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Today I am excited to share my interview with Natalie Whipple over at Between Fact and Fiction and I would like to thank lbDiamond for her awesome question. Now on to the interview:

1.  What inspired you to become a YA author?

I’m not sure I was inspired, it was more that my stories kept ending up in that range. When I first thought of publishing, I actually wanted to do pictures books. Since I like to draw and write, I thought that would work. Except I couldn’t think of a good idea, and I hated to put that kind of pressure on my art. Art is my hobby, and I fully intend to keep it that way.

Then I attempted a middle grade novel. That lasted, oh, 10 pages.

Finally I decided to go back to a story I wrote in high school and redo it. While it still didn’t turn out very well, it was the first novel I finished. And the reason I finished, I think, was because I actually enjoyed writing about a teenager. Not that I would ever want to be one again, but it seemed like a comfortable place for me to be. I felt like I could grasp the voice better than in anything else I’d tried.

2.  It’s important to both develop/describe the world you’ve created, but it’s also important to keep the action going.  How do you balance description and pacing?

Well, I mostly do it in editing, honestly. In the first draft, sometimes you don’t know how the pacing is because you can’t see the big picture yet. The book isn’t done. It’s hard to see what is necessary and what isn’t.

But in edits? You can see how one chapter drags and another goes by too fast. You can see where a scene needs fleshing out or pruning. You can put the information where it needs to go, instead of where you thought it up in drafting.

When it comes to balance, it all depends on what kind of book you intend to write. Different genres require different paces, and there’s even variance within genres. I suggest reading popular writers in your genre to see how they pace a book. Assess if you like it,or if you don’t. Think about how you want to handle it. There’s not really a hard right or wrong on this one.

3.  A hot topic right now is three-dimensional characters.  How do you make your characters pop off the page?

You have to know your characters, and that takes time. Sometimes I think I know them, but half way through a draft they “open up” and the whole book gets thrown off by what they finally tell me. Or maybe I get lazy and don’t really get to know them, because it does take work to fabricate a fake person in your head.

I think the most important thing is capturing your character’s voice. Not to say your book needs to be in first person, just that you have to know them. They have to talk to you. Am I making any sense? You really do have to know what they want. You have to know what they like, what they hate. You have to know their past, how they deal with it, etc.

Not all of this goes on the page, mind you. But you still have to know it. It will show if you know it.

4.  What has changed the most since you’ve landed an incredible agent?

Honestly, not much. Writing is still hard sometimes. I still have a family to take care of and lots of things to prevent me from working. It IS nice to have professional feedback though, to have someone in the business on your side.

5. You created Happy Writer Society.  What exactly is it and how can other writers participate?

The Happy Writers Society is dedicated to erasing writer angst. I started it because I was sick of stressing out over publishing, and I decided I wanted to be happy at every moment on the journey. Or at least trying to be happy. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past few years, it’s that accomplishments don’t make you happy for very long. There’s always another goal ahead, another hurdle to pass. You have to choose to be happy at each point.

As for how others can participate in HWS, I post every Friday and am open to guest posts as well. The information on submitting is on my blog under the Happy Writers Society tab. Besides that, spread the happiness and you are automatically a member.

Thanks again to Natalie for taking the time to answer my questions.  You can follow Natalie at Between Fact and Fiction by clicking here.  Also, Natalie is no longer represented by Nathan Bransford, he, unfortunately for the writing community, has taken a job at CNET, but has left Natalie in the more than capable hands of Anna Webman.

Now it’s time for me to find my pencil, which means I will be wondering aimlessly through a pack of wild wallabies waiting pounce. ;p

P.S. I’ve been toying with idea of hosting short stories, poems, etc. on my blog, so leave me a yes/no/maybe so in the comments and don’t forget to check out Natalie’s site.

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So anybody who follows this blog, or sneaks to the post just under this one, knows I recently named Natalie Whipple’s blog Between Fact and Fiction the blog of the week. Well, I’ve been in contact with Natalie and she has graciously accepted to grant my humble blog with an interview.

So, as I was sitting down to write the questions out, I realized I write this blog not only for myself, but for all my great writer friends. With that in mind, I would like to offer all of you a chance to create one question you would like to know. Leave it in a comment, then on Sunday morning, I will post all of your questions, including my own and we can put it to a vote.

There can only be five questions, so take your time.

Now it’s off to find my pencil, my wonderful pencil of Oz? I’m being silly, but it would be funny if I found it there.

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