Welcome to another of my fabulous acronym-based interviews. The second novel is no easy feat, and with that in mind I put together a series of questions for debuts who are tackling the second obstacle in their career path. I call it the SNOB – Second Novel Omnipresent Blues. Whether you’re under contract or trying to snag another deal, you’re a professional now, with the pressures of a published novelist compounded with the still-present nagging self-doubt of the noobie.
Today’s guest is Emery Lord, a 20-something Midwestern girl who writes stories about high school and best friends and weird families and the crushes that make you feel combustibly alive and also more awkward than you thought was possible. If you’re not sure how to pronounce Emery, try slurring the name “Emily,” and that will get you really close. Emery’s debut, OPEN ROAD SUMMER, is available now from Bloomsbury. Her next offering, THE START OF ME AND YOU releases March 21, 2015 from Bloomsbury.
Is it hard to leave behind the first novel and focus on the second?
For me, it wasn’t. As daunting as it can be to stare down the blinking cursor of a blank page, I think- I hope- every new project is an opportunity to improve as a writer. I was ready for a fresh start and new voices/themes/settings to play with.
At what point do you start diverting your energies from promoting your debut and writing / polishing / editing your second?
You know, I ducked in and out, and I think I’ll keep doing that. When drafting was making me crazy, I’d stop and take care of swag, return emails, do guest posts, etc. And when promo felt overwhelming, I’d go back to writing. And, actually, I believe the best promo you can ever do is honing your craft on a second book! So…one in the same sometimes 🙂
Your first book landed an agent and an editor, and hopefully some fans. Who are you writing the second one for? Them, or yourself?
Always myself first. Haha- that sounds terrible on its face! But it’s because I can’t hope anyone else will even *like* my book if I don’t love it. Now that I have an agent and an editor/team of awesome people at my publishing house and readers who I really connect with, I feel all the more passionate about making sure I give them something I believe in.
Is there a new balance of time management to address once you’re a professional author?
Absolutely. The main thing is juggling multiple books. Still work to do for released Book 1, promo for Book 2, edits for Book 3 and drafting Book 4. And there are just…so many emails, haha. I’m still trying to figure out how to balance it all! (If anyone has figured this out, give me advice! And coffee. Give me coffee.)
What did you do differently the second time around, with the perspective of a published author?
I did two things differently. First, I used my “perspective of a published author” to make a huge rookie mistake. I was editing my second book while being publicly reviewed for the first time. And I kept letting those voices in- which was paralyzing. I could hardly make choices about my writing because I kept subconsciously lingering on what people would ultimately say. But, then, it finally clicked for me- the actual perspective of a published author that I needed: people are going to criticize me no matter what I write. So I might as well write balls-to-the-walls about the things I care about most. That’s what I did differently for my third book. *shoots pistols into the air* No regrets.