Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ask An Author: Rhonda Brutt


Our series with Rhonda Brutt and her book Voyance will soon be drawing to a close. However, the giveaway will be coming up soon. I hope you all have enjoyed Rhonda's answers to your questions.

Asked by Kristen: What does she hope readers will gain from reading?

Answered by Rhonda: As a general all purpose answer, I hope that readers gain the information they are looking for when they are reading a factually based or inspirational book. I read plenty of those myself. That being said, many people, myself included, like to read for fun and/or escape. So an entertaining fictional story serves a purpose to many readers as well and I hope the young adults who read Voyance will enjoy it for its entertainment value. Let me tell you what I hope my readers will not gain from reading Voyance! I noticed that on Amazon, this book is tagged, among other things, as a book on ESP as well as on Parapsychology. Let me be perfectly clear, this is a fictional paranormal young adult romance with no basis for fact whatsoever! I had so much fun writing this book and I hope others will have fun reading it. That was my only goal. While I admittedly had to do some research on the topic of ESP; I didn’t do all that much. I would certainly hope that if someone wanted serious information on Parapsychology or ESP they’d look for a reputable source other than my book because trust me, they will be disappointed to find themselves reading a teen romance rather than a scientific explanation of either of those topics!

Asked by Me: What one of the most difficult aspects of writing a teen fiction novel?

Answered by Rhonda:
Without a doubt, writing a query letter and a synopsis! Write a 109,000 word manuscript? No problem. Try to condense it down to a letter that will get an agent or publisher's attention and many writers along with myself find they have a roadblock. I sat and stared at a blank word document for several days. Every time I tried to write something I ended up deleting it. I finally turned to the internet for help. The advice I found there was good; but ultimately you still have to write it all by yourself! I found one website that stated it plainly. It said something to the effect of "look, you wrote an entire book, how hard can it be to write a few pages?" Trust me, it's very hard! Your ability to sell your work ultimately depends on this and you only get one shot with each agent or editor. I would advise trying to write a query letter first because if for no other reason, it's shorter.

A synopsis is a whole different issue. You are basically trying to
tell your entire story, all 300 plus pages of it, in 2 or 3 pages at the most. You have to make some difficult decisions as to what you are going to include and what details are you going to omit. Typically, a synopsis should also include your ending and that is especially hard to do because you don't want to tell them how your story ends! After all, your ending is what you're building up to! It's what you want the agent or editor to discover, you don't want to just blurt it out! How fun is that? But like it or not, most of them want you to include the ending if they ask for a synopsis. I now have several different versions of my query letters as well as a few different types of synopsis. Each agent or editor has different requirements so I always kept an original and then would tailor make each one to meet that particular agency's submission guidelines.

Asked by Nancy: Is the character Emma similar to what you were like as a teen?

Answered by Rhonda:
Yep! And since I wrote the story in first person, it was super easy for me to “feel” what she was feeling. However, this worked against me at times as well. When you write in first person, you essentially become that character. As you keep writing you become very well acquainted with what your character is thinking and experiencing. Because of this you forget that your reader can’t see inside your brain. You don’t quite feel the urgency to describe an emotion because you wrongly assume that the reader “gets” it, but without written description, they often don’t. This was brought to my attention during the editing process and I had to go back and do some re-writing as a result.