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Saturday, June 4, 2011

interview with Anne Tibbets

Her blog
Welcome to Jagged Edge!
Would you like to tell us a little about yourself?
Hi. My name is Anne. I’m a recovering television writer. (Hi, Anne!)
I started my professional career freelancing for children’s television on such shows as, “The Zach Files” for ABC Family and “Strange Days at Blake Holsey High” for NBC/Discovery Kids, but my first and true love is young adult fiction. That’s when I truly fell in love with books, reading as a teen. I used to spend all my money on books and hardly ever did my homework. It’s a miracle I graduated from anywhere.

What inspired you to write?
I can remember writing short stories during the sixth grade, and passing them around to my friends. I’ve always loved writing. In Junior High, I took a writing class and was fairly certain I wanted to be a journalist until I took drama and caught the acting bug. I spent the better part of High School and college trying to be an actress. I stunk. Meanwhile, I’d written short stories in my spare time and managed to win a few awards. You’d think I would have caught on, but it took me until mid-way through college to figure out I was destined to be a writer. So, I switched from acting to playwriting and haven’t looked back since.

Your favorite character?
Death, the narrator from “The Book Thief.” My favorite book, and character, ever. Brilliantly done. I hope to write something half as good some day. No joke.

What is your favorite quote?
I’m going to cheat and give a movie quote.
“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda
That’s not only a great line, it’s good advice too.

If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world, which would it be?
“Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone.” I’d like to be eleven, live in a castle full of witches and wizards and learn magic. That would be super awesome cool. In fact, could I be Professor McGonagall right now? She’s my favorite.

What is the one thing that every writer needs to have or do?
Every writer needs a Thesaurus. I have one in my office, in my kitchen, and one in my purse. As for what a writer needs to do, I’d say a writer needs to write, as much and as often as possible. I know so many brilliant writers who have a very hard time actually writing.

Are your books different to your personal favorite books by other authors?
Yes and no. I adore reading high fantasy, but have yet to find one that focused on girls, or women -- most are male oriented. So my writing is different in that respect. I also read mostly adult novels, and I write young adult. Figure that one out.

What lead you to writing in this genre?
My writing voice. I acted in children’s theatre, I wrote children’s television -- writing books for children was the natural progression. I chose young adult because the subject content and language can me more complex. I chose fantasy just because I love writing it. It’s very freeing. The sky’s the limit.

What inspires you most when you write?
Music. Classical, Alternative, Pop, Big Band, 60s, 80s, 90s, current music…I listen to all kinds. It gets me in the mood to write. I have no idea why and I don’t question it. It works for me.

How long does it normally take you to write a book and go through the whole process?
That depends on the book. “The Amulet Chronicles,” which I wrote with a partner, took a year to write. “The Beast Call” took three months. Boom. Done. The next one I wrote (yet to be published YA contemporary) took three years. Not so boom. The YA dystopian I’m writing now, I finished the first draft in nine months, but I took quite a bit of time off from that one when I was working on getting “The Beast Call” published. It varies on the subject matter, how much research is needed, plus what’s happening in my life. Once I moved and remodeled my house and I didn’t write for six months. It was torture.

What are you most excited about this year?
I hope to finish two books before the year is through. The sequel to “The Beast Call,” and the YA dystopian I mentioned earlier. Fingers crossed! Most likely they’ll both have to wait until the Fall because my kids are soon home for the summer. Yikes!

What book do you wish to see come out as a movie? (of course all authors want to see their movie on the big screen but what other book would you like to see)
I really enjoyed “The Help.” I believe the movie will be out sometime this year. I’m looking forward to that, but very seldom do I love the movie as much as I love the book. If you want me to pick a book that hasn’t been made into a movie – I’d pick Sylvia Plath’s “The Bell Jar” and I’d like Kate Winslet to star in it, but I pity the poor fool who tries to write that screenplay. That would be tough.

Funniest question you have ever been asked?
Non-writers ask me frequently if I would “help” them write their children’s book with them. The answer is always ‘no,’ and they always look so disappointed -- like they think writing a book is easy, and what they’re asking isn’t that big of a deal. Really? Did I mention I wrote the same book 14 times in 3 years? It’s far from easy. They don’t even know what they’re asking! Cracks me up.

What happened while writing one of your books that you did not expect?
Well, a few weeks from releasing “The Beast Call” I read a press release that Stephenie Meyer’s new book had an identical log line. That freaked me out a bit. I hope hers does really well. It’ll help the high fantasy genre in YA and in turn, me! Go Steph!

Do you read the review when they are good and/or bad?
I try not to read the bad ones, but I can’t help it. Yes. I read them all. And I’m not going to lie, bad ones hurt. But I try to remember I never loved every book I read, and you can’t please all the people all of the time. I have to keep the faith and press on. Besides, the negative reviews may have a point. It’s a good idea to listen to constructive criticism, but the mean hurtful kind? Not so much.

What’s next in life for you?
More books, I hope. A long boring summer with my kids with time to write. Do you believe in miracles?

Was there a question you wish I would have asked but didn’t?
Q: Detail your writing process.
A: 1) Paragraph description of book idea, usually written on a scrap of paper that was convenient when the concept struck
2) One to two page summary of entire story
3) Bullet point plot outline
4) Write
5) Revise outline when gapping holes are discovered while writing
6) Rewrite
7 – 15) Continue Rewrite
16 – 20) Rewrite some more
21) Send it to writing friends for constructive notes
22) Did I mention rewriting?
23) Cry with happiness when finished until Editor hands you more notes
24) Rewrite it again
25) If I’m lucky - publish

1 comment:

Denise Z said...

Thank you for the great interview.

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