I have a few winners to announce.
The winner of THE YOUNG ELITES is Joni!
The winner of the $10 Amazon Gift card for the Gratitude Giveaway Hop is Sheila!
And the winner of THE DISAPPEARING is Jemi Fraser!
Congrats! E-mail me your addresses so I can send you your books. Please e-mail me by the end of Wednesday or I'll have to pick another winner.
Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:
Deidra Battle wants nothing more than to be invisible. After her mother, a public school teacher, engages in an embarrassing teacher-student affair at Lincoln High, they relocate to a different neighborhood and school. Being her mother’s briefcase, Deidra joins her mother at her new workplace, Hodge High.
Since her mother has reverted to her maiden name and changed her appearance, Deidra thinks no one will figure out they’re the Battles from recent news and that they’re safe. Neither of them is. Hodge brings a fresh set of bullies who discover details about the scandal that changed her life.
Feeling trapped at home with an emotionally abusive, pill-addicted mother and at school with hostile classmates who attempt to assault and blackmail her, Deidra yearns for freedom, even if she has to act out of character and hurt others in the process. Freedom comes at a price.
Hi Medeia! Thanks so much for joining us.
1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.
I wrote poems and short stories as a child. A few days after I graduated from high school, I received a word processor as a gift and started typing a novel, which I didn’t finish. Then I finished the next one and started submitting it when I was eighteen. It was not publishable, although I thought it was. I kept writing one drawer manuscript after another until my late twenties when nibbles became bites. Although, I didn’t get my first contract until I was in my early thirties.
2. I can totally see you continuing to write constantly knowing how productive you are now. Where did you get the idea for VITAMINS AND DEATH?
I had the idea of a girl struggling in an inner city high school and she had an imbalanced mother. I was fixated on this idea. The plot became clear after I wrote several drafts of an outline. We hear about student-teacher affairs in the news, and I wanted to write a story in the viewpoint of someone living with the teacher in question.
3. Awesome your outline helped clarify the initial idea. One of Deidra’s challenges is dealing
I used to have toxic acquaintances and friends, people who would drain me emotionally. Looking back on it, they might have had personality disorders, low self-esteem, jealous attitudes, dependency issues, or drug problems. These days I don’t tolerate such people. Sorry, it might sound heartless, but I have to think of my well-being and learned that if I give of myself to someone who’s needy, they keep wanting more. Just like Deidra, I wanted to distance myself from people who are abusive in any way.
4. Yes, it's so hard handling situations like that. What was one of the challenges you faced craft-wise in writing VITAMINS AND DEATH and what did you learn from the experience?
I wrote it out of order, with flashback chapters. This was difficult. I only had a few flashbacks in my previous novels. Also, I used chapter titles for the first time, when I normally only number my chapters. The titles are meaningful to the timing of each chapter since they switch from past to present. It was a challenge, and I learned I could do this. My beta readers were helpful when they saw any discrepancies, such as too much repetition between the switching and things that might not have been aligned.
5. You’ve written a number of contemporary YA stories. What advice do you have for other authors about writing good contemporary stories?
I suggest being as vague as possible when it comes to technology and name-dropping of celebrities. I realize that my 2011 debut novel probably seems outdated since I did this, although years from now readers could appreciate the cultural references. I also suggest researching what teens are into now and what current issues they have. For example, a future release has scenes of cyber bullying, which didn’t exist when I was a kid. Also, listen to how teens talk. I’ve put books down if characters sound like adults.
6. Great advice to keep the technology vague. You’ve worked with a number of smaller presses of various sizes. What’s been your experience working with different presses that are smaller and what advice do you have for other authors considering querying small presses?
Small presses are interested in your social media platform since ebooks won’t make it in a bookstore and POD books can’t be sold in every venue. I believe small presses take risks and are open to all types of books. Overall, I enjoy the small press experience. My books are being published and read, so I’m happy. My advice is to carefully read their submission guidelines. They vary tremendously. I’ve formatted manuscripts and synopses in so many different ways based on guidelines.
7. I didn't realize that about the submission guidelines, but it's always important to check them. One of the things I admire about you is how organized and productive you are. You teach and have been able to write and get published more than one book this year and done the marketing for them too. Plus you’re a prolific reader. What’s your secret for being so productive and accomplishing so much?
I have weekly to-do lists that I usually abide by. Only some items might roll over to the following week. I wake up early and start doing things so I can scratch items off. I’m free during the summer, and I typically can draft two manuscripts during those two months, using the rest of the year to revise and edit them.
8. Wow! You draft fast. How are you marketing this? What have you learned from your experiences marketing other books?
I did a cover reveal and I’m having a book blitz. Also, people are always requesting or I offer interviews and guest posts. I have supportive people who are either reading copies given in exchange for an honest review or those who tell me they are definitely buying the book based on the description. I’m active on Blogger, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads. I get modest to tremendous attention on those sites, so I’m getting my books and my name out there. I learned that you have to be in tune and in touch with readers, bloggers, and other writers. They are very giving when it comes to helping writers promote.
9. Awesome you're doing a book blitz. I think that's a good way to reach new readers. What are you working on now?
I have another edgy book, 52 LIKES, that will be published in January by Evernight Teen, so I’m busy with that. I’m juggling some middle grade manuscripts that are in various phases. Two of them are horror.
Thanks for sharing all your advice, Medeia. You can find Medeia at twitter.com/sharifwrites, instagram.com/sharifwrites, goodreads.com/sharifwrites, and medeiasharif.com.
Medeia has generously offered an e-book of VITAMINS AND DEATH for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through January 3rd. I’ll announce the winner on January 5th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, please leave it in the comments.
If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. International entries are welcome.
Here’s what’s coming up:
Next Monday I have a guest post by Trisha Leaver and giveaway of CREED, her YA suspenseful debut book.
Next Saturday I'll be participating in the Midwinter Eve's Giveaway Hop. I'll have lots of great book choices for you or an Amazon Gift Card.
Then I'm off until January 5th when I'll be back with an interview with debut author Lee Kelly and a giveaway of CITY OF SAVAGES, her futurist YA thriller.
Wednesday that week I have a guest post by debut author Maggie Hall and a giveaway of THE CONSPIRACY OF US, her YA thriller.
Hope to see you on Monday!