For our latest installment in the Writers Around the World series, I’d like to introduce you to writer, Rebecca Waddell!
Over the past few months, I’ve had the great opportunity to get to know Rebecca—mainly through Twitter, but now, through her participation in this series, I’ve gotten to know her even better. Pull up a chair and “listen in” as we chat all about her writing…and her writing life.
Hi Rebecca, thanks so much for chatting with me and sharing a little bit about yourself. First of all, I’m curious to know where you’re from.
Hi! I’m from California and still live here.
Well, you’re a lucky girl and I envy you already. Here in NY, the temperatures are dropping snow is beginning to fall. Enough said! So, how long have you’ve been writing?
Good question. I started writing poetry in elementary school and telling stories. Really, I’ve always told stories and been that one kid who insisted when we played house that I was the pet lion. In 2000, when I graduated from college, I started my first full-time job and my first novel.
What age group and genre(s) do you write in? The same one all the time or have you written in more than one?
Hmmm… Tricky question. Yes is the most accurate answer. I started with Adult Sci-Fi, but that is also the manuscript I burned in a bonfire. I moved on to Contemporary Adult and wrote two books before trying my hand at Picture Books. I wrote a few of those and gathered rejections on all of those for a while before I changed gears and wrote my first Young Adult Contemporary novel. YA and MG have stolen my heart and that is where I write most of the time. I write a combination of Contemporary, fantasy, and Sci-Fi, whatever character screams the loudest at writing time. Oh, I write Chapter Books too sometimes.
We know how important it is to read widely in the age group/genre you write for. What’s a book you read in your genre and loved?
I think it depends a lot on the author what they need to read to get into the right frame. *shift-eyes looking for CPs who will tell on me* Okay, I’m terrible about this and it’s important. For Middle Grade, especially, reading to get the voice and word usage is important for me. My natural voice is a little older than acceptable to use in Middle Grade, so spending time with my almost twelve-year-old and stealing some of her books is very helpful. My nine-year-old sounds like one of my YA characters, so she’s not as helpful when it comes to nailing dialogue.
With so many great books, it’s hard to resist them all. What’s a book out of your genre/age group you read and loved?
I just finished What Light by Jay Asher and love the Warrior’s Series and the Storm Siren trilogy.
Writing is the greatest profession there is—obviously! If you weren’t a writer, what would you want to be? Don’t hold back. No limits on this one!
When I was four, I wanted to be a fire truck. Things didn’t quite pan out there. I also wanted to open a pet shop and be a teacher. If I could do anything, I’d go back to working with high schoolers. And hanging out with my kids, I’m rather fond of them.
Yes, it’s possible to like both, but which do you like better—drafting or revising?
Currently, drafting, but revising is its own reward because I love working with someone else to shape my story. It means it’s not mine anymore and I can share it with someone else. I love the moment when one of my trusted CPs or my beloved agent gets something I had no idea was in the story and I get excited over the whole thing all over again.
Do you plan first or write as you go along?
Planning… Every time I try to plan out my story too far, I end up driving myself crazy and not writing. Outlines are the death of me. I do need to have an overall idea of what I’m doing in my head after a certain point, or know my characters enough to let them lead. So, I’m kinda somewhere between a planner and a pantser.
What’s your favorite day of the week? How come?
Uh, I’m not sure. Writing days. Because I get to write on writing days. Also, sleeping in days.
Where do you usually write? At a desk? Outside? In the car? Be honest. Where does the magic usually happen?
My main writing places are my new desk, my couch, and the gym. At least, that’s where I go with my laptop. My iPad is what I write on when I’m in bed. Otherwise, I write on my phone wherever I am when the words want to come out.
Are you a morning person or late night owl? What time do usually write?
NIGHT TIME!!!!! I’m not really awake until 9 am, even if I am up and about.
What made you write your story in the first place?
Uh, which one? Actually, the answer for most of them is that I wanted to know what happened next, so I kept writing until I found out. Some of the other stories happened because the character wouldn’t leave me alone or shut up long enough to hear anything else in my head. One story, one very important story came because I couldn’t find the character after she whispered to me. I’m pretty sure my amazing, wonderful agent might have questioned my sanity (I’ve sure given her plenty of occasions to wonder about me *shrug* I’m a writer) when I sent her an email telling her how worried I was about this character and how I couldn’t find her. That book is different in the very best ways.
What’s your favorite food(s)?
Pizza, chocolate, ice cream, soda, turkey, mashed potatoes, candy, chocolate, salmon, asparagus, chocolate, steak, rice, broccoli, crab, oh, and did I mention chocolate? I like a few other foods too.
What’s your favorite drink to drink while writing?
Water or Mountain Dew.
Do you have any hobbies, besides writing?
Yes. I love four-wheeling and desperately miss riding a quad on the dunes. Beach bonfires are a favorite past time as is just walking around and thinking. I love to sing questionably in my car and dance by myself when no one but God can see me. I also love playing goofy games on my Ipad and I love camping! Hiking is awesome, except for how much I have to ice my knees after I go. And I love to cook, but don’t do it very often because I’m kind of busy most days.
Do you have a job separate from writing?
Yes, that full time job is still my day job, though I’m not in the same office I started at in 2000. I’m basically in charge of paperwork and filing, like many office jobs.
Tell us about your family…
I love my husband and two daughters. *shifty eyes* They may or may not influence some of my characters. My hubby is the support that picks me up when things are rough and makes me separate from my laptop when I don’t want to, which is a good thing. He’s the root of love that grounds every romantic relationship between characters, and the one that nourishes me and keeps me grounded he also drives me completely crazy in the very best way and I love him more for it. My kids, what can I say about the two daughters who for some reason question every single thing I tell them and inspire some of the strangest moments I capture in fiction. It is my distinct privilege to be their mom and all the craziness that ensues from that.
Who’s usually your first reader(s)?
When I first started, my mom was always my first reader. I’ve connected with an incredibly talented and amazing group of Critique Partners who are now my typical first readers. On a couple occasions, my amazing agent has been stuck with the edited only by me raw spewing from my mind.
What has been your biggest writing accomplishment so far?
Boy, that’s a hard question. Everything in writing is so much of a process that it all feels big. One of my very favorite things is having the privilege and pure joy of being part of Golden Wheat Literary and having Jessica Schmeidler as my agent. There aren’t words to capture how much I love the writing family I have there.
Getting published isn’t easy. Why do you keep trying?
Why would I quit just because it’s hard? The best things are worth all the work it takes to get them done. That willingness to push for the difficult only makes me a better writer and sharpens my story.
What’s your biggest struggle when it comes to writing?
Self confidence. Every book I wonder if I can write, if I’m good enough to make a story come out of the whisps of characters still forming in my head. I wonder if anyone will like anything I put down on paper or if I should give up on all of it. My other main struggle is with taking breaks. I don’t wanna. I’m stubborn and just want to keep writing, but I need breaks.
What’s your next step? Revising? Writing a new book? A sequel?
I’m drafting something new at the moment. If you listen enough, I think you can hear my Critique Partners groan. I’m also currently wondering if it will turn into a whole book or what.
Do you have any advice for writers still in the query or sub trenches?
Keep going. Take breaks. Write more things. Try short stories. Keep learning. Write more. Take breaks. Keep going. If you really want to do this, nothing will stop you.
What will you do when you reach your writing goal? Who will you tell first?
I’ll set a new goal because I’m not doing this for one book or one story, I’m doing this for life because writing is part of who I am, not just something I do. It’s a lot less about goals now and more about which story comes next and in what stage.
If you could travel to any place in the world, and experience any culture (for inspiration of course!), where would that be?
I want to go to Scotland and Ireland, but also, Alaska. Who knows, I’ll just wait and see what God has planned. I’ll go where He sends me.
Rebecca, thank you so much for meeting up with me and sharing your thoughts with all of us. Good luck with your writing. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s looking forward to reading your stories one day!
To connect with Rebecca, click on her websites and check her out on social media. She would love to hear from you!
Author Site: http://rebeccaw23.wixsite.com/glowolf143
Poetry Blog: www.ReflectionOfFaith.wordpress.com