Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on children’s book author MarcyKate Connolly. MarcyKate will be at Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester along with two additional middle grade authors, Anna Staniszewski and Rajani LaRocca on Sunday, March 22nd at 2:00 PM. They will all be here to talk about magic in books, sign their books, and answer any questions you may have.
MarcyKate Connolly is a New York Times bestselling children’s book author who lives in New England with her family and a grumble of pugs. She graduated from Hampshire College (a magical place where they don’t give you grades) where she wrote an opera sequel to Hamlet as the equivalent of senior thesis. It was also there that she first fell in love with plotting and has been dreaming up new ways to make life difficult for her characters ever since. You can visit her online at http://www.marcykate.com.
Her response to my usual question – Where can people find your work (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester–though they should totally check here first!) was this:
Anywhere books are sold, but I definitely suggest going to a local indie bookstore whenever possible!
How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?
- Website: http://www.marcykate.com
- Twitter: @marcykate
- Facebook: facebook.com/marcykateconnolly
- Instagram: instagram.com/marcykateconnolly/
For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from Hollow Dolls?
I like to say that I write books about weird little girls (or in the case of The Star Shepherd, weird little boys). My fantasy novels trend toward the creepy rather than the scary, and that holds true for my most recent novel, Hollow Dolls. The main character is a mind reader who was once the pawn of an evil villainess. Now that she’s free, she’s on a mission to find the home she was stolen from, but someone with the power to control others like puppets is on the loose, making her journey much more dangerous than she expected.
What else can we expect from you in the near future?
Lots of books! In August, my first young adult novel, Twin Daggers (a fantasy twist on Romeo + Juliet, if Juliet and her twin were magic wielding spies), will come out. Then in January 2021 Lost Island (the sequel to Hollow Dolls) publishes, and later that summer/fall the sequel to Twin Daggers will be out too. After that, is anyone’s guess!
Writers very often have furry or feathered or otherwise non-human companions to “help” them through their work. Do you? What do you have? How do they “help” (or, “not-help”) with your writing?
I do! I have 2 pugs currently (we used to have 3). They’re my couch buddies and occasional footwarmers. And if I’m tired and have to stay up late to finish a draft and meet a deadline, they keep me awake with their very loud snoring!
What do you consider the most challenging part of the writing process? And how do you overcome that?
For me, it’s drafting. Often, getting words on the page feels like pulling taffy from my brain. But it must be done because you cannot revise a blank page! Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy parts of the first draft – I definitely do! – but that this is the part that takes the longest, when what I really want to do is make the rough draft shine in revisions (which is my favorite part of the process, tied with plotting).
I have not yet found a surefire way to overcome the drafting slog, but I do have a few tricks that help:
- I rarely write chapters in order. I’m a plotter, so I know what will happen in my story from beginning to end before I start drafting. If a scene is giving me trouble, I skip to one that I find more interesting. This keeps my momentum going even if means writing out of order (Scrivener writing software helps with that though!).
- Rewards! Treats (usually frozen Cadbury crème eggs) are a great motivator to reach my word count goals when I’m having difficulty getting words on the page.
- NaNoWriMo. This is the only time I find I can consistently fast draft. I’m not sure why, but something about the fact that thousands of other writers are doing the challenge along with me combined with the competitive factor spur me on to draft very quickly.
What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned, thus far, in your writing career?
EVERYTHING is subjective when it comes to publishing! You have to learn how to let go of your book. When it’s published, it no longer belongs solely to the author—it belongs to readers too, and they will view your work through their own lenses and interpret it in ways you might never have intended or imagined. Usually this is wonderful! (But sometimes, it’s not…). You have so little control over how your book will perform or be received that you have to figure out how to let go of it and focus on the one thing you have full control over: writing the very best book you can.
MarcyKate, thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy writing schedule to answer our questions!