Today on the blog I’m sooo happy to be chatting with Bethany Crandell, author of SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS (Running Press April 1, 2014). Bethany and I “met” last year when she graciously asked if she could interview me for the blog OneFour Kidlit. (She asked fantastic questions, by the way!) We discovered we share an affinity for complicated main characters and irreverent humor and I cannot wait to read her debut young adult novel and anything else she decides to write for that matter. Welcome Bethany!
Talk a little bit about your journey toward becoming an author. Why did you want to write for teens?
Writing YA wasn’t a conscious choice—it just sort of happened. I’ve always been a sucker for the “feels” that come with life’s first experiences (I blame John Hughes for this), so I think it was just a natural fit.
Add John Hughes to our list of shares! So you know I’m counting the days until April 1, 2014 when SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS is released and the world gets to meet Cricket.
Ack! Me too!
I LOVE the cover. Tell us about the book and where the idea came from.
I tend to get a title in my head first and the story builds around it. Probably not the most logical way of crafting a story but it’s the way I roll. Anyway, I came up with this title I really loved, THE SHORT BUS FOLLIES, and went from there. Once I determined that I was going to have disabled teenagers as the supporting cast, and that my m/c was going to be reluctant participant in their adventures, the summer camp aspect just sort of evolved.
Do you work from an outline?
Yes, but it’s an evolving outline. I typically have something very broad and then narrow it down, down, down as I work my way through the story.
What does a good day of writing for you look like?
This varies depending on what’s going on. When I’m actually writing, I have a minimum word count of 300 words per day. Not much, but when you work full time and are juggling kids/homework/laundry some days 300 words feel like a million.
How about a bad day?
When I’m sick or “pudge-brained” meaning my head/body just do not want to cooperate with my muse. Those days I quickly spiral into a depressive, my-writing-blows-monkey-arse frame of mind and that’s sort of scary.
Just taking a second here to recover from my laughing fit over “monkey-arse” before moving on to my next question. (Wipes tears from eyes.) Okay. What fuels your creativity?
Oh…that’s a loaded question, Jen. I find motivation just about everywhere. My kids, my co-workers, the bum on the corner….Like most writers, I’m a daydreamer, so I can spot something while sitting at a red light and my brain just takes off. Most recently, a high school vice principal friend of mine told me that one of his students brought a gas mask to school that day – by the time I’d finished preparing dinner (which doesn’t take long in my world. #microwavejunkee) I had a rough plot for a new book.
How do you balance writing time vs. marketing? Not to mention family time!
It’s HARD! Some days I feel like I’m killing it, and others I feel like the biggest failure on the planet. My WIP has been stuck at 19k for what seems forever, and my poor dog hasn’t been walked in … well, he’s now eating “Fat Dog” dog food so, there you go. Mostly, I just try to remind myself that all I can do is the best I can do that particular day. Depending on what life throws at me, some days will be more productive than others.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever gotten?
I’m not sure this qualifies as “advice” but, my mentor made it very clear to me that every author thinks their work is crap. I’ve met a lot of authors since then and I can honestly say that she was right. We’re all insecure, neurotic freaks—thinking your work sucks is just in our DNA.
What’s next? What are you working on now?
I’m actually reworking the first MS I ever wrote. It’s another contemp called, STALKING WHITNEY HOUSTON. It’s about a girl trying to figure out who she is apart from who her mother wants her to be.
How can people find you?
You can find me at all the traditional haunts: My website: www.bethanycrandell.com, Twitter: @bethanycrandell, or on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorBethanyCrandell. If you can’t find me there, I’m at a Mexican restaurant somewhere eating my body weight in chips & guac and will be back very soon.
Ha! Eating body weight in chips and guac. One more for the list. Thank you, Bethany!