Thursday, April 2, 2015

TAKING FLIGHT - NA Author Erin Brown talks Romance, TV Shows and Airports

Like it or not, New Adult is more than just a blip on the literary radar. It's hot stuff right now, and it houses many interesting genres beneath its categoric umbrella. Erin Brown, a New Adult author, knows this better than most. Her New Adult romance, Taking Flight, began as a YA novel, but slowly evolved into a New Adult story when she realized that the tale she wanted to tell was for a slightly older audience. Taking Flight is the story of two lovestruck teens on opposite ends of the country - Texas and New York. You just don't get more opposite than that!

How did you get started writing NA Fiction?
When I started writing fiction, I set out to write contemporary YA. As the book developed, I realized a lot of what I wanted to write was a little more mature in language and content than the YA I'd read—largely because I wanted to really capture what, in my mind and experience, it was like to be a teenager. At the time, NA was still developing and there wasn't really an official category name for it, so I kept calling my book "mature YA." Ha!  

What is Taking Flight about - and where did the inspiration come from?
Taking Flight is about Dan and Willa, two high school seniors who met in an airport and have kept in touch over the years. Dan lives in Texas and Willa in New York, so when they realize they have more-than-friendly feelings for each other, they aren't quite sure what to do, both because of the distance and because they college is not-so-far-away. But they decide to make a go of their relationship despite all their reservations, and the book is told in alternating point-of-view chapters.

The inspiration was two-fold: I had just gotten out of a really messy long distance relationship and needed an outlet. I'd always wanted to write fiction, but didn't really know where to start and didn't want to write specifically about my relationship. I actually started writing a teen spy thriller, but it just wasn't really working out. A few weeks later, I was on a flight from Chicago to New York. I'd forgotten my headphones and didn't have a book to read (rookie mistake!), so I ended up shamelessly eavesdropping on two teens sitting behind me. They met on the flight and were just getting to know each other. For days after, I thought about them—I wanted to know if they exchanged email addresses or numbers, if they would keep in touch, that sort of thing. And then finally, everything clicked in my brain and I knew that I would write a book about two teens who meet in an airport and attempt a long distance relationship. 

How long did it take you to write the book - what is your writing process like in general? 
Because Taking Flight was the first full novel I wrote, it took me a looooong time. Around two years. I had no idea what I was doing, didn't have an outline, and made the mistake of going back and editing as I wrote. It was a very long haul.

Now, I make a short, loose outline, then draft the manuscript sprint-style—meaning that I write without editing or going back in the draft, even if I know there are issues, until I'm finished. If I'm sprinting, a first draft normally takes around a month to six weeks. Then I begin the fun process of editing and rewriting. I typically do two rounds of that before sending the manuscript to my editor.

What is your favorite romantic movie or television show? 
I tend to like off-beat romance. I really like the movie In Your Eyes, which has dialogue that sizzles (written by Joss Whedon!) and a bit of a sci-fi twist to it, and I love The CW's Hart of Dixie, The Mindy Project, and, though it isn't a straight romantic show, the relationships in Friday Night Lights are just the best. On the classic side, I love Sabrina and It Happened One Night.

Advice to aspiring NA Authors? 
For me, the hardest part of writing is that it's so easy to get discouraged. There will be days where you think, "This is so easy! Everything is great!" and then the very next day you'll think, "Everything I wrote yesterday is terrible, what do I think I'm doing, I'm the worst writer ever." And sometimes, that voice is really hard to ignore. But you have to get past the self-doubt, go back to your manuscript, and just keep pushing through. Once you're finished writing and you go back to your draft, sure, some of the stuff you wrote will be crap, but you'll probably be surprised with how much you like it! 

Thanks so much for stopping by! 

Absolutely! It's been my pleasure. Thank you for having me! 

About the Author 
I’m Erin Brown and I write books about teenagers (at least, so far) who are probably too smart for their own good, and are trying to figure out what to do with their emotions and where to put their hands.

I grew up in Arkansas, where I was steeped in sweet tea, biscuits and gravy, high school football, and country music. I went to the University of Arkansas, where I joined Kappa Delta sorority, dated all the wrong guys, studied too much, and took life way too seriously. Feeling the need to experience a new place, I attended graduate school at Syracuse University, where I earned a degree in Journalism and learned that winter is kind of great. 

After that, I moved to New York City, where I worked in publishing for four years before falling in love with a guy who is really good at getting jobs in Asia. So now I live in Singapore, where I edit travel guides, try not to get sunburned, and write books in my spare time.
In addition to writing, I’m a Whedonite, Doctor Who and Game of Thrones obsessive, yogi, HGTV addict, CW television devotee, and misanthrope who is somehow dating an extreme extrovert. I’m also really into Twitter.

Connect with Erin Online: 

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Get fictional - it's fun! Thanks for stopping by, and I hope to see you again soon!