Like a Virgin Contest ’13 Blog Hop

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I woke up at 5:55 AM this morning just to ensure my eligibility in the Like a Virgin contest for unpublished YA/NA novels. The organizers of this lovely event have started a blog hop and asked participants to answer the following questions…

1: How do you remember your first kiss?

I didn’t much care for it! I was sitting on the couch in my father’s living room, and I just remember staring at this houseplant across the room wishing it wouldn’t happen. Oh dear.

2: What was your first favorite love song?

Hmm, probably something really embarrassing! I would guess “Forever and Always” by Shania Twain. I went through a country phase around ages 10-13.

3: What’s the first thing you do when you begin writing for the day?

I don’t have a set schedule for writing, so I really couldn’t tell you. When I was working on the first draft of Thursday’s Children, I was in the habit of drinking Arizona lemon tea and using this hemp oil hand lotion that smelled like chocolate and cherries, though.

4: Who’s the first writer who truly inspired you to become a writer?

Probably Margaret Peterson Haddix. I was obsessed with her books when I was little, and I think there’s definitely a bit of that “old school” YA flavor in my writing. Honestly, though, my memories of trying to write stories all but pre-date my memories of reading.

5: Did the final revision of your first book have the same first chapter it started with?

Despite a fair bit of worrying over that, yes.

6: For your first book, which came first: major characters, plot or setting?

Characters, absolutely. To varying degrees, they were living in my head for years before I ever started writing their story, or even knew all of what their story was. Figuring out the plot and the characters was a very synergistic sort of thing, though, because they wouldn’t be who they are at all without the plot. As for the setting, I was really lazy and used my hometown – I really enjoy reading books where I recognize real places, so I thought it would be nice, if I ever get published, to give people from little old Westerville, Ohio that experience.

7: What’s the first word you want to roll off the tip of someone’s tongue when they think of your writing?

Honestly, I have no idea. It’s not that I’m saying voice or technical skill aren’t important, but I really don’t care if people think of my writing as “lyrical” or “bold” or any of those book-reviewer type adjectives. I don’t really care if they think about how I write at all, as long as it doesn’t impede the story. I’d rather they think about the story than how exactly it’s written.


18 thoughts on “Like a Virgin Contest ’13 Blog Hop

  1. prerna pickett

    characters come to me first, then I have to figure out why they’re compelling, what’s going on in their lives that will make up a whole story. My sister was really into Shania Twain in high school so I have several of her songs memorized! And i love bold and lyrical writing

  2. Pat Esden (@PatEsden)

    It’s interesting how people’s musical tastes change over the years. In my current WIP, the main characters first kiss has country music in the background–that meant I did some research. I ended up finding some newer country singers I really enjoyed.

  3. Patrice

    I’m from Texas so I think I’ll always have a bit of country love. I like what you had to say about your story, I think that’s a good way for it to be remembered, one word is hard to pin down. Good luck!

  4. jessika fleck

    Welp, I accidentally replied to the wrong post (feel free to delete the other – sorry! I’m not so good with the techno stuffs).
    Here’s my comment:
    Well…I don’t think using your hometown is ‘lazy’. All of my novels have at least partially taken place in cities I’ve lived in (except the dystopian – had to create that one in my head…which was really fun!) I believe no matter how much research you do, if you haven’t lived there (or at least visited), it’s pretty difficult to REALLY capture a setting. Good luck in the contest!!!

    1. Caron Conley Post author

      I felt a little awkward about it because I hate it when I read a novel that won’t shut up about its real-life setting. When a book repeatedly explains the lush scenery of South Carolina so much that I feel like it was written by the board of tourism, I find it very grating. But I don’t think I did that, and now it’s fun when my out of town friends come to visit and say “That’s the bridge where ____!”

  5. Cindy

    Hi Caron. Great to “meet” you. I LOVE your byline: “I’m a novelist, but no one knows it yet”…. perfect! I might make that my new elevator speech. LOL Best of luck to you!


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