Miss my radio interview with ABC’s Rhianna Patrick and literature expert Sarah Mayor Cox from La Trobe University on YA, books, THE INTERN, FAKING IT and much, much more last night?* Clickity click right HERE.
Ben: Gabby. Coming from a country town, how did you get into writing?
Gabrielle Tozer Hi Ben! I was lucky enough to have brilliant book-loving English teachers who nurtured that side, telling me about competitions, writing opportunities, introducing me to new writing, books, ideas etc. Shoutout to Mrs Ryan, Mrs Edwards and Mr Brown – and my biology teacher Mr Woodcock who told me “I would be a great writer one day” (mainly because I was a terrible biology student)
Ben Thanks Gabby. PS huge fan
PJ Gotta love those English teachers..they have a lot to answer for!
Cecily: Hi Rhianna! Hi Gabby! I’d like to ask how Gabby goes about her writing process when working on her books – do you map it all out first or just see where your pen (or keyboard) takes you? Are you ever surprised by the things your characters get up to?
Gabrielle Tozer Why hello! Great question :) With THE INTERN and FAKING IT, I was more ‘intuitive’ – I had a strong idea and general plot, but I hadn’t broken it down into a structured plot. I’d sit down and see what came out of my mind, through my body, out my fingertips and onto the keyboard and page! It was a great experience (full of surprises!), but it meant I had to do lots of rewriting. I’m working on a third book – a YA contemporary standalone with new characters etc – and am taking a more structured approach this time. But am still allowing plenty of ‘space’ for change – because once you’re involved in the story, the characters tend to take over and run the show! Thanks again.
Cecily Hi! Thanks for your reply. Can’t wait to hear more about the new book!
PJ: Hi Gabbi! I really loved your first book, a real page turner. My question is how important is it to have a sequel or series in mind when writing for Young Adult or New Adult? Did you have a sequel planned all along? And is there a third in this series?
Gabrielle Tozer Hi PJ, so great to hear from you, and thanks for the lovely comment! Thrilled you enjoyed the first book and Josie Browning’s first adventure. When it comes to writing YA (or anything really), I think having a good story is the most important thing – and so the length of the book/series etc should only be determined by whether that suits your story. With THE INTERN, I pitched it as a standalone. But once I was handing in the manuscript, I felt there was “more” to say, more adventures etc. At this stage there’s not a third, but I wouldn’t say never. It would take having the right story to tell – for now, I’m excited about writing something new. And by ‘excited’ I mean, ‘excited and terrified!’. It’s a joy! Have a great night.
PJ Thanks for that Gabby. Yes new is exciting, and I guess should be terrifying….it adds to the adrenaline. You know you’re alive!
Annie: Heya Rhianna and Gabby!! Gabby.. I’ve read The Intern- 5 stars!!! and I can’t wait to get into Faking It.. I was wondering what your inspiration was to get into journalism and to write your first novel??
Gabrielle Tozer Thanks Annie – very kind of you! In term of journalism, this is daggy, but I just remember LOVING watching Ann Sanders read the news. I knew she was a newsreader and journalist and my love grew from there. (And I later learned the excitement of gettingpublished in magazines!) As for books, the idea of becoming a novelist stemmed from my love of writing. Meeting authors, reading books and writing short stories cemented this passion. x
Annie You’re truly an inspiration to many!! Thankyou Gabby and wishing you all the best for your future books!! Please keep writing!! xx
Gabrielle Tozer Thanks Annie – I don’t think I could stop writing even if I wanted to ;)
Cecily: What do you do when you have deadlines looming and the words JUST WON’T COME OUT (at least, not the way you want them to). Chips? Chocolate? Wine? Cry into your pillow? Make yourself persevere until you get it right? All of the above?
Gabrielle Tozer ALL OF THE ABOVE! Sometimes when those pesky words just don’t behave, I am paralysed. It’s not writers’ block – I usually know what I SHOULD be writing – but I just feel too overwhelmed by how big the project is (65-80k words). My biggest tip is break it down – anyone can write a sentence, a paragraph, a scene. Do that a few times and next thing you know you’ve written a chapter! Then write a few more chapters. Then, eventually, you’ll have written a book!
Bonnie: Hiya gorgeous Gabby. In the years you’ve been writing books for now, is there anything you’ve tweaked or changed about your writing routine to make it even more effective/inspired etc? For instance, do you still find early morning writing sessions are a good way to be super productive and get words on the page? xx
Gabrielle Tozer Hi Bonnie! Oh yes, while writing my first two books, I was extremely regimented with my routine. I worked full-time so I needed to squeeze it all in before work, so I’d get up at 5.30am to write for 1-2 hours. These days I’m a freelancer so I have a bit more flexibility… although I’m thinking I might need a shiny new routine! There’s something to be said for having a set time to sit down and write. x
Bonnie Thanks Gabby. It’s really amazing and inspiring that you managed to write two books while working full-time!! :) All the best of luck for your next book xx
Lani: Hey Gabby, how do you make sure your stories and ideas stand out from all the other YA fiction out there at the moment? What’s your point of difference?
Gabrielle Tozer Great question, Lani! It’s impossible to “read” the market because by the time my books come out, years have passed. So I try to write books that only I can write, in a way that only I can write them. It’s easy to get caught up comparing yourself to other authors and styles (because there are so many amazing writers!) so I try to stay in my lane and focus on my strengths. I’m honestly not sure what my point of difference is – I try to let my publishers and marketing team worry about that side of things, and just be honest on the page, and with my readers. Thanks so much!
Summer: Hi Gabby! These are all questions I’m dying to know the answers to! I’m also wondering if you have another book/ series in you. Would you ever branch into another genre? (Not that I ever want you to stop writing YA!)
Gabrielle Tozer Thanks Summer – appreciate you stopping by! I definitely have more books in me (it’s quite uncomfortable ;)) – it’s just a matter of luring them out. I read widely – contemporary, romance, dystopian etc – so wouldn’t rule out anything in the future! Contemporary is more of my comfort zone, but we’ll see what happens. I’m not sure if I’ll ever write for adults – maybe! If anything, I might go even YOUNGER. On top of writing more YA, I’d love to write a series for children in primary school one day, as well as branch into writing picture books. Thanks again for saying hello!
Summer LOVE this!! Thank you for writing!! It’s such a treat :)
Gabrielle Tozer Thanks Summer – coming from you, that’s a huge compliment! Look forward to reading your next book, too :)
Whitney Sorry to intrude on your post – but the thought of you writing for Primary School makes me jump with joy!! I’d enjoy nothing more than sharing your work with my students!! I cannot wait to see what the future holds <3
Tutti: Hi Gabby! Where do you get your ideas from – and how do you know which ideas are going to make it onto the page?
Gabrielle Tozer Hello Tutti! My ideas come from everywhere – eavesdropping, daydreaming, songs, movies, moments from my life (especially the particularly awkward or tough ones) etc. Sometimes they just “come to me” out of nowhere and I have no idea where they come from – but they’re a gift! I tend to favourite the ideas that “stick” with me. The ones I don’t have to write down. That I just remember and think about when I’m supposed to be thinking about something else :) Thanks!
Nicky: Hi Gabrielle, Do your characters take on traits and characteristics of people you know in real life? You’re a star!
Gabrielle Tozer Hi Nicky – thanks for dropping by! I think they do, but I never base a character solely on one person. There may be a quirk here, a bad habit there, but that’s about it. People do need to be careful when they’re friends with writers though… you never know when you’re accidentally being used as inspiration in a story! I prefer to let my imagination do all the work, though :) Thanks!
Meg: Hey Gabby, how would you say winning the Heywire competition helped you as a writer?
Gabrielle Tozer Hi Meg, thanks for your question – Heywire was a life changing experience for me! I won a writing competition, then had the opportunity to read my story on triple j. It gave me confidence to keep writing. Being a writer is tough. Lots of rejection, ego-crushing moments, which make you want to give up at times etc. So, having a nice experience to reflect on as a young writer has been helpful. Thanks!
Meg Thanks Gabrielle Tozer. I’m reading Faking It now and loving it!
Gabrielle Tozer Thanks Meg! So, so many shenanigans x
Alice: Hi Gabby! Do you think you’ll ever give adult fiction a go or is YA your great passion? :)
Gabrielle Tozer Hi Alice! Thanks for this :) I wouldn’t rule it out, but for now my inner 15 year old is definitely crying out to be heard. If anything, I might go even younger… I seem to be getting LESS mature as I age. Thanks!
*In all my excitement to mention Rachael Craw’s book SPARK on air last night, I maaaaaaay have accidentally called her “Rachael Spark”. There may now be an online petition* to get her to change her name legally to this. She’s open to the idea as it adds to her bad-ass rep. So, everyone wins. We may be in a gang together now. I’m handling the nunchucks. Naturally.
**OK, there’s a handful of us.