I knew Patti had something special when I read her novel. For a girl who was never interested in competitive car racing, I was glued to the pages. It takes a special author to do that.
Tell us a bit about your writing process. Where do you write, and how often?
I try to write every day, but with my busy day job, that’s not always possible. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are my busy teaching days so I come to work early (around 7:00 am) and write for a couple hours at my desk at school. Tuesdays and Thursdays I write in my study carrel in our university library. On weekends, I write at my desk in my home office, though I often get interrupted by my dogs or my husband. Note to self—next time, get an office with a door.
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 have to have music playing. I create a playlist for my main character for each of my works in progress, but almost any music will usually work. I can’t write if it’s too quiet, probably because I used to write in the noisy chaos of a TV newsroom.
What do you love about writing young adult fiction?
I love writing for teens because I get to go back to that time in my life. Teens are on the threshold of becoming whatever they want to be and when I write for them, I get to experience that newness all over again.
Why did you choose the genre you’ve chosen?
When I was a teen, I always looked for books that made me think, “serious” books, if you will. When I couldn’t find them, I decided to write them myself. To be fair, now, teens have an amazing amount of really well written novels to choose from. That wasn’t the case when I was younger.
What is the hardest part about writing young adult novels?
The hardest part is remembering to sound like a teen and not like an adult trying to sound like a teen. Voice is extremely important and I work very hard on my main characters’ voices.
If you’re not reading or writing, what would we catch you doing?
I love photography, walking my dogs (one at a time) and riding my bike. You might also catch me attending an Indy Car race or rooting for my favorite hockey team (Go Penguins) or baseball team (Go Pirates!)
Do you belong to any writing organizations?
I’m a member of SCBWI.
Where can readers find you on the web and social media?
My web site is www.pattijkurtz.com I’m also on Twitter as @Patti J Kurtz and on Facebook
What’s the last book you read?
I just finished Gina Ciocca’s A Kiss in the Dark
What’s your favorite quote about reading or writing?
“Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”
Plotter or pantster?
I’m not a fan of the word “pantser.” I prefer Steven James’ term “organic writer.” To me, “pantser” implies that I just spew words on the page without any idea where I’m going. I always know where I’m going when I start a novel I’m also open to any detours or scenic routes that make themselves apparent along the way. Very strict outlines make me itch. But I always have a plan, even if it is often a very loose one.
Drink of choice when writing? When not writing?
I have to start every day with a mocha latte from our local coffee shop. Later in the day, I settle for tea, hot or iced.
What excites you most about joining the BookEnds family?
I’m excited for the chance to work with my agent and improve my writing even more. You can never stop improving.
What advice would you give to other authors in the query trenches?
Persist! Don’t give up! Take any opportunity to query or pitch your work. And keep writing as well. And don’t check your e mail every five minutes.