Welcome YA author Liz Botts to the blog! Her debut novel, In the Spotlight, is up for purchase now at Astraea Press, Amazon.com, bn.com and other retailers. I interviewed Liz after reading the novel– my first YA novel in a long time!
1. Why does YA appeal to you as a genre? Are there other genres you write in as well?
I actually only started reading YA as an adult. I worked with high school students after college. Some of the best fiction I’ve read has been in the YA category. While I was a youth director at a local church I was inspired by some of the students I worked with. The plot of In the Spotlight developed off of listening to them talk about their extra curricular activities. Most of them were involved in theater like I was in high school. I also loved the idea of writing stories about teens who aren’t drinking/doing drugs/sleeping with everyone.
I think for the time being I will be sticking to the YA genre, although in the future I’d like to try my hand at historical fiction.
2. I noticed the “realness” of the dialogue in In the Spotlight. How do you do that? 🙂
From listening to teens talk, I guess. I try to really hear the characters talking to each other. If it doesn’t sound like something someone would say in real life, then they shouldn’t be saying it in my story.
3. Where do you get your ideas as an author? I know everyone asks that question, but we all want to know.
I mainly focus on the characters and let them lead the story. Usually I start with a rough idea of a plot as well as a more solid idea of the ending, pop in the characters and see where we go. There have been many surprises when I let the characters lead.
My settings all revolve more or less around my home town. It’s just easier for me to drop my characters in to a setting that is familiar to me and see what they do.
4. What other works do you have in progress or percolating in your brain now?
I have a Halloween novella called The Hidden Door coming out through Astraea Press this fall. My works in progress include a Christmas story and a high school romance that I’m hoping to send out to agents. My edits in progress include an old NaNo novel with a silly mystery. I’m not sure what I want to do with it yet, but I think the story is fun.
5. I really like the heroine in your novel. She is strong and knows her own mind. How did you make your heroine, Hannah Brewster, so smart and likeable?
Hannah was a really easy character to write.
6. What are your favorite hobbies when you’re not writing?
Reading most definitely. I also love to sew. Most of my time is spent hanging out with my kids and we do a lot of outside stuff like walks and trips to the playground.
7. What values do you want to come through in the novels you write, if any?
I like the idea of presenting teens with a strong sense of self. As I mentioned earlier I also like the idea of writing about stories about teens that aren’t filled with huge amounts of angst and negativity.
8. When did you decide to become a writer?
I always liked the idea of being a writer, but it wasn’t until I was pregnant with my third child that I decided I needed to get serious and submit things. One of my online friends had submitted to Astraea, and she inspired me to take the leap.
9. What advice would you give to aspiring writers of fiction and/or YA, romance, etc.?
As cliche as it sounds, write every day. It helps tremendously. Believe in your characters. Enjoy your story. Take advice from people. And check your ego at the door.
10. What do you find the easiest about writing? The most difficult?
The easiest thing for me is working with my characters. The most difficult would be finding time to write while being a full time mom and homeschooling our kids.
Buy Link: http://www.astraeapress.com/#ecwid:category=662250&mode=product&product=4669283
Find Liz at:
Facebook: Liz Botts