For the first time in my small slightly rabid life, I am about to do a Frequently Asked Questions post.
FREQUENTLY. Do you see that?! Usually I am either (a) making up questions to ask myself because apparently I’m just that needy, or (b) just answering some random questions I’ve called out to the universe for! But this time it’s: FREQUENTLY. Because being an author means a lot of you have the same questions. Good questions! I will give good answers!
Lmao complete lie I will most undoubtedly leave some troll answers. I’m just definitely feeling like I’ve made it as an author ok.
Anyway just in case you didn’t see me mention it 29894 times: my debut A Thousand Perfect Notes is now OUT. You can add it on Goodreads and buy it on BookDepository (which does free world wide shipping) or Amazon US. And my neeeext book, The Boy Who Steals Houses, is out April 2019.
I’M FINALLY A REAL LIVE AUTHOR HOW DID THAT HAPPEN.
LOOK AT MY SONS
PS. That is not the final cover for TBWSH haha no. But I’ve been told it will be yellow!
Also my author copies arrived and I am 100% using this post as an excuse to show you my ultimate stacks.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE A THOUSAND PERFECT NOTES
I get asked this a lot. And I also go ahead and flap around nervously because THE ANSWER IS SO HUGE. I get inspiration from everywhere. I pull a book together from hearing a piece of music, reading a line out of a book, listening to someone say three words, writing something that means a lot to me, etc. etc.
Some of the influences for ATPN specifically are:
- It’s a very very loose retelling of a classical composer’s life (can’t say who because it’s a spoiler, but you’ll know when you read it!)
- Also “apparently” this specific composer was forced by a parent to play all night…
- Also a small smoosh of a genderbent Cinderella in there (AUGUST IS PRINCE CHARMING)
- I’m also a pianist, so I wanted to write about a musician!
- I wanted to talk about low self-worth. I think it’s a devastatingly universal topic.
- And, um…ok about 13% of the reason I wrote it is also because I wrote “COMPOSER RETELLING HIS NAME IS BECK” on a sticky note on my wall and picked it randomly amongst dozens.
- I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO TELL YOU. PRETEND I HAVE A BETTER ORIGIN STORY.
CAN YOU SEND ME A REVIEW COPY?
You have to request via my publicist at Hachette Children’s UK! I’m not in charge of this and I’m not super rich so I can’t just send copies to anyone.
Also, when a book is out, usually now is the time to buy it! I know that’s not possible for everyone so: ask your library to order it in too!
WHAT IS YOUR DAILY ROUTINE AS A WRITER?
I actually don’t have one. I write in intense hits, instead of daily. But my average-sort-of-process-to-writing-a-book is:
- Spend anywhere from 1 week to 2 years thinking up a novel idea.
- Plot the WHOLE THING in my head like an epic movie.
- Hate myself for all the explosions I put in due to dramatic soundtracks while plotting????
- Cait??? This is a freaking contemporary??? You caNNOT.
- Write an outline (usually 20,000-words). This totally eliminates writers’ block for me while drafting!
- Write the 1st draft (anywhere between 3 days to 10 days).
- Give it a break (anywhere from 3 weeks to 10 YEARS)
- Pitch to my agent and see if she likes it!
- Rewrite or edit extremely intensely (often I rewrite every. single. word)
- Get feedback from one or two betas or my sister if I cry enough on her and she takes pity on my pathetic soul
- REWRITE / EDIT SOME MORE
- Send to agent.
- If she says yes we should submit it to publishers: moooore edits and rewrites!
- Submission to publishers!
- If I’m lucky enough to land a deal — GUESS WHAT MORE EDITS AND EDITS AND EDITS.
- A little book, in your hand. And me, sobbing vaguely in joy and also slight deranged madness in the background.
HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT QUERYING FOR ATPN AND HOW DID YOU KNOW WHO TO QUERY?
So firstly: I didn’t query ATPN! I signed with my agent for a fantasy book that we submitted to publishers and it didn’t sell. ATPN was the second book I wrote and gave to my agent. (See?! You have more than one shot at these things!)
And secondly: if you’re asking things like “who do I query”, I’m not trying to be mean, but you NEED to do more research. You need to google and read up on the immense volume of advice that’s out there. I know it’s intense, but you need to do it. Don’t rely on other people to walk you through it, ok? It’s not particularly fair on them to do the work for you. If you want to be an author, you need to do the work yourself.
ARE WE EVER GOING TO GET [INSERT BOOK I’VE BLOGGED ABOUT IN THE PAST]?
Ok so the awkward part about being a blogger and now a traditionally published author is that I have talked about a heck of a lot about projects that you will never never get to read. I’m SORRY. There are so many factors, from (a) if I even like that book anymore, (b) if I’ve kind of reused parts of it in other books thus killing it bloodily, (c) if my agent thinks it’s a good idea?! (d) if publishers are looking for that kind of story, (e) etc. etc. etc.
So I currently have a 2-book deal. I have NO IDEA what will come next! I’m working on things™ and I can’t talk about them! So I won’t say “no” to anything OR “yes” to anything. Don’t you love me.
WAS A THOUSAND PERFECT NOTES OR THE BOY WHO STEALS HOUSES MORE FUN TO WRITE?
Definitely TBWSH was more fun! As you know, ATPN is pretty dark and tense and the cute smoosh parts are brief. TBWSH has a lot of banter and shenanigans (BEFORE I TOTALLY RUIN YOU WITH THE DARKNESS) and there’s a big family in there…so the antics are madness and so so much fun.
I’M SO EXCITED FOR YOU TO READ THIS AHHHHHHHHH.
WILL YOUR BOOK BE OUT IN AMERICA SOON?
For now the answer is no! This isn’t up to me. An American publisher has to want to buy ATPN from my UK publisher and so far no one has. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
HOW MANY AUTHOR COPIES DO YOU GET?
This depends on every individual author and what’s in their contract! I’ve just gotten mine and I got 20! Now 19 because my family seems to think they are fREE FOR ALL.
JUST KIDDING. I LOVE YOU MUM. THANKS FOR KEEPING ME ALIVE IN MY CHILDHOOD.
HAHAH JUST KIDDING.
I mean, I need to spend time with family so I can steal their habits and mannerisms, their speech and weird Sunday lunch stories because like how the heck else do you write.
WHY ARE YOUR BOOKS YOUR “SONS” AND NOT “DAUGHTERS”?
Because I’ve only written by boy narrators at this point so thEY ARE MY SONS.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO ACTUALLY GET PUBLISHED?
Duuuude. There is no ANSWER FOR THIS! Some people take years. Others take (I’m not even kidding) 3 weeks to land an agent and a book deal. It’s your journey and it’s going to be different.
But for me:
- It took 3 years to go from 1st draft to published novel.
- It generally takes about two years from signing your contract to getting your book on the shelf.
- If you sacrifice honey cakes and your least favourite sister to the fairies, maybe things will go faster.
- Not that I…have….done that….
HOW DOES BEING A PUBLISHED AUTHOR COMPARE TO WHAT YOU THOUGHT IT WOULD BE LIKE?
I actually had no idea what to expect. I mean, it ain’t all glamourous. Things aren’t smooth….there have been a lot of disappointments and hiccups in the behind-the-scenes of what I wanted my “perfect” publishing journey to look like. But hey me?!? Unrealistic expectations much?!
Also I never never realised just how freaking GOOD it would feel to hold your own book. To see it on shelves!! To have people saying they over it and it means something to them. And to make your editors cry. To have professionals in the industry ABSOLUTELY LOVE YOUR WORK.
UGH IT’S SO SURREAL AND INCREDIBLE.
WHAT’S YOUR NEW BOOK ABOUT AND WHEN IS IT PUBLISHED?
It is called The Boy Who Steals Houses and it’s out April 4th, 2019! You can read the proper synopsis on Goodreads but basically it’s about two homeless brothers who break into houses when the occupants are on holidays. Until one day it goes badly wrong…and they end up in a house with a huge noisy family. Genderbend Goldilocks retelling?! WHY YES.
It also features horrible decision making, #ownvoices autism rep, immense amount of sibling bonds, and the kind of ending you’re going to scream at me about. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
DID YOU HAVE MUCH SAY IN YOUR BOOK COVER DESIGN?
Nope! Total surprise for me and I freaking loved it.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE A THOUSAND PERFECT NOTES?
10 days for the first draft.
DO YOU EVER SLEEP?
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT A THOUSAND PERFECT NOTES?
- It is shiny
- It is smol
- It is mine
ADVICE FOR WRITERS WHO WANT TO PURSUE THIS AS A CAREER?
But if you want a book deal? DON’T. QUIT. It seems like the most cliche advice. But seriously! If your book fails? Write another! If you get rejected? Rework it. If you’re not good enough? Write and write and read good books and then write and write some more.
HOW DO YOU GET MOTIVATION TO FINISH WRITING BOOKS?
Holding a finished copy of your book is actually the most motivational thing ever. And I just WANT THIS?! I don’t know how else to explain it! I want it so so so much so there was no way I was ever going to quit or slow down.
WHY DID YOU USE GERMAN IN YOUR BOOK?
Again, because it’s based on a German classical composer’s life! I also had the amazing help of Maraia and Sebastian to make sure my German was, ya know…actually intelligible. My last name is German and my great-grandparents were German immigrants to Australia, but let me tell you: I GOT NOTHING STILL.
WHAT PLANS DO YOU HAVE FOR UPCOMING NOVELS?
I caaaan’t say! Did you know I kept ATPN’s book deal a secret from you for like 16 months? Ya. So I can’t keep you 100% up-to-date on what I’m doing with my publishing journey, but so right now just know I’m working on various drafts, my agent and I have PLANS™ and my publishers * probably want to buy me a pocket dragon because they love me so much.
* This is a full lie.
WHERE ARE YOUR BOOKS AVAILABLE?
In Australia, Europe and New Zealand = in bookstores! If it’s not, ask them to get it in.
OR ASK YOUR LIBRARY.