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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Author Q&A: How long does it take to write?

Finally, the Q&A I promised!

iFearlessQuotes inquired, "I was wondering, how long did it take you to write Tell Me a Secret?"

The short answer is, about four years from idea to sale. I wasn't working on it that whole period, though!

The idea came to me in August of 2004, and I wrote notes until November, when I started writing. I had about 50 pages when I applied for the SCBWI Work-In-Progress Grant...then our baby came, so I didn't work on it for about a year. When baby was 10 months old, I hired a sitter for one day a week. It takes a long time to write a novel only one day a week, so I added a second day after I won a grant(!)

The winter after the grant, I almost had a full first draft and went to a NY writing conference, where I met lots of amazing agents and editors interested in seeing the finished product. That was very motivating! My very nice neighbor offered to watch little one for two more afternoons a week, so by fall I was sending email queries to agents. I met my agent at another NY conference, I worked on a revision for a couple of months, and he sold it in just a few weeks.

In the meantime, I had already started a second YA novel, which you will see on the shelf this fall...I joke that the first book took four years and the second took four months (the first draft, anyways), so I'm hoping the third will only take four weeks...

Thank you for your question, iFearlessQuotes!


  1. great answer Holly! Love reading other writer's process and progress notes

  2. Thanks so much for answering my question. :)
    Those 4 years really must have been a challenge for you but it was so worth it in the end, I bet. :)
    I cannot wait to read your new novel!



  3. Great answer Holly. I love reading how a published author made the leap from draft to getting published.