Happy Holidays! We are super excited this month to welcome Cheyanne Young as our guest author. Cheyanne is the author of … well … a LOT of novels, including her most recent YA romance, THE BREAKUP SUPPORT GROUP. She joins us here to talk about her newest project, THE LAST WISH OF SASHA CADE, which releases from KCP Loft in the fall of 2018 and which involves a glitter-painted coffin; a long-lost brother; a statewide scavenger hunt; a newfound love; and a very, very, very BEST best friend.
What gave you the idea to write this novel?
THE LAST WISH OF SASHA CADE came to me in a very poetic and magical way. I remember it very clearly … I was pacing around the living room trying to think of a new book idea, and I said, “I want to write a book about two best friends who are very close and loyal and don’t have any drama between them.” To which my teenage daughter said, “Knowing you, Mom, you’ll probably kill one of them.” And BAM. An idea was born. (Told you it was magical.) Although Sasha dies in the book, I still kept my main idea of two best friends who were loyal to each other until the end.
What do you hope readers will take away from your story?
While there is a pretty heartwarming gooey mushy love story in SASHA, I think the overall story is about friendship. The real kind, the ride-or-die, BFF, ovaries before brovaries, best friend friendship that you’re only lucky enough to have once or twice in your life. That true love exists within these friendships and that even when someone is gone, they’ll always be with you.
What’s your writing process? Are you a plotter? Pantser? Plotser?
I am 100 percent a plotter. I plot to an obsessive, ridiculous level that probably no one should ever do. But I’m also the person whose clothes are arranged in ROYGBIV color order in my closet, so what can I say? I’m organized. My outlines are very detailed, down to each scene and chapter, and are usually around 8,000 words each. But, I find this is perfect for my writing process because I’ll spend a week or two outlining the novel, working out the plot kinks in my outline, and then everything is so put together I’m simply transcribing the story that’s in my mind.
This is how I famously write all of my novels in 30 days or less, and I love my process. But with that said, I always urge writers do try their own thing. I’ve tried pantsing, I’ve tried plotting, and everything in between. What works for some authors won’t work for others, so keep switching it up until you settle into your groove
Do you have any tips for beginning writers?
Read all the time. Read in every genre (at least once). Read writing craft books, but only take the advice that speaks to you — ignore the rest. Learn basic punctuation and grammar. Then write without expectations. Know it’s going to suck for a while before you get any good.
Also, while you should embrace social media and have fun with it, DON’T LET IT CONTROL YOUR LIFE. Book Twitter and Bookstagram are so much fun and yet so soul crushing. Everywhere you turn, there’s another book deal announcement, a NYT bestseller, an aspiring author signing with your dream agent. Don’t let it get you down. Do your thing, be kind always, and trust in your writing journey.
Tell us about your most memorable fangirl moment. Who did you meet?
OH MAN. I got to meet Sarah Dessen. I almost cried when she walked out. I blabbered like a total idiot when she signed my book, and I told her that she was the author who inspired me to start writing about 10 years ago, that my daughter was named after a character in her book, and that I recently signed my first big book deal. I told her I wanted to thank her, and she said, “I appreciate it so much, but remember that YOU are the one who wrote the book that got a deal. You deserve to the credit, not me.” ISN’T SHE AMAZING? Check out this shot of me being a total fangirl, and my daughter, whose sarcasm inspired my new book.
How many books have you written, and how many have seen the light of day?
Do you have a calculator?
- 4 self-published books
- 4 traditionally published books
- 2 self-published books I unpublished and deleted (because they sucked)
- 1 more traditional book coming next year (THE LAST WISH OF SASHA CADE)
- 3 manuscripts I queried then tossed
- 16 (SIXTEEN!) manuscripts that will never see the light of day
- 1 manuscript my agent and I decided sucked too much to submit
- 1 manuscript I just finished writing (and hope will be published!)
- And countless half-written abandoned stories that will never be resurrected because sometimes you think you’re a good writer and you totally, definitely, aren’t.
Holy wow! That’s impressive. Guess that’s what happens when you figure out how to write a book in a month! Let’s get to the speed round, shall we? You should be really, really good at this!
- Alpha males vs. sensitive types: Can I have a mixture of both, please?
- Sweet vs. savory: Savory… no sweet… NO SAVORY!
- Morning glory vs. night owl: I sleep about five hours a night, so both
- Tropical island vs. mountain getaway: Give me the mountains!
- High heels vs. flats: Flats!
- Ziplining vs. snorkeling: Ziplining
- Friday night vs. Sunday morning: Friday night
Well, the five hours a night helps explain a lot, too! Thanks so much for popping in, and all the best to you in 2018! Here’s where readers can find Cheyanne:
Cheyanne Young is a native Texan with a fear of cold weather and a coffee addiction that probably needs an intervention. She loves books, sarcasm, and collecting nail polish. After nearly a decade of working in engineering, Cheyanne now writes books for young adults. She also runs a bookish Etsy shop. Cheyanne lives near the beach with her daughter and husband, one spoiled rotten puppy, and a cat that is most likely plotting to take over the world.