I recently got the chance to do an awesome interview with my publisher, GenZ Publishing, and they just put it up on their website.
If you’d like to get another behind the scenes look at my debut novel, check it out! I talk about everything from my writing process and my favorite authors to Somewhere Only We Know‘s capitalization and my Hope Bracelets. You can find the interview here. I hope you like it!
Here are some fun facts about the making of my debut novel, Somewhere Only We Know:
I usually refer to my books by their acronyms, both when taking notes and when talking about them with my husband. Somewhere Only We Know—which was a long title to begin with—became SOWK, which I pronounce “soak.”
The book was in the back of my mind for about five years before I ever tried to write it.
Once I actually started writing the book, I wrote it in only three months.
Because I have trouble remembering faces, I always have trouble creating what characters look like. I usually cast actors as my characters when I’m writing to help me picture them, but I never did that with SOWK. I never really saw the girls’ faces in my head.
I knew Somewhere Only We Know would be the title of the story as soon as I had the nightmare that prompted the idea back in high school. I had just discovered the song “Somewhere Only We Know” and my gut was telling me it was perfect, but I never realized just how well it would fit into the story until I started writing it five or so years later.
The notebook that contains all of my notes pertaining to Somewhere Only We Know has bright and colorful flowers on the cover. Even though it is a dark story, I wanted to focus on the hope. However, I made all of my section headings a dark, scratchy print.
Somewhere Only We Know’s notebook
A page from my story notebook
I signed with my publisher when the book was only about a third complete at 20,000 words.
I got the email that GenZ Publishing wanted to sign with me while sitting in the food court at the mall on my lunch break. I was probably eating a Lunchable and was definitely crying.
I was on my break from my customer service job at the mall, sitting in the food court. I checked my email on my phone while I was eating my lunch, and I instantly started shaking and crying.
A few weeks before, I had found a publisher on Twitter called GenZ Publishing. Their name had intrigued me, and so I had checked out their website. They said they were looking for new, innovative writers, particularly young adults writing for young adults. I was a young adult doing just that. I was unpublished and trying to write innovative stories for young adults. I responded to one of their tweets asking “What are you writing?” and told them about the book I was working on. They asked for me to query them even though my book wasn’t finished yet.
I was actually pretty far from finishing the book. I had only been writing it for a month and a half at the time, yet it was flowing out quickly. I was only about a third done with the book, but I still spent the next couple days writing a query and sent it in to GenZ, along with the first pages of my book.
It only took two weeks to hear back from them, and I couldn’t believe they wanted to sign with me without even reading the complete book. I had known that Somewhere Only We Know was the story that was going to get me published. There was something special about it, with the way it just flowed out without me thinking too much about what I was writing. And as soon as I had found GenZ online, I just knew there was something special about them, and I hoped that they’d be the ones to publish me. So when I did hear back from them, I just started crying in the mall’s food court.
I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since that life-changing moment. My life feels so different now. I was able to quit that job at the mall and write full-time. I now have a published book. I get to do what I love to do every day. My dream is still to sign with a literary agent and land a book deal with a big traditional publisher, but GenZ was the first stepping stone along my way, and I’ll forever be so grateful to them.
I love my desk. My husband and I never used our kitchen table as an actual table, so, since we live in a small apartment and I didn’t yet have my own space for my writing, I claimed the table as my own. And now that I’ve gotten used to my big table, I don’t think I could ever go back to a normal, small desk.
Having my big table gives me plenty of space to spread out with my computer and notebooks, but what I love most is that I have lots of room for little trinkets and things that inspire me. I thought I’d share some of the little things that inspire me and explain how they help my writing process.
Writing Textbooks: I have a lot of writing textbooks and references on my desk. Some are from college, some I’ve read after school, and others I haven’t gotten to yet. I have everything from a book about outlining to a baby name book. I don’t read from these every day, but just having them there in front of me reminds me of the helpful information they contain and inspires me to do better.
GenZ Publishing Swag: I love my publisher. If you haven’t check them out yet, you definitely should. They’re looking for young, new, and innovative writers. It is so hard to break into publishing, but GenZ is giving new writers a chance to share their stories with the world. So of course I have to have my GenZ bookmarks and business cards on my desk so I can remember how awesome they are every day.
Faith Reminders: My two wooden block signs are probably the most important things on my desk. One says “You are Loved,” which is something I need to remember every day. Writing is a very solitary thing, and often leaves you feeling alone. But God is with me, and I am loved. The other sign asks, “Did you think to pray?” Writing is also a very hard thing to do. Along with feeling alone, writing can also make you frustrated and make you doubt yourself. I keep this sign here so that whenever I get frustrated I can stop and remember to pray about it. And I always feel better when I do this.
Jacob: A few of the things on my desk are from or remind me of my husband, Jacob. He’s the most important person in my life, so I need reminders of him on my desk. I have a picture frame that he gave me for my birthday a few years ago, a stack of encouraging sticky notes that he’s left me, and a little jar of M&Ms from our wedding that have our names on them.
Les Misérables Lyrics Book: Of course I need something on my desk that reminds me of my favorite story ever, so I have a lyric book to the musical Les Misérables. This story inspires me so much and has had an influence on everything I’ve written, and so I have to have the lyrics close to me when I write.
Buttons: I have three buttons on my desk. One says “A Whopper of a Writer,” which I got back in middle school when I won a writing contest, and the other two are Wright State University buttons that I got when I won their 2014 writing contest and placed in their 2015 contest. I like having these reminders of times I’ve succeeded as a writer.
3D Printer Items
My husband is an engineer and works with a 3D printer. He gave me these little test pieces that he didn’t need. Two are butterflies and one is a rook, and all three have intricate designs. I know there’s a story in them, and so I keep them on my desk so I can one day find their story.
Somewhere Only We Know Cover: I have a framed picture of my book cover on my desk. I love to look at it and remember how blessed I am to have published this story.
I love everything about my desk. It is so important to surround yourself with little things that inspire you. I keep things that remind me of my books, my husband, my faith, and my sources of inspiration. What do you keep around you that inspires you?
My debut novel Somewhere Only We Know will be released from GenZ Publishing on November 18th!
I have wanted to be a writer my entire life, and I can’t believe that my first book is going to be out in the world just after I turn 24 years old. It feels surreal to me at this point, and I’m sure it will feel even more so come publication day.
This book means so much to me, and it is a really important story to tell about the abuse of young girls and how there is always hope. I can’t wait for everyone to get a chance to read it! I’ll let you know when it is available for pre-order.
I’m getting so excited about my book that’s coming soon from GenZ Publishing. First of all, they are a really cool publisher that’s trying to publish new and innovative voices, and you should check out the other books and authors they have here.
Secondly, I just wanted to give a few updates about the status of my book. We don’t have a release date yet, but my book has been edited and formatted. I also got my cover. I absolutely love it and I can’t wait to reveal it.
The original idea for Somewhere Only We Know came to me in a nightmare back in high school. I played with it for a while, but knew it wasn’t the right time to work on it. But after talking with Kiera Cass a mere five and a half months ago and restarting the story, I can’t believe it’s now on its way to being published!
I can’t wait for everyone to read it, and I am so grateful to GenZ Publishing for this opportunity!