I am so happy to feature Alexandra Coutts on my blog today. I absolutely loved TUMBLE & FALL and jumped at the chance to host a Q & A. Keep reading to see what we talked about.
1). What is so neat about this book is that even though these three teens are facing this terrible disaster, they are still trying to solve some normal teenage problems. What made you choose an apocalyptic setting for the story instead of just making this a contemporary story?
That’s a really great question. I think, to be honest, it started as a kind of joke. People are always talking about how teenagers feel so much, that they treat certain issues with such intensity that it’s almost as if the world is ending. I remember some version of that trope driving me completely crazy when I was a teenager. And I think, at a certain point, I wanted to know: What would these three totally normal teens do if the world really was ending? How would it change (or not) their relationships and feelings about their lives?
And then I wrote a book about it!
2) What are some of your favorite YA books right now?
I’m not just saying this because I’m going on tour with her next week, but I recently read Leila Sales’ THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE and it totally blew me away. And I adored THE PROBABILITY OF MIRACLES by Wendy Wunder. I also love anything by Sara Zarr, E. Lockhart, John Green…the list gets longer every day.
3) Now that you have a toddler has your writing changed at all? Do you think about different topics than you used to? Have you had to alter your writing schedule? Do you have to write in different locations?
Ha – “writing schedule.” I wish! Basically, every day is different, and I’ve gotten used to squeezing in an hour of writing here, an hour there. Naps are a big help. And we’re just starting daycare, so I imagine (fingers crossed) it will get easier soon!
As for topics, I don’t think having a toddler has changed my interests much, at least not yet. (No immediate plans to write a picture book – though I have quite a few new favorites!)
4) Can you tell us about your work in progress?
I wish I could say more, but it’s still in the very early stages. I know that it will be another island story, and that it will deal with some big subjects – though perhaps not as big as an asteroid.
5) Do you work with a writing group or do you keep your work secret until you are ready to send it to the publisher?
Both, sort of. I like to get a full draft done before I show it to anyone, and then I usually send it out to a few people at once. These people are a combination of editor-friends, friend-friends, and my parents. They’re a helpful bunch.
6) Can you describe your writing process? Do you outline the story or just let it flow? Do you compose on the computer or write things out long hand? How do you go about developing the world of your characters before starting the story? Are you a Mac or a PC?
I write on a MacBook Pro. (I swear by all things Apple.) I am a compulsive outliner, which I also do on the computer. But I take journals-full of notes longhand before I even get to the outlining stage. I find it much easier to get started with a paper and pen. Then, when I have some idea of who my characters are and where they’re going, I’ll open a Word doc and start typing.
Thank you so much, Alexandra!!! I can't wait to see what you write next.