Today we're chatting with my fellow Fall Fifteener, the effervescent Natasha Sinel, author of The Fix (Sky Pony Press, September 1, 2015), which sounds absolutely incredible.
Check it out:
Seventeen-year-old Macy Lyons has been through something no one should ever have to experience. And she’s dealt with it entirely alone.
On the outside, she’s got it pretty good. Her family’s well-off, she’s dating the cute boy next door, she has plenty of friends, and although she long ago wrote her mother off as a superficial gym rat, she’s thankful to have allies in her loving, laid-back dad and her younger brother.
But a conversation with a boy at a party one night shakes Macy out of the carefully maintained complacency that has defined her life so far. The boy is Sebastian Ruiz, a recovering addict who recognizes that Macy is hardened by dark secrets. And as Macy falls for Sebastian, she realizes that, while revealing her secret could ruin her seemingly perfect family, keeping silent might just destroy her.
THE FIX follows two good-hearted teenagers coming to terms with the cards they were dealt. It’s also about the fixes we rely on to cope with our most shameful secrets and the hope and fear that comes with meeting someone who challenges us to come clean.
Add THE FIX to your to-read list on Goodreads
What is your writing process like?
I’m always trying to figure this out. I wish I had one. Generally it goes like this—I carry a notebook around with me (seriously from room to room) for when I have ideas, thoughts, and details about what I’m working on. If I have an idea for a new project, I write NEW IDEA in large print at the top of the page so I’ll know it’s recorded and I can forget about it until I need it.
Outlining is my weakness. Stories come to me in bits and pieces—fully-formed scenes play out in my head, and I write them, but then they don’t always add up to a great plot—or at least in the right order. But writing these scenes helps me know my characters and their motivations. Sometimes, I get to use the original scenes in the novel, sometimes I don’t.
I rewrite A LOT. I’m hoping to streamline my process for my next novel by creating a more solid structure before I start writing.
Where is your favorite place to write?
I used to write in my local libraries and at Borders (sad face). Now that my kids are in school, though, I write at home. I should write in my office at my ergonomically correct desk, but I tend to sit at the kitchen table or on the couch.
Is there anything in particular that gets you in the writing zone?
I think I’m in the minority here—I don’t really have anything in particular. I don’t make a cup of tea or put on lucky writing socks. I don’t listen to music when I write; I prefer quiet. On the other hand, I’m okay if there’s background noise, like at a cafe. What usually gets me in the zone to write is opening up my laptop and getting my fingers on the keyboard. A few years ago, I broke my shoulder, so I couldn’t type. I tried writing a few scenes longhand. It was really interesting to see how the scene flowed differently. I’d like to try doing that more, but I’m pretty attached to my laptop.
Do you ever get writer's block? Any tips to get past it?
Of course there are times when I feel like I can’t write—like I’m blocked and I can’t get past it. But the truth is, I’m happiest when I’m writing, so I don’t like to let it go too long. I have taken long breaks away from a story. And I’ve also forced myself through a block by refusing to get up until I’ve figured out what’s blocking me.
Even though I don’t write everyday, I do something writing-related—blogging, reading, editing, etc—pretty much all day every day. When I get stuck, sometimes it helps to Skype with a critique partner to just bounce around some ideas. Often I’ll think I’m stuck because I don’t know what happens next but when I talk it through I realized that I’m struggling with a character’s motivation. Once I figure that out, what happens next falls into place. Also, when I really don’t feel like writing, I put my phone in another room, and shut down the Internet.
Was there ever a time that you considered giving up on your aspiration to write?
I’ve never wanted to stop writing, but there was one moment that I seriously considered giving up on my dream to be a published author. After a seemingly endless rollercoaster with my first manuscript, my second manuscript (The Fix) was finally ready to go on submission. I loved my agent, all was going well . . . until she told me she was leaving the business. After that phone call, I wanted to give. I’d already been through so much, and things had finally been looking up. But my giving-up phase lasted about two hours. That night, I dove back into researching agents and ended up sending out a few queries the next day.
When I’m on a down cycle in the process, I try to remember this great motivational quote, and this helps:
“I love writing more than I hate failing at writing.” --Elizabeth Gilbert