On today’s blog, I’m chatting to Laura Cacace, Author, and recent recipient of a wonderful Amazon Kindle Press publishing contract:
L.M: Hi Laura, lovely to meet you. Congratulations on your Kindle Press contract! Can you tell us a little about your writing journey so far, and how you came to the decision to submit to the Kindle Scout scheme?
Laura: Thank you! And thanks for having me. My “official” writing journey began only about four years ago, but I’ve always loved reading and writing stories. Becoming an author seemed like such a difficult thing to achieve, though. It’s not like becoming a doctor or a teacher where there’s a well-trodden path ahead of you. So, I kept that dream tucked inside for a while out of fear. It wasn’t until I was in college (after changing majors twice) that I decided to commit to it—go after it. And I graduated college as a creative writing major feeling like I had something to prove—to myself and to the world. A book was a daunting task, but I started writing Trace the Edges the week after graduation. It took two years to reach a point where I felt it was ready, and then I began querying agents to publish traditionally. But after sending out only twenty queries and receiving one response (a rejection that came through three months after I’d sent the initial query), I decided I didn’t want to wait any longer. That’s when I started considering self-publishing and Kindle Scout. After hiring an editor and working with her several more months, I finally bit the bullet this August, and submitted to Kindle Scout. And it felt great!
L.M: Can you tell us a little about your publishing experience with Kindle Press so far?
Laura: So far, so good! I haven’t gotten very far into the process yet. I’ve only just received some really great feedback from their editors, so I’ll be going over the book again with their suggestions in mind over the next couple of weeks. But it’s very exciting! I’m so looking forward to finally having Trace the Edges out there for the world to (hopefully) enjoy!
L.M: We’re all looking forward to reading your YA novel, TRACE THE EDGES. What was your inspiration for this novel?
Laura: Technically, it’s more of a New Adult novel (Kindle Scout didn’t have that option when I submitted, so I thought YA was the next best choice), but lots of things inspired it! I was fresh out of college when I wrote it, so the whole college experience, and that age in general--not yet an “adult” but no longer a child or teenager—played into Charlotte’s character a great deal. So much can change from year to year in your twenties, so her worldview was me trying to capture what life looked like to me at that age, during a time of such potential, but also such upheaval. Nana Rosie was a big part of the inspiration, too. She was the first character to start speaking to me, whispering pearls of wisdom into my ear. I had two incredibly strong grandmothers, so her character is a combination of them. And the story is set in New York City. I’ve lived twenty minutes outside of Manhattan my entire life, so I knew that the atmosphere of NYC was what I wanted for Charlotte’s story.
L.M: Are you looking to submit to Kindle Scout again in the future, continue in the indie publishing world, or is traditional publishing an option for you?
Laura: Can I say all of the above? Is that a good answer? Ha! I think for my next project, like with Trace the Edges, traditional publishing will be my first stop. I mean, that’s the dream, right? To have a publishing house take on your book—that’s the way I’d always imagined it. But over the past couple of years, I’ve come to really appreciate the fact that self-publishing, and platforms like Kindle Scout exist for writers like me who just can’t get a foot in the door (or are simply too impatient to keep trying, ha!). So, yes, I would submit to Kindle Scout again, yes, I would try my hand at self-publishing, and yes, I’m sure I will try to publish traditionally again. I plan to be writing books for a very long time, so I’ll use whatever means I have at my disposal to get them into the hands of readers. And if I’ve learned anything over the last couple of years, it’s that anything’s possible, so I certainly don’t want to rule anything out!
L.M: Laura, in the past you have written on Wattpad and Radish. Have you found this a useful experience and will you continue to publish stories on these platforms?
Laura: YES--to both questions! Before I started writing on Wattpad, I wrote pretty much only when I felt inspired. It was too hard otherwise. But writing on platforms like Wattpad and Radish, having readers waiting for my next chapter (how AMAZING is that?!)—it all made me view writing as an actual job. Because let’s face it—writing is work. Hard work. It’s easy to say you want to be a writer/author. It’s a LOT harder to actually sit down and make it happen. Writing on Wattpad and Radish forced me to work every day. And I’ve learned that some days are more fruitful than others—some days I can bang out five thousand words, other days I’m lucky if I write a hundred. I’ve learned that inspiration is usually waiting for me to start writing before it strikes. And most importantly, I’ve learned how to write. I’ve learned how to craft a story. I’ve found the only way to get better at writing is to write a LOT. Wattpad and Radish have given me the opportunity to do that every single day. And they’ve given me readers—lots of amazing readers.
L.M: Can you give us a little insight into your creative process?
Laura: I really wish I could say something glamorous right now. Something like, “Well, I HAVE to have a certain kind of tea, and I NEED complete silence, otherwise nothing comes.” But to be completely honest, my “process” is nothing special. For me, I find that routine works best. I try to squeeze a workout in every morning to wake up my brain as well as my body. I work from home and live with my family, so I’m always interrupted somehow—whether it’s my sister getting home from school, my parents getting home from work, or my cat meowing at me for attention. But I make sure I write something every day. Otherwise, I don’t feel right. It helps me a great deal to have a publishing schedule, too. I post for Radish every Monday, and for Wattpad every Friday—so I hold myself accountable and plan my days accordingly. But I don’t plan my stories. Not down to the last detail, anyway. Typically, I begin a new project with a few major plot points in mind, and fill in the details as I go. Which is interesting when I write for Wattpad or Radish because though I edit those chapters before posting, once they’re out there, they’re out there. That’s it. Readers have read them by the time I start the next one, so I’ve got to be sure it remains a cohesive story throughout. But another crucial part of my process is reading. I read every night before bed, without fail. I could’ve taken all the creative writing courses college had to offer, but I remain convinced that my love of reading is what truly taught me how to write. It’s also a good way for me to spark my own creativity. Reading good books (or even not-so-good books) makes me want to write my own!
L.M: Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Laura: It depends on the day, really. If it’s been a good, productive day, I usually finish pretty energized because I’m excited that more of what’s been going on in my mind for however long has come to life on the page. Or if I’ve reached a crucial plot point and have executed it the way I imagined it (or better), I finish REALLY energized. But there are plenty of days that it leaves me exhausted, too. And funny enough, those are typically the days when I haven’t been as productive. The days when I’ve wanted to pull my hair out because nothing seems to be working. But pulling chapters or books to a close also leaves me kind of exhausted—drowsy in the afterglow of another completed product. Generally speaking, I sleep pretty darn well at night!
L.M: Can you talk a little bit about your upcoming projects?
Laura: I’m actually so excited to say that there are several! I’ve just started the third book of my series on Wattpad (it’s fanfiction if you’re into that sort of thing), and I’m working towards the ending of my second book on Radish. But I’ve also recently started working on a project that I’ve had at the back of my mind for years. I wrote about thirty pages of it my sophomore year of college (when I was still denying to myself that I wanted to be a writer), and have spent quite a bit of time brainstorming it in the last year or so. It’s more than likely going to be a YA novel, and it’ll probably be the first of, at least, a trilogy. I think it might span a few genres, as well—fantasy, included, which is very exciting for me! That’s all I’ll say about it though, because I’m still in the very, very early stages of writing it. I still don’t know for sure where the story’s going to go!
L.M: What’s your favourite story ever told, book or script, and why?
Laura: THIS IS THE HARDEST QUESTION YET. I can’t pick just one. So, I’m going to break the rules and give you a few if you don’t mind—offer some variety. I mean, my first fave HAS to be Harry Potter. It was the first series I read as a child that, quite simply, I just couldn’t get enough of. And to read the final book as a semi-adult—I can’t tell you how inspired I was by the way J.K. Rowling wove that story together. It will always be a favorite of mine! More recently, I’ve fallen in love with anything by Sarah J. Maas. She’s another young, fantasy author, and her A Court of Thorns and Roses series has been the only other series I’ve read that’s given me the same, exact feeling the Harry Potter books gave me all those years ago. It’s become a fast favorite of mine, and so has her Throne of Glass series. In terms of standalone novels, I’ve got to say A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. I read it my freshman year of high school and…I don’t know, there’s just something about that book, about those characters, that has always stayed with me. That’s what makes a favorite, I think: that unidentifiable feeling they give you—it’s a feeling that lingers long after you’ve put the book down. And (last one, promise) Wuthering Heights. Because GAH, it’s such a compelling story! Shutting up now.
L.M: And finally, is there anything you would like to tell your readers?
Laura: Oh gosh, thank you, thank you, thank you! What else is there to say? Whether you’ve just come across my work, or you’ve been with me for the last three years on Wattpad, I wouldn’t be where I am today without you. And I can’t wait to continue this journey together! As for Trace the Edges, I don’t have a publication date yet, but when I do, you’ll be the first to know! Thank you for the staggering amount of love and support. xx
Thank-you for being such an excellent guest, Laura, and I wish you the very best of luck with TRACE THE EDGES and all your upcoming projects! Come back and let us know how you're doing.