Today we're welcoming author Erynn Mangum. Erynn has graciously dropped by for a visit AND she's giving away a signed copy of Miss Match, the book that started it all. Details on how to win the book at the end of the riveting interview.
::Putting on my Diane Sawyer glasses::
Erynn, you have a great “how I got started” story. Can you tell us about that?
Ah, so my testimony? 🙂 Until I had my son almost a year ago (it's seriously been a year???), I had always worked with teens in some way. I interned at my church with the junior high and high school girls for a long time. LOVED it. Loved them! So it was kind of a natural-ish step to write for teens.
Tell us about this new book.
Kate Carter has two gifts – art and sarcasm. When her high school art teacher has her class do a series on “Art in the Workplace” and includes a segment on Criminal Sketching, Kate finds her talent in forensic artistry. Her near-photo-quality sketch helps capture a murder and puts her on the front page of her small town's newspapers and suddenly everyone wants to be her friend. Until the murderer escapes, appears to be targeting Kate and was Justin in art class smiling at her?
Sounds awesome. My Charmed Life series was a teenage sleuth who found her fashionable life at stake on a regular basis, so I'm a big fan of that suspense thread. Anything that harkens back to Veronica Mars (moment of silence….) has my vote.
Love how you mentioned Veronica Mars. Awesome show. And love teen sleuths!! I never really know how I get my ideas. Most of the time in the shower. Sometimes while I'm eating. With SB, I think I was hyped up on a little too much sugar and pregnancy hormones. I wrote a potential proposal for it, put it away for awhile and couldn't stop thinking about it. So I pulled it back out, begged my agent to send it out and here we are.
What was your research process like for this book?
I'm pretty tight with Google. And WebMD. And all matter of sites that Google manages to pull up for me. If the FBI had been monitoring my internet searches while writing Sketchy Behavior, I probably would have been put on some kind of a federal watch list.
And then you also tested the e-novella waters recently.
Easter Carats released in May. And my next novella, Fish and Chips, should release either late June or early July. I wrote them because I needed something to add a little more stress to my to-do list during my son's nap times.
Any fun summer plans?
Hanging out with my Nater Tot, planning his first birthday party (insert sad Mom tears here), writing, swimming and hopefully I'll be getting some frozen yogurt in there one of these days. How about you?
Happy first birthday to your baby! This summer I'll be traveling a bit, finding some sort of painting project that will make me insane, and continuing my obsessive longing for the beach. And eating ice cream. So tell us what your favorite thing about writing is.
I love when the ideas and the words are just flowing. I think that has a lot to do with how much caffeine I've ingested before sitting down to write. I love developing characters and sticking them in awkward situations. Awkward scenes are the best.
Oh my gosh, awkward scenes are the best. And I've heard of this mythological word flow, but have never seen it myself.
Biggest writing challenge?
Ask any editor I've ever worked with and I think they'd tell you this: I struggle big time to keep to a timeline in a book. It's my biggest downfall. Thankfully, it's only a minor rewrite, but still. Also, I'm not the biggest fan of descriptions. I don't like reading them and I don't like writing them. I'd rather imagine what someone looks like than be told what they look like.
Oh, I'm LAUGHING. My editor Jamie would be laughing. I have worked on eight books with her and it wasn't until this last book that I ACCIDENTALLY got the timeline right. (And then later screwed it up somehow, but still I got it! I finally got it!) It's SO hard. You wouldn't think so, but it is. It hurts my head to think about what day it is. What's wrong with a nine-day week?
Okay, tough question. ::Takes off Diane Sawyer glasses. Steely gaze:: Your favorite ice cream?
Almost anything Blue Bell. I might have to go with their Dutch Chocolate. SO GOOD.
You're obviously a big fan of coffee. You're standing in line at Starbucks. What do you order?
Depends on the weather. If it's cold, I'll get a caramel macchiato. If it's warm, I've been really liking their new Mocha Coconut Frappucinos. For a little bit, I went through a Chai tea phase. That seems to have passed.
Mocha frapp all the way here. I'm not only enough to drink the other stuff. . . What's the book you wish you'd written?
Diary of A Wimpy Kid. Hysterical. Or Henry Reed, Inc. I read that book as a nine year old and I can still remember most of it. If that's not quality writing, I don't know what is!!
Diary of a Wimpy Kid is genius. All adults should try one of those. It's a great book, period; but a great book to read in small vignettes, like at the dr's office, in the car rider line, while waiting for your takeout. And one of the few books that makes me laugh out loud in public.
Thanks, Erynn, for stopping by. We'll be anxiously awaiting August for Sketchy Behavior.
Thanks so much, Jenny! This was way fun!
Guys, do get in the running for a signed copy of Miss Match, answer the following question by next Friday, July 15th. Winner announced Monday July 18th. What's a good book you've read this summer?
AND don't forget, if you comment on all six MYFASE blog posts (June 27-July 11), you'll ALSO be in the running for an ARC of There You'll Find Me AND a $25 dollar Barnes and Noble card, in addition to any other books you win these two weeks of book/author fabulousness. Come back Monday when we'll be talking to the awesome Sandra Byrd, author of the beautifully-covered book To Die For.