When I first started reading Alex’s manuscript, I knew I needed it. It brought me joy and happiness. I knew right away I needed her on my list. And, luckily enough for me, she agreed to come on board!
Tell us a bit about your writing process. Where do you write, and how often?
I always use my computer and I tend to write between 7pm and 4am. When I hear the birds chirping, it’s time to go to bed. This way, my drafts are completed in about a month or so, and then I take a ton of time off to deal with real life stuff before coming back to edit it. I’m very lucky to both be able to have a schedule like this and to function with about 5 hours of sleep.
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.)
Yes. Weird ones. I usually write between 7pm and 4am, with a bottle of Pepsi Twist and a bag of gummy bears next to me. But I’m cutting back on my writing snacks. I hear mint tea is lovely.
What do you love about writing young adult?
It’s the thrill of discovering, page after page, characters who are at such an important time in their lives. You go on this journey alongside them, exploring life through their eyes, and that forces you to rethink some of your own perspectives. It’s a constant challenge, one I welcome every single time I sit down to write.
Why did you choose the genre you’ve chosen?
It chose me, honestly. I began my journey writing NA, though I had no clue what it entailed. Then I switched to Adult. I’ve finally found my groove with young adult. I was writing young adult novels with older characters, I just didn’t know it yet (hence why my first manuscripts are now keeping each other company on a hard drive somewhere, never to be seen again).
What is the hardest part about writing young adult?
Trying to accurately depict the emotions a teenager would feel and not going overboard with the intensity. The 17 year-old in me agrees most of the time, so I must be doing something right.
What book do you wish you had written, and why?
SIX OF CROWS, by Leigh Bardugo. That book made me a better writer. I always go back to it whenever I’m in a slump and need some writing inspiration. It’s a phenomenal book.
If you’re not reading or writing, what would we catch you doing?
Saving up to travel. Cooking. Snuggling my cat. Writing my PhD thesis and trying not to freak out that I’ll never finish it.
Do you belong to any writing organizations?
Where can readers find you on the web and social media?
They can always find me Tweeting about writing, cats, and global warming at @Alex__Reda. Don’t mind all the Tom Hiddleston posts, though. You can also find me on Facebook and Instagram (alex__reda).
What’s the last book you read?
Went on a Kasie West binge last week. Currently reading ILLUMINAE.
If money were no object, what would be your dream writing location?
Bucharest, Romania. Love my city. Other countries are for travelling only.
What’s your favorite quote about reading or writing?
Don’t really have one, but when my Mom found out the offer of representation from Natascha, she bought me a notebook with “You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say” on the cover. It’s a good motto to follow in general.
What’s your favorite piece of writing advice you’ve received?
Plotter or pantster?
I write one summary sentence for each chapter and add more details as I go along. I’ve never had a book follow that plan in its entirety, though. The only things that seem to stick are the beginning and ending, while the middle changes with each edit. So I’m half and half, but relate more to the pantster style of writing.
Synopses, love them or hate ‘em?
My love for synopses rivals 14th century peasants’ love for the plague.
Do you have a writing playlist or a vision board? If so, what’s on them?
I do spend a few days on Pinterest before jumping into the first draft, see if something catches my eye, especially if I’m dealing with unusual clothes or weapons. It helps me imagine new and fun combinations; a flower from here, a knife from there, and presto, you have a new uniform. I also tend to listen to rock music a lot, so most of my playlists are better suited to genres/categories I don’t write in.
Do you get inspiration from any TV shows or movies? If so, which ones?
Not exactly. I do have experience working in film and I think that has helped me a ton when it comes to character development, plotting, pacing, etc. But on a strictly creative level, I wouldn’t say I’m inspired by films/TV shows.
Drink of choice when writing? When not writing?
Pepsi Twist for when I’m writing. Water for everything else (and the occasional Dark & Stormy).
What excites you most about joining the BookEnds family?
I got my first partial request from a BookEnds agent, many, many years ago. I’ve been querying this agency for as long as I’ve been writing professionally. So, in a sense, I feel I’ve come full circle, and I couldn’t be happier.
What advice would you give to other authors in the query trenches?
Never give up. Seriously, agented writers aren’t lying. You really have to keep at it if you want to succeed. But do remember to always learn and improve.
If you could meet any author, living or dead, who would you want to meet and why?
JK Rowling and Isaac Asimov, for shaping how I relate to books as a reader. I’d also love to have a drink with Leigh Bardugo and Sherry Thomas. Both seem equally unfeasible right now, but I’m an optimist.