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answers and other things

Palace Beautiful, by Sarah DeFord Williams

So a couple of things. Until I can figure out how to put it in the sidebar, I’m going to post a picture of whichever book I’m currently reading at the top of each week’s post. I love knowing what other people read so I thought I’d do that too. Plus, then my blog will look prettier. Because it will have a picture at the top.

There were some great questions this week–thank you so much for taking the time to ask them! So, without further adieu, here are the answers:

Sandy asked, “How long did it take for you to write MATCHED, from getting the idea and starting the first draft to finishing the polished manuscript, ready to be queried?”

The short answer to this is: I started writing it in the fall of 2008 and began querying almost exactly a year later, in August of 2009. The long answer is that I also wrote BEING SIXTEEN during that time, so for a few months of that, MATCHED was the back burner project. (I would dabble in it every day or two, when SIXTEEN was being a pain.) This is actually very fast for me. I usually write one book a year. Not two. But, I didn’t have a book out in 2009 (since I had a baby in 2008 and slowed things down to just relish that little guy) so maybe I was making up for that.

Jake said, “I’ve got a question. I believe you said this is a three book deal. Do you know how the story ends now? If so at what time in the writing process do you see the end of a story?”

Um, no. No, I don’t. I don’t outline, so I have no clue how a story ends until I write it out. (Yes, this is scary.) I wish I could outline in advance, but it just doesn’t work for me. I discover the story as I write. I do always have an idea of how I want the character to grow. And I get ideas for the next book as I write the one before, but they’re just ideas. So I have ten pages of notes for Book 3 waiting for me–but no formal outline, just bits and pieces of scenes and thoughts I’d had.

I think it’s about the middle of the book when I start to see where I’m going to want it to end.

The deal with Penguin is a three-book deal, made with the understanding that the second book in the deal would be a sequel to MATCHED and the third book could be whatever I wanted. As I’ve written the second book, though, I’ve found that the story will definitely need that third book to be complete, so that’s what we’re planning on.

Gamila says, “I am thrilled about your three book deal for matched and understand that you’ll probably dedicate most of your time of the next several years writing that trilogy, but do you see yourself in the future returning to your LDS fiction roots and writing more novels for deseret book again? or are you more interested in writing for a national audience?”

Right now, my focus is completely on the MATCHED trilogy. I am thrilled to be writing for the national market and over the moon that it has finally happened! Because I still have little ones at home, I can’t work on two projects simultaneously very well, so I’m definitely putting all my energy into making this trilogy the best it can be. That said, I also loved writing for Deseret Book and working with great people there, particularly Lisa Mangum and Chris Schoebinger, who have really mentored my writing. So I would never rule that out, if time and opportunity presented itself sometime down the road.

Ali asked, “Do you know when and where you will first go on tour when your book comes out?”

I don’t. I’m doing some conventions and conferences this summer and one in October, but as far as an official tour goes, I don’t know anything about it yet. We will certainly have a book launch somewhere in Utah in November when MATCHED is released, and do other events at least locally at that point.

Amy wondered, “Is there an official blurb for MATCHED yet? Because on goodreads and amazon there doesn’t seem to be anything that reads like a summary I’d find on the book cover :)”

As far as I know, we don’t have an official blurb yet. The one up on Goodreads is the only one I’ve seen, but I’m not crazy about it because I feel it’s too spoiler-y. (Admittedly, I am very picky about that.) But I will be sure to let you know when we do!

Surka asked, “This might be kind of weird but if you do know, what is the word count of Matched?”

Not weird at all! I always wonder the same thing. If I remember right, the word count ended up coming in at around 90,000 words and about 366 pages. 🙂

Thanks again for the great questions! Next week: I prepare to go to BEA and leave my children for four days, the longest stretch since 2007. Will we all survive? I know you are sitting on pins and needles.

+ comments (6)
  • Tasha
    May 18, 2010

    Okay, so you said you are doing some conferences – details! I haven’t been to one yet this year and it looks like the one in June isn’t going to work for me – please share where you are going to be and remember you have an open invitation in some Cedar classrooms 🙂

  • Aubrey
    May 18, 2010

    How do you have time to read when you are writing and working so hard?

    Super woman that’s who you are!

  • Sandy Shin
    May 18, 2010

    Thank you, Ally, for answering my (and everybody’s) question! It’s very interesting to read about author’s writing process. 🙂

  • Emily E
    May 18, 2010

    I so wish I was going to BEA this year so I could meet you and get an ARC of Matched. Oh well, maybe next year!

    By the way, I just read Palace Beautiful and loved it! I hope you’re enjoying it too.

    I can’t wait for your book launch. I’m totally going to go wherever you have it! (I swear I’m not a weird stalker…)

  • Kelly Bryson
    May 18, 2010

    Yay! I was able to leave a comment. My computer hasn’t like your site in the past. I’m querying my first novel right now, and brainstorming about book 2, but not sure of where to go. I think I just have to find out by sitting down and writing it, too. Thanks for sharing your process and I can’t wait to read MATCHED.

  • Julie Dixon
    May 18, 2010

    Although I hadn’t asked a question, I found all your answers so interesting. Any chance your tours will take you East? It would be nice to see you again.

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