i wouldn't say people frequently ask me questions, but when they do, they frequently ask the same ones. here they are.
Where do your story ideas come from?
My stories tend to start with characters and grow from there. If I don't have good characters, I have nothing. I've trunked many a good concept and plot because the characters weren't working.
My work as a journalist also influences what I write. My first book, BUTTER, is a prime example. The character popped into my head, fully formed, one day, but he didn't come from thin air. He came from daily coverage of childhood obesity, internet bullying and teen suicide. So many of the facts I write during the day find their way into my fiction at night.
How many books did you write before you got one published?
One. And it was a big mess. But it is still the most important thing I've ever written, because it proved I could get to "The End."
....Now ask me how many books I've started and abandoned!
What is your writing process like?
I am a plotter, but only in the loosest sense of the word. My outlines look something like this:
Chap.5 - John racing home from work, delayed by stoplights (or blowing through them?) on bike. Sees Jane and skids bike. "Where have you been? I waited hours - I thought something happened - " A look from Jane shuts him down. (what is the look?). Get them to the coffee shop. (Insert dialog from voice recorder here.) Intro the old lady.
It's messy, but it works for me.
Now when it comes to revisions, I am all-organization-all-the-time. There are many Post-Its involved!
What do you do when you're not writing?
I catch up on dishes and work my day job.
Oh. You mean hobbies. Yeah, I remember hobbies. Those things that used to get equal time with writing.
Well, I snowboard (though I'm not very good at it), and I play guitar (though I'm very VERY bad at it).
And lately, I spend a lot of my free time planning my wedding. :D
What messages do you want readers to take from your books?
I never set out to send a message. I always just try to tell a good story. But if readers walk away with a little more empathy for people who may be different from them, or if one of my books gets someone thinking harder about certain issues... then that's okay with me.
Why do you write for teens?
I think I write about teens more than for teens. I love that YA books are not just for young adults. They're for anyone who remembers what it was like to be a teen. It's a short but critical time in our lives that shapes who we are forever. To me, there is no more interesting age to write about.
Are you available for school visits/signings?
When is your next event?
Is there a study guide for BUTTER?
When does your book come out in the UK/Germany/Hungary/etc...?
Answers to all of these questions can always be found on my official website, ErinLange.com (link! click it!)
Can you send me a free book? an ARC? a bookmark?
ARCs and personal copies of books are generally spoken for, but if you have a charity event or something of that nature, please contact me through my website (see above).
As for bookmarks, I will happily send you some! Please send a request to erin (at) erinlange (dot) com.
How do you find time to write?
My answer to this is always: You cannot find time to write. You have to make time to write. Honestly, if you prefer doing anything else, do it. Writing is fun. Writing is how I want to spend my free time. If you don't enjoy the process, it will be very hard to make the time.
Here's how I make time:
First, I don't write every day. Nope. Not me. No can do. I tend to slave over a project for weeks or months at a time then take long breaks to catch up on the rest of my life.
During writing cycles, I sacrifice sleep, TV and social time with friends. It's not a healthy lifestyle if you write every day. It's probably not healthy in any case, but it's how I make time. I also tend to let my house fall apart around me while I'm writing. It can take weeks of cleaning to get caught up!
Can you read my manuscript?
I'm so sorry, but I can't. I wish I could. I hope it gets published, and maybe I can read it then! If you are looking for critique partners, I highly recommend checking out these two forums:
Why didn't you answer my question?
If you have a Q I didn't cover here, it must not be frequently asked! Go ahead and shoot me an email with that unique question. I always respond eventually. :)