Big welcomes to Bouncer, John Hansen! Okay, so there's this guy. And his name is John. And he's really funny and always has a lot of great advice. So when he speaks, listen up! (And look how cute he is in that picture.:) I had the pleasure of working alongside him as we were both mentors in Pitch Wars, and now were lucky to have him as one of our fabulous intern Bouncers!
Hi, John! Please share a little about yourself:
I'm a YA writer, a lit agent intern, an author assistant, and a murderer of characters. I also like cake and tend to tweet way more than is socially acceptable.
Now tell us a little about your book(s) or what you like to write:
I write all types of YA, generally YA thrillers with sci-fi elements, or YA contemporary. (I am a pretty erratic writer. I apologize in advance, hopefully future publishers.) The book I'm about to start querying is a YA thriller about a sixteen-year-old boy, Alex Tanner, whose millionaire father shows him a webpage predicting what will happen to Alex twenty-four hours before it does. The next day, he logs into the webpage and his status reads: DECEASED. But I'm also working on (read: pouring my heart into) a YA contemporary at the moment.
What MUST we read? And what's in your TBR pile?
My TBR pile is this evil, impossibly-long wormhole. I'm pretty sure there are dead animals and tentacled monsters lurking in there somewhere, but my mouse traps have yet to catch them. On top of it right now are CODE NAME VERITY, GONE GIRL, (I know, I'm horrible for not reading these sooner. DON'T JUDGE ME.) and TEETH. Basically, though, all of the books in my TBR pile are taunting me with their awesomeness and my lack of time to read them.
As for a must-read, I read THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE in October, which was the best book I've read in a while. Everything about it is so beautiful. I even sent Jandy Nelson, the author, the most awkward fan mail ever. That was probably not one of my prettier moments, but she was totally cool about it and now I can't wait for her next book.
What are those crumbs around your computer? And what is that music I hear?
Those crumbs are probably from chocolate cake. Anyone who has the misfortune of following me on Twitter is well aware of my cake obsession.
I tried listening to music while writing once, because I felt left out for being the one person who doesn't write to music. That experiment lasted two minutes, which was also the same time it took me to realize all of the words I'd (unknowingly) been typing were the lyrics to the song I was listening to. Moral of the story: I'm a terrible multi-tasker.
Is it all about the pants or all about the outline?
I am a pantser in every meaning of the word. I'm the kind of person who skips the instruction labels and goes right to the project (note: this is generally not a good idea), whose desire to just get started outweighs common sense. I also feel like, for me, plotting is too restricting; I love letting my characters tell the story and take it where they want, even if that place may be to a prison cell in which there is no way out of (*guilty laugh* *looks around nervously*). I think there is something completely free and honest about writing with no idea where you're headed, and that, for me, is also my favorite part of writing: the discovery.
Any words of wisdom for our brave contest entrants?
Words of wisdom: never take my advice.
Okay, just kidding. To put it bluntly, querying sucks. There is no way around that, and there never will be. But for everything you do and for every critique you get, you have to remember that one, sadistic word: subjectivity. It's only natural to feel like you aren't good enough when you don't make a contest, or when an agent rejects you, and yes, you will feel that way while querying. But that doesn't mean it's true. You are good enough. Sometimes your book needs some touching up. Sometimes the market might not be right. And sometimes it's just not right for that agent, even if they recognize it has merit. You still are good enough, and you will get there; it may take a day, or it may take a year, but one day, you will get there. (And when you do, you are all on the hook to send me an ARC of your book. Okay? Okay.) Also, this.
Now give up your guilty pleasure!
CHOCOLATE CAKE! (Okay, so I am not that guilty about it. Shhhhhh.)
Thank you, John!!
Thank you for reading! Comments and questions below...