Monday, September 20, 2010
Christy Raedeke, YA Author Interview
Christy Raedeke lives with her husband and two children in Ashland, Oregon. She is the recipient of the 2008 Holmes Fellowship in Young Readers Literature from Oregon Literary Arts.
CS:I can't tell you how thrilled I am that you would do this interview with me, Christy (http://raedeke.blogspot.com). I LOVED you book, Prophesy of Days Book 1: The Daykeeper's Grimoire (www.prophesyofdays.com). It's packed full of amazing information in an entertaining story.
Tell us about The Prophesy of Days. How was your story birthed? What was Your motivation?
Christy Raedeke: I really wanted to write the kind of story I would have loved as a kid. I was always into the odd books about the stuff like unsolved mysteries, The Bermuda Triangle, and bottomless sinkholes in the Yucatan. Once I read about the Mayan calendar I was hooked and knew that had to be the central focus of the book.
CS:What messages/life lessons did you wish to teach your readers in Prophesy of Days?
Christy Raedeke:I'm not sure I really have any life lessons to impart, but I do want kids to know that life is full of mystery and beauty. I hope they know how important they are - and how powerful. They have a hand in shaping the world they want to live in. I don't want my kids to inherit the world; I want them to create a better one.
CS: Looking back on the writing of Prophesy of Days, is there anything you would have done differently?
Christy Raedeke: Of course! I think my whole life is made up of things I look back on and wish I'd done differently. But living life looking in the rear view mirror makes you lose site of what's ahead. This is a first novel and it's full of flaws - but dwelling on them is useless. I can only impact my future, and work harder on my next books.
CS: Full of flaws? I never noticed any! What part of writing is easiest for you? And the hardest?
Christy Raedeke: The easiest part of writing is the first draft, about a third of the way in. By then I usually know the general direction I'm going, but I'm right in the middle of the discovery phase. At that point it seems like my fingers are writing, not my brain. The words just flow.
The hardest part is revising. That feels like straight-up work. Especially when you have to change a plot thread and scour the book for all instances that are touched by that thread. I know people who absolutely love the revision process, but I'm not one of them!
CS: What advice would you give aspiring writers about getting into the game? What do you know now that you wish you knew back when you started in the business?
Christy Raedeke: My biggest piece of advice would be to go to writer's conferences when you're ready to query agents. They are so much more receptive when they've met you in person at a conference. Plus, hearing them speak on panels or roundtables gives you good insight into who they are and what they like. I really don't know how people query blindly! A little-known fact: once you've been to a conference and met an agent or editor, you can write the name of the conference on your submission envelope and it will rise above the slush pile. So in addition to getting a great education at conferences, you are also paying for preferential treatment for your submission.
CS: What was the wisest thing about writing that was ever said to you?
Christy Raedeke: It's the old Hemmingway saying, "kill your darlings". In both of my books, I've had to chop off the first several chapters. Don't be afraid to cut work that you love if it makes the story better.
CS: And here you can do a loud and shameless plug for book #2! Would you like to tell us about it? (Sure you do!)
Christy Raedeke: Well, I'm deep in revisions of it right now, so it's on my mind! The title of it is Prophesy of Days, Book 2: The Serpent's Coil. I can't tell you too much without giving away spoilers, but I will say Caity gets deeper into the conspiracy, Justine accompanies her on most of the adventure, someone we love dies, and Mr. Papers discovers some scary new talents...
CS: Now I can't wait to get my hands on Book #2!
Thanks so much for this interview, Christy. Good luck with revisions, and let us know how it's coming along!
Does anyone have any questions they would like to ask Christy?