Lily Anderson’s follow-up to The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You will be out next Tuesday, November 21st. Her second novel, entitled Not Now, Not Ever, is a modern story inspired by Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. Today, we are THRILLED to have Lily here with us on the blog talking about her upcoming novel, plus some tips and tricks to help inspiring writers, especially those that just passed the half-way mark in NaNoWriMo!!!
ABOUT THE BOOK
The sequel to The Only Thing Worse than Me Is You, inspired by The Importance of Being Earnest.Elliot Gabaroche is very clear on what she isn’t going to do this summer.1. She isn’t going to stay home in Sacramento, where she’d have to sit through her stepmother’s sixth community theater production of The Importance of Being Earnest.2. She isn’t going to mock trial camp at UCLA.3. And she certainly isn’t going to the Air Force summer program on her mother’s base in Colorado Springs. As cool as it would be to live-action-role-play Ender’s Game, Ellie’s seen three generations of her family go through USAF boot camp up close, and she knows that it’s much less Luke/Yoda/”feel the force,” and much more one hundred push-ups on three days of no sleep. And that just isn’t appealing, no matter how many Xenomorphs from Alien she’d be able to defeat afterwards.What she is going to do is pack up her attitude, her favorite Octavia Butler novels, and her Jordans, and go to summer camp. Specifically, a cutthroat academic-decathlon-like competition for a full scholarship to Rayevich College, the only college with a Science Fiction Literature program. And she’s going to start over as Ever Lawrence, on her own terms, without the shadow of all her family’s expectations. Because why do what’s expected of you when you can fight other genius nerds to the death for a shot at the dream you’re sure your family will consider a complete waste of time?This summer’s going to be great.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lily Anderson is a school librarian and Melvil Dewey fangirl with an ever-growing collection of musical theater tattoos and Harry Potter ephemera. She lives in Northern California, far from her mortal enemy: the snow.
INTERVIEW WITH LILY
What was your inspiration for Not Now, Not Ever?
“NOT NOW, NOT EVER took inspiration from all over. The competition of Camp Onward was inspired by my memories of youth theater. Elliot being a female junior to her dad was inspired by my cousin Drew, who isn’t Andrew IV because she’s a girl but got pretty close with an ungendered name. The Lawrence family’s ties to the Air Force was inspired by my upbringing next to Travis Air Force Base. Elliot’s love of science fiction—but particularly Dune—was stolen whole cloth from my best friend, Erin, who also recited the Litany Against Fear when she’s in a stressful situation. And The Importance Of Being Earnest just rocks.”
This post is slated to go up about mid-way through NaNoWriMo–can you share some inspiration of how you wrote this novel and persevered through the difficult moments, plus any tips for aspiring authors?
So far, NOT NOW NOT EVER is the hardest book I’ve ever written. It took almost ten times as long to write as my next book, UNDEAD GIRL GANG. I wrote the first chapter of NOT NOW seven times before I found one that would work and even after that I had to change my outline a few more times to get to the book as it is now. Halfway through writing it, I took an entire subplot out and then put it back in.
I thought I was going to skirt the “second book curse” because NOT NOW wasn’t my real second book. I’d finished a few novels by the time I was sitting down to plot NOT NOW. But this was my first book after publication. It was the first book I was writing as a professional writer. And I had to learn how to be a professional writer. Which really means, giving myself room to be bad at it. Publishing one book (or three books or a hundred books) doesn’t mean that the next one is going to be easy. It doesn’t mean that your plots are without holes and your characters are immediately fleshed out. It does mean that you have reviews from your old book floating around and you know what your weaknesses are and tropes your editor hates. Your brain is crowded.
Every book is teaching you how to write that book. You are learning to be good at writing that book. NOT NOW, NOT EVER was a book that couldn’t stick to an outline, where THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN ME IS YOU held fast to the five act structure is was based on. NOT NOW, NOT EVER wanted to be steamier than I thought it was going to be, so I had to just let my characters keep making out with each other.
I don’t usually go for the metaphor that books are like babies (because I have to forget about my books to a certain extent in order to write the next one), but in this instance it is kind of true. You can’t parent every kid the exact same way because everyone has different needs. You can’t write every book the same way either. They aren’t the same book.
Give yourself room to suck. And then get real good at editing.
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