Today on #3QT, we’re featuring YA author Erica O’Rourke. Here to introduce her is Danielle:
Erica has been Joanna Volpe’s client since before I was hired almost three years ago, and I’ve been enamored with her writing since the moment I was introduced to her work. Erica knows how to wrap you up into her characters’ lives so that you’re more involved in their thoughts and feelings while you’re reading than you are in your own, here in the real world. Her first trilogy (featuring TORN, TANGLED, and BOUND) are romantic and tense and filled with paranormal fabulousness. Her latest series (DISSONANCE, and the upcoming RESONANCE [out Summer 2015] and HARMONIC [out in March 2015]) are swoony and smart and really make you think about the choices that you make. So on that note, take it away, Erica!
Tell Us a Fact About What You’re Working on Now:
Oooh…I tend to keep my current projects a secret for as long as possible. How about a list of clues?
A girl named Astrid
What’s Something People Might Be Surprised to Learn About You?
I collect vintage Cherry Ames mysteries. Cherry Ames was a Nancy Drew-style detective series set during and after World War II. The books followed Cherry – named because her cheeks were so naturally rosy they looked like cherries, of course – through nursing school, wartime, and a variety of highly improbably nursing adventures. Some of the titles include, Cherry Ames, Dude Ranch Nurse and Cherry Ames, Department Store Nurse, for example.
I think it was my grandmother who started me off on the collection when I was a kid. Cherry was smart and independent and fearless – pilots, soldiers, spies, doctors and business magnates all fell in love with her, but she was too devoted to her work and her friends and mystery-solving to settle down with any one guy. (And therefore infinitely superior to Nancy Drew, in my opinion.)
You can find different versions of the books, but I only collect the ones with the terracotta covers and that thick, old-fashioned paper. They’re pretty cheesy, and very dated, but I have such a soft spot for them – it’s probably where my love of cozy mysteries comes from.
What’s One Of Your Favorite Books (and Why)?
This is a cruel question! I have too many favorites to narrow it down, but I never get tired of reading Howl’s Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne-Jones. It’s the kind of story you can slip into effortlessly – a world that’s simultaneously familiar and intriguing, a voice that’s both charming and dryly funny, fantastic characterization. But what I like best is how carefully it’s constructed. Even the tiniest details have a huge impact on the story, and every time I reread it, I discover something new. I keep an electronic version on my phone, so Howl and Sophie are always close by.
Also, I’m pretty sure that there’s something living in my chimney and I’ve named it Calcifer.
As a mom, how does your writing process change when your kids are home versus at school?
We have three girls, ranging in age from six to thirteen. Early on in my writing career, I realized that while I love my kids and I love writing, I don’t multitask very well. Trying to split my focus between the two at any given moment means both areas of my life suffer – the quality of my writing nosedives, and I’m snappish and unpleasant with my family.
What works best for us is compartmentalization: When my kids are at school, I turn off the internet, ignore the household chores piling up, and make writing my priority. When my family is home, they’re the priority: homework and dinner and Science Olympiad and piano and keeping the girls from strangling each other. I put my computer away and ignore the household chores piling up. Once the kids are in bed, I spend a little time with my husband and then finish up my work for the day.
(Ignoring household tasks is my superpower.)
It helps that my husband is super-involved at home and very supportive of my writing, but even so, it took us a while to arrive at this system. And it’s not perfect – it’s a fact of life that things will fall through the cracks sometimes. To compensate, we’re constantly talking and adjusting and reprioritizing and compromising. But it’s the best way we’ve found to balance work and family.
Just don’t ask about the state of my house.