Happy Monday! And this is a special Monday because it’s the beginning of my birthday week so I’m sure you’ll all stop right now and join me in a moment of raucous cheer. No? Me neither. Actually like holidays my birthday usually gets me down so I’ll be relying on all you folks to keep spirits up around here.
In order to do that I’m kicking off the week with some fun and I’m very proud to welcome my friend, the super talented young adult writer, Wendy Toliver to ye old blog. I met Wendy many years ago at one of RWA’s national conferences and we instantly hit it off. She has such a generous spirit and bubbly personality that you can’t help but be drawn in. I sure was.
Being bad never felt so good.
Poppy Browne never stole anything in her life before moving to Pleasant Acres and meeting Mary Jane and Whitney. But when Poppy walks out of the mall with her two new friends and her first pair of stolen jeans, she’s hooked.
Before long, Poppy is lifting whenever she gets the urge–it’s never about the merchandise, it’s always about the thrill. But when her secret gets out, Poppy’s clique turns on each other. As she watches her life collapse around her, Poppy must decide where her loyalties lie…and how far she’ll go to protect herself.
Hi Wendy. Welcome!
Tell us what made you write about the controversial topic of teenage shoplifting?
I wanted to write about an issue that is familiar to most people. I watched a TV documentary on teenage shoplifting and got to talking to friends and discovered that most everybody has shoplifted at least a pack of gum sometime in his or her life or knows someone who has. Then, to make it extra controversial, I chose a Bible belt town as the setting.
You’ve had a variety of jobs in a short amount of time including acting and even singing telegrams. What brought you to the world of writing?
I’ve always loved writing, and when I was a freelance copy writer, I had an experience in LA that I thought would make a good story so I decided to try my hand at writing fiction. I went about it all wrong (though I did finish the manuscript, which is a good thing) and was glad when someone suggested I join a writing organization like RWA. That was the best thing I could do because it taught me about the industry, gave me ways of meeting new friends with similar interests and goals, and eventually paired me up with my first literary agent.
Why do you enjoy writing young adult?
I really enjoyed that point in my life. Everything is so exciting and the future is wide open. I love that both adults and young adults read it, and there’s something extra special about getting fan mail from teenagers. In general, they’re so enthusiastic and it makes it all worthwhile.
You are the mother of three energetic young boys and whenever we talk it’s usually hands free and all the go. How do you find the time to write? What’s your schedule like?
Ha! Lately it’s been really hard because 2 of my boys are in school but school’s out for summer. Basically I get all my internet correspondence done over breakfast and write a couple of hours in the afternoons when they’re playing outside or resting. If I find they’re not cooperating I can also hire a “mommy’s helper” to keep tabs on them while I have writing time. When I’m on a really tough deadline, though, I am lucky that my mom will fly in to take care of my family. With Lifted’s revisions, I was writing 20 –hours a day and I couldn’t have done that without her help.
What’s next for you?
I’m really not sure! I just sent a sweet middle grade proposal and a paranormal YA proposal to my agent. I’m eager to hear what she thinks!
Thanks so much for being here. Lifted is a fabulous story full of heart and style as all your stories are. I can’t wait for my DD to read it.
Kwana, thank you so much for having me on your blog. And I hope your DD likes it!
Also, if anyone would like a shot at winning a Border’s gift card and other fun prizes, please contact me via my web-site. Write the word “contest” in your message, as well as your name and US mailing address. This contest will go on the entire month of June. Good luck! And of course, we’re giving away a copy of Lifted to one lucky commenter. So comment away or ask a question. Winner will be announced on Wednesday!
You can find Wendy at her website here: www.wendytoliver.com
or follow her on twitter at: www.twitter.com/wendytoliver
Here is the first of what I hope will be an ongoing writer interview series. Today I’m featuring, new author, Wendy Toliver.
Wendy’s first book: The Secret Life Of Teenage Siren was released in December of 2007.
Here’s a teaser:
Geeky to gorgeous in sixty seconds… Roxy’s about to turn sixteen, but life isn’t so sweet. As a band geek, Roxy can barely get the cute guys to notice her, much less go out with her. Then, on her birthday, Roxy is transformed into a siren: seductively beautiful with the power to control all men. She thought sirens were an ancient myth, but suddenly Roxy can get any guy she wants with just a few notes on her flute. There are only two rules: don’t tell anyone about being a siren, and don’t fall in love. When she starts dating Zach, the guy everybody’s crushing on, Roxy realizes she could get used to this siren thing…but how can she keep herself from falling in love?
First off, congratulations on the debut on you first book, The Secret Life of a Teenage Siren out with Simon Pulse this past December.
What made you want to write for this Young Adult age group? Do you feel a certain kinship here?
Yes I do! I had a wonderful teenage life myself and I love reliving it through writing. One of my favorite things about being a published author is speaking to junior and senior high schools, getting to hang out with teens.
What made you decide to take on writing novels as a career? Is it something you always dreamed of or did you fall into it sideways?
LOL! I definitely fell into it sideways. I had a fun experience about 5 years ago that I thought would make a good chick lit novel so I started writing it out. It became a manuscript and I sent it out to agents and received offers for representation. The thought of being a novelist always intrigued me, but I can truthfully say writing was just a hobby, something I could do as a mom of three active little boys, and it’s just an added bonus that I’m finding some success in it.
Can you give of a brief overview of your road to ‘overnight’ success? (I laugh as I ask this one) and what has being a member of RWA meant to you on your way to publication?
Ha! Yes, there were definitely a bunch of ups and downs en route to becoming a published author. I might not have been writing (with the intent of being published) for as many years as some authors, but let me tell you, it hasn’t been easy. I’m still in the mindset that if something wonderful happens, I stand back and take a breath or two, making sure it’s real before I let loose and celebrate. On the flip side, writing YA seems to be a natural fit for me, as The Secret Life of a Teenage Siren is my first attempt at writing YA. So I guess I can’t complain!
RWA has been very important to me because it has educated me in the craft as well as the world of publishing, offered me support, introduced me to amazing writers who’ve become some of my closest friends, and given me the inspiration necessary to keep writing. RWA rocks!
What’s your writing process like as a stay at home mother of three small boys?
I have a mommy’s helper who comes for about 6 hours a week, and though that might not sound like much writing time, I get a lot done because I have to. I try and think about whatever project I’m working on while I’m doing other things (like laundry, dishes, and changing diapers) so when I do sit at my computer, I’m ready to write.
What are you working on next?
I’m working on edits for my second YA with Simon Pulse. It’s called Miss Match and it is about a teenage matchmaker who is hired to fix a new guy up with her sister, only to discover that she’s crushing on him herself. I think it’s scheduled to come out around Valentine’s Day of 2009. I’m really excited about it!
Thanks so much, Wendy and best of luck with your next book!