Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A2A Chats with Alexa Young

Tip of the Day: As if the Olympics and Alexa Young being here today aren’t exciting enough, I have it on good authority that there might be a week of prize giveaways happening on this very blog in the not-to-distant future.

We have a special treat today here at A2A. I was fortunate enough to win a copy of Alexa Young’s debut novel Frenemies on another blog, and I knew I would love it from the book’s description alone. It involves two friends who obviously are doubting their friendship, a fashion feud, hilarious cyberzine entries from the Style Snarks, laugh-out-loud one-liners, witty chapter headings, and much more. Tweens and teens are sure to love this book! I was alittle iffy, since I tend not to like third-person books as much as first-person. But I quickly got over that, since the funny story sucked me in.

So I’m so happy Alexa agreed to our Author2Author Chat.

A2A: Where do you most of your writing? (and if you have a picture you can share, feel free to do so).

Alexa: I do pretty much all of my writing in my home office—which, as you’ll see from the stroller and chalk board and child-sized table and chairs, also doubles as my two-year-old son’s office. :o) (If only I could blame him for what a complete MESS it is. Oy!)

Emily: this is too cute! But Alexa, apparently your definition of messy is completely different than mine. I only wish my messes were this clean!

A2A: Are you a plotter or a plunger?

Alexa: Complete Type-A, control-freak, organized-to-a-fault plotter. I actually work really closely with my editor(s) to develop the story and we hammer out a pretty extensive chapter outline. That doesn’t necessarily guarantee it’s going to work, though. The first draft of FRENEMIES wound up completely sucking, even though it was totally true to the chapter outline. So we scrapped the whole thing and did a brand-new outline. Even then, I had to revise a good third of the second draft—but it wound up being SO worth it. With the second book in the series (FAKETASTIC, out January 2009!), we spent about three months developing the plot and chapter outline. The story for that one was pretty tricky, so we really wanted to get it right before I dove in and wrote it. There were still quite a few revisions, but I know there would have been a ton more if we hadn’t spent so much time plotting first.

Emily: I don’t know why, but this was really reassuring to hear such a successful author has to go through sucky first drafts just like all the rest of us. Thanks for sharing this, Alexa, and making us all feel alittle better.

A2A: What do you do when you get discouraged?

Alexa: Cry. Freak out. Curl up in a ball on my bed. Turn into a raving mad psycho-woman from hell. Make my husband’s life miserable. Then I usually call or email someone who can cheer me up—usually a fellow writer or editor who will point out that it’s time for a little perspective. My husband usually tries to help me with that too, but sometimes I just need him to be my whipping-boy. :o)

A2A: What are you working on next?

Alexa: I’m about to put the finishing touches on FAKETASTIC. It’s been less than two weeks since I handed in the last draft, but it feels like forever. I actually can’t wait to get rolling on book three! I’ve sent a bunch of title suggestions and plot ideas to my editor, but I won’t get her feedback on that until FAKETASTIC is all wrapped up.

A2A: What's your favorite thing about writing?

Alexa: It’s the best excuse I have for my completely regr

essive child-like behavior! I can play make-believe, using my imagination to create new people and worlds. Plus, I get to re-live and re-write my own experiences with more interesting details and outcomes. There are so many other great things about writing, but the being-a-kid one definitely tops the list. Does that make me pathetic?

Emily: absolutely not. You’ve come to the right place, I think all of us here like to delve into our inner-teen as well!!!

HERE’S A QUICK BLURB ABOUT FRENEMIES:

Fashion-obsessed BFFs Halley Brandon and Avalon Greene have always agreed on everything.

But after spending a summer apart, they’ve changed—physically, emotionally, socially, intellectually. As they begin eighth grade pursuing other interests, people, and modes of self-expression, personalities clash, tensions mount, and barb-slinging catfights and hilarity (punctuated by poignancy) ensue. Can this friendship be saved?


HERE’S A QUICK BLURB ABOUT ALEXA:

ALEXA YOUNG spent the first several years of her professional life working in the music industry—for the legendary Capitol Records and the irreverent trade rag HITS. She subsequently worked as an editor for the now-defunct teen magazine JUMP, as well as for the #1 women’s fitness magazine in the country, SHAPE. As a freelance writer, she’s contributed to a number of national consumer magazines, including Marie Claire, O: The Oprah Magazine and Family Circle. She holds a bachelor's degree in Literature/Writing from the University of California, San Diego, and lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband, son and dog. FRENEMIES is her first novel. The second book in the series, FAKETASTIC, is scheduled for a January 2009 release.

Thanks so much for stopping by Alexa and I can’t wait till Faketastic comes out (love, love, love the title!!!!)

--Emily, Miss Awaiting an Agent

12 comments:

Jessica Burkhart said...

Great interview, Em!

taylormorris said...

I love seeing other author's work spaces. And the Pampers are a nice touch, too. I can't wait for the next book to come out from Alexa. Thanks, guys!

DeenaML said...

I agree with Em -- Alexa's idea of messy is far far from my own. :) Thanks, Alexa, for coming by! I have to get your book for my library teens!

Alexa Young said...

Thanks for inviting me to stop by and chat! That was fun. :) And I guess you're right...my office could be worse. Actually, it looks a lot worse right now! Doh. XO

Lisa Schroeder said...

Thanks for joining us, Alexa. Is there room for me in that nice office of yours? :)

Emily Marshall said...

Alexa, thanks again for the interview!!!

And to everyone else, thanks for stopping by.

Kristina Springer said...

Oooh-- you totally reminded me that I want to read this book!!

And I have a question for Alexa-- how did you get such close editorial help outlining your first book? Did you have your editor before you wrote it?

Great interview!!

Emily Marshall said...

Tina,

Good question, I hope Alexa answers this. I do know this book is an Alloy book, and I know they function very differently as a book packager. So I'm interested in seeing the answer.

Emily

meryl's musings said...

Husband as a "whipping boy" -- hmmm! This was a great interview. Enjoyed reading how she works so strictly with chapter outlines.

Melissa Walker said...

Great interview. I liked hearing the "cry, curl up in a ball" part. Does that make me awful? I do the same thing!

AND, I just finished Frenemies and adored the writing!

Stephanie Kuehnert said...

Great interview! And I love your office, Alexa. It is definitely way cleaner and more organized than mine. I'm also glad I'm not the only one who loves to write because I get to be like a kid playing pretend and who cries when things go wrong!

Gerb said...

Great interview! I love the office picture, complete with the little desk and chalkboard. Also knowing that I'm not the only one who has to do multiple editorial passes on my ms and that someone else cries when they get frustrated, too!