Speaking of secrets, do I have the perfect guest - Suzanne Young, whose debut novel, THE NAUGHTY LIST, hits the shelves today! (If you missed previous Story Secrets, you can check them out here.) Scroll down for a chance to win a copy!!
Suzanne and I met at the 2nd annual Kidlit Blogger Conference, and we've been fast friends ever since. When I asked her all about THE NAUGHTY LIST (and the sequel, SO MANY BOYS, coming in June), she swore she's never spied on any cheating boyfriends. Or at least, not that we can prove.
Welcome to Suzanne!
THE NAUGHTY LIST
Tessa Crimson’s the sweet and spunky leader of the SOS (Society of Smitten Kittens), a cheer squad–turned–spy society dedicated to bringing dastardly boyfriends to justice, one cheater at a time. Boyfriend-busting wouldn’t be so bad . . . except that so far, every suspect on the Naughty List has been proven 100% guilty!
When Tessa’s own boyfriend shows up on the List, she turns her sleuthing skills on him. Is Aiden just as naughty as all the rest, or will Tessa’s sneaky ways end in catastrophe?
The Naughty List. Is your boyfriend on it?
It was when I was in the middle of revising my first novel that the idea for THE NAUGHTY LIST came to me. Well… not exactly. I was joking with a friend about how there weren’t enough female ninjas in the world. In fact, shouldn’t there be more cheerleading ninjas? I imagined a hilarious fight scene involving high-kicks and pom-poms.
After several scenes (and more stalling on the book I was supposed to be working on) I put the idea aside. Six months later, the main character Tessa Crimson cartwheeled back into my life. She was a flipping spy! And better than that, she investigated cheating boyfriends!
From there the story poured out. I wrote the first draft in a couple of weeks, then revised it. But two months later it was back in my novel graveyard. I had other projects ahead of it, and honestly, it came close to never being subbed.
Then my agent dropped me. I was on my own, and although I had a few books to shop, I decided that maybe I’d give THE NAUGHTY LIST a shot. I sent it to a few editors, and soon, I had a lot of interest. I ended up getting a new agent (who read my blog) and from there, we received three offers.
I went from the lowest low to the highest high. But there were a few writing friends that had been with me from the beginning that wouldn’t let me give up. They believed in me even when I wasn’t sure I believed in myself. Even now, I still have a group of four writers that I trust with my life. These girls see almost everything as I write it. Sometimes we bounce ideas and sometimes they’re just there to tell me to “KEEP GOING!” I’m not sure where I’d be without them. Thank you, Heather Hansen, Trish Doller, Amanda Morgan and Daisy Whitney.
I’ve written a bunch of books over the past two years and THE NAUGHTY LIST was number 6 or 7. And I think it’s important to remember that. At least for me, each book got better as I learned the craft. Each book brought out something more in me. If I could give any advice: it’s to keep writing. You never know when an idea will stick, and you never know what the next big thing will be. Don’t try to figure it out. Just write stories that you care about. Even if they start off about ninjas.
One of the best NAUGHTY LIST secrets I know is the evolution of the title - you'll have to visit Suzanne at her blog for the scoop on that... The sequel, TOO MANY BOYS, will hit the shelves June 10!
AND NOW...THE GIVEAWAY:
Leave a comment below telling us either a) why you're dying to read THE NAUGHTY LIST, or b) your worst (or funniest) boyfriend story. You have until 5pm PST on Monday to post, and we'll pick a winner next week! (If you don't have a blog link, be sure to leave a way to contact you.)