Hello Guys! Today my post is an interview with author Tara Gilboy. But before the interview starts I will like to tell you about her recent book release.
After learning the truth about her own fairy tale, twelve-year-old Gracie wants nothing more than to move past the terrible things author Gertrude Winters wrote about her and begin a new chapter in the real world. If only things were going as planned. On the run from the evil Queen Cassandra, the characters from Gracie’s story have all been forced to start over, but some of them cannot forget Gracie’s checkered past.
Even worse, Gracie discovers that as long as Cassandra has her magical book, the Vademecum, Gracie’s story is still being written and none of the characters are safe, including her mom and dad. In a desperate attempt to set things right, Gracie finds herself transported into another one of Gertrude’s stories—but this one is a horror story. Can Gracie face her destiny and the wild beast roaming the night, to rewrite her own story?”
This book is part two of a book called Unwritten which follows our main character Gracie who gets to know that she is a character in a book which doesn’t end well. In this part we fellow Gracie’s story as she travels. In the other worlds created by the author. I loved both books because who doesn’t like to read about books, in the book. Liked the concept of the story line and also the characters. Do read both the books!
My Rating- 4/5 🍪
Hello and welcome to my blog and thank you for answering these questions !!!
Thank you so much for having me! These are fabulous questions!
- How did you come up with this story for the book?
The idea for Rewritten came easier than other books I’d written in the past. I knew when I finished Unwritten that if I wrote a sequel, I’d want to have Gracie travel into other Gertrude Winters stories, so I had a general sense of what the book would be about. The hardest part of figuring out what shape the plot would take was getting a firm handle on what Gracie’s internal arc would be. She had resolved a lot of her issues in book one, and so figuring out what her character still needed took some time. Interestingly, in order to figure out what would happen in Rewritten, I had to think really hard about what Cassandra wanted. Often when I’m plotting, I’m focusing on my protagonist’s goals, but I knew in this case, I needed to figure out what Cassandra wanted and what her next move would be because this would play a significant role in what happened to Gracie.
2.How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Good question. A LOT. I have one novel (that I wrote for my master’s thesis) that I completed and never published, a handful of completed picture books, and dozens and dozens of novels that I started and quit halfway through. I’ve written half-novels about haunted houses, a partial re-imagining of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess, the beginning of a dystopian, pieces of historical novels, pages of fairy tale retellings… You get the idea. I never throw these unfinished manuscripts out, though. They are always there, in the idea bin, and maybe some day I’ll come back to them. Most of them I started years ago, and I think some of the reason I put them away was because I didn’t fully believe I could finish a novel yet. Either that or I wasn’t in love with them enough to commit to spending years revising them. Novels are a huge commitment – you have to be willing to spend years working on it, so it’s important you feel connected to the story and your characters.
3.What did you edit out of this book?
I edited a lot out of this book, though not quite as much as I did Unwritten. When I started Rewritten, it took me a while to write my way into the story, to find my groove. My very early drafts actually alternated between Gracie and Walter’s points of view. All that got cut. I also changed the ending several times (there is a certain character I keep killing off in early drafts who always survives in the final version!). In Unwritten, I edited out even more, over a hundred pages. There were like 60 pages where Gracie and Walter go into the fairy tale “Sleeping Beauty.” Those all got cut and eventually transformed into the scenes at Jacob’s camper. My writing group kept telling me I didn’t need the “Sleeping Beauty” scenes, but I liked them and kept insisting they were necessary. It took me six months to realize my workshop partners were right and cut those chapters. And I’m glad I did—the story is stronger for it.
4.How did publishing your first book change your process of writing your book?
Publishing my first book changed my writing process a lot. It added some additional pressure to my writing process, but it also kept me feeling more disciplined and intentional about the writing. When I wrote Unwritten, I had no idea if it would be published or not, and I took my time with it, letting the book kind of meander and wander, without a solid outline. I spent a year writing the first draft and another two years revising before it was ready to send out to publishers. I sold Rewritten on proposal, which means I turned in a synopsis and three chapters, and so once I had the contract for the book, I was writing under deadline. I only had about 9 months to write the entire novel, so my writing process became a lot more disciplined. I had to make a schedule and stick to it, and since my first drafts are awful, I had to get that first draft done quickly so I could use the majority of that time for revision.
The best thing, though, about how publishing Unwritten affected my writing process was all the feedback I got from readers. On days when I was struggling with Rewritten and not sure where the plot was going, or stumbling over a certain scene, I’d often get feedback from a reader who loved Gracie and Walter and was eager for the sequel, and that kept me excited about working on the novel. I didn’t want to let my readers down!
5.Have you ever gotten reader’s block?
No one has ever asked me this before — this is such a great question! Yes, I have had reader’s block, though I’ve never put a name to it until just this moment. I often go through periods, when I’m super busy or stressed, when I find I can’t concentrate on anything. Or I’ll start books and put them away after a few chapters because they’re just not grabbing my attention (not because of any flaws in the books, but simply because nothing is grabbing my attention). At times like these, I find myself watching a lot of Netflix and YouTube. Usually to snap myself out of it, I turn to “guilty pleasure” books – books that maybe don’t have a lot of literary quality but are super easy to read and fast-paced, so they grip my attention easily. After a week or two of guilty pleasure books, I’m usually back into my old reading habits.
6.What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Gosh, there are a lot, and I’ve been guilty of them all. I would say the two biggest stumbling blocks I see from aspiring writers are:
- Putting too much pressure on themselves
So many aspiring writers expect their work to be publishable-quality right away, but it often takes years and years of learning your craft, and lots of failed manuscripts, before writers publish their work. It took me ten years between my first university writing class and my debut novel releasing (and I’d been writing my entire life before that class too!). If you want to be a writer for the long-haul, you have to find pleasure in the writing itself. Enjoy the process, cultivate friendships with other aspiring writers, form workshop groups… I never would have believed this if someone told me this ten years ago, but now that I have books out in the world, I realized that the journey was the best part of writing: the friends I made, the conferences I attended, the brainstorming sessions… Enjoy every bit of it and don’t put too much pressure on yourself to publish right away.
- Not giving protagonists strong goals
Every unsuccessful manuscript I’ve ever written (or that I didn’t finish) failed because I didn’t have a clear idea of what my main character’s goal was. What does your protagonist want more than anything else in the world? It has to be concrete, something that matters deeply to them, that there will be serious consequences, either internally or externally, if they fail to achieve it. This desire through-line is what will hold your story together. Even if you have the coolest premise or setting ever, without a strong goal, your story will fail because it will feel disconnected and episodic, merely characters doing one thing after another. A goal with clear stakes solves the “so what?” problem so many unpublished manuscripts have. I still struggle with this in my early drafts, but once I recognize the problem, it is a lot easier to catch it early and make sure I get this goal concrete in my mind so I don’t run into larger problems later. I also find that lack of a strong goal is responsible for writer’s block about 50 percent of the time. If you’re feeling stuck or like you don’t know where your story is going, look to character goals.
*All the opinions are mine. They have not been influenced by anyone. I received an e-arc for netgalley, the publisher and the author in exchange of an honest review. Thank you to the author for doing this interview with me.
I enjoyed doing this interview, hope you guys liked this post. See you in the next post! Also happy reading!!!