There’s a scene with lots of action and several characters (avoiding spoilers here!) that I reworked a few times. The right beats and pacing are always vital, but especially in action or comedy. It can be tricky to balance the speed at which things are happening with the sensory/spatial/emotional information that needs to be conveyed. I really enjoy sentence-level tinkering, though; that scene ended up being a lot of fun to write.
What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?
I tried to up my efficiency game with this novel by attempting to outline and make charts and stuff. But I just ended up consuming more Red Bull than normal (which is an awful lot of Red Bull) and staring at said empty charts and outline tools. Every once in a while, I would tear myself away and draw things with markers. Or go to the store to buy more/better markers. In the end, I learned that I have a process that works for me and it doesn’t involve outlining and charts, although the drawing part was pretty fun.
Was there an AHA! moment along your road to publication where something suddenly sank in and you felt you had the key to writing a novel? What was it?
I think every novel is different, although as you go along it does get -- maybe not easier, but something resembling easier? More familiar? But a piece of writing advice that has really stuck with me came from a lecture by Tim Wynne-Jones, something along the lines of, “It’s not just ‘Why is this character doing this?’ but ‘Why is this character doing this now?’”
What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?
I love writing with friends, at a café or someone’s living room. Friends + coffee (and baked goods!) + writing time are my favorite! But mostly, I work at home. Silence and solitude keep me focused, as well as the app Freedom, which keeps me from wandering onto the glorious, glorious Internet.
What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
The writing itself, both the process and the ever-imperfect product, is the goal. And the prize. And the joy. Also, don’t let your cats critique your stuff. All they will do is put their butts on your keyboard.
What are you working on now?
A sequel to “Cinderella” called SHOES. Shoes feature prominently. No, really! It’s funnier and more whimsical than my most recent projects, and I’m having a blast with it. (You can get a sneak preview of SHOES in the spring 2016 issue of Hunger Mountain.)
ABOUT THE BOOKThe Hidden Twin by Adi Rule
St. Martin's Griffin
For eighteen years a girl with no name, a Redwing, has been hidden away in a small attic room within a city of hissing pipes and curving temples perched on the side of the great volcano, Mol, while her sister, Jey--identical except for her eyes--has lived her life in public as an only child. Their father had hoped the hidden girl would one day grow up to be a normal human girl and not the wicked creature mythology has promised, so he secretly spared her life as an infant.
But when she switches places with her sister, striking up a flirtation with the son of the Empress while working in the royal gardens and gets attacked by two suspicious priests on her journey home, she is forced to call forth fire to protect herself, unleashing her previously dormant powers and letting her secret out. She soon catches the attention of a cult with a thousand year old grudge as well as a group of underground rebels, both seeking her for their own gain. But when her sister goes missing and the Redwing uncovers a great plot to awaken Mol and bring fiery destruction upon them all, she is forced to embrace her powers. In Adi Rule's stunning new novel, The Hidden Twin, the girl with no name, must finally choose a name and a path for herself, drawing a line between myth and history to prove herself more than a monster if she is to save both her sister and her home.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ADI RULE grew up among cats, ducks, and writers. She studied music as an undergrad, and has an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Adi is a member of, and has been a soloist for, the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, the chorus of the Boston Symphony Orchestra/Boston Pops. She lives in New Hampshire. Strange Sweet Song is her first novel.
Jocelyn, Shelly, Martina, Erin, Susan, Sam, Lindsey, Sarah, Sandra, Kristin, and Anisaa