless!
When do you feel is the best season to read your books? For myself, I prefer reading light-hearted romantic reads during the late winter season and summer.
PLAYING HURT, my latest release, is definitely a steamy romance tailor-made for summer months—or even spring break!
One thing I really like to do myself is flip-flop between genres—I’ll read a contemporary paranormal YA and follow that with a classic novel, then sci fi…So if you like to read like I do, my debut, A BLUE SO DARK, is the perfect book to follow PLAYING HURT—both are contemporary YAs, but PLAYING HURT is a lighter romance, and A BLUE SO DARK is a serious literary novel about the possible link between mental illness and creativity, with plenty of dark humor…
Coffee or tea? I love the smell of coffee, but can only drink tea. Better yet, do you put cream in your tea?
I love cream in tea! I’m also a big fan of chamomile tea late at night (one sugar, no cream). But I’m an enormous coffee junkie. We’re talking huge. Life without coffee? Not a pleasant thought.
Do you write your manuscripts by hand first or directly onto the computer? Advantages and disadvantages of both?
The main advantage to handwriting is that you don’t have the distractions of the Internet. But it obviously takes quite a bit of time to retype handwritten manuscripts. One way I combat that problem is to rely on my AlphaSmart Neo. The thing’s really low-tech—it’s a word processor with NO INTERNET, but transfers straight to the computer without having to retype the draft.
I do retype manuscripts repeatedly as I revise, but the Neo saves me a step in the beginning, with that first draft…and most importantly, gets me out of my office and away from distractions…as my little video reveals:
Holly's latest YA novel, Playing Hurt, released on March 8th! You can buy a copy now!!