What? A vampire who’s not popular? Who doesn’t sparkle? Who has no “Team”? Jane Jones: Worst. Vampire. Ever. is a new, fun take on YA vampire lit, and its author Caissie St. Onge, an Emmy-nominated comedy writer, has stopped by our Debut Author Q&A series to tell us all about it.
Name of book: Jane Jones: Worst. Vampire. Ever.
Book genre: At the bookstore, it’s under “Teen Paranormal Romance,” but I think of it as “Teen Paranormal Romantic Comedy.”
Date Published: May 10, 2011
Publisher: Random House, Ember
What is your day job? Comedy writer and television producer
What is your book about? It’s about a nerdy teen vampire, Jane, who feels different from everyone. And she’s blood intolerant.
What would you say is the most challenging part of writing a book? I would say the most challenging part of writing a book is to stop telling yourself that you can’t do it.
What motivates you to write? I love telling stories, so the opportunity to tell a story to people I don’t know or might not ever meet is extremely thrilling to me.
Did you experience writer’s block? I don’t think I get writer’s block all that much. I do suffer from periods where I can’t settle myself down to write, and I feel terrible because I feel like I’m slacking off. When that happens, I usually make a deal with myself that I will just sit down and pound something out for ten or fifteen minutes, and that I won’t worry about how good it is and that when time’s up, I will stop. But I never stop! Because once I’m ten minutes in, I’m having a ball, and I don’t want to be doing anything else.
How long did it take you to write this book? It took me just over two months. I would write for a long stretch one day, take the next day off, then write all day, then another day off. Coming from a TV background, I’m really used to working quickly, so I was doing that, but I was also enjoying the luxury of writing for several hours at a time, which is something I don’t usually get to do in a live TV situation.
How long did it take you to find a publisher? My agent, Josh, sent the manuscript out to a certain number of publishers and said that he thought we’d hear back from most of them, yay or nay, within a couple of weeks. He was right!
Do you think it’s vital for first-timers to have an agent in order to snag a publishing deal? I would recommend it. Because publishing is probably different from anything you’ve ever done before, and there is so much to learn. I’m still learning, and my agent is the guy I go to with my questions. My agent, and now my editor. Thank heaven for them!
What is the biggest misconception about writing a book? I think a lot of people think that having a book published means that you’re rich. It doesn’t. Some authors most certainly do become rich, but the majority of us probably will not.
What was your favorite aspect of the writing process for this book? The moments when I had a puzzle on my hands and I had to figure out how to get from point B to point A. When you know something has to happen in order to get you to the place where you need to go, but you’re not sure what that something is, it can be a little daunting. But when you figure it out? It’s like solving a little mystery.
What tools/methods have you employed to promote your book? What advice would you give to writers regarding promotion? Promoting the book is more work than writing it was! I’ve used Twitter, Facebook and my author blog. I’ve done quite a few interviews for other people’s blogs. I’ve done podcasts. I’ve gone on the radio. I’ve done library appearances. I was also really fortunate to have the book mentioned on a couple of different TV shows.
My advice to other writers regarding promotion is to not feel guilty. Every time I’ve tweeted or posted on Facebook about Jane, I’ve felt a little twinge of shame, like, “Everybody must be sick of hearing about this book by now!” Maybe some people have been, and that’s their right. Overwhelmingly, though, I feel like my little online community has wanted to see me succeed as much as I do. It feels like they’re invested, which is wonderful, because I’m invested in them as well.
Is there another novel on the horizon? I’m working on a second novel that’s a different subject, and I’d love to write more about Jane if that’s in the cards.
My favorite last question: Oprah has famously said that there is no such thing as luck, without preparation and a moment of opportunity. Would you agree or disagree with regard to your own success as a writer? I think when you’ve gotten lucky, it’s easy to say there’s no such thing as luck, but lots of people I know prepare every day for their moment of opportunity, and they’re still waiting patiently. Did I do the hard work required by the task? I hope so, and I think so. Did I get lucky? I know so!