Friday, July 22, 2011

Interview with YA author Lindsay Below

Today, my guest is YA author, Lindsay Below.  Lindsay is talking about writing and her latest YA release from MuseItUp Publishing, Lurkers.

1.     Please tell me how long you've been writing, and why you decided to become a writer.

I’ve been writing seriously (if initially badly) since I was thirteen years old. At first, it was just a love for stories and a need to get my own onto paper. But as I suffered through high school, I realized that writing is the only career that will make me happy, and therefore I launched myself towards the dream full-tilt. At twenty, I received my first contracts.

2.     Are you a full-time writer or a part-time writer, and how do you organize your writing time?

I’m a full-time writer. I organize my time according to my boyfriend’s schedule. Whenever he’s at work, I need to be working. He often works overtime, which suits my workaholic nature.

3.     What influences your writing?

Mostly my own imagination, though I try to work in things that I enjoy, as a reader. I write for myself and hope that others will like it, too.

4.     Is this your first published work?  What other types of writing have you done?

My first published (not paid) work came when I was thirteen years old, my YA fantasy story being included in a Young Writers anthology. Under the pen name L. K. Below I also write fantasy and romance for adults.

5.     Why did you choose to write a children's story?

The characters. I don’t classify according to genre and I could not care less about “branding” myself. I write what I enjoy, and I write the stories of the characters that come to me. Many of those happen to be young adult characters.

6.     What was the process of creating this book from the first idea to the final published book?

I’m glad you asked that because this one was a particularly challenging one. When I wrote the first draft one fine week in November 2009 (I write insanely fast), it was originally a middle grade novel. I decided it would work better as a young adult novel and took the painstaking job of rewriting and lengthening it that December. Around that time, I enrolled in a class which focused on writing a young adult novel and perfecting it for submission. Well, here’s the thing: after my instructor started to read my novel, she told me, in these words that it would “never be published.” Clearly, the idea didn’t catch her, but to a budding author… well, that’s not news any author wants to hear. But I’m one persistent, stubborn person. I started editing the book one more time, although the more I looked at it, the more I started to ask myself -- was she right? About halfway through the book, I almost gave up.

Then I stumbled across MuseItUp Publishing. I started thinking to myself, “What if…” and muddled through editing the book one last time. If it wasn’t accepted, I told myself that I would stuff it in a drawer where it belonged. As it turned out, I received my acceptance letter three days later with an emphatic YES! One bumbling journey, but at least it has a happy ending.

7.     What are your thoughts on traditional versus self-publishing?

They both have their merits but I think it depends on how much time (really) you’re willing to put into polishing and promoting your manuscript. Traditional publishing is sometimes hard to get into (although the advent of epublishing means that manuscripts with an idea just a little out of the norm will have the opportunity to see the light of day, which wasn’t so true in years past). If you find a good publishing house -- and I can’t stress this enough -- you’ll receive the joint promotion, and the editing and packaging services you need to make your manuscript presentable. But that is only true of a GOOD publishing house. Shoddy ones can be as bad for your career as self-publishing a first-draft.

As for self-publishing, at this moment I haven’t done it. You need to handle things like distribution, book design, cover art, editing, and promotion all on your own. Promotion itself is a full time job, and I would hope that you would take the time to hire a professional to do the cover art and the editing. Make a presentable book for your readers or they won’t come back. And yes, I do believe there is a difference between self-publishing and vanity publishing. Vanity publishers try to make as much money off of you as they can. Their “editing” services don’t do your book justice. If you’re self-publishing you should be paying enough to cover the costs of printing the book (if in print) and that’s it. If you’re still spending more… well, unfortunately there are a lot of scams in the publishing industry.

8.     What is your marketing strategy?

I’ve been told that the best marketing strategy is your next book. I take that to heart because it’s so much easier than trying to be in someone’s face and sell them my book. Even so, I do try to reach out to my readers as much as possible. I don’t know how well I succeed, but I do try. Oh, and I love giveaways

9.     What are your thoughts about children's writers needing an agent or not needing one?

I don’t have an agent, so obviously my stance will be that one isn’t strictly necessary. Though I do at times gaze at those big, shiny New York publishers and think, “If only…”

10.  Where can people find out more about you and your writing?

You can find out more about me at my website,

11.  Do you have any tips for writers who are new to children's literature?

If you’re an adult (especially one who isn’t around teens/kids), read a lot of young adult. It’ll help you to get into the right mind set and you’ll be able to avoid alienating your audience. 

12.  Please give us a brief synopsis about your current book and when and where it will be available.

Fifteen-year-old Kayla never believed that the world would end on December 21st, 2012—until she woke up and discovered the adults of Toronto were missing. Now she has to take care of her diabetic younger brother, deal with the creepy kid who has a crush on her, and find a way to bring her parents back, all before Christmas. Why did she wake up, again?

Lurkers is available from MuseItUp Publishing ( as of July 1st.

Thanks for having me, Penny!


  1. Wonderful interview with a very nice writer. Kudos, Penny & Lindsay. Best of luck with your career, Lindsay.

  2. Joylene, thanks for stopping by. Glad you enjoyed the interview. Lindsay is definitely a talented writer who wears many writing hats.

  3. I very much enjoyed getting to know Lindsay better, and I wish her all the best with her wonderful fantasy worlds. Lurkers sounds like a uniquely enticing read.

  4. Pat, thanks so much for stopping by.

  5. Thanks, Joylene. :)

    And thank you, Penny, for having me!

  6. Thanks for saying so, Pat. :) I'm happy it entices :)

  7. Lindsay, it's always a pleasure to have you. You're welcome to be a guest any time.

  8. This sounds like a wonderful book from an author who has a promising future.

  9. Hello Penny & Lindsay :)

    Thank you for the fascinating interview.

    I'm glad Lindsay didn't give up on her book!

    All the best,
    RK Charron

  10. Sue, thanks for commenting. It's always nice to hear from a new reader.

  11. RK, thanks so much. I agree, Lurkers was worth waiting for.

  12. Sue, why thank you :) You've brightened my morning. :)

    RK - Right now, I'm glad about that too!

    Thanks for stopping by, ladies. :)

  13. Your YA story sounds intriguing. I think you gave excellent advice on trad pubbing vs self-pubbing. Great interview, Penny.

  14. Janet, glad you enjoyed the interview and thanks for stopping by.

  15. Enjoyed the interview. LURKERS is on my TBR book list.

  16. Susanne, you won't be disappointed.