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Better Than The Best BY JAMES OH

Better Than The Best BY JAMES OH
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Wednesday, 13 March 2013


                                                           CIDNEY SWANSON

When did you begin to write?

As soon as they gave me pencil and paper and explained the alphabet to me!

When did you first discover that you were a writer?

When I was seven, I’d been in love with books for a couple of years already. At that age, I first heard you could make up stories and write them down as a job and I said, “I am in!”

What is your favorite part of writing?

My very favorite-favorite parts are the very beginning, when a shiny new story is
beguiling me (they flirt outrageously to get my attention) and the final polish where I examine every sentence to make sure it is pulling its weight in a story.
Does it belong?
Can I find better words? That sort of thing. (I know—word nerd!!)

So far what is your worst criticism/attacks, and how have you overcome it?

When I was in seventh grade, my class had a writing competition. I spent a gazillion hours on this Nancy-Drew-type novella that was the longest thing I’d ever written at that time. The class voted, and my story lost—by ONE vote. I was heartbroken and didn’t write stories for almost ten years after that. (Lots of poems, essays, letters, journaling- just no stories.) I do not recommend what I did. But that was part of my journey. Then one day I just said Enough! and started writing stories again. It felt soooooo good!

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

My Kirkus award—getting a Best of 2012 on Saving Mars was a dream come true. Kirkus advertises themselves as the World’s Toughest Book Critics. (No lie!)

What does your writing process look like?
I plunk down a first draft in a month or so, and it is one messy, messy thing. Then I let it marinade for a week to a couple of months while I work on something else. When I come back to the draft, I am looking at my editor’s notes and my own gut feeling for where the story is weak, boring, implausible, etc. I do a story revision pass, then a sort of line edits, and then a final polishing pass where I try to make sure each separate page has a gem on it: something funny or anguishing or just really well-said.

How did you get published?

We opened Williams Press with my first title, RIPPLER in 2011. I’ve been writing full-time ever since.

Can you enlighten us a little more about your books?

Sure! The RIPPLE Trilogy is about a girl who can turn invisible, the boy she’s crushing on, and the neo-Nazi geneticist out for blood who is chasing them. My next series, The SAVING MARS Series takes place 300 years in the future when a human colony is facing starvation on Mars. Jessamyn, a young, grounded pilot must prove she and her autistic brother have the right stuff to fly a daring raid to Earth even though the two worlds have a No Contact policy. Her brother gets caught, she falls for a boy on Earth, mayhem ensues, and she has to choose between saving her brother and saving her planet.

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