#20 Nicole Griffin

Friday, November 17th

Nicole Griffin: Author of THE WHOLE STUPID WAY WE ARE and SMASHIE MCPERTER AND THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING GOOP. We talk about how to find a character's voice, how to impress an agent with your query letter and if VooDoo Donuts in Seattle is worth all the hype.


Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Here let's think to be about the op the podcast I'm your host Chris suppliers and it also has the morning show. I'm ready six point five tale I team and by the way we need to switch to all Christmas music from holiday season. I urge you to go check out some. Today on the program my time to Nicole Griffin she is the author of the NFL plug the hole Stephen way we are and also her middle grade book from smashing computer and then mystery of the missing can we talk about how to find character boy is how to get taken seriously you queried letter. And also we find out if seated doughnuts in Seattle is really likes ice. And cool when did you start right. I mean they get that started and it's very pales wanted to hear writer I'd love to that's not happening where it down on paper couldn't wait to go to school and actually you left the words on paper. On. And that's. Stay with me all through sort of high school and then when I was in college yelling near half so much work it's so hard to find time to great fiction and then after that I just for some reason I just had a really hard time letting myself right. And tell us about in my about thirty NM and has about thirty and went to grad school. For rainy at the Barack college of fine arts and cited that was what I really really wanted to do and I was sick of not raining anymore so I just started writing again and it's been great ever since. Lives because a lot of people they go and get there at the masters in writing and they go to school for it. But it doesn't necessarily guarantee it jobs what was your experience when he graduated. I'm when I graduated I could I had worked on one book really intensely throughout grad school and then I realized that I have I didn't yet have the skills to do well also I didn't wanna pursue publishing that book so I wrote another one. Com that I had had in my head I. I I I I'm a terrible procrastinating when it comes to writing whenever writing a book LA's wish are writing the book that I wanna right next Tina you know any US just because it's so horrible to write it on the you're actually working on cash. Still has procrastinating with fixing the grad school look I was thinking about I had four books in my mind that I wanted to write in so I took the boy from the first book and the girl from the fourth book and I put them together and made why a book that Honda being comparable stupid where we are she and so the progressive nation made it where to hit worst after United's students. I'm I wrote that and I actually I had an odd experience in terms of agents and editors I I actually sent it to an editor who had expressed interest in reading and and she. I got an agent the day before she. Called and said that she wanted to bookseller with all very bizarre and and and and squished up together in time and it was this it was great in our town buying console so how does that work so they sing you set a city Ed Ed they wanted it and then you got your agent the day before. So did she think that she was going into you. Your editor did she think she was going into your book without any chance or. How does that work. She thought it was the she didn't mind that I had any tonight I don't I just got this agency says that's buying you know will negotiate with him and get battle sorted out so that worked out now matter that apple what an yeah clay you are for that day is it that well. Graham is just so weird because I had waited. For ever heard get back to me and then suddenly I had both been agent and a contract you know and so did prince it was a very good week. And if so how did you mean you're a year and agent. Are your editor Alan and I and I met her in person actually at. Get together at a LA went time. Com and I really really liked her she's the editor of a friend of mine spoke set Kathy Appel who wrote the underneath and the come true scads of bear swamp in a bunch that are wonderful books. And come. I met. And ages in the permanent way of working scaling to Louis Adam and she has her own imprint athenaeum balance I met her and dessert party when we were talking about how it went to eat only desserts and I. You know and she said hello have you written anything and I said well I have this plan booked into civil send it to me so I did. And it worked out. So that was lucky that I went through deserve credit because they think they've things writing in to start coming and I'm right there at Indiana present moment or favorite dessert I'll like god. How can I picked my play I just moved to Seattle this summer and there's this place that's very near me. How hot cakes list serves couple other condos molten caked with ice cream and I'll serve hot cookies and ice cream sandwich saint Lucie desserts are tired in my book because they're so unbelievably delicious yeah. Haven't been to Seattle yet I've I've wanted to go for a long time now but is beauty Donna it's over herb like hype or is it good or. Well it's really good anchor and eight hits get a dividend makes got a copy. Yeah you're looking at bigotry I'm. I doubt they could ever Cisco we don't have what we have great donut shops but we also have like a lot alike. Began in the you know blue yeah like I wanna definitely yankees I think totally hip. I'm OK so you you had a book that you're writing in grad school at that he didn't wanna pursue publishing went so why didn't you wanna pursue with that Latin. Because they wanted to. A better job it's actually the book and a good rate next. Later we do the whole thing and I have a better idea of the structure and a better sense of how I want. Aaron characters to feel. And ends the way and won it says. Be sort of welding together I think it's more sophisticated than it is capable of doing when I was in grad school I have like their raw emotion of the Aggie head down and I had some of the they characterization. Down but I just was not good enough freighter yet it really tells the story that I wanted to well. Well you know so I'm. Keyboard well looking forward is a terrible way to put it because and I'm not looking forward to lending that he's gonna be really hard rent I think I'm gonna do it anyway. Well the roadblocks that he thought made you not get enough to do with the first camera it's. Well I've read the books you know pretty green added yeah. And I like yeah technical. You got to get step in here there's an exact address that this is not a good book this is not a bullet yet. You know any Nino is just more a collection of big yes and and and and thoughts and character studies and end end. Almost short essay that was just very it was a very weird Nixon and it will it not. Weird is there already just as an unskilled mix of I kind of writing that I just knew wasn't ready and a world so. I'm now gonna try to make you're ready or also. When you're writing that book as opposed that the new version at that that you're gonna right. Are you doing anything different did you maybe not outline in the beginning you plan on doing it on this version. Yeah exactly yeah exactly right and that frustration and just ready surely blame what was in my mind and heart at the time which was just a lot of stuff Tino is alliance EUX. Which is a good way to Fredricka because it do you believe that I mean the way that I great books. Is a combination of doing like a lot of speed that I whittled down into what can be events and I do a lot of outlining because plot and so hard for me. So once they have a lot announced either that I can wiggle and see what's happening now and I can construct a plot and then I can actually write the the book so on and the plot nail down I'm good now let's just get enough plot nail down that's hard. And I didn't see that in grad school well enough I just didn't have the skill to do it but I feel like I am ready to do it now so I'm excited about that what made you choose YA. Also middle great folks and middle great mysteries series Calder smashing it Herter investigate I'm and and I love doing that I let it play because I like the intensity of your teenage years and loved teenagers I loved their smartest and look how much they care. I love their dynamism and their passion and so on very dry in any scripture or cash and turn me my middle grade books. Are my eight happy palette. I don't wanna say Al Atlantic as it sounds like hey take them lightly and I don't that they are happier than Mandalay books and tell them that aren't. They tend to cheer me up in between Wyatt books yet let's the most challenging thing about writing a middle grade. Let. Couldn't answer the question for me it's it's. It's making sure that it kids steal like kids I mean I tend to agree with a lot of work. I'm I'm kind of already person in my even my middle Greg looks can tend to be word because I like to write to kids couldn't believe they can take eight in L com. But I want the kids themselves feel like real children you know that I used to be teacher and so ordered it that does that series is set in a classroom and I try to make it feel Equus a real class that I actually had you know and with real children who. Have real dynamics and arguing they're good to each other and all those things. Out. When it comes to your aging your editor. Do you tell them like hey I'm gonna be doing a middle grade this time around or hey I need to do a why Gailey did they have a deal with you on both. Should yeah I. Had a different Adam cannot handle it and it's nice nationally heard a series. And so I'm I just right as it Redding at the time in my agents and an. Leaders have are very flexible and it's time whenever I didn't YAA you know. Violence Manny you're reading a lion when Iranian agreed everywhere and spine and writing a little grit so she's been very very lucky my name my thumb. Ages wonderful her name is Linda and I'm sorry I'm not. Yeah. It is only depressing it's fantastic and I am seeing is really really supporting whatever it is that I am right so insular Mansour my editors and really really lucky grades. Well I have to ask now what your dog's name. I have seen miniature Dachshund and the mail is name tar Clinton and the emails name dot com again. And does the mouth and I felt a little bit I guess I have a cat that and she's older Kat Nash is about thirteen but she hates when I talk on the phone. I can do anything else that imitation has senator whatever it is Melanie talk on the phone she won't shut up. And it's the weirdest thing now but yet you understand yeah totally they closed myself off from all the animals rain now so. Will grace our other so you sitter bit of a procrastinators. So do you write every day. I do exist and I use my Democrats Nader I just it's more that I pay right then surely wishing I were writing something else seeing anybody gave me app so I Q I try to right every day I hate I hate don't succeed in out of time but I try to be engaged with some piece of writing every day even in this Justin really short 700 word story that I'm churning out just to keep membrane. You know in the draining game I tried it I try to do that early in the morning just didn't get the day started out great. I am so yeah I that's that's I have to make myself do that all right and a terribly lazy woman who will just sit and have. High school geeks and not a. I can't that it. Not produce a whole Camelot you know I mean I'm not the world's fastest rider just because it takes such a long time to do the spotless and the clock down and I'm actually fairly quick Saddam. Until I get that plot hammer down and really really slow selling it it can get very frustrating and incur attracted to. When I rate so so the whole stupid way we were aware RBR I'm sorry the whole stupid way we are. Com since says shared debut how long did that take Peter writes on. Eight at six months straight the first draft and then about a year to edit it to into shape that it woods the bull you know com. And that. That's seems to be about mice eat Garrett takes me about six months or any good draft captain and I take a long time to add in your eyes and I when they're doing here between nine and fourteen or fifteen draft so right now. I now I know it's horrible but it's just the way that it worked after Reno yeah I play this crazy common during that revising process for. A year do you work in beta readers at any point remaining Iranians near the end thank you I don't until they're really confident about. Com. It. It being as good as I could get it TON I mean are where you're eating at that means that I know that it's not great you know any meaning doesn't mean I think I and I'm handing my battery isn't perfect but it may just mean flesh. This is the best that I can do I know. It's not tell me words fly. And you know then I go from there so and a few people that Barack I trust you know enormously with the reading human Buxton Maine then so helpful and not been so grateful for her out there and they'll Revere steady to meet those people. I'm well look through grad school tells us that really lucky. Why is my ex partner who excellent Joseph very close you'll wonder well. Hey yeah. Lush yeah anything that phenomenal reader so it it's great to have him his eyes on the work and down. And then a couple exists friends who let me know are just. Duration is excellent readers. Fiction hurt children and young adults and I just really trust what they have to say about. About what I Britons now. I ask that you. I've been asking people and I am surprised that it took me this fund asked people but I guess the story's been coming out. Bomb whenever I asked people like hey what got you in YA specifically. A lot of my authors lately have been saying oh well it's a bit embarrassing but the twilight books is what got me into. Reading and re out and I OK honey come was there a particular book that stands out in your mind that you read your like yes I wanna write this I mean you know teenagers are exciting but like was there. Anything that you read that you're really inspired by. Yes and it. It is and the book. By in my hit one at one of my favorite authors I'm Jane guarding those cuts come along way from grown up. And it was written in 1971. Aunt and it is. It is it stands out so be depleted so well written so it's a brother or to book I'm sending in London so it was so I think it's loosely based on her own child but I'm not sure about that ash but it is so perfect in every way in terms of capturing the teenage mind at that stage and crashes and what it means to be involved in something as huge as war and also be going through things with your friends and it's it's an incredible incredible book it's it's it's really I think it's one of the most her. Books and I now so yeah I know why I have wax lyrical about now so I'll let. Instead I think that well I'm really inspired me because I'm Jane guard and that's and completely inspired me in and I really like it. Jane you are an ever read one of my books I think I would die. Or. Now I can't. Follow the bubble and dedicate that Clinton or salaried. And should any guy that's an idea. You know it's interesting because you know a lot of the people that say twilight and you say this book in particular com I noticed a lot of YA books need to be really strong on voice. So let yes needs to be really clear and really concise and you go into it how did you find your voice for your characters. Other such a great question well. That check that the easy part and ready for me if any part of it. Easy in and it's easy she is character because I love thinking about people love thinking about how they thinking and behavior and I love thinking about how they top it just I can listen to people talk forever or just certain people that. One top scientists and like my. Hang slack and I could just listen forever just because of the style the way that they talk trash and so when I was thinking about these two characters. Bennett wanted to put together in the book I knew exactly how the girls. Voice was and it was it. This is gonna make it sound like the book is it's really weird in an awful that part of her voice is inspired and thank Grover. Up. Because I love everything he says Smart and they're cute and this and that and Dinah and stupid way we are is that as a girl she's herself will lead to outflank each and so I think part of my love them Gruber and many low Dinah and implementing garden now troll together and make Diana's voice and so I could just hear how she would talk and hear how she would thank and ten on the same with scan to CNN or main character and he's a very different person and you look how he would thinking how he would top end. It just it worked out to put in to get it to happen collide because they may even be best friends and they're very different in in away. And I wanted to see what would happen I put them together and down their voices are being part of that. That's really into seagate now IIA you have to confess I know Grover is but I've never seen Sesame Street. Omelet and now all big third inning Knoll at that it takes place on says he's hit. They know there's athletic out sensibly get the best like my limited knowledge to sell but I've seen Grover or like appear on like late night shows and simply sir I'm an adult you know people love the reminiscence but. Yes I mean it's so interesting because I only knew the only person in the world that everything's a during. That's I mean they are pretty. I now eight weary moment that MI and my back up if I haven't seen me. So I'm struggling with and and maybe this is just my moment to be self indulgent gay your advice on this but. In Hilliard journey into publishing is a little bit different because you were picked up pretty quick mom but did you ever have to Redick query letter oh my god. I'm I am I let's get quick partly as they aged and the and the editor coming together but they're that that. That followed a period of writing theory letters and then having you know. People take exclusive time to read it firm confidence and I. Great one agent and then I'd have to wait a month of work that wearing another planet is it that. Whole process is so. Difficult and it is like it's part of then ancient ceremony that you have to do by the rule I mean it's. That's about well Larry King is the most nerve racking process ever I know I'm sorry that's stunning. Urging no it's not I dial little more every day and yeah. I you know it's it's frustrating because it's like I thought I had this data might query letter right I had people look at and several authors in actually from this podcast look at it like Crist and top notch like this is does get a thick skies lake and I walked in said I think in all it's going to be you know ten days tops. I'll be you know sat right. And then it's just like the dear author rejections that I didn't even get like up personalized one. And so you know I think I need to work on the slowed a bit more and somebody that I actually interviewed and said hey you know why not pour more of the boys of your book into that into the theory let out. That is fantastic it bison and I would say exactly the same thing you want it. Think having the great letter and that description of the books feel like the book as much as it can it's really hard to do yeah on the same with writing synopsis which I think is the hardest thing ever that you during a page or two pages of that describes your book that has the feel of the book in and it isn't just like a book report ash but I think that really goes a long way because some do you wanna you want the agency Steele who you are in the book is impaired enough to wanna read it you know and some. It's. It's tough it's tough it's really tough and and so do you have any tricks for maybe you know I IE work at a professional field. And so when I sent emails they're they're very like this is what needs to get done I expected you know at this time Doral deliberated this time. And so when you read these kind of form like letters. You bet I think the natural instinct is to go into this very form manic way of standing you wanna celebrate all. You wanna sound like you know what you're talking about one in Knoll lake how do you straddle the line between. Having this very kind of whimsical and an interesting query letter it also be taken C. Treaty professional Dino LaDainian like it just right shows that you're not insane if I'm. Yeah I it shows them in particular you know chassis that's H. Exactly and then I think the paragraph I beg your book is where the heart of it is and where the the voice and the item. Those who you are now this comes out I think that's where that should be you know it may mean an end and that because that's what that's what you're trying to get them to love you know and so if you can. Right in a way that shows that you love in her luck didn't end and have a love for it I think that's the way to go and then. You know close with a resounding. Word treason then hit a local well know wouldn't say that you contact damaging leaks if you don't hear from the and then. It now try to outline and they have act goes out then I. It's it it it's very tricky in eight different agents passed on to different things you know I mean I think some. Yeah I think so I think some do want to let it hit then. You have in your letter but I think that's it's hard to gauge here that's going to be so I would stick with. You know just doing something that feels like you but isn't you know over the top. Just pray toward the imparted to the part about the book that's that's my biggest advice. And what do you do to keep yourself sane while the process is going on as a writer do you normally jump into you another project at that time. Immediately when it during the prairie that it well you're clearing a buck are you taking a break from writing or are you outlining media following you know apple cup coming up. Yeah I'll leave them or something so I always happen next ready to go in my mind so I am I and then so I start reading that line and then I always wind up getting in Turkey it. Is that they're copy edits and the galleys and everything and the land that need to go back into the world that book which is really weird and hard to do when you just immerse yourself in a new project but I am ID like to it says something going just because. Waiting is horrible and and and it makes you feel proactive to do something even if it's not you know even if I'm not in it. A 100% just because I'm distracted by the waiting you know any media nice to have something else going on some banana peel. Like I'm dependent on and the week in now which is a horrible at dis empowering the US and you'll be happy if India if you write under and aggression as their reason for that. Yeah I mean I want to re under an initial despair. Semi privacy reasons I don't know why the tide and it's like I just thought that was an important thing which but I want it to still be Nicole you know I mean I went at it to be mayor real initials so I suggested anger and and and it. That's sister next beat the name that works for me so. There's a couple people I know that right under initials and they do it because. Come sometimes they worry that boys will be reluctant to pick up their bucks if they feel like it's written by a female author T feel that blank. I hurt people who have sent that and a actually have been asked if that was the reason that I did in eight an eight never ever occurred to. Me that that thing. It might it might be saying you know Amy I might be a thing. But I didn't know it at the time so it's. X and I always and I'm so openly Nicole that I think it's did you go to my website you know I'm a woman and and you think the coming days that page there's nickel right there are being it is you know a nickel a nickel nickel also it's pretty good number that I'm female and that I am. I did but I didn't happen that kind of an agenda when I decided to write under an initial I just I just wanted to little privacy and I thought it sounded good so I just I want it and I think yes. Thank you. FaceBook how important is social media TO as a as an author. It's important I don't I'm terrible Twitter I get I sent a Twitter companies to tweet and I just don't anymore because I feel like what I have to say analysts have. You know something longer just say don't have. Great hit the Smart. Little treats and other people do and I really admire a good Tweeter and just not a good leader Tom that I Eugene FaceBook and I enjoy and I have to say I really enjoy that I enjoy the contact with the kids that Brett you know. Asked to be my friend and I enjoy the content is an actual friends of mine my FaceBook is a mix of people actually know and people I don't know and I'll and I really enjoy that and so FaceBook works Germany much better com. Then then tweeting does and I think if your good Tweeter I think that's a really good thing I wish I heard good Tweeter. Yeah I I know I struggle it's wetter sometimes and I I'm much more comfortable on FaceBook for the same reason. I interact with my audience batter on base that will most of my audience is on FaceBook anyways so that's yeah right bite them. Is there a social media that you just can't get into. Instead grand because I am just not a big picture taker I say I cut people's heads up I'm too impatient I just I just it's just not Ernie even though I enjoy looking at other people's pictures tremendously. Just the thought of being beholden to take an actual picture and has something to say about it every day just thinks you wanna just lie down and he didn't think that Albuquerque. I just can't do it against Nat into. Any insurance. Now is our hearts netstat yeah. No not hurt either not just don't leave it laid an exciting life like there's only so many pictures of cats and likes slippers but I can take Blake. That I am Gibson Portman. I'm so Ricky there's only hit it exactly it's like you wanna see my apartment again here entertainer frank Dodd again you know who did it get bigger. Yeah so now what are you working on right now that we can start getting excited about. I'm I'm working I just turned an invasion of my new YA got which is called just racquet I'll. And that is coming out next fall I think and it. It's it's it is a hard that your rate it was a hard enterprise and I still not sure it. And it's done even though I just turned into remission and that was the street the final revision which are not saying it's rendered here's that's right I'm sure I did the best take a bit. It was really really archer because it had to be like her re great you know any minute header you read you the whole book I thought it was done so I had a rented a car I had to take there's a character and a that I loved more than Barack and I had to take him out and it just it's. Oh I just still look back and ash and but he is he is he Liz. Taking so much energy and from the book it didn't get like a high school book anymore and I really want it to be a high school lucky you know using young kid and it was just a distant didn't work. So taking that taking him out about a lot of energy and spark to the book that I had to find other ways to put back again you know and so that was really really difficult it was like scrapie membrane I mean it was it was awful. They could they were the awful but I didn't expect that okay so we're. And then it and saying hey I'm. Matter of getting a live on the page and turn them in. Exactly exactly so let's hope that works outs in the Sherman editor will have something just a minute. Don't go as well McCauley can't wait to greeted and thank you so much for Arab being appearing on the podcast since so much fun. Arizona senator Ernie thank you for adding me. I wanna think my guest Nicole Griffin for being on the program today if you are publish out there are some and you know is one and would like to appear on the program. You have to do is email means my email is Kristen. KR IS TE and act in KO IT dot com. Big you so much for listening to the podcast if you like did please share with a friend subscribe or even leave me a comment I promise I'll write back and we'll have new episode every right. Phoenix got on the other hot.