Wednesday Author Interview: Meet Yvonne Ventresca
LOVE this Cover!
Can’t Wait to Read The Book
Today, Bookin’ It would like to welcome Children’s/Young Adult Writer, Yvonne Ventresca. Yvonne, it’s great to have you here with us today. Could you tell us a bit about how you became a writer? When did you decide that’s what you wanted to be, and what steps did you take to prepare for a writing career?
YV: I was always an avid reader and wanting to write seemed like a natural extension of that. The idea solidified as a teen and I took my first creative writing classes in college. Being exposed to the critique process there helped prepare me for the realities of writing later on. I majored in computer science and English, but I detoured into a corporate job and didn’t start writing seriously until several years later.
BI: Sounds like you had a great background, though. Were you inspired by any particular authors, past or present, and what is it about their work that impresses you, or moves you?
YV: Growing up, I loved Nancy Drew mysteries, then later, Agatha Christie novels. Reading Stephen King’s The Stand and several of his other books was another influence. King is a master at writing about fear. He also wrote one of my favorite craft books, On Writing. The idea that he was not immediately successful but kept creating was also a source of inspiration.
BI: I loved Nancy Drew, too, along with Trixie Belden, and the Hardy Boys. I suspect those children’s mysteries engendered a love of reading and writing in many, many kids. What genres do you read most often for pleasure…those books you gravitate toward the minute you walk into a bookstore?
YV: I love contemporary young adult stories, particularly thrillers and mysteries.
BI: Seems like there are so many more choices in YA literature today than there used to be. I like a lot of it, myself. Do you have a dedicated workspace, and are you consistent with the amount of time you spend writing each day?
YV: Until we adopted our second dog, I worked in our home office. But having a puppy changed things because we kept her limited to the kitchen and a few other rooms in the beginning.
I started using a laptop in the kitchen to be near her and the habit stuck.
New, Doggy-induced Work Area
Regarding consistency, this summer I discovered the #AugWritingChallenge, which inspired me to write 500 new words or edit for an hour each day for the whole month. Now I’m continuing with the #SeptWritingChallenge. There’s something about publicly committing to a challenge and then tweeting daily results that really increases my productivity. (For more information, visit www.writingchallenge.org).
BI: I’ve yet to work up my nerve to do a challenge, so I’m really impressed that you have. Good luck with those, and thanks for sharing the photos. So…a schnauzer and a Westie? They’re really very cute! And I must say, your workspace is MUCH neater than mine!
Yvonne, do you use visual aids, like Inspiration Boards/Photos or maps of your book’s setting? What reference books or other material do you consult most frequently as you write?
YV: I have a Pinterest board for Pandemic here and I started one for my new novel but am keeping it “secret” until I get further along in the process. In terms of reference books, for Pandemic I read lots of nonfiction about contagious diseases, past and present, because I wanted my fictional disease to be as realistic as possible. I had a morbid stack of books on my nightstand for a while!
BI: I can identify with that. My nightstand was covered with books about serial killers when I was writing my last novel. And you know I’m going straight over to check out your Pinterest board, too. When you have an idea for a new book, do you sit down and start typing, or do you start with an outline, and figure out all the major plot points first? In other words, is your working style structured and organized, or more organic and free flowing?
YV: I use a hybrid approach. When I start, I like to have a sense of where the story is going and how it might generally end. After I start writing, at some point I go back and outline what I’ve created so far. That allows me to see the project as a whole and helps me fix any issues.
BI: Do you prefer reading eBooks, or print? Why?
YV: Ebooks are convenient for travelling, but I have fond memories of visiting the library as a kid and still love print books the best.
BI: It seems most writers do. Time to learn about the books have you published, and where we can buy them, Yvonne. Fill us in, if you would.
YV: My debut novel, Pandemic, was published in May by Sky Pony Press. Pandemic is a contemporary, realistic young adult novel about an emotionally traumatized teenager struggling to survive a bird flu pandemic. Prior to Pandemic, I wrote two nonfiction books for teens published by Lucent Books: Avril Lavigne (a biography of the singer) and Publishing (about careers in the field). Pandemic is now available through independent bookstores, Amazon, B&N, etc. (See links below interview).
BI: Thanks for that. Are you currently working on a new book? When do you expect it to be available?
YV: I’m currently writing a YA psychological thriller about a girl who fears she is either being haunted or going insane. It’s still in the early stages…
BI: That sounds really interesting, too. Can’t wait to add it to my list. Finally, can you tell us what you think is the best thing about being a writer? The worst?
YV: The best thing about being a fiction writer is the satisfaction of creating a complete story from your imagination. The worst thing is that no two novels are the same, so writing a second book isn’t necessarily the same process as the first. But the challenges and learning keep it interesting, so maybe that’s not such a bad thing after all.
Thank you so much, Yvonnne! I really enjoyed learning more about you and your work today, and I hope you’ll keep us posted about your new projects.
Before becoming a children’s writer, Yvonne Ventresca wrote computer programs and taught others how to use technology. Now she happily spends her days writing stories instead of code and sharing technology tips with other writers. Yvonne’s the author of the young adult novel Pandemic, which debuted in May from Sky Pony Press. She lives in NJ with her family and her two dogs. You can visit her website at YvonneVentresca.com.
You can buy Pandemic here:
Where you can find Yvonne: