That’s right, my friends. You can win a free copy of Girl Stuff and a ton of bragging rights by entering the giveaway from YA Books Central. Details are at the end of this interview. Yep, you have to slog through my words of wisdom first. You didn’t think I’d make this easy, did you?
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write Girl Stuff?
When I began developing this series I had two sons in middle school. I was surrounded by inspiration, growing pains, and serious B.O. (still am.) I realized I didn’t need to create a fantastical world to deliver drama. Puberty is dramatic. Maintaining old friendships while you’re discovering new things is dramatic. Crushes, peer pressure, school pressure, style pressure, and academic pressure are dramatic. All I had to do was pay attention to real life. It was all there.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel came first. It usually does. Titles are hard. But my favorite part about this one? The red period at the end of the title. You’re welcome.
YABC: Do you have a favorite writing snack?
I chew disgusting amounts of gum while I write. My dog finds it off-putting, but it helps me think and she respects that. In 2019 I read a study in Psychology Today magazine that said gum chewing improved cognition. It was very validating.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?
I learned that each time I revise, the work becomes 200% better. Keep this in mind if your computer ever crashes and you lose chapters. It’s happened to me several times. Of course, I had a complete breakdown, but my rewrite was always better than the original. I’ve also learned that when you ask someone for their opinion they will give it to you. Be your own editor for as long as possible. If you get people to weigh in too early it can be a huge confidence killer.
YABC: What’s on your TBR pile?
I’d really love to get to the stack of Writer’s Digest magazines on my coffee table. I’m obsessed with them. I have a giant binder full of writing articles I’ve clipped and highlighted over the years. When I’m stuck or uninspired I look to my binder. There’s always something in there that digs me out of my hole.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
I just finished Crush Stuff (the second book in the series) and I’m about to start writing the third. I also have another middle-grade series called The Pack that comes out later this year. It’s about a private school for girls with secret animal powers.
YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
To be honest, none of the Girl Stuff characters gave me trouble. They all came very naturally to me. That said, Drew and I are very different. She’s blonde and athletic. I’m a brunette spaz.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
Revising, by far! I’m a huge outliner so the first draft is like building a house. I’m concerned with strong foundations, solid structure, and flow. Snoooooozer! Revising is like decorating the house. It’s all flourish and fun. The hardest part is over.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
My writing superpower is character development and dialogue. I hear voices very clearly. In fact, they never shut up! I can also find humor in dramatic situations. Maybe that’s less of a superpower and more of a survival skill.
YABC: What advice would you give to new writers?
The first question I get from new writers is often, “How do I get published?” My advice is don’t ever ask that question again. If you’re just starting out you should be focused on finding your voice. Journaling is the best way I know how to do that. I have hundreds of journals in my garage and they’re filled with embarrassing, tear-soaked rants that are teeming with grammatical errors and run-on sentences. They’re not about perfection, they’re about imperfection—connecting with the parts of yourself that make you unique and human. I spent decades working through my feelings and hearing the sound of my own voice. It’s how you discover your point of view, values, and cadence. It’s how you hear the sound of your own brain. Start there. Oh, and chew lots of gum.
One winner will receive a copy of Girl Stuff (Lisi Harrison) ~ (US Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*