SURPRISE!! I have one more author interview up my sleeve! And this one is extra special because Eden Newman (published as EC Newman) is my great friend and IRL critique partner. We're some of the founding members of the Warner Robins Writers Group, and love talking about movies, Sebastian Stan, and Teen Wolf characters almost as much as books.
EC Newman is represented by a UK Lit Agent, but has an interesting perspective on the publication process. Keep reading to see how she handles rejection, writing routines, and balancing life as a published author.
Do you write under a different name?
What's your full-time job?
High School English Teacher and Assistant Director of the theatre program
What was your major in college?
Theatre & Writing
What other roles do you play in life?
Well, I have a dog, though I'm not sure if I really like the moniker: dog-mom. Teaching is most of my life and my students take a lot of my energy, both mental and emotional. I'm a daughter to two great parents, who regularly come visit to see the plays we put on at my school and various other reasons. I really think they just love my dog more than me.
Ha! Margie is super cute. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I consider my actual start to writing some time my freshman year of college. I had snippets of stories written prior to that but I'd never finished or really worked on any of them. I saw Newsies for the first time in college and started to write fanfiction, which I realized that I'd been making up in my head since I was a kid. Then I wrote like 30 poems during January term when I was stuck in an Ancient History class and was bored. I figured then that I ought to add a writing major to my theatre one.
What's the latest book you read?
I'm reading When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro right now, but I recently finished up Ghostly Echoes by William Ritter, a YA supernatural detective mystery.
Eclectic tastes! Do you also have a wide range of genres you write in?
Young adult paranormal is where I started, where I'm published, but I have about a dozen ideas that branch out from that: YA contemporary, Chick Lit, Historical Middle Grade, New Adult, etc. But YA is probably my favorite because that stuff and that time in life is just intense. Also, that's the age I happen to teach.
Do you have any works published that you'd like to share?
Well, this is a tale. My two published books, Phase and Shift, were recently 'retired' by the publisher because they didn't want to do YA anymore. So the rights are reverted back to me and I'm in the process of redoing/editing them to self-publish. As you know, Haley, you're a big part of the editing process ;)
I'm reworking Phase (and maybe Shift) to republish later this year. I'm in the middle of the third book of that series, hopefully the complete first draft will be done by summer. I have a few that are in various stages. I think after I'm done with the Phase Trilogy, I'll work on my New Adult contemporary which has a girl going off to acting school in Los Angeles, only to realize that her place in this world was not what she thought.
I like the sound of that new WIP! Do you have a writing routine, or a magic formula for getting words on the page?
HAHAHAHA. Oh, you're serious. I don't have a routine. I've been teaching seven years and it's taken that long to try and figure out how to teach, grade, and still get writing in. Ideally, I'd like to write five times a week, even thirty minutes a day because once I get going, I can spin out quite a bit. But realistically, I go through stints of writing nearly every day and then weeks of nothing as I catch up on the job that actually pays me. :)
Who/what influenced you most in your desire to become a writer?
I jokingly tell people that I write because my life is boring. There is some truth to that. Nearly all my stories have elements of romance in them mostly because I'm a hopeless (cynical, but hopeless) romantic and have had little to no romance in my own life. As a kid, there were a million things I wanted to try, but there's a lack of talent and/or time to do them all. Writing them in story seems to satisfy that desire to do all and be all. I also wanted to be a actor growing up, went to LA and everything. Sometimes my first person stories are really just super long monologues in a way.
I love a lot of writers, but C.S. Lewis is my hero. I like JD Salinger, Truman Capote, and F. Scott Fitzgerald for style. I always read Sarah Dessen books because she writes such good atmosphere. There's probably more, but those are some of the first to pop into my head.
I totally get the "live vicariously through my characters" approach. Tell us about your agent and how that came about.
I sent query letters back in the day. I got promptly rejected, often within 24 hours (the joys of email). I do have an agent, but that came from my graduate school program in writing for young people. I'm fully aware I got really lucky with her. And she's pretty patient as my writing is not as quick or prolific as I wish it was.
I have had massive rejections from publishers. Once I got a book deal then they rescinded it two months later due to the economy. Phase was rejected in one of the last meetings at a large publisher and I found out on Valentine's Day (which I have a record of having bad ones). My first book, that got me my agent, was rejected unanimously from a slew of publishers, with all the same feedback. So yeah, rejection sucks.
I cry and bemoan life when I get rejected. But it's also part of it. When Phase got rejected by that publisher, I was so upset, but I ended up starting the New Adult contemporary that is my next project. Often out of rejection and hurt, other stuff comes, so I can't fault it.
Words of wisdom for sure! In your opinion, what's the hardest part about being a writer? What's the most fun?
Writing. Truthfully. I can spend ages thinking about my stories and planning in my head, but to get it down is so hard. My life can be busy with teaching and I use that as an excuse for not getting more done, I admit. But since teaching as long as I have, it's harder to write because I'm more critical. I miss writing my first couple books. I had no idea what I was doing and it was fun.
I love living in story. I love creating 'what if' scenarios, having characters come to life, things happen that only I can write. I love all that. I love positive reviews (when I get them), and I love sharing something that comes from my heart with other people. That's the blessing of writing.
What advice do you have for other writers like you who are balancing a full plate while pursuing their dreams?
Do better than me. :D Keep plugging along and finish what you start. Everyone says they want to write a book someday, but only very few actually do and finish it. Finish your novel. Even if it sucks. You still finished writing a book and that is such an accomplishment. Read books, all kinds, including books on writing. But always be true to that inner story voice inside you, even when others might not 'get it.' Your story is your story. It can't be anyone else's.
And make friends with other writers. They are the best support or critique partners.
Great advice. Thanks so much for answering all my nosy questions! See you at Writers' Group ;)
**If you're a writer on the path to publication, I'd love to hear from you! Contact me to be a part of the Writer's Desk blog series**