Today I had the awesome opportunity to interview Marci Curtis, author of upcoming 2014 YA release THE ONE THING.
THE ONE THING, which will be published by Disney-Hyperion, is about a blind juvenile delinquent whose life falls apart when she uncovers the truth about the precocious young boy she’s grown to love (description by Publisher’s Weekly.)
You can also add THE ONE THING on Goodreads!
Can you tell us a little about the inspiration for your debut book?
Ha! Good question! I’d like to say that the story was inspired by a dream or some crazy-intense ah-ha moment. But in truth? I have no clue where it actually originated. All of a sudden it was just…there—my main character had weaseled her way into my head and sort of set up camp. Her story picked at me and picked at me until finally I had no choice but to start making notes. Eventually those notes became a six-inch stack of papers that evolved into The One Thing.
What was the hardest part of writing this particular book?
Well, there’s this: my main character is a blind juvenile delinquent. That being said, there were many—many—times that this story seemed so much bigger than me. I mean, I couldn’t just tie on a blindfold, fumble around for a few hours, and understand what the visually impaired go through on a day-to-day basis. I didn’t want to marginalize visual impairment, but at the same time I didn’t want it to be the focus of the novel. So I spent months researching and brainstorming. On top of all that, the novel tackles some pretty intense topic matter, which needed to be buffered by using a lot of humor. So basically, writing even the simplest of scenes was overwhelming at times—it meant keeping a multitude of things in delicate balance.
Is there anything that helps you get into the writing zone – music, for example?
Generally, my best writing is the stuff that gets scrawled out on envelopes, the backs of receipts, and napkins. So I guess doing anything but actually trying to write—driving, blow-drying my hair, shopping, walking the dog—gets me in the writing zone.
What can I say? My muses have a sense of humor.
What is it about young adult fiction that draws you in as a writer?
Young adult fiction is the best stuff out there, period. Teenagers fall harder, love bigger, and hurt deeper than adults generally give them credit for. So being a voice for them in today’s society? It’s an honor.
Was there ever a time when you seriously considered giving up on your writing dream?
Definitely! Back in 2008, I wrote my first book, which—for lack of a better name—I’ll just call One Bad Writing Decision after Another. As the title implies, it wasn’t very good. So after spending the better part of a year writing it, I chucked my pen out the window and stomped off.
But within a couple of years, a new story—The One Thing—took root in my mind and I decided to give writing another shot. And you know what? I found out that by learning how not to write, I’d learned how to write.
Do you have any advice for writers trying to get published?
Give yourself permission to fail. Because honestly, if you give it your best, fall flat on your face, and you still want to write? That’s how you know you’re a writer.