Over at rob mclennan's blog, he's posted an interview with Amy Jones, whose What Boys Like launches next Tuesday, October 20th, at the Gladstone Hotel as part of TINARS.
1 - How did your first book change your life? How does your most recent work compare to your previous? How does it feel different?
I don’t know yet! I’m hoping astronomically! My first book is very brand new, so brand new, in fact, that I have yet to actually see it. I guess completing it and having it accepted for publication changed my life in that I started to think of myself as “a writer” as opposed to “a student” or “an unemployed hobo,” although I still can’t actually bring myself to say “I’m a writer” when people ask me what I do.
The stuff I’m writing now is different only because I’ve moved on to different obsessions. When I first started writing, I was obsessed with language; I wrote sentences because I liked the way they sounded. Lately I’m more obsessed with story – I really want stuff to happen. And my newer stuff is better, I think. I guess I still think of myself as a student in that way... I like to think I’m not even close to being as good as I could be.
2 - How did you come to fiction first, as opposed to, say, poetry or non-fiction?
I actually came to poetry first, if I’m going to be honest about it, but my poems really sucked, in that sixteen year old self-indulgent kind of way (even long after I was ever sixteen). I needed more room, so I started writing fiction. Non-fiction was never really appealing to me; the main reason I write is to entertain myself, and reality is almost never as entertaining as what’s going on in my imagination... or at least, I can’t write it to be as entertaining. I sometimes tell people that I like writing fiction because I feel like fiction can sometimes be more truthful because it’s not stuck in fact, but in really I just like to make stuff up.
3 - How long does it take to start any particular writing project? Does your writing initially come quickly, or is it a slow process? Do first drafts appear looking close to their final shape, or does your work come out of copious notes?When I first started writing, everyone told me the best thing to do was to just write and write, even if it was crap, and then re-write it later, and for years I really tried hard to do that. But eventually I realized that method just frustrated me. For me, writing like making pastry or dough or something, cause I have to mix things together carefully, and if I handle it too much it just ends up ruining it. So I won’t sit down to write something until I have it completely worked out in my head. And I don’t take notes! If it doesn’t stick in my head, if it doesn’t burrow itself into my brain until I’m going so crazy that I have to write it down, then it won’t work for me. The story doesn’t always end up where I thought it would go, because my characters tend to sometimes have a mind of their own, but I have to know the voice inside and out before I can start putting it on paper. And when I start, it just comes tumbling out.
For the remaining 17 questions, please go here.