Celebrity Saturday with YA Author K.C. Neal!
Well this is certainly an honor! I’ve known K.C. for…idk, about a year now? She’s part of my beloved BNFF’s and I am super proud of her! She’s always been very supportive, and we both have an obsession with L.A.
Her newest book, I’ve had the pleasure to receive my very first ARC of a book, Pyxis. Pyxis is a joyful read that I surprised myself was able to finish within a week, which for me, is very fast. I thought that her writing style very much reminds me of Jessica Brody, so all Jessica Brody fans need to check out Pyxis!
This Celebrity Saturday is about K.C. Neal and her books and her plans for her future and the future of Pyxis. You can find more about her on her blog here: http://kcneal.blogspot.com/ and I encourage you to follow her @KCNealTweets on Twitter if you enjoy someone who is supportive and fun.
1. So Pyxis is coming out soon. How are you feeling about the launch?
I’m really excited about it! But it’s also a bit nerve-wracking to know that it’s “out there” being read by friends and strangers. It’s strange to think that less than a year ago, I sort of mumbled about how I was writing a book – and only if people asked me about it – and now I’m promoting it, and doing interviews like this one… well, a lot has happened in a fairly short timeframe and I’m not sure it’s really sunk in yet.
2. How long have you been writing? How long did it take you to write the first book of Pyxis?
I wrote tons as a kid and a teenager, but didn’t write much through my 20s. I started writing novels three years ago. Pyxis took me about 35 days to draft. It might sound awesome to draft a book that quickly, but the truth is I wish I would have taken more time for that first draft. The revision was painful – I ended up making major changes to 70 or 80% of the book. So a month to draft, and then 3-4 months to revise.
3. Have you always known Pyxis would be a series?
Yes, I knew that from the start. I’ve planned it to be a trilogy, and I have the outline of the next book, Alight, nearly ready. One of the most common questions people ask me is whether I’ve planned out the entire series and know how it’s going to end. I’ll let you in on a secret: at this point I have only a vague idea about what’s going to happen in Book 3!
4. What made you want to write Young Adult?
I never, ever expected to write YA. But last year I started reading a lot of it, and it must have had an impact on me. I didn’t intend to write YA, but the story that formed just happened to be that. And now, I have a hard time imagining writing anything else.
5. What is your favorite part of writing?
That magic feeling when something – a scene, a character, a plot twist, whatever – just “clicks” into place. And based on my experience with Pyxis, I’d say I prefer writing a first draft over revising and polishing.
6. What is your least favorite parts of writing?
You can probably guess that revising has not been my favorite part. As a really inexperienced writer, trying to revise Pyxis was just overwhelming at first. I knew I needed to make certain things happen during the revision, but really didn’t know how to get there because I’d never been through a real revision. In a lot of ways it’s a very intuitive process, and I tend to be more rational than intuitive, so I had to think in ways I’m not used to. I really dig intellectual challenges, though, and writing novels definitely challenges me.
7. What books inspire you?
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card had a huge impact on me. The book just blew me away. The story was so well crafted, the main character was so unique and compelling, the tension was non-stop, and then there was an amazing twist at the end. I didn’t realize it at the time, but now looking back, I think that book may have inspired me to write novels.
8. If you could meet any author, dead or alive, who would you meet and why?
F. Scott Fitzgerald. He was an incredible writer – his short stories are among my very favorite reads – and he seems like he was an interesting person.
9. How has Twitter and other Social Media helped you as a writer?
Oh, yes. I don’t think it’s possible to overstate how much Twitter and Facebook have affected me. It might sound cheesy, but the connections I’ve made have changed my life. I started getting active on Twitter and FB around the beginning of the year, mostly in anticipation of eventually publishing a novel. At the time, I expected to self-publish. But within a day or two after starting an author FB page, I got a friend request from the person who owns the small press, StoneHouse Ink, that I eventually signed a contract with.
That alone completely changed the course of things for me and my book. But over the next few months I also made a ton of friends online, and connected more than a dozen local writers and publishing people. My circle of friends has absolutely ballooned because of FB and Twitter, and honestly it’s hard to remember what life was like before I knew all of these people. My online friends have stepped in with support and advice at critical times, and I can’t imagine what this whole book writing and publishing process would have been like without that. I could go on and on…!
10. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Well, I hardly feel qualified to offer advice because I’m really, really new at all of this. But from my own experience I’ll offer this: find a skilled, more experienced writer to critique your work. Don’t fear criticism; a good critique will help your writing improve by leaps and bounds. And sometimes a manuscript really NEEDS to be ripped to shreds. Mine did, and it’s a hundred times better for it.
11. Do you like connecting with readers? How do you connect with fans?
I’m absolutely fascinated by readers’ reactions to what I wrote because it’s so strange that the story and characters that had lived only in my head are now beginning to inhabit other peoples’ heads! So yes, I love connecting with readers. Hmm… I’m not sure I’ve reached a stage where I have “fans” yet, haha!
12. Are you planning on writing outside of the Pyxis series? If so, what other books would you like to write?
I will certainly move on from this series, but I don’t have the next planned out at all. I’ve always wanted to write sci-fi, though. I’ve had an idea for a YA sci-fi/dystopian novel brewing for a while, and even did a fairly detailed plot diagram, but it hasn’t really gelled yet. I might go back to that and see if it’s worth pursuing.
13. What helps you get past writers block?
You know, I’ve never had writer’s block. Sometimes when I sit down to write it might take me a few minutes to remember where I left off and where I wanted to go next, but I’ve never been blocked, per se. And this might sound harsh, but frankly I think writer’s block is a myth. I think if you take writing seriously and treat it as a profession, you will find a way to push through those moments of not feeling inspired, or feeling uncertain, or whatever it is that makes some people think they’re blocked.
14. How often do you read? Do you use an electronic reader or hardcopy/paperback books to read?
I read every day, even if I can only fit in 20 minutes before bed. I got an iPad for Christmas last year, so I’ve been reading a lot of ebooks. But I still check out physical books from the library fairly frequently, if there’s a book I really want to read and the ebook is more than $5 or $6.
15. What was your favorite book as a kid?
I adored the Lord of the Rings trilogy. And still do, actually. I re-read it a few years ago.
16. Do you drink coffee or tea while writing? If so, what inspires you the most?
I don’t drink anything caffeinated when I write because I’m generally writing at night and don’t want to get to amped up. For inspiration, sometimes I’ll find a song that seems to capture the emotional space I want for a scene, and put it on repeat. The repetition is almost meditative after a while. Oh, and I prefer to write with all the lights out and the shades drawn.
17. Anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks so much for interviewing me, Claire! I’m doing a ton of book giveaways starting next week, a Kindle giveaway you can enter starting November 4th, and a $45 gift card for books giveaway in December. Check out my blog for more info on the giveaways and tours!
I love connecting with people online. You can find me on:
Take K.C. up on connecting with her! She’s a great friend and a talented writer.
I hope you guys have enjoyed this interview! As always, if you want to guest star on Celebrity Saturday, please feel free!
Also, my Real Life has slowed down a little bit, so I want to bring back Ask the Reader! Where I interview readers on what they love and hate about reading books.
Thanks so much you guys, and thanks for stopping by K.C.!
Until Next time, keep writing!