Thanks for having me as a guest on your blog, Elliah.
When and where do you write?
Since I write both novels and poetry, I tend to spend my AM writing time for my novels in my writing loft.
I need to immerse myself in the character’s world and the quiet of the morning, when my husband is still sleeping, works best.
In the winter, write my poetry at night, after supper, sitting on the couch, across from the cozy fire. In the summer, I’m back up in my writing loft, with the cool mountain breeze blowing across my desk.
How did you find the inspiration for RATGIRL?
As a child, I absolutely loved fairy tales. As a teacher I tried to instill that same love in my students. Children’s Literature was my favorite unit to teach.
Watching my students’ reactions to the psychological implications of fairy tales, I was inspired to explore what it would take to change the original stories enough to make it them new. A favorite quote I used when I encouraged my students to write interpretations of their favorite fairy tale was “Old Tales in New Skins.” And that’s exactly what RATGIRL: Song of the Viper is. I finally followed my own instructions. It’s a retelling of The Pied Piper set in a dystopic future.
How long did it take you to write RATGIRL?
The story was rambling around in my head for at least a year, and three years ago, I tried to get it out in NaNoWriMo. The story poured out of my brain, but it was all a jumble. So I spent a year trying to get it in the right sequential order, and two years passing it through my YA critique group, YA Wonderwiters.
How many revisions?
Counting the first NaNoWriMo rough draft I went through five full revisions.
Do you have an agent?
I do not have an agent, although I’m very interested in obtaining one. I hope that having both a published picture book (ROCK STAR SANTA) and a YA novel (RATGIRL:Song of the Viper) will help me get one.
How did you receive the good news?
One always hears that you receive a call offering a contract. That did happen to me with Rock Star Santa, but withRatgirl, the offer came in an email.
Was there anything that surprised you about the editorial/publishing process?
Yes. We always hear that we should write our manuscripts double-spaced in Times New Roman. When I submitted mine that way I was asked by my editor to change my font to Book Antiqua and my spacing to one and one-half.
Any additional comments or thoughts?
If the “writing bug” has bitten you and you know you have a great story to tell, tell it, no matter what. Never give up. Never think no one will want your story, no matter how many rejections you get, because one day, someone will say “yes.”
And . . . lucky you, here is an excerpt from the book:
“We are orphans. We use our brains and our bodies to survive. But the only things that thrive in Metro City are the rats, and not all of them are rodents.”
When I reach the street my anger explodes like hot lava. I heave the Noova bottle against the crumbling building that was once the Metro City Bank. The sound of smashing glass echoes in the empty street. Tiny shards scatter in all directions, broken, like our lives. The splatter of what’s left of the devastating substance instantly evaporates in the hot sun. Too bad the sun can’t destroy Culpepper the same way.
Intense heat penetrates my clothing as I stare at the reason a young life has been destroyed. Begrudgingly, I realize I can’t do anything about the little girl. I need to focus on keeping Andy safe, and that means I better get moving.
RATGIRL: Song of the Viper will be released February 15th by Noble-Young Adult.
You can find out more about Gayle on her blog: The Storyteller's Scroll.