Friday, 4 June 2010

Interview with Lacey J Boldyrev

Happy Friday, everyone! Let's get an early start to the weekend by having a fun chat with a fantastic aspiring writer. I've seen her around the blogosphere and was immediately intrigued by an excerpt of one of her stories. The talented Lacey J. Boldyrev is sure to be a hit.

It's nice to have you here, Lacey. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a 25 year-old wife and mom. I grew up in Pennsylvania but spent most of my adolescence in North Carolina. Now I reside in NY. When I’m not writing, I’m doing the mom thing. My kids are young, so if I manage to get *me time* I spend it reading. I’m so exciting!

How long have you been writing?

Funny you should ask. I feel bad admitting this, but I just started writing seriously in February 2009. Within 30 days I had a rough (like #50 grit sandpaper, rough) first draft of a YA historical I call FATED. I’ve revised it for over a year and it’s still not ready.

What is the name and genre of your current manuscript?

I have a number of them stashed around my house and on a few hard drives (and thumb drives and disks), but the one I will be seeking representation for in the near future is titled GREYSKIN. It is a YA paranormal (my favorite kind of book) but it’s not heavily saturated in paranormal.

Perfect title, I love it! Here’s the part where you pitch it. What’s your story about?

When sixteen-year-old Charlie Waite falls for Jack O’Donnell, an older guy and a bounty hunter for the supernatural, she decides the only way to get close to him is to start salting bones herself. But things go wrong fast when Charlie tags along on a dangerous greyskin hunt. The bokor, a voodoo sorcerer who hired Jack to catch the greyskin, sends hell hounds after him. When Jack goes missing, Charlie knows if she ever wants to call him hers she’s going to have to hunt down the bokor herself.

Awesome. And having seen a quick peek, I have to say I love the voice in your manuscript. How did the idea of the story come to you?

The first line--There’s a dead girl in the trunk and all I can think about is how white the trees are—came while cruising down I95 and passing a bunch of trees that were, well, white. No, I did not have a dead girl in my trunk. Promise. When I started writing it, the voice of my narrator, Charlie, really came to me. More so than with any other character I’ve written. Charlie is me in a lot of ways and she and I really connected.

What point are you at now?

I’m going to submit to my critique partners for their input and probably do another round with my readers, and then it will be ready to query agents. I hope.

Do you rely heavily on critique partners and beta readers, or do you do a lot of self-editing?

I do as much self-editing as I think I can before I send it to my critique partners, Valerie and Kristi--the Sisters in Scribe. We can be found at our shared blog
With the first manuscript I wrote—FATED—I sent them a very rough draft. And I still apologize for it, even though they never complain.

I polish the manuscript and then when my turn comes up with the group, I send it and wait about a month for their notes. I have amazing critique partners and they catch everything. After I’ve filled in my plot holes and readjusted some sentences or whatever else needs fixed, I feel comfortable submitting to my beta readers. As of right now, I have two. One is a very good friend and fellow YA writer, A.J. Spindle, and the other is a book blogger. Her name is Jess, formerly of which is now

Sounds like good detailed process. What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

Aside from trying to write while I have a toddler at my side pretending she’s a cat, it’s writing the bad guy showdowns. Action scenes are so hard to get right! You want to convey the right amount of emotion, but at the same time it’s got to be fast paced and concise. And it’s tempting to allow the villain to break into a monologue to explain his evil plot.

Yes, I have the same problem, lol.Any tips you’ve learned about writing you’d like to share?

Simple is usually best. Don’t use big words or lengthy sentences to explain simple thoughts. Just spit it out the way your character would.

Do you have an idea of your book’s cover art?

GREYSKIN is very new so I haven’t toyed with that yet, but I did mock up one for FATED. I don’t own rights to the image so I’ll just explain it. It has a white background with a (very pretty) eye in the center. Inside the eye I put a reflection of the Nazi flag. Underneath it reads FATED in blood-red.

GREYSKIN would be cool if it had Charlie holding a sawed-off shotgun with her Bull Mastiff, Odin, standing beside her and Jack’s 1966 Chevelle convertible in the background.

Sounds great. Who are your inspirations?

Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse books were what really made me think, Hey I want to do that! But there are so many great authors I look up to and admire. Two name a few: Maggie Stiefvater, Carrie Harris and Richelle Mead.

Let’s get to know you on a deeper level. What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

Coffee. So stereotypical, I know. And I have a small metal elephant (I love elephants and I have a lot of them scattered around my house) that my husband bought me at a motorcycle event. He’s about 3” high and he flips open to reveal a small compartment inside. When I get stuck I flip him open and closed. Somehow it helps. And I chew on my red pen.

With GREYSKIN, I need a giant bowl of Good & Plenty candy. When (not if) you read it, you’ll know why.

Ooh, I'm intrigued (and I love Good & Plenty).

Okay, quick writing test: Use the words funnel, chipmunk, and encyclopedia in a sentence.

In one sentence? Wow, lol!

The crafty chipmunk made a funnel out of the torn pages of an encyclopedia, and used it to pour the nuts into his burrow.

Clever! Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Who would you like to give a shout out to?

My husband, because without him I wouldn’t be writing. He pushes me to follow my heart and he believes in me every step of the way. And he works hard so that I can spend my time doing what I love.

Also, my family for not locking me away when I talk about my characters as if they’re real people. My friends, both writers and non. My critique partners and beta readers and the endless support I’ve gotten from the writing community.

And finally, where can people find you online?

I can be found in a myriad of places under the name L.J. Boldyrev.

And I am also a member of the Blue Boards, SCBWI, and the YAlitchat community.

Thank you, Lacey, it was so great talking with you. I'm really crossing my fingers for you on your publication journey, and I can't wait to get my hands on GREYSKIN!


India Drummond said...

Fun interview! I love hearing how other people get their inspiration and start putting pen to paper.

Good luck with your rewrites and submissions!

Lacey J Edwards said...

Thanks, India! And thank you, Dorothy, for doing these interviews!

Rebecca L Sutton said...

YAY Lacey! So fun hearing more about you (so funny how much we have in common) and I can't wait to get my hands on a draft of GREYSKIN. Geez, you just started writing this thing weeks ago--can't believe how fast it came together! Some stories just click from the start. Thats a good sign, my dear. ; )

Lacey J Edwards said...

Thanks, Rebecca! It's a lot shorter than the books you write! Lol!

Stina said...

Great interview. I've seen L.J. Boldyrev around the blogs, but I've never actually visited hers. Off to visit now. :)

Unknown said...

Lacey is a fabulous critique partner herself and I can't wait to read the rest of Greyskin! :)

Carrie Harris said...

In general, fabulous interview. Which doesn't surprise me coming from Lacey. In specific, I will be floating all day after being mentioned in the same breath (or sentence...does it count as a breath if it's written?) as Maggie Stiefvater and Richelle Mead.

Floating, I tell you. Floating.

Lacey J Edwards said...

Carrie, you rock and you're a total inspiration. Thanks for reading!

Shelli said...

Funny, you say you just started writing seriously, but I bet you've been a writer all your life. Your book sounds wonderful, and I hope it takes you far.

Valerie Kemp said...

Awesome interview of an AWESOME person. I'm proud to say Lacey is my crit partner and friend. Greyskin is amazing and I can't wait until everyone gets a chance to read it!

Lacey J Edwards said...

Thank you all!