You can read my review of The Fix here.
Today, I'm lucky enough to be interviewing Natasha Sinel about her novel– and she's also sharing some awesome advice for aspiring writers, no matter what your age is.
1. The Fix deals with difficult topics such as addiction and abuse. What was your inspiration for the novel?
I hadn’t planned on writing a novel about so many tough issues, but they turned up in my characters’ backstories, and once they were there, they were there to stay, along with the fixes they used to cope.
I believe that everyone hides pain from others. Often it’s denial used for self-preservation, but sometimes it’s because we believe our pain isn’t important enough to share. Through Macy, I learned how a girl can go through the process of accepting not only that her pain is real but also important enough to share—that she’s important enough to speak up and to be heard. I felt a lot of pressure to do this right. I did plenty of research for this book—on sexual abuse, addiction, psychiatric hospitals, depression—to make sure I got the details right, but most of what my characters felt, I could imagine. That’s what writers do. And that was pretty intense!
2. Did you know what each of the two main character's backstory would be before you started writing or did they become apparent only after you began?
Great question. I actually didn’t know Macy’s backstory until a lot of the manuscript was already written. My original idea came from one meaningful moment from my high school experience—a girl and a guy have an intense conversation in which he unlocks something in her she didn’t fully realize was there, and then he disappears the next day—then I built a new story from there. I knew that Macy, the main character, was angry, and as I dug into her backstory, I discovered why. Ultimately, the reason for her anger and her struggle to come to terms with her past became what the book was about.
3. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
For those just getting started, commit to finishing. Anyone can start a project when it’s fresh and new and exciting. It’s the finishing that’s the hard part. Find critique groups/partners. Revise. The revision should take longer than the first drafting.
Read books on craft. Go to conferences. Don’t worry about the publishing part until the novel is perfected. Then do your research on querying agents, and be thorough. Follow each agent’s submission guidelines. Don’t expect things to happen quickly. If it does, you’ll be pleasantly surprised, but if it doesn’t, you’ll know it’s normal. If you’ve got a day job or you’re in school, block out time to write—an hour here or there—and protect it at all costs.
Oh, and one of the most important things—READ. Read everything, but mostly books in your genre—you’ll learn craft by osmosis. Read the acknowledgments in the books you like—without even realizing it, you’ll get to know the business and its players too.
4. What was getting published like? Is it as difficult as they say it is?
Yes! It is—at least if you’re aiming for getting published traditionally. I don’t think people realize how much work a writer has to do on top of writing a book. Getting an agent to represent your work can take years, and then once you have an agent, there’s more revision, and then it can take ages for an agent to sell your work to an editor. And even then, there are contracts and waiting and edits, and it could be two more years before the book is out in the world. It’s a very long process that requires an extraordinary amount of patience and a very thick skin. Seeing my book on the shelf at the bookstore made it all worth it, though!
5. Do you have any other projects in the works and anything else we can look out for?
I’m working on my next YA standalone novel now. I’ll keep you posted!
You can buy Natasha's debut novel on Amazon right now or check it out from the library!
If you're an author interested in having a book reviewed or of being interviewed or a fellow teen writer/ reader and want to write a guest post, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or through this website's contact form :-)