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General FAQs

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Will you send me a signed copy of your books?

I’d love to, but it’s crazy difficult to ship books, especially internationally. Also, being an author, I’m rarely presentable and the people at the post office glare at me when I go in in my pajamas and bare feet. BUT I can send you a signed bookplate instead. Just email me and we’ll work it all out! Also, if you have an e-reader, you can request a free digital autograph through Authorgraph.

I’m part of a book club. Will you speak to us?

Sure! Contact me and we can discuss it further.

What happened to your book Secret for a Song? I can’t seem to find it anywhere.

Secret for a Song won the 2014 IPPY gold award! It has now been revised and partially rewritten, and will be published by Grand Central/Forever Yours on January 13, 2015 under the title One Last Song. Go here to see the cover, read the blurb, and pre-order!

What happened to the Fevered Souls and Glimpsing Stars series? Amazon says they’re unavailable.

I decided to unpublish the Fevered Souls and Glimpsing Stars (World of Shell and Bone; Land of Masks and Moonlight) series. HOWEVER, these continue to be popular (and thank you for being so interested in them!) with readers. I’d hate for you to be left hanging, particularly if you’ve already read part of the story. For that reason, I’m giving away the books to anyone who asks. Just email me using the contact form on this website! 🙂

Are you writing anything new? 

I am! I recently landed a book deal for a light, realistic young adult (aka teen) novel. I’ll be penning that under the name Sandhya Menon. I am much more active under that name for now, so if you like lighter books, please follow me there!

I have a publishing or rights-related question. Who should I talk to?

Firstly, thank you for your interest! Please contact my literary agent Thao Le at Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. All rights-related questions are handled by the agency.

For Book Bloggers

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I’m a book blogger. Will you send me some swag?

I <3 book bloggers! I wish I could, but I don’t actually have any swag at my house. I’d have to special order it, and that gets expensive. If you’d like a bookplate for your book, on the other hand, please contact me.

I’m doing a giveaway! Can you please donate something?

I’m usually happy to give away books, but I do like to vet blogs before I contribute. I’ve had people contact me before who were looking to pirate my books (sadface). Get in touch and we can chat!

I’d like to review one or more of your books.

Yay! Thanks for asking! I <3 honest reviews. Shoot me an email and we can talk.

FAQs on Writing

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What’s your writing process? How do you come up with your story ideas?

I’m not exactly sure how my brain comes up with the stuff it does. I suspect it’d be pretty terrifying to delve into the deep, dark depths of my gray matter and find out for sure! In any case, I usually start out with a picture of a scene or an idea of a certain character. With WORLD OF SHELL AND BONE, I had this vision of a young woman in a dreary gray city, forced to have a child with a stranger. And with ONE LAST SONG, I had the idea for a girl with Munchausen syndrome, and then wondered what would happen if she fell in love with someone who had a chronic, physical illness. So it really just depends.

As far as my writing process goes, it’s pretty simple: I force myself to sit down and write. I’m a huge believer of schedules, so I plan out my writing time in advance. Whether it’s the weekend or during the week, I announce it to myself, my husband, and usually one other writer who helps keep me on track (this public announcement keeps me off of Pinterest and Facebook and Twitter and Cute Overload…you know. The usual.). Deadlines are awesome, too. I love the adrenaline rush of trying to make them. I’m one of those writers who usually writes until the last possible minute, using the intense pressure to fuel herself. I don’t actually recommend this method to anyone, though, unless you have a huge supply of coffee and antacid tablets at hand.

I’m an aspiring author. Can you please read or critique my manuscript?

I’m so sorry, but because I have my own critique partners and am committed to reading their manuscripts first, I simply don’t have the time to do this. The one piece of advice I can give you is: find a critique circle you trust and rely on these people–usually fellow authors–who can give you valuable craft advice. The bonus is you get to read some pretty awesome books before they’re published!

What advice do you have for someone who wants to write for a living?

Run, don’t walk, to your nearest bookstore (or e-bookstore) and buy Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. She describes the writer’s life in a funny, yet very real, way. Most people imagine writers locked away in a room with a glass of whiskey at one elbow, madly typing away at their keyboards. The truth is a lot less glamorous. There are some serious ups and downs to the writing life—everyone has them. You’ll want to give up about thirty-three times a day. But it’s also so, so worth it.

If you want to write, the first thing you should be doing is writing (I know—crazy, right?). Write a little bit everyday. If you don’t have a book you’re working on yet, just start by writing what you’re comfortable writing. Journals/diaries, short stories, poems, all of those count. Concentrate on getting better, on plucking those words out of the ether and getting them down on paper.

If you can find a critique group in your local area, that’s excellent. If not, look online. There are so many resources, and you can connect with writers all over the world. It’s a humbling and exciting experience. Some of my best friends are writers I’ve met online. But make sure people who read your work are going to be brutally honest, because that’s how you learn. The second thing you should be doing is reading. Read good books—books with excellent prose—and books in genres you hope to write.

It’s not particularly difficult to get started on the writing path if you truly love words and have a burning desire to tell stories. The hardest part, I think, is training yourself to be disciplined enough to write every single day. Most writers write because they’d die if they didn’t (melodramatic as that sounds!). So go forth and conquer that pen!