Today on the blog, I’m thrilled to be welcoming, Lisa Burstein, author of the young adult novels PRETTY AMY, THE NEXT FOREVER, and DEAR CASSIE, and the new adult novel SNEAKING CANDY, which I recently read and loved sooo much that I’ve convinced my book club to make it our next read. Lisa and I blog together at YA Outside the Lines—it’s where we “met”—and her recent post about sexism in MFA programs and the way romance and young adult authors aren’t always seen as “serious” or “legitimate” writers, struck a chord with me. She gave me my new mantra, “Stories for teens and about teens are no less valid than stories for and about adults,” and the idea to make 2014 my year of reading only women authors. So, I knew I had to read SNEAKING CANDY and chat with her on the blog.
First, tell us a little bit about your path to becoming a published author of both young adult and new adult fiction.
What would become my first book was actually my thesis for my MFA. I wrote it as a coming of age novel, it wasn’t until I left my MFA program and started looking for an agent that I found out I was actually writing YA. When that book was picked up by Entangled, I had no idea the characters in it would spurn new novellas and books. At last count 5 total!
What inspired your switch to new adult? Will you continue to write in this genre?
THE NEXT FOREVER is actually the continuation of PRETTY AMY. It puts the two main characters from that book in college. I enjoyed writing it so much, I decided to write a stand alone New Adult book. I also had some things I wanted to say about publishing and writing that wouldn’t have really worked for YA.
Tell us about SNEAKING CANDY.
SNEAKING CANDY is about a twenty-something woman in a graduate writing program who writes erotic romance under a pseudonym because she is afraid she will not be taken seriously by her peers. I thought at first it would be a book about a woman trying to find her authorial voice, her sexual voice and finding love in the unlikeliest place, but as I wrote it turned into something much different.
I realized it was my story in a lot of ways. Even having left my program, my peers from my MFA days do not consider me a legitimate author. They don’t say it, but I can feel it. I’ve never been invited back to read or talk about my publishing experience, even though I am one of the 10% or less from the program that have published novels. Truly, I am Candice. I don’t write erotic romance, but all my books have been published by a “romance” publisher and as such their literary value is lessened.
What I was hoping to show in Sneaking Candy, apart from telling a funny, raunchy story was that writing is writing regardless of genre.
I love the friendship between Candice and Amanda. We could all use an Amanda in our lives! Was the character of Amanda inspired by anyone you knew or know?
I love Amanda! I tend to write Best Friends as foils, give them dialogue the main characters would never say confidence the main character would never have. I have never had a friend like Amanda, but I’d love to!
Would you ever consider writing erotic fiction, or publishing any fiction for that matter, under a pen name? Your main character Candice Salinas found it very liberating to write as Candy Sloane. I totally get that.
I certainly would. Maybe not erotic I just can’t go that far on the page, but I am writing an adult romance now and may use a pen name for it.
What kind of research did you do for SNEAKING CANDY? (i.e. Is there really something called Eroticon?) This was one of my fave scenes, by the way!
There is something called Eroticon! It’s an erotic writing event held annually. I’ve been to Florida, but I did research rules about teacher student relations at the University of Miami and of course look at a campus map ;).
What’s your writing process like? Do you have a specific routine?
I work full time so my writing routine is every day after work and on weekends. I try to write at least an hour every day. When I’m drafting, I’ll usually draft two-four chapters on Saturday and Sunday and then revise them over the week. I write without punctuation- crazy right?
What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve received?
Leave yourself something for the next day, meaning know exactly what you’re going to write about before you sit down to write. It is so much easier than facing the blank page.
What surprises, good and bad, have you had since becoming a published author?
Good, that readers and fans are amazing! Bad that once you put yourself out there you get the good, but also open yourself up to more criticism than you can imagine. Also it is SO MUCH WORK! You want so badly to be published but once you are to keep being published you have to keep working, a lot.
What’s next? What are you working on now?
I’ll have a NA novella coming out in April which follows the characters from my YA Novel Dear Cassie and some other top-secret things 🙂
Where can readers find you?
The best place in on twitter @LisaBurstein
Or my website www.lisaburstein.com
Get your copy of SNEAK CANDY at Amazon: