Saturday, June 11, 2016

0 Lindsay Ribar, author of ROCKS FALL, EVERYONE DIES, on there being no One True Way to write a book

We're delighted to have Lindsay Ribar stop by to tell us more about her latest novel ROCKS FALL, EVERYONE DIES.

Lindsay, what was your inspiration for writing ROCKS FALL, EVERYONE DIES?

The myth of Echo and Narcissus.

Now, if anyone reading this interview has already read ROCKS FALL and is currently wondering if they missed something? No. You didn’t miss anything. That’s because even though Echo and Narcissus is where everything started, the evolution of the story was so extreme that there’s only one* detail** left in the book that bears any resemblance to my original idea.

Writing ROCKS FALL was an exercise in listening to my gut, going where the ideas took me, and rethinking everything whenever my editor, my agent, or one of my beta-readers raised a hand and said, “Hey, this thing doesn’t make sense.” And since that happened quite a lot, there are very few elements of the book that are the same as they used to be.

Anyway, maybe someone will write (or has already written!) a modern adaptation of the Echo myth. It just won’t be me.

* Well, two, kind of. Because Aspen, my narrator, is nothing if not a narcissist.

** There’s a character who lost her voice because something magical happened to her. She’s the older sister of a supporting character; we never even see her on page. But her name is Rachel, and she used to be Echo.



What book or books would most resonate with readers who love your book--or vice versa?

Two books come to mind! The first is THE COST OF ALL THINGS by Maggie Lehrman, which I picked up a few months ago because a couple of my friends told me that it was a good comp title for ROCKS FALL. Now, having read it, I definitely think that they were right, especially in terms of how the magic functions within each of our stories. Which isn’t to say that I didn’t love THE COST OF ALL THINGS on its own merits, too, because I absolutely did. Not only is Maggie’s writing absolutely gorgeous, but her characters are so beautifully drawn, so flawed, and so real. The kind of real where you’re sad when the book is over because you won’t get to spend time with them anymore.

The second book is IMAGINARY GIRLS by Nova Ren Suma, which was constantly in the back of my mind when I first drafted ROCKS FALL. I love Nova’s writing in general (who doesn’t?), but what struck me about this particular book was the sense of place—the unique and slightly claustrophobic flavor of the town in which the story happens. I’d be lying if I said that IMAGINARY GIRLS wasn’t a huge part of the reason that ROCKS FALL takes place in upstate New York.

How long did you work on ROCKS FALL, EVERYONE DIES?

Once I got into the groove of writing (and knew what I was writing about!), the drafting process took about six months. But when you factor in the brainstorming that took place before that, often in the form of short scenes that never even made it into the first draft—not to mention the extensive revising that I did, first for my beta-readers, then for my editor—it was probably about two years in total.

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?

Well, it definitely taught me that it takes about two years for me to write a book that I’m actually happy with! My timeline looked pretty similar for my previous novel, THE FOURTH WISH, but at the time I’d thought that I was just suffering from It’s My Second Book So Everything Is Difficult Syndrome. But nope, that’s just how I work, apparently. I draft pretty quickly, I don’t outline, I let the story take me wherever it wants to take me. But then I need a break. My instinct is always to edit right away, while the story is fresh—but for me, taking time away from the story always gives me a perspective that I otherwise wouldn’t have had. It also makes me better at killing my darlings—and in my case, that’s something that always needs doing.

What do you hope readers will take away from ROCKS FALL, EVERYONE DIES?

There are certainly lessons buried in this book (some accidental, some not), and if readers find those and connect with them, great! But I don’t write to teach lessons; I write to explore characters and tell stories. So, more than anything, I’m hoping that readers will come away from this book feeling satisfied by the story. And hey, if any of them feel the need to tell every single person they meet to buy the book too, I wouldn’t be disappointed!

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

There’s no One True Way to write a book. Are you an outliner? An exploratory-drafter? Do you start at the beginning? Do you start in the middle and work your way back? Do you have character sheets, or do you get to know your characters as the story takes its shape? Do you have a Writing Ritual, or do you sneak some writing in whenever you can? Do you write every day? Can you only write at your favorite coffee shop? Do you work better under deadline? Do you mark your progress by looking at your wordcount? Do you feel awesome about everything you write? Do you feel terrible about everything you write? Do you show your chapters to beta-readers as you go along, or do you keep everything to yourself until it’s done? Can you only write in the morning? Do plot bunnies keep you from falling asleep at night? Do you get your best ideas in the shower?

Whether your answer to any of these questions is “Yes!” or “No!” or “It depends on the day!” or something entirely different—congratulations, now you know something about how you work. Take that information and use it.

ABOUT THE BOOK


Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies
by Lindsay Ribar
Hardcover
Kathy Dawson Books
Released 6/7/2016

Twin Peaks meets Stars Hollow in this paranormal suspense novel about a boy who can reach inside people and steal their innermost things—fears, memories, scars, even love—and his family's secret ritual that for centuries has kept the cliff above their small town from collapsing.

Aspen Quick has never really worried about how he's affecting people when he steals from them. But this summer he'll discover just how strong the Quick family magic is—and how far they'll go to keep their secrets safe.

With a smart, arrogant protagonist, a sinister family tradition, and an ending you won't see coming, this is a fast-paced, twisty story about power, addiction, and deciding what kind of person you want to be, in a family that has the ability to control everything you are.

Purchase Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies at Amazon
Purchase Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies at IndieBound
View Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


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Lindsay Ribar lives in New York City, where she works in book publishing by day and writes YA novels by night. She attends far too many concerts, watches far too much nerdy TV, and consumes fanfiction like it's made out of chocolate. She is fond of wine, cheese, and countries where they speak English but with really cool accents. Oh, and she has a Harry Potter tattoo.
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Have you had a chance to read ROCKS FALL, EVERYONE DIES yet? Have you written a story that changes so much that the original inspiration no longer appears? Have you figured out how you write best? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy reading,

Jocelyn, Shelly, Martina, Anisaa, Sam, Erin, Susan, Michelle, Laura, and Kristin

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