Monday, January 16, 2012

The "Write" Facts Interview: Gemma Halliday

The “Write” Facts is a new weekly post where I’m chatting with a different author every week about everything to do with writing. Here we’ll be discussing the writing process, editing, working with an agent, publishing houses and talking about some of the logistics of book you either already love or will soon be a new favorite!

Today I've got the pleasure of having Gemma Halliday, author of Deadly Cool and Social Suicide, (and other adult novels too!) her to discuss all aspects of writing. Check out these "write" facts.

Gemma Halliday
Agent: Holly Root
Other Authors repped by agent: Myra McEntire, Rae Carson, Rachel Hawkins & Victoria Schwab
Publisher: Harper Teen
Word Count: approx. 80,000
Describe your novel in five words: High school is a killer.
Favorite Word: Dude
Writing is like (fill in blank): awesome therapy or pulling teeth, depending on the day.

1) On a normal day, how many hours do you devote to writing?

Usually about 4.

2) Do you find it easier to develop characters or plot the story? Can you explain?

Plotting the story is something that I always do first, before I start a book. I generally stick pretty close to that plot. The characters, however, tend to develop as I write, so they come more naturally and change as I go on.

3) Can you tell us about The Call and why you chose your agent?

I’ve actually written several books for adults, so The Call for me was for one of those books. I had given myself a deadline to either sell a book or pick a new career by the time my son started kindergarten. I got The Call on the very day my son started. Cool timing, huh?

4) How do you deal with rejection?

At any stage of a writer’s career there is reject to deal with – whether it’s from editors, agents, or reviewers and readers. Someone somewhere will always hate your work. You just have to know that rejection is just one person’s opinion. No matter who that person is! I once had a very well respected editor – whose opinion I really valued – give my book a 1 out of 10. A couple of months later, that very same book – with no revision – went on to win a very prestigious writing award. And it earned me my first sale. For every person who hates your work, there’s someone else out there that loves it.
5) Any tips or tricks of the trade that you use during the editing process that you’d like to share?

I tend to edit as I go, so that by the time I type that last chapter, my manuscript is pretty much ready to go. My writing process is that I write as much as I can as fast as I can, just letting the words flow without worrying about spelling, typos, plot holes, etc. I do that until I find myself at a point where I’m not sure what happens next. Then I go back and edit that chunk, and through editing I usually get a clear picture where to go from there. Rinse and repeat until the book is finished, then I do one more quick read through before it’s done.

6) How many novels did you before you got published?

My first published book was the seventh novel I wrote.

7) What is your best piece of advice for aspiring authors?

Keep writing! Don’t get bogged down in endless rounds of edits and revising and don’t get discouraged by rejection. Just move on to the next project and keep writing. The more you write, the better you’ll get, guaranteed.

Now we have to learn a little about Deadly Cool and Social Suicide so I asked a question!

Bonus Question: Hartley and Sam are the best partners in crime. Which other pair of best friends from a YA novel do you think they would get along with?

I would have to pick Nancy Drew and her besties, Bess and George. Even though they’re from different eras, they have that same drive toward the truth, and I think they’d make the best teen crime solving team ever.

I want to thank Gemma Halliday for stopping by the blog to chat about all things writing! Next week's author is debut author Jodi Meadows!


  1. Loved hearing her writing process, as mine is really similar. Glad someone else edits as they go! lol

    1. I'm glad you are enjoying this feature. I tend to develop characters first but Gemma made a really good point about the characters evolving through writing!

  2. Hey Amber, I'm really enjoying these posts - such a good idea! Thankyou. I liked Halliday's point that for everyone who hates your work, there's someone else who loves it. :-)

    1. I'm glad you like this feature! I feel like Halliday's point about some people liking your stuff while others don't is such an important one too. Thanks for dropping by!


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