AW is an Amazon Affiliate and an Amazon UK affiliate

If this site is helpful to you,
Please consider a
voluntary subscription to defray ongoing expenses.

paypal subscribe button

How To Support AW

Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.


Welcome to the AbsoluteWrite Water Cooler! Please read The Newbie Guide To Absolute Write

Results 1 to 25 of 70

Thread: AW's Day of Listening - Interviews Thread

Threaded View

  1. #11
    Elf Queen Yeshanu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Up a Tree

    Yeshanu interviews Shady Lane

    Sad but true admission here: I've been wasting time on these boards since Jenna had the server powered by hamsters. There are times when I've been absent, 'tis true, and at points for almost a year at a time. But I still post enough to maintain a posting average of 3.25 posts per day, and remember that Office Party doesn't count anymore. Heck, I pre-date Office Party itself!

    And this November, whilst hanging out with the NaNo crowd, I met someone I've never seen around these parts before. Someone with twenty-four thousand posts, or six times my own post count!

    I was flabbergasted. How could this happen, I asked myself. And who is this Shady character? Male or female? Teen or senior citizen? I honestly could not tell just by reading her (for Shady is indeed female) posts. And watching her NaNo count grow, I was even more amazed. My goal became to cross the ten thousand word mark before she finished her fifty thousand word goal for the month. We crossed those two wildly divergent word count goals on the same day, November 8th.

    That's right. Shady Lane had written fifty thousand words in less than eight days! I simply had to interview her, and became even more sure of that when I read her profile. But enough of the intro. Here, for your reading pleasure, is my interview with Shady Lane:

    My number one question since I met you (a little tongue-in-cheek, this one ):

    I've been a member of this board for going on four or five years now. Even since before the crash of '05. I've got over 4,000 posts, and posted in most of the forums on the board. And I'd never even noticed you were a member until we met up on the NaNo board, and you have SIX TIMES my post count! How'd you manage that??? (Told you it was silly... )

    I've been a member here for almost two years now. I joined as soon as I found this place, and I've been really active ever since then. When I first joined, the YA sub-forum was really lackluster. I did most of my posting in novels, occasionally in Roundtable. I have a few posts in OP, but it's not really my thing...I always feel like it's all a big joke everyone gets but me, so I feel kind of stupid posting there, to be perfectly honest.

    In Novels, a lot of people started asking me what the guidelines were for "Edgy YA"--since there were so many uninformed people saying stuff like "you can't have homosexuality in YA, you can't have sex, you can say fuck twice per book but no more"--uh, okay, I've got tons of sex scenes, my NaNo was about a boy/boy relationship, and my Simon Pulse book has the word fuck 87 times. So when I told people these things, they asked if I could create a comprehensive thread--that's how "Shady's Edgy YA" was born. It's a sticky in YA now. After that, Megan created the "Random Musings About Your Writing" thread which as over 100,000 posts now...and most of my posts are there. Really, it's our own mini office party.

    I also have tons of posts on the thread Game: Your MC's Voice which started out as a multi-person thing involving tons of people having conversations in the voices of their main characters. About 400 pages ago, it diverged into this massive role play between Sage and me. It's incredibly geeky and somewhat embarrassing, but also SO fun. We've been doing that for almost a year.

    So that's where the posts come from...

    How long have you been writing? How and why did you start? Tell us a little about how your first published book came to be published.

    How long have I been writing...the short, cliche answer is, 'forever.' I remember my first day of second grade at my new school, I was nervous and sat down and wrote a story instead of talking to the other kids. I've gotten far more social since then, haha...but the writing continued. In 5th grade, I started working on my first long was an adult book (imagine, a 10 year old trying to write an adult book) about a hospice nurse. At that same time, our school was reading The School Story by Andrew Clemens, a fantastic MG book about a middle schooler who publishes her book with her best friend playing her agent. My best friend (the same friend who's in the hospital now, actually) decided that we needed to try that; she would be my agent. Since I never actually finished the hospice nurse story, that didn't happen...but I think it planted the idea in my head. I don't know if I ever would have understood the publishing world so well without The School Story, and it remains one of my very favorite books.

    So. I finished my first real manuscript when I was in 8th grade. I queried one publisher--Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux. Got a form 'no.' My query letter was two and a half pages long, full of newbie was awful. But I didn't get too down about it, because I was already working on a new manuscript at that point. I submitted this one to the Delacorte Press Contest for first young adult novel, of course didn't win. Next manuscript I submitted to a few independent publishers, got a few form rejects and one partial request. Nothing else. I started working on my next book. It was winter of freshman year.

    At this point, I was fed up with the publishing industry. I know that's absolutely ridiculous--half a dozen no's and I was fed up? But I was fourteen. My friend--same friend who was going to be my agent--and I decided the way to do it was to print up the books, get them bound ourselves, and just stick them on the shelves at Borders and Barnes and Noble to see what happened. Totally crazy plan, but an accurate representation of our personalities. The plan never got off the ground, but we did create a Myspace page, where we got in touch with the owner of an independent bookstore here in Maryland. He was interesting in helping us and asked, at one point, to see my manuscript. The one I showed him was The Sublime, my most recent manuscript.

    Sublime's not an even a novel; it's about 26,000 words. It was the first one I wrote over the course of only a week or two. It's a strange, almost existentialist little thing. I'm proud of it. He loved it and asked if he could show it to an independent publisher friend of his. I said sure, not expecting anything to come from it. A few months later, bam, contract for an e-book with a later paperback edition. Obviously not a big thing, but still very, very exciting. This was also the first time my parents found out I wrote, so they were pretty shocked...

    I got a lot of local publicity for that, but only sold about 100 copies of the e-book. There was zero marketing done, so that's expected and it was still exciting. I'm still waiting on the paperback, and I'm not sure when that's going to happen. I was told September, then's not really a concern, though. Bigger fish to fry.

    So right after I got that contract, I found AW and realized I needed to be querying agents. So I started doing so around May of sophomore year. Junior year was agent year. I queried queried queried all through the year, got my first offer sometime in early February and three more offers later that same day. Phone conversations, deliberations, stress--this was during tech week of Guys and Dolls, so I was at school everyday until nine, not a lot of time for email and phone conferences--I chose Jenoyne Adams of Bliss Literary and couldn't be happier. She sold Break, which I wrote in a week during the fall of junior year, to Simon Pulse in July. My contract just arrived today, and the book's coming out August 25th, 2009. Right now we have a new book on sub to my editor there--These Humans All Suck, which I wrote during spring of sophomore year. It's both me and my agent's very favorite, so here's hoping...

    Anyway, I guess that wasn't brief, but the real answer is that "my first novel" is a judgment call. I'm still a little lost as to how to refer to Sublime.

    I have three other finished manuscripts polished and ready to go on sub. So we'll see what happens...

    I notice you've applied for college. What program are you hoping to be in? Do you plan to make writing your life's work, or do you have some other career in mind?

    Hokay so college. I applied Early Decision to Brown. I hear in six days. I am dying of anticipation.

    I'm applying as a Literary Arts major--so yep, writing. I actually intended all through high school to be a biology major, and just recently changed my mind. I'm so glad I did, even though I had to rewrite a bunch of my college essays. Writing is what I want to do with my life, so why should I pretend it isn't? My goal right now is to never have a "real" job. I know that's silly, and I know a lot of people would say I'm robbing myself of experiences I could use for writing. Hey, there's always volunteer work if I'm hurting for inspiration. But I think I'll be okay.

    If you could accomplish only one thing in your lifetime, what, at this point in time, would you want to accomplish?

    If I could accomplish only one thing...that's hard. I'm going to have to say I would like to have a family. I would like very very much to have a family. My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost two years, and we're those naive high schoolers who think they can stay together forever. Honestly, though, he's everything I could ever want, and if we get through college (we applied to different places), I'm gonna marry that boy. Whenever either of us is sad, we just talk about our plans for the future to cheer us up. I stay at home with the kids and write books, he goes out and does...something. He's not sure yet. But we're sure of the books. And the kids. And the happy.

    What is your favorite genre to write in? To read in?

    YA contemporary and YA contemporary. I'll read the ocassional adult book, but I don't write them.

    How do you generate story ideas?

    Usually I think of one sort of plot 'element'--right now I'm fixated on writing from the POV of a kid whose dad just got sent to prison. I'm waiting until I think of another element--one that doesn't obviously fit with that one--and then I'll mush them together. That's what I typically do. My favorite ms (th eone on sub) was kid going to meet his older brother's birth family + immaculate conception.

    Give us an example of a typical writing day.

    I'm a TERRIBLE example, because I don't write every day at all, and when I do write, it's in front of the TV, lying on the couch...all the things you're not supposed to do. generally, I go on bursts--I'll write a novel in seven or eight days, edit it slowly afterwards. I'm not writing anything right now--haven't written since NaNo. This isn't a problem for me. I'm not a page-a-day kind of person. Different strokes, I suppose.

    What are your strong qualities as a writer?

    I'm a teenager who writes teenagers. That's an easy one. I have a good ear for dialogue. I think of strong plots. I don't typically get bogged down in middles.

    Your weaknesses?

    Unpredictability. I write several books a year, but I can't predict when I'm going to have these books written. Luckily I have three manuscripts polished and ready to go when my agent asks for them, but I can't promise when they'll be another one.

    If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?

    New York City. I haven't seen a Broadway show in months. This is a problem.

    What inspires you to write and why?

    Movies. Definitely movies. I get so inspired by movies. Break was inspired duely by Fight Club (more the movie than the book) and Into the Wild. You'd never know it from reading it, though...

    I think because I respond well to things I can see. Nothing gets me like a camera shot of one character going through some sort of emotional change. You can write a whole book out of that change.

    What is your favorite book and why?

    Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving. Because it's amazing and painful and raw and beautiful.

    Also up there--Indigo's Star by Hilary McKay and Sins of The Fathers by Chris Lynch. And The Stranger by Albert Camus. I have Adult, MG, YA, and...The Stranger represented there.

    What is your favorite genre and why?

    YA, definitely. I'm a young adult. I love to read about young adults. I think the authors are some of the most daring writing right now. And the people working in YA fiction are so amazing and inspiring.

    List your three favorite authors (any genre) and why?

    John Irving--he's a genius
    John Green--consistently amazing
    Ned Vizzini--inspiring inspiring inspiring

    What do you think makes a writer successful?

    Obviously it depends what you consider successful...but I think a knowledge of the business end is absolutely crucial. You need to know what your role is as a writer in the writer/agent/editor relationship. You need to know what you control and what you don't control.

    And whatever stress is around, however you work, whatever your method is, you need to create a consistent product. You can surprise your readers, but you can't let them down.

    What are your goals as a writer?

    Right now I say that I hope to never have a real job. I want to be able to support myself and a family someday.

    I want my picture in Entertainment Weekly.

    That's it, really.

    How long did it take you to write your book(s)?

    First draft? A week or so. All the drafts? About a month or two.

    Not including my novella out with a small publisher, my novel coming out this summer, and my novel currently on submission, I have three polished and ready to go. The order is strange--the order is, a handy list!

    In order of completion:
    Book A--out with a small press
    Book B--waiting its turn
    Book C--on submission
    (Book D-- truuuunked! it's bad)
    Book E--coming out this summer
    Book F--waiting its turn
    Book G--waiting its turn

    So the book that's being marketed as my "first novel" is not really my first novel at all. And my second will have been written before the first.

    If you have published a book, tell us about your publishing success (title, publishing date and company, where it is available to purchase).

    The Sublime is out on e-book with Cantarabooks. Came out in September 2007. That's available at

    Break is coming out with Simon Pulse on August 25th, 2009. It'll be on Amazon and in major book stores and such.

    What would you do differently if you could repeat the same publishing experience?

    Not sure I can say that publicly.

    Let's just say I would have asked more questions...

    But I have no real regrets. I love where I am, and I can't say if I would have gotten here if I'd done something differently. So we're good.

    What have you learned about the publishing world?

    What you do matters. People are watching. And no matter if you're fourteen or forty, you have to act like an adult. This is a business. Have to treat it as such. I didn't get that at first.

    If you could meet anyone in history, who would it be and why?

    Albert Camus...but sadly, I don't speak French.

    We could talk existentialism. Not that it would really matter...

    What is your favorite food?

    Hmmmmm....I like lemon meringue pie, like, a LOT. And creme brulee. Desserts...

    What is your favorite color?


    What is your favorite place?


    What is your favorite memory?

    Running around Bethany Beach with my best friends. My friends are my life.

    If you could have any talent in the world besides writing, what would it be?

    I wish I could play an instrument. I can pidgen-play piano, and I sing, but I can't play an instrument.

    Is there anything you’d like to tell us about yourself that might surprise people at AW?

    I really am normal. Really.

    I act just like any other teenagers. And I hate when people insult teenagers and when I get offended say I'm an exception. No, I'm not. All teenagers are brilliant.

    I'm just loud about it.

    ETA: Hannah sings in ASL
    Last edited by Yeshanu; 12-17-2008 at 12:15 AM.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
Custom Search