Today I have the pleasure of having Margie Gelbwasser, author of Inconvenient and the upcoming Pieces of Us, here on the blog to answer a few questions about her books and about writing in general. So without further ado, here is what she had to say.
Pieces of Us is your second novel, how different was the writing process compared to when you wrote your first novel, Incovenient?
It was very different on so many levels. First, INCONVENIENT was written in a vacuum. I didn't know about reader's reactions and how the whole publishing process worked and what happened once the book hit the shelves. In that way, it was freeing, and I didn't write with anyone in mind. However, I also knew less about revisions, so there were many more drafts of INC than of PIECES OF US. To get INC to the point of where it is today, took years (this includes very early drafts and figuring out the story, etc.). POU was hard to begin because I only had an idea, glimpses of scenes. I saw the lake houses, I saw Katie and this concept of a dual life, but because I was so removed from writing INC by then, I had forgotten how I did it. I also kept hearing voices in my head, censoring this idea or that based on the market. Finally, I remembered that I wrote INC in pieces—a scene here, a scene there, not in any order. Once I remembered this, POU flowed easily. I wrote what I wanted and ignored the voice. The first draft was finished in three months. I then revised for my editor for two more, and did final copy edit revisions for anther two months.
What made you choose to write Young Adult novels as opposed to other genres?
When I was in high school, I always wanted to write the kinds of books I read. My favorites were “issue” books by Norma Klein and Norma Fox Mazer. But by the time I began writing, I had explored other authors I love (e.g. Amy Tan, Maeve Binchy) and wanted to write family and generational stories. In my stories, the teen characters were always the best developed and their stories the richest, so I wrote to my strengths and haven't looked back. :-)
How has your own Russian-Jewish background influenced what you write in your books?
In INC, it heavily influenced the story as it's about a Russian-Jewish girl. In POU, it barely influenced it at all. The characters go to lake houses every summer, which is something many of my Russian friends and I did, but I only drew on the setting, not any customs or anything like that.
In Incovenient, the story focuses mostly on one character, Alyssa. In Pieces of Us, it seems to focus on four characters and how they come together. How different writing one character versus writing four?
I absolutely loved writing in four points of view. It gave me the opportunity to really delve into four different psyches, and the freedom to branch off into a new story anytime a storyline bored or confused me. It was also interesting to see how the four teens stories connected and why.
What has been your favorite part of being a published author?
The opportunity to reach people has been the best. Having someone tell me that my books affected them means so much to me.
Be sure to follow the rest of the tour through The Teen Book Scene!