Cover Reveal:While He was Away by Karen Schreck

February 1, 2013










A Word from the Author:
Top tips for writting
 

My birthday falls in January, just a few days after New Year’s Day.  This January, I received an incredible gift from my publisher, Sourcebooks Fire.  My young adult novel, While He Was Away, is being released nation-wide into Walmart with a brand new cover! 

When my editor at Sourcebooks, Leah Hultenschmidt, graciously asked if I’d be open to this possibility last fall, I blinked, breathed deep, confirmed I wasn’t dreaming, and said, “Yes!”  I held on to the possibility until it became a reality.  Then, and only then, did I celebrate.

I won’t speak for all writers, but for me, writing is an act of faith.  I love the work deeply, or I wouldn’t do it.  I’ve generated a lot of pages that have never seen the light of day, written multiple novels that I’ve relegated to folders on my laptop.  Keeping the faith in anything, especially writing, can be hard.

The fact that Sourcebooks believed enough in While He Was Away to bring it to life the first time felt like a much-needed confirmation of years of hard work.  The fact that they are standing behind my book again in this way . . . well, it feels like a miracle.  I’m truly grateful.

Without further ado, here are my Top Writing Tips (they’ve help me a lot; I hope they help you in some way):

1.      Read a lot. Read voraciously. Read like a writer. Read some more. Read people who write in your genre or in a style that is similar to yours and take note of how they do what they do.  Read people who write in a completely different way to keep your head clear and give you new ideas.  Just. Keep.  Reading.
2.      Develop a ritual for your writing.  I wouldn’t think of telling you what to do.  You need to find what works for you, and sometimes that changes with your circumstances.  This year, I’ve been working at an ad agency in the city.  My ritual is to hunker down in the quiet car on the train and GET A LOT DONE.  Previously I’ve written in the very same quiet corner of my local library.  In basements.  On couches.  In bed.  By candlelight.  I’ve found that consistency and ritual can trigger my creativity.  Ring the bell and I’ll salivate.  Kind of like that.
3.      Don’t be afraid to be messy in your work.  Don’t be afraid to push forward even though it isn’t perfect.   Nothing is perfect!  Embrace that reality, and be kind to yourself.  And forgiving of the words on the page.
4.      Fall in love with revision.  “I’m not a writer,” I once heard a writer say.  “I am a re-writer.”  I LOVE that.  I love the word revision.  Re-vision.  Seeing again, anew, as if for the first time.  Revision gives great perspective.  And I think it’s where the real work gets done.
5.      Never give up.  Keep the faith.  Years may pass.  But the more you write, the more the very act of writing becomes rewarding.  Writing is soul-work; it lends meaning to life.  That’s what I believe, and that’s what sees me through.  Publication—well, that a wonderful thing.  But the writing—that’s where it’s at.






 
About the Author:
Karen Halvorsen Schreck’s new Young Adult novel, While He Was Away, will be published by Sourcebooks in 2012.  She’s also the author of  Dream Journal (Hyperion), which was a 2006 Young Adult BookSense Pick, and the award-winning children’s book Lucy’s Family Tree (Tilbury House). Her short stories and articles have appeared in Literal Latté, Other Voices, Image, as well as other literary journals and magazines, and have received various awards, including a Pushcart Prize, an Illinois State Arts Council Grant, and in 2008, first prize awards for memoir and devotional magazine writing from the Evangelical Press Association.  Karen received her doctorate in English and Creative from the University of Illinois at Chicago.  She works as a freelance writer and editor, teaches writing and literature, and lives with her husband, the photographer Greg Halvorsen Schreck, and their two children in Wheaton, Illinois.




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