Author: Robin Daniels
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance/Romantic Comedy
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance/Romantic Comedy
Jayden Valdez is an overachieving intellectual. Mike McGinnes is Franklin High School’s dumbest jock. Even though they barely know each other, she finds his personality repulsive and he thinks she’s got a giant stick up her you know what. Mike and Jayden are surprised and annoyed when their teacher pairs them together for Spanish tutoring. Both feel it’s a complete waste of time, since nobody could learn from a person who bugs the crap out of them. Not to mention that their reputations might be ruined if people realize what they’re doing. But it doesn’t take long for Jayden to discover that Mike has a secret—he isn’t the person he appears to be. Much to her dismay, Jayden finds ‘Secret Mike’ strangely attractive. And for some crazy reason, Mike is amused by Jayden’s clever insults and witty banter. Suddenly, they have a much bigger problem than their mutual disdain. What started as irritating tension is beginning to feel more like romantic tension and acting on it would be a very bad idea.
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1. What does your writing process look like? Do you know the whole story when you start? Or do you just start writing and go with it (seat of the pants writing)? If you plan it out, how do you do that? Outline, notecards, post-it-notes, etc.? Are you part of a writers group that gets together and helps each other with their writing?
Oh, I’m definitely a pantser! I always have an idea of what I want to happen, but that’s about it. I usually make a one page outline that contains a brief summary of the main conflict and bullet points listing every major event. I also add a blurb for each main character that describes their personalities, any important backstories and whatever personal challenge they need to overcome. These are short descriptions. Think words, maybe sentences, not paragraphs.
After making the outline, I just start writing and see where the characters take me. It is their story after all. I’m a dialogue heavy writer and I’ve found that the dialogue greatly influences the storyline. Sometimes character’s personalities and backstories change from my original plan based on conversations and how they interact with one another. Mike is a perfect example. The initial plan was to give him a more tortured childhood and bring in his older brother as a bad influence. But as I started writing him it just didn’t feel right, either for his character or the overall feel of the story. So I changed him.
Most of the main events in Perfectly Misunderstood are completely different than what I had on my bullet pointed outline. That’s why I don’t stress too much about plotting. My stories are very fluid and when I write, I put myself in the head of the characters. What would I say if I were them? How would I react in this situation? Sometimes they say/do something funny or witty and the dialogue/action is too perfect to change, so the story adapts around it.
2. How do you come up with your ideas for your stories?
Often, ideas just pop into my head. Sometimes I’ll be reading a book or watching a movie and think, “if I was writing this, I’d have done it totally different”. Mostly though, my ideas come from my life and are based on situations I’ve been in or things I’ve experienced. I think people would be surprised if they knew how many little things are pulled straight from my life. When Jayden joins Mike on his run by riding her bike alongside him, it’s because I actually did that. I had a boyfriend in college who was a cross country runner and that’s how I went “running” with him. He liked the company and it was the only way I could keep up.
3. How long have you been writing?
I’m a bit of an anomaly. I started writing my first book in February of last year, which means I’ve been a writer for about 14 months. Four books in fourteen months is NOT normal, so people shouldn’t stress if they’ve been working on the same book for a long time. I never had ambitions of being a writer. But I am a prolific reader and always had tons of book ideas. One day I had an idea that wouldn’t leave my head so I thought, “Hey why not write a book?” I’m so glad I took that random thought and ran with it because now I have a greatly needed creative outlet.
4. What tips do you have for aspiring writers?
My biggest piece of advice is don’t think, just write. Writers are their own worst enemies when it comes to finishing a book. We expect perfection because the book is our baby. But we over analyze and agonize and then writing becomes a chore instead of a pleasure. Nobody’s first draft is good enough to publish. So just have fun and finish something. The sense of accomplishment and relief will give you the motivation to keep going. It’s a lot easier to perfect a finished manuscript than a work in progress.
5. What are your favorite:
Books/authors/genres:I like YA and NA books in many genres: dystopian, fantasy, sci-fi, contemporary, etc. For me it’s about the writer’s style more than the genre. I prefer books with dialogue, action and comedy to books that are heavy with description, drama and inner monologue. And there must be a romantic element, no matter how small. I know this might sound hokey, but my favorite author is my sister, Kelly Oram. We have similar personalities and sense of humor and I love her writing style. She’s been writing a long time and has essentially been my mentor.
Movies/TV Shows: For movies, I love action/suspense. If it’s funny, all the better. I also love a good psychological or political thriller. In TV, comedy is my game. Some of the shows I love are: Psych, Community, The Office, How I Met Your Mother, The New Girl, Raising Hope...you get the picture.
Music: I appreciate all music. I don’t really listen to Rap or Country, but bounce around to everything else. My favorite is alternative rock and has been ever since I was a teenager. Today’s alternative rock is a lot different than it was in the 90’s, but both are good. Back then my favorite band was Bush. Now it’s probably Fall Out Boy or The Killers. My husband rolls his eyes at my gigantic star crush on Brandon Flowers, The Killers lead singer.
Food/Writing snack: I try not to snack too much while I’m working because I’d be eating all day. But if I had to pick one perfect writing snack, it’d be candied nuts. I always have a diet coke by my side, but if it’s late, I switch to caffeine free. I’d be thrilled to write all night, but my family generally frowns upon it.
About the Author:
Read below for an excerpt from the book:
Jayden’s glare intensified, and I could tell she was sending me mental death threats. Eventually, she gave up and sat down across from me. “Was that so hard?” I asked.
“About as hard as your head.”
“I have harder parts than my head,” I countered. Her eyes grew wide at the implication. I let her stew for a second before lifting my sleeve and flexing my bicep. “You think that’s hard? You should see my abs.” I’d said it as a joke, but it was basically true.
She was surprised for the briefest moment, then she grunted. “How Cro-Magnon of you.”
“Your grunt suggests you’re familiar with the genotype on a personal level.” I smirked.
Jayden’s eyes narrowed. “At least I’ve evolved. Your face suggests that you haven’t yet.”
I tsked in good nature. “Your face might be prettier than mine, but your manners prove you haven’t evolved as much as you think.”
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