Since this novel went through many, many edits, I’ve learned that I can revise. I can ruthlessly delete things and let go of my “darlings” (sniff) and I can add new scenes that further develop the plot or characters. Having a sharp editor to guide me along that revision path is a wonderful thing to have, too.
How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?
A long and hard road! Over 300 rejection slips, more than a dozen novels written (none published), and 11+ years spent refining my craft. It’s been 5 years from when I met my agent to my release date. To top it all off, the first publisher I signed with (Strange Chemistry) went out of business in 2014, sending my agent and me scrambling to find another one.
What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?
I work at home on a desktop computer, where I can be comfy in my sweatpants and don’t have to be publicly presentable. I have no trouble treating my writing like a job or getting down to the business of writing. Music throws off my rhythm, so while I often use it for inspiration before writing, I don’t play anything but the sound of silence while I’m composing. This lets my inner ear “hear” the cadence of the prose itself—sentence length, word syllables and inflections, the flavor of the consonants, etc.
What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
If you love to write, never give up—and KEEP WRITING NEW MATERIAL. Don’t be a one-trick pony. Don’t expect the first novel you write to be brilliant and sell. While you’re querying, write another novel. And another. And another. No writing effort is ever wasted; you can either revisit these older projects later on, or else they are necessary steps in your journey to becoming a better writer.
What are you working on now?
I’m excited to be trying my hand at my first middle grade novel, a magical realism story (contemporary with a splash of magic) that has been really fun and freeing to write. Maybe that’s because it speaks to the zanier side of me—or else I’m really still 12 or 13 years old at heart!
ABOUT THE BOOKThe Body Institute by Carol Riggs
Meet Morgan Dey, one of the top teen Reducers at The Body Institute.
Thanks to cutting-edge technology, Morgan can temporarily take over another girl's body, get her in shape, and then return to her own body--leaving her client slimmer, more toned, and feeling great. Only there are a few catches...
For one, Morgan won't remember what happens in her "Loaner" body. Once she's done, she won't recall walks with her new friend Matt, conversations with the super-cute Reducer she's been text-flirting with, or the uneasy feeling she has that the director of The Body Institute is hiding something. Still, it's all worth it in the name of science. Until the glitches start...
Suddenly, residual memories from her Loaner are cropping up in Morgan's mind. She's feeling less like herself and more like someone else. And when protests from an anti-Body Institute organization threaten her safety, she'll have to decide if being a Reducer is worth the cost of her body and soul...
Purchase The Body Institute at Amazon
Purchase The Body Institute at IndieBound
View The Body Institute on Goodreads
Jocelyn, Shelly, Martina, Erin, Lisa, Susan, Jen, Sam, Lindsey, Sandra, Kristin, and Anisaa