YA author and all-around nice gal, Darcy Woods is a familiar face around these parts. Her debut novel, the adorably swoony Summer of Supernovas, was nominated for two RITAS (basically the Oscars for Romance authors), and she's hard at work on her follow-up.
Darcy was kind enough to swing by our blog for a quick Q&A. Warning: no-nonsense answers with a dash of charm ahead!
1. What is your favorite part about writing? The most challenging part?
Breathing life into a story. Watching characters evolve from cardboard cutouts into three-dimensional beings with their own hopes, dreams, and fears. And if I’m real lucky, they hold my hand and pull me all the way through their journey. All the way to the almighty THE END. Ironically, my favorite part also happens to be the most challenging. Some characters and/or stories speak in shouts, while others speak in whispers. The nuance (and magic, IMHO) is in the whisper, which can require Herculean effort to be heard. Because it means blocking out the world around you, in order to fully devote yourself to the creation of an imaginary one.
2. What’s the worst writing advice you’ve ever received? How did you overcome it?
Hmm . . . I can't recall any terrible advice off the top of my head. But I can tell you on more than one occasion—whether it be from workshops or blog posts—I’ve heard some very authoritarian advice. And anything that begins with, “YOU MUST ALWAYS [insert writing commandment here]” makes me tune right out. I believe we’re all wired differently. What works for one author, may not for another, and that’s okay! So with the exception of a handful of fundamental guidelines, I see nothing wrong with cherry picking from the advice you receive. Adapt it to your situation, writing style, and process.
3. Looking back, what did you do right that helped you become an author?
In terms of becoming a published author, I attribute writing contests for really catapulting my career. The RWA’s Golden Heart® Contest, along with other chapter affiliates, provided an incredible springboard for getting in front of agents and editors who wouldn’t have otherwise seen my work. Interestingly, it wasn’t until after my book deal that I discovered my current editor had actually judged every manuscript I’d ever entered. She’d been following my writing through three different manuscripts, and wound up publishing the third. Talk about kismet!
4. What would you change or do differently when it comes to your writing career?
Not a damn thing. Even if I feel in hindsight I spent a little too much time on promo—social media, in-person events, interviews, etc. At the end of the day, I can look in the mirror and say, “I did everything I could to make this book a success.” And that to me, is a success unto itself.
5. What are you working on now?
I’m keeping it a little on the down low, so without revealing too much, I can tell you it’s a high-concept YA contemporary dealing with fractured families, a PTSD-afflicted father, and a girl who seeks refuge in rules. But when the girl discovers her family is on the verge of financial ruin, she devises a secret (and illegal) plan to save them all. And for someone who’s never colored outside the lines, she’s about to cross every single one of them.
Thanks so much, Darcy! We can't wait to get our hands on your next novel!