A note from Headbuzzer: Hi Buzzers! We have a special treat this week! We have 5 guest blog posts from PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ author A.S. King! We'll post one each day, but feel free to give A.S. King a shout on Twitter! Now on to her first post....
PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ was written in about 45 days. It took me months to revise it and make it right, but the first draft flew out as if it was being written by something bigger than me.
Cosmic, I know. But true.
A lot has happened since those forty five days in my office, hungry because I wouldn’t stop to eat, bursting because I wouldn’t stop to pee. The book received a Michael L. Printz Honor and an Edgar Award nomination and a bunch of other really awesome accolades. More books were sold. Trips were taken, speeches were given, fan letters were received.
But you know what? My favorite part of writing PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ was…writing PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ. Which is why I’d like to write about writing this week to celebrate the PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ paperback release on April 10th.
DAY ONE: BACKSTORY
I wrote my first novel when I was 24 years old. I had moved to Ireland with my Irish husband and I was midway through experiencing my first Irish winter. (Anyone who has experienced an Irish winter is laughing right now.) By January, I started pounding out my first novel on a borrowed typewriter. It wasn’t very good. And that was okay.
I wrote my seventh novel when I was 35 years old. I now had a computer and knew what query letters should look like. I now had about 250 rejection letters from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. I didn’t give a hoot about them most days. (Query letters or rejections.) I loved writing. I loved the act of it, the buzz of it, the mystery of what was going to happen inside my book that day.
I won’t lie, though. It was frustrating writing with no publication. Especially for that long. People ask all sorts of annoying questions.
Are you going to be the next John Grisham/JK Rowling/Stephen King?
What are you doing now? Still typing or do you have a real job?
When, exactly, are you going to give up on that dumb dream?
And this is just the first four. There are three more.
My first published novel appeared on a shelf in a bookstore when I was 39 years old. In the 15 years in between, I wrote about nine novels, a lot of short stories and two collections of poetry. I collected over 350 rejection letters and published a dozen short stories and poems in respected journals. I restored a farm and taught a bunch of awesome people how to read. I had two babies. I bred a lot of chickens. I loved every minute of it.
The idea for PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ came to me as I drove past the old pizza delivery place I used to work at in high school. The idea appeared because of a song that was playing on my car stereo. It was an OKGO song and the album Oh No became the book’s soundtrack for me. After the idea started to come, and I drove some more and thought some more, I finally pulled over into a parking lot and scribbled the idea down on a napkin that was in my car.
This is the beginning of the adventure. Things scribbled on napkins.
Tomorrow: How I wrote the book. And how I write all my books. And what to do in case of office-related emergencies.