Saturday, November 5, 2016

0 Tina Connolly, author of SERIOUSLY SHIFTED, on writing a 0th draft

SERIOUSLY SHIFTED is the second book in the Seriously Wicked series, and we're delighted to have Tina Connolly stop by to tell us more it.

Tina, what was your inspiration for writing SERIOUSLY SHIFTED?
After Seriously Wicked, where Cam discovers she has witch heritage and she’s going to have to deal with having it, I wanted to put her in some trickier situations to see her rise to the challenge. All of her witch role models are terrible people, so she realizes she has to forge a new path, and figure out HOW to forge that path. Part of what I have loved about writing these books is that Cam is dealing with the same thing we all do when growing up (when do you want to follow your parents’ path, and when do you want to carve a new one), except writ large, and sometimes writ ridiculous, too.

What scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

It’s hard to talk about some of my favorite scenes without spoilers. :D But I will say that there are a couple funny scenes involving the administering of love potion which were awfully fun to write.

How long did you work on SERIOUSLY SHIFTED?

I have a 2 yo and a 5yo—which last year were a 1yo and a 4yo when I was writing this book. I made several starts on this book but wasn’t quite getting it right. But luckily there is this great program through KU in Lawrence, Kansas called the Center for the Study of Science Fiction -- CSSF. You can go for two weeks in the summer and study story writing or novel writing. I went several years ago to study novels (with the fabulous Kij Johnson), and then after you do one of those courses you can go back any summer to do a writing retreat. So, last year, I went to that. Lawrence is my old hometown, so the kids stayed with the grandparents, and I had 10 days to make this novel work. I threw out nearly everything and started over. And THIS time the plot just flowed right out, kind of like when I originally wrote Seriously Wicked. I wrote 4000 words a day, and at the end of the workshop I had hit 50K and had a totally reasonable 0th draft. (I can’t quite call it a first draft, but it was definitely good enough to be a 0th draft. ;)

I spent all July rewriting and adding, and by the end of that month had something I was pretty darn happy with. Every novel is my favorite after I finish it, but I am really pretty fond of this one.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

Lately I’ve really gotten into working at coffee shops for first drafts. I have some headphones and white noise, and I get a latte and settle in. It’s really nice to be at a place where I won’t be tempted to start the laundry or pay the bills or do anything but get words on the page. After I have a first draft, I am much less distracted and I could probably do revisions anywhere. (I like revisions.) But first drafts need all the distraction-free help they can get. :)

What are you working on now?

I am currently working on the third book in the Seriously Wicked series! I have been having fun taking some of the mysteries and backstory mentioned in the first two books and paying them off for book three. Look for that book sometime around late 2017!


Seriously Shifted
by Tina Connolly
Tor Teen
Released 11/1/2016

A sparkling new adventure about teen witch Camellia and her mother, wicked witch Sarmine, introduced to readers in Seriously Wicked.

Teenage witch Cam isn’t crazy about the idea of learning magic. She’d rather be no witch than a bad one. But when a trio of her mother’s wicked witch friends decide to wreak havoc in her high school, Cam has no choice but to try to stop them.

Now Cam’s learning invisibility spells, dodging exploding cars, and pondering the ethics of love potions. All while trying to keep her grades up and go on a first date with her crush. If the witches don’t get him first, that is.

Can’t a good witch ever catch a break?

Purchase Seriously Shifted at Amazon
Purchase Seriously Shifted at IndieBound
View Seriously Shifted on Goodreads


Tina ConnollyTina Connolly is the author of the Ironskin trilogy from Tor Books, and the Seriously Wicked series, from Tor Teen. Her books have been finalists for the Nebula and the Norton. Her stories have appeared in Women Destroy SF, Lightspeed,, Strange Horizons, Analog, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and many more, and are collected in On the Eyeball Floor and Other Stories from Fairwood Press. She is one of the co-hosts of Escape Pod and runs the Parsec-winning flash fiction podcast Toasted Cake. She likes re-reading books and eating pie for breakfast (preferably at the same time.)


Have you had a chance to read SERIOUSLY SHIFTED yet? Do you go on writing retreats and crank out large word counts each day? Is every novel your favorite after you finish it? 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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