Thursday, 23 February 2012

Author Interview: Meredith Zeitlin

Today, Meredith Zeitlin is here to ask five questions on her upcoming book, FRESHMEN YEAR AND OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS. (Click here for my review)

1) What made you write your new book, Freshman Year and Other Natural Disasters? 

I wanted to write a book that was sort of a response to the Gossip Girl/Clique/etc. craze - a book about a REAL girl in NYC, who isn't drinking martinis at the Savoy while clutching a limitless platinum card and having X-rated affairs with half of her school, but who drinks wine coolers in her friend's living room, has parents that drive her insane, and thinks everyone is having sex but her. A book with a cast of relatable characters like the ones I loved growing up, that made me feel like I wasn't the only awkward bookworm in the world.

2) What did you enjoy the most about writing it? 

Well, I've always enjoyed writing itself... but I think the most exciting moment was when I realized I had an actual BOOK on my hands. I had just been chugging along, not really sure where I was going... so that was a pretty cool feeling. Of course, then I had to figure out what to do with it!

3) Describe the book in a sentence  

The hilarious tale of Kelsey Finkelstein's (mostly disastrous) adventures as a high school freshman.

4) What advice would you give to future writers - both in the writing and publishing process? 

* Write. Don’t sit around worrying that you don’t know what your ending is or what kind of book it should be or that you don’t know how to get an agent. Just write – even if it’s terrible. Just keep going. You’ll be amazed what you come up with.

* This piece of advice is actually credited to my writing teacher in college, the marvelous Michael Elyanow: “Kill Your Babies.” Basically, it means that even if you’ve written what you think is the funniest, most clever, poignant, whatever, thing in the world, if everyone is telling you it doesn’t work to further your story… cut it. Be brutal. It’s very hard, but it makes your work better. (Even if you think it won’t.)

* Do your homework. When looking for an agent – or publisher, if you’re going that route first – find out who is on whose client roster, what genres of work that person represents, whether that person is accepting new clients, what they want you to submit if so, etc etc. If you send your brilliant historical novel to someone who is looking for true crime, it’s just a waste of your time and the recipient’s. 

* Don’t get frustrated and stop writing. Put it down, eat a cake, watch a Golden Girls rerun… but come back to it!
* Don’t think your first (or second, or third) draft will be your last, even if you’re sure it can’t get ANY better. It can, and it will.
* Don’t give up if you get rejection letters from agents or publishers – I certainly did, and I’m sure I will again. Yes, it sucks, but it probably means that it isn’t the right fit for you to work together, not that your work isn’t good. Keep getting your writing out to different people; even if it seems like it’s taking forever to connect with someone. Things in the publishing world DO take forever. I’m still learning that, every step of the way.  

5) Are you working on anything else?   

I wrote a children's picture book that I'm hoping will find a home soon, and I'm working on another YA novel. It's not a sequel to Freshman Year..., but it takes place in the same world, so you'll see some of the characters again

Thank you to Meredith and G.P.Putnam's Sons
I'll just leave you on the amazing trailer for this book - this made me want to read the book!

FRESHMEN YEAR AND OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS will be published on 1st March 2012.

Check out my review of the book - here

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