Hey guys! I have a fabulous writer to introduce you to today in our Writers Around the World Q & A series. Meet Caitlin LaRue…
Caitlin, thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. I’m having a blast in this series hearing from writers from all over, and hopefully our blog readers are too! So first of all where are you from and where do you live now?
I’m originally from New Jersey, but now I live in Maryland.
Ooh, an East Coast Girl, just like me! How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing since sixth grade. I decided to do it seriously about three years ago when I decided to write 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?
I tend to write young adult contemporary novels, although my current WIP is ya magical realism. I’ve also written middle grade and new adult, but I feel like I fit best in ya.
We know how important it is to read widely in the age group/genre you write for. What’s a book you’ve read and loved?
I loved Kiera Cass’ Selection series. I’m currently reading Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me series which is phenomenal.
With so many great books, it’s hard to resist them all! What’s a book out of your genre/age group you’ve read and loved?
I read Warrior’s Don’t Cry by Melba Patillo Beals. It’s her autobiography about the Little Rock nine. Absolutely horrifying and such an important read. A fantastic book.
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!
I’m actually an English teacher as my first profession, but if I could be anything else I would own a huge horse farm. I love animals and I love to be outdoors doing manual labor.
Yes, it’s possible to like both, but which do you like better—drafting or revising?
I love to revise. Though it’s a lot harder, the book really grows and becomes beautiful during the many, many revisions it has to undergo.
Do you plan first or write as you go along?
I always do character sketches and a rough outline of where I want the book to go. Normally, I write down the major scenes for the book and then go. My outline is typically nothing like my actual book by the time I finish.
What’s your favorite day of the week? How come?
Saturday because I get to spend time with my girls and we go to the library to get new books.
Where do you usually write? At a desk? Outside? In the car? Be honest. Where does the magic usually happen?
Typically, I write at my desk at work before the day starts. When I get time to write at home, I write either at the kitchen island or upstairs at my desk in the office. I jot down ideas in the most random places though. My brain likes to get brilliant ideas in the car or the shower.
Are you a morning person or late night owl? What time do usually write?
I normally write in the morning because by the time I’m done teaching and then being mommy at night, I’m exhausted. So it’s better if I try first thing in the morning. The words don’t always come, but I definitely have a better shot at it.
What made you write your story in the first place?
I had a group of boys in my first class of students who hated to read because they didn’t see themselves in books. They told me books were “for girls.” So I set out to write a novel for them. It turns out, it was not my best work, but it sparked my writing and passion for words again. I may revisit that manuscript and try to salvage it now that I’ve learned a lot more than I knew when I started.
What’s your favorite food?
MACARONI AND CHEESE! I could eat it every day for the rest of my life.
Oh my gosh, yes! Me too:) What’s your favorite drink to drink while writing?
Definitely coffee. The warmth in the morning always helps to wake me up.
Do you have any hobbies, besides writing?
I love to run when I have time. I also love to garden.
Do you have a job other than writing? Being a stay at home parent counts in case my question isn’t clear!
I’m a middle school English teacher, mommy, and wife. I have lots of jobs and I love them all.
Tell us about your family…
I have a husband and two little girls both under the age of five. I write the stories I want them to read. I also have two dogs that were my first babies.
Who’s usually your first reader(s)?
My critique partners always get first reads. They always catch my stupid mistakes before I send it to my agent. I try to clean up the draft as much as possible before sending it to her.
What has been your biggest writing accomplishment so far?
Getting an agent was huge for me. I’d almost given up and then the next month I got the call. It was the ray of light that I needed to know that I’m on the right path and I need to keep going.
Congratulations on signing with your agent. That IS a huge accomplishment! We all know that getting published isn’t easy. Why do you keep trying?
It’s what I’m meant to do. It’s one of those things where it just feels right. It’s a passion I have and it just fits. It’s definitely hard and a long road, but the people around me from my husband to my critique partners have been so supportive. Good people are crucial to being able to keep going.
What’s your biggest struggle when it comes to writing?
My biggest struggle is always finding time. With two little ones and a full time job, it’s hard to fit everything into a day.
What’s your next step? Revising? Writing a new book? A sequel?
I’m in the process of writing a new novel. I’m about halfway through and my goal is to finish by the end of January.
Do you have any advice for writers still in the query or sub trenches?
Just keep going and take a break if you need to. If agents give you feedback, listen and consider before revising. I got some feedback that was amazing, but I also got some that didn’t fit the concept of my book at all. You want to find your perfect match, so be patient and just keep going.
What will you do when you reach your writing goal? Who will you tell first?
The day I get a publishing deal, my husband and then my critique partners will be the first people I tell. I will be a crying, weepy disaster (and I’m not a crier). But that is my ultimate goal and I’ll keep trying until I get there.
If you could travel to any place in the world, and experience any culture (for inspiration of course!), where would that be?
I would love to travel to England, Ireland and Italy. My family is very Irish and I still have relatives who live in Belfast. I also took Latin in high school so I love Italian culture and history.
Caitlin, thank you so much for “chatting” with me. It’s been great getting to know you! Good luck with all of your writing adventures. I look forward to seeing your books in print one day soon!
To connect with Caitlin, go to Twitter…you can follow her at @CaitlinLaRue.