Antara was one of my first young adult novelist to sign, and I am so thankful I did. I am quirky, and she puts up with my weird agent self, but her manuscript and her main character spoke to me. As an agent, there is nothing that makes me happier than a having a client who can write as if she has shined a light into my life, while also delivering a super cool dance book.
Tell us a bit about your writing process. Where do you write, and how often?
When I write, I switch off all the lights in the room, plug in my headphones to my iPod and listen to my book playlist while typing away to oblivion. Usually, if I really love the story, I finish writing it under a month! I type pretty fast.
Do you have any writing rituals? (e.g. burning a candle if you’re having trouble getting started at the computer or writing longhand first if you’re feeling uninspired.)
I listen to the book playlist to get inspired, sometimes I’ll talk in the voices of my characters. That helps with the dialogue flow.
What do you love about writing [insert your genre(s) here]?
I love writing in YA because of the freedom the character’s age gives me. They are at that stage of their life when anything is possible and the what ifs are vivid because there are endless ways how a teen can change the world.
Why did you choose the genre you’ve chosen?
In 2015, when I was still a teen I got to work with one of the Freshman Fifteen, Lori Goldstein on my short story. She told me that I had a solid YA voice and I should consider writing in the genre. Up until that point, I didn’t take writing seriously, thinking I wasn’t good enough. But here was a published author telling me I write really nicely! That was the turning point in my life after which I decided to pursue traditionally publishing my books. I write across all genres of YA but contemporary is my first love because I love writing about the people who exist alongside me.
What is the hardest part about writing [insert your genre(s) here]?
I think the hardest part is writing your book into a cliché or a trope and there are already so many YA books in the market, irrespective of the genre so it’s really difficult to stand out. You’ll finish your book and then realise ten other people have written it before you.
What book do you wish you had written, and why?
Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot! I read it first when I was just starting senior secondary, same age as Mia and I kept wondering how Meg Cabot so artfully wrote whatever I was thinking and going through (except the being a princess part of course) and her writing voice is so, so fun. I’m a big fan of her and Michael Moscovitz. Fun fact: I wrote three fanfics about Michael on wattpad which have now been deleted never to see the light of day again.
If you’re not reading or writing, what would we catch you doing?
Binge watching shows on Netflix.
Do you belong to any writing organizations?
Where can readers find you on the web and social media?
I’m a social media hermit but you can find me on Twitter at @ahoyolliewriter.
What’s the last book you read?
Geekerella by Ashley Poston.
If money were no object, what would be your dream writing location?
An island with a gorgeous beach and friendly dogs who’ll give me company when I write, but I’m not too picky on the location.
What’s your favorite piece of writing advice you’ve received?
Write the query letter before writing the story to see if the stakes hold up.
Plotter or pantster?
Synopses, love them or hate ‘em?
Loathe them. I always think they hurt my chances.
Do you have a writing playlist or a vision board? If so, what’s on them?
I’m obsessed with pinterest so my mood board is kind of huge while my playlist for the current WIP is full of hip-hop tracks from the early 00s.
Do you get inspiration from any TV shows or movies? If so, which ones?
I watch a lot of TV shows and movies so there’s a lot of things I draw inspiration from. I especially note the interesting subplots of my favourites and think about the story it can explore.
Drink of choice when writing? When not writing?
Coffee, lots of it!
What excites you most about joining the BookEnds family?
I’m excited to start a new phase of my writing journey. I’m terrified about what happens next but I’m glad Bookends is here to help me get to my dreams!
What advice would you give to other authors in the query trenches?
Don’t give up. I know it sounds corny and you’re probably wondering what does this chick know but trust me, I do know. I’ve been in your place and one day, if you don’t give up all your dreams will come true. The universe is working towards that. It may take time, but it’ll happen eventually.
If you could meet any author, living or dead, who would you want to meet and why?
Enid Blyton. Famous Five series was my favourite growing up and incidentally the first book I ever read. Also J. K. Rowlin