Many people think writing for children is easy–that is not the case. Just ask Kathy Cassel, author of young adult fiction. She works with pros to help her write her books, but she doesn’t work with a traditional book editor. Keep reading to find out why!
What do you write? How/why did you pick your genre?
I love reading YA books, or in reality listening to them on CD while I drive. Most of the books have themes of depression, suicide, death and so on. Sadly, the books don’t offer any real answers or hope, and I felt a strong call to switch from devotion books to YA fiction that would reach teens with the message that there is a God, and he has a plan for them. If they walk away from the story with that hope, then I’ve succeeded in planting a seed of faith.
How long does it take you to: write the book? Edit it? Finalize it?
When asked how I get an idea or how long it takes the write story, I don’t have an answer. For instance, long before Thousand Lies, I would make up stories in my head (while trying to fall asleep mostly) about a girl who needed to find out the truth about her identity and runs away to find out. This included her jumping in the box car of a passing train, hitchhiking, and other means of travel. I had various ideas about her real identity, whether either parent was really her parents, and why she might suspect otherwise.
When I actually decided to write a story about a girl who finds out she’s not who she thought she was, it was different than the stories in my head. I wrote it in weeks, but had to do a lot of rewrites. Just when it looked like the book might be finished, I messaged my fiction coach, “What if Bailey’s birth dad is still alive and comes after her?” That idea totally changed the story and made it a much stronger story.
What’s your favorite book on writing? What do you like about it?
James Scott Bell’s Write Your Novel from the Middle. I reread it before starting each new book because it helps me focus on the true story.
What writing book do you want to read next
James Scott Bell’s Conflict and Suspense because I think it will help me better structure my stories. But I have little reading time, so I hope it’s on audible!
What’s your favorite writers conference?
I was blessed to be able to go to the ACFW convention in Texas the last year it was in person before Covid hit. It was great to connect with so many other authors and to learn from some of the best fiction authors.
If you’ve ever worked with a freelance editor, how did you find that editor? How would you describe the experience?
I have a fiction coach that I work with from the idea stage (Does this story work? Is it realistic? Is the structure sound) to the actual writing and revisions (this scene isn’t realistic, let’s try this instead) to even the final edits for my last book. My first experience with a fiction coach was not a positive one, but the one I work with now is amazing! In both cases we connected at a writer’s conference. It’s important to find the right person or it can be very discouraging.
How do you self-edit your manuscript?
I am not the world’s best editor, but the first thing I do is a word search for “that” and “just,” which are the two words I over use. I normally have to take out 25 to 50 of each. I also sometimes have to make myself cut scenes I really like because they don’t move the story forward. I think that’s common mistake in fiction writing. Adding things to the story that actually slow it down rather than make it more interesting.
For talented teen photographer Bailey Collins, small-town life is good if predictable. Great friends. Loving if overly-protective parents. Academic and artistic success. An amazing new boyfriend.
Until a school field trip to a Chicago photography exhibit turns upside-down everything Bailey has believed about her life. Why are the baby pictures missing from her own past exhibited under another child’s name? Who is this elusive artist whose own identity appears as much a mystery as her exhibit? Or the hostile stranger bizarrely claiming to be Bailey’s birth father?
Above all, if everything about Bailey’s life is a lie, who are the people she has always called Mom and Dad? And if they can’t be trusted, how can she trust the loving God in whom they’ve taught her to place her faith? As a mountain of unraveling lies place both Bailey and those she cares about in danger, she sets out on a peril-filled quest to expose the truth. Will uncovering her true identity bring the closure and purpose Bailey seeks—or turn out to be the worst mistake of her life?
Kathy Cassel is author of more a dozen fiction and non-fiction titles for preteens and teens, including 2021 Selah Award finalist Freerunner and the iParenting award winner Christian Girls Guide series. Kathy has lived on three different continents with her USAF husband, has eight children, five adopted from Haiti and the United States, and four grandchildren. To better relate to her characters, she enjoys learning their skills such as whitewater rafting, scuba diving, and riding a motorcycle, but draws the line at sky diving.
Facebook author page https://www.facebook.com/Kathy-Cassel-author-127514438647724
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard?ref=nav_profile_authordash (author dashboard)
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20300951.Kathy_Cassel (author profile)
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/kathy-cassel (profile)