Becca Wilhite Blog

January 4, 2010


Filed under: — becca @ 10:53 pm

I’m a wife and a mama and a writer. I love words and food and shoes.

What? You want more? Fine, then. But remember, you asked.

Here are some things people ask me.

What’s hard about being an author?

— Being an author is my second job. Being a mom is first (and even more fun). So I struggle with prioritizing. Making time. (That’s different than finding time, because it’s really not like finding a penny on the sidewalk. Making time is a choice, because we all have 24 hours in a day and we can, to some extent, choose what to fill those hours with.)

–My other challenge is allowing myself to write [here’s me trying to find a more polite way to say this… I’ve got nothing] crap. It needs to be all right for me to write words that will not last, words that will be deleted. Writing is sometimes like weightlifting, and you need to keep doing it in order to keep the muscle strong. So if I flex my writing muscle but all that comes from it is, ahem, deletables, well, that has to be okay with me. I’m not there, but I’m getting better about it.

How did you get published?

— My first book was a slush-pile success story. Don’t hate me because it worked for me – you can use me as that one-in-a-zillion example. I sent the manuscript (unrequested – *gasp*) to Shadow Mountain, and they published it. I know. That never happens. Except once it did, right?

Do you struggle with doubts and bang your head on the wall sometimes?

— I have a desperate and pathetic need for outside validation. This is a major character flaw.  My best bet for overcoming that is to take a little break from a project, and when I come back to it, focus on the parts that I can laugh at (you know, in a good way).

Also, buttered popcorn goes a long way to relieving angst. (Better than head-banging, even.)

What’s hard about the process?

— Is it ungracious to admit that I hate the query letter? This one-page monster is harder for me than any number of novels. Maybe I should write the title first, then the query, and then write the book… Hey, that doesn’t sound like a bad idea.

Is there anything you have to keep reminding yourself, over and over?

— Don’t be afraid of letting characters make mistakes. I tend to want my characters to be Good. Kind. Upstanding. Like I want my kids to be, you know? But that doesn’t make very interesting stories. So I would tell me, “Becca, let them screw it up. Let them fight. Let them insult and hurt and ruin things. Then we’ll make a story about cleaning up the mess.”

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

It was when I made people laugh out loud because of something I wrote that I really, really knew I was hooked.

Do you have advice for kids who want to write?

Read many great books. Don’t know any? Ask your mom. Ask your English teacher. Ask your librarian. There are so many wonderful words (and worlds) out there, so get a taste of lots of them. Then go home and write your own. Because that? Is really fun.

So what about the shoes?

Oh, that. Were I to develop a fetish, it would likely be a shoe fetish. I love shoes. But above my love of shoes is my love of personal responsibility (you can totally quote me on that), and I’m not exactly in a fiscal position to develop/support a fetish. But when I am, it’s all about the shoes. And the bags.

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