5 Questions & 1 Confession with Karen Akins

A few weeks ago I celebrated when my friend Karen Akins sold her book. Today I have an interview with her, and she talks about the inspiration behind it, and has some really good advice for other writers. Make sure you check out her site, because she is giving away a full manuscript critique, plus a critique from her agent Victoria Marini!

Where did you get the idea for your book?

A dream. Good grief, I know it sounds cliche, but Hubbykins was playing this Death Call of Action War Something video game, and I fell asleep watching it. I had this super action-packed but also weirdly romantic dream, and at the end of the dream, there was a time travel plot twist. (Yes, I just said that.) The story ended up being nothing like my dream except for the twist, but the *feel* of the dream is still there. Here's the PM announcement (who an amazing critique partner helped with):

Karen Akins's LOOP, in which a time traveler accidentally brings a boy from the past into the 23rd century, only to discover he's already in love with her future self and is keeping his own set of secrets, pitched as HEIST SOCIETY meets BACK TO THE FUTURE, to Terra Layton at St. Martin's, in a two-book deal, by Victoria Marini at Gelfman Schneider (world).

Where do you do most of your writing?

I can (and do) write anywhere. Most of the time, I'm at my desk, but I always carry a notebook around with me and jot down dialogue and scenes as they come to me. Or I'll call my voicemail while I'm driving and leave myself a message. And sometimes, I find that if I'm stuck, the best thing to do is change physical locations, even if it's just sitting on the floor with my laptop or going to another room.

What movie or tv show do you wish you could adapt into a YA or MG book?

Oh, this is hard. I love the current BBC adaptation of Sherlock. It would be fun to write a YA version of that with a twist, maybe a girl Sherlock or something like that. Of course, if I did that, I'd totally have her and Watson snogging by the end. Dang. Now I just want to go watch Sherlock episodes. THANKS A LOT, LIZ! 

What advice do you have for new writers?

Be careful with social media. I'm not just talking about being nice to others. I think that's simply good advice, period. But be aware of the fact that everything you say can and will be scrutinized by others. Other writers, agents, and eventually editors. There are writers out there who I'm sure are very talented, but because they spend so much time tweeting and blogging about their failures, my perception of them is that their writing is bad.

EVERY writer experiences rejection and failure, and EVERY writer needs to be able to talk about it with other people. That support is invaluable and sometimes the only thing that keeps you sane. But choose your medium wisely. I can't tell you how many e-mails I've sent to Liz that started with "Blerg" or "Meh." (Partly because there were many and partly because I'm too lazy to go count.) One thing I've discovered about the publishing world is that you have to sit on a lot of hush-hush information, both good and bad. And it never ends. People in the publishing world *are* paying attention to how you present yourself in social media. You should, too.

Oh, and read and write a lot. 

What were you like as a teenager?

Pretty much exactly what I'm like now, only insecure about it. Geeky and sassy.

Tell us something geeky about yourself:

How to pick one thing? How, how, how? ((asks Hubbykins to help me choose)) I can name the plot of any Star Trek TNG episode within 30 seconds of it starting.

Thanks Karen! I'm impressed with your encyclopedic knowledge of Star Trek TNG.

And if you want a critique from Karen and her agent Victoria Marini, you have one more day to enter her contest!