I am thrilled to welcome Rachel Feinberg to BookEnds! We connected thanks to #DVpit, and her YA voice captured me right away. (I let out several snorts of laughter as I read.) I can’t wait for you to read her novel full of cosplay culture, complicated friendships, swoony romance, and more, but for now get to know her better below! ~Rachel (the agent)
Tell us a bit about your writing process. Where do you write, and how often?
I mostly write at home. Sometimes my professors host in-class writing sessions, but I get distracted trying to figure out if my classmates are working on their pieces or messaging friends. I try to write or outline daily, but sometimes I get bogged down with homework (which is usually reading fiction and critiquing workshop pieces, so I’m working on my craft). Other times I get sucked into a good read and forget about the time.
What do you love about writing contemporary?
Showing how magical real life can be. I used to be hardcore into YA fantasy, but once I dipped into voicey YA contemporary (Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda was my tipping point), I saw the real-life adventures to be had. We have to suspend our disbelief for some contemporary stories, but if you think on your own life, you’ll find no shortage of “it’s a small world!” and “just in time!” moments. I love writing stories about those coincidences, especially when they lead to incredible destinations, like first love.
What book do you wish you had written, and why?
Gosh, hard question. I’ll cheat and pick three books: Geekerella, Queens of Geek, and Fangirl. They’re fun, relevant stories about the biggest love of my life, fandom. I’m not as active in fandom these days—I’m more of a lurker, watching from the shadows—but writing about it soothes my soul. Oh, and though Hot Dog Girl isn’t out yet, I’m adding it. I love the premise.
Where can readers find you on the web and social media?
Plotter or pantster?
I’m a plotter with minor pantser tendencies. I freewrite a few thousand words to see if the idea holds, and if it does, I whip out my trusty Beat Sheet and plot it out. Typically, my Sheets run 4-8 pages (1.5- or double-spaced). Knowing what’s to come revs my engine, and I vroom-vroom to my destination faster than without a map.
Synopses, love them or hate ‘em?
Mild hatred. I used to hate those guys, but my Beat Sheets are long enough to trim down and rework.
Drink of choice when writing? When not writing?
Herbal tea or hot/cold chocolate milk for both! I don’t do caffeine. We’re on bad terms.
What advice would you give to other authors in the query trenches?
Slow down! Don’t rush. Work on another book while you query. Join writing communities. If you’re transitioning from fanfiction, don’t abandon your fanfic buddies or community (unless they’re toxic, then wave them buh-bye).
If you could meet any author, living or dead, who would you want to meet and why?
James Roberts! He wrote Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye/Lost Light and brightened my dreary undergraduate days with intricate plotting and spectacular humor. He shaped my writing, even though I write the furthest thing from transforming robots going on a space quest to find mythical knights after a four-million-year war. I’d love to thank him in person.