Monday, December 19, 2011

My interview with YA Author Cheryl Rainfield

Greetings to all my blog readers. I hope you're knee deep in holiday cookies, decorating and final touches on gift shopping for your loved ones. I know I am! I'm also loving all of these giveaways I've been so blessed and honored to host on my blog from such amazingly talented writers as Barry Lyga, Cheryl Rainfield, Jessie Harrell and coming up, another surprise this Thursday!
It's also WINTER SOLTICE, so get ready, the first offical day of winter arrives this week.
As promised, I have received answers for my Interview with Cheryl Rainfield, author of HUNTED, SCARS and other books. Cheryl provided amazingly intimate and thorough answers to my questions, and I think we're all in for a treat, so let's get to the interview.
What does a typical writing day look like for you?

Hm. It depends where I am in a book (and can also depend on how I'm doing emotionally). If I'm really into a draft (writing or editing it), I may start writing in the morning, after I take my dog out and have breakfast. But often, I'll find myself answering emails and doing some book promotion in the mornings, and then get writing or editing done later on. I've found that the amount of time I have to spend on book promotion is much, much more than I ever thought it'd be before I got published; it takes up as much or more time than my writing. But right now it feels important to me--I want my books to keep reaching people.

Since I work at home and for myself, I tend to work all day and into the evening--something I've got to try to change a bit, because I can wear myself out and then need a real break. Though I've always worked like that....

 Do you have a daily word count goal? If so, how many words per day?

I don't work like that. I know many writers do. If I have any goal in my head, I may think 10-20 pages of writing or editing. But my focus, when I'm writing, is on letting the words flow, staying connected to my inner voice and to the characters and story. I have days where I don't write. I even take weeks off, or longer--it's just how I've always worked, and for me the time off helps me recharge (or sometimes it's just because abuse memories or the effects of the abuse are overwhelming me)--and then I'll dive back in and write like crazy. It's how I work best, personally. I think it's important for each of us as writers to find the way that works best for us.

How do you edit a WIP (Work In Progress)? Do you revise cover to cover? Do you target specific things? (adverbs, passive voice, dialogue, etc.)

I do multiple edits. Initially, it's more of a general edit--trying to make sure that the story is working, flowing, and looking for all the places where I need to pull threads through more consistently in the novel, need to fix areas, address issues mentioned in various places in the book, etc. Then I'll often do passes for separate issues, like one specific thread I'm making sure runs throughout the book, or making sure I have setting and physical description (which I usually leave out in my initial drafts; I'm far more focused on the emotional experience for the characters), or trying to make sure my language feels alive. I also do at least one complete read aloud of the entire manuscript; I've found that reading writing aloud helps me to hear when the language isn't flowing, when it's stilted, when something feels off, in a way that I don't get when I just read it silently.

I make notes to myself as I edit. I also can't seem to turn off my editor when I'm editing, even for one specific thing, so I'll often edit many smaller things on top of the one issue as I go, like the language and word choice--making it stronger or more vibrant, or more clear. I usually do many, many edits of the entire manuscript. For SCARS, I did more than 40 before it was accepted. For HUNTED, I did about 14 before it was accepted. For my next book, I did about 12 before it was accepted. So I think I'm getting better...but I think I'll probably always do multiple edits. It's important to me to make sure my writing is as powerful as I can make it and that it reaches the reader, moves them.

How do you find/create a character? Do you hear their voice while you're writing, or even between writing? At what point do you know you've found your character for sure?

I draw a lot on my own self and my own experiences, especially for the main character; there is SO much of me in both Kendra (from SCARS) and Caitlyn (from HUNTED). I also draw on people I know; I take bits and pieces of people, and the emotional truths that I've observed, and put them into characters. I think because I write with a lot of emotion and emotional truths, that's the way characters come for me--through their emotions, their hopes and dreams, things they need--and yes, their voices. I hear them best when I'm writing.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Writing a new story (I hope!)? Can you tell us any specifics? Do you have plans already?

I hope with many books published by then, and still writing many more books. And I hope my books will reach even more people, and keep moving people, touching them emotionally. I have another book coming out in 2013 (another edgy realistic stand alone), and hopefully there'll be many others as well. I have more books that I'd like to write in the HUNTED world--both from Caitlyn's perspective, and possibly from some other paras' perspectives, even ones not in HUNTED. And I have many, many other books I want and need to write. I went through such extreme trauma (abuse and torture within ritual abuse) that I think I have a lot to draw on, and a lot I need to write about. I think, I hope, that I'll always be writing.

Would you like to see any of your books as a movie? If so, which ones? Why? Would you like to be involved in the process? How so?

I would love to see HUNTED as a movie. I think it has a lot of potential for the screen; it has a lot of tension, a character that overcomes huge odds, and a lot of hope in the end. I've thought of SCARS as a movie, too, but I'm a bit more reluctant to see that as a movie, because I wouldn't want anyone to sensationalize the self-harm. But if it was done well, it could help more people understand about self-harm.... I'd love to be consulted about movies made out of my books. (smiling) I don't think that happens very often, though. But who knows; it could! I can dream. :)

Thank you so very much, Cheryl for your articulate and personal interview. You give so much of yourself to your readers and fans, and I think you clearly delivered on that here in this interview. I'm blown away by your answers and definitely will consider them in light of my own writing habits. You've got great tips for up and coming writers. Thank you for agreeing to this interview.

I know I can't wait to see what this new book is you have coming in 2013! I'll be watching to add it to my Goodreads TBR pile for sure! If you'd like to know more about Cheryl Rainfield, please see her details below, and go check out all of her sites on the links below.

If this blog post has inspired you to ask Cheryl a question, I invite you to ask her here, and who knows? She might even stop by and answer you here in the comments below!

Cheryl Rainfield is the Author of:

Hunted (WestSide Books, Dec 15, 2011, F&W Canada, Jan 2012)
Caitlyn, a telepath on the run from government troopers, must choose between saving herself or saving the world
Read the first 6 pages:
Get fr-e-e HUNTED goodies:
Scars (WestSide Books, 2010)
Kendra must face her past and stop hurting herself before it's too late
GG Literary Award Finalist, ALA's Top 10 Quick Picks, 2011 Rainbow List
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