Rebecca Behrens books
Rebecca Behrens books
Rebecca Behrens books

My fellow Sourcebooks author Nancy J. Cavanaugh tagged me in this fun blog-hop tour about the writing process. You can check our her post on writing here! And I’m tagging Jessica Love, whose debut PUSH GIRL releases in June, and the very talented Katy Upperman. Their posts will go up next Monday, May 5.

On with the tour!

What are you currently writing?

I have a few things in the works–all MG projects. One I’m revising (eternally, it sometimes seems) and another for which I’m working on an outline. I’m trying to write a fairly detailed outline, which is not something I have done in the past. Usually, I start drafting with an outline of about 1,500 words–enough to see the overall story, but not individual scenes. This time, I’m trying to figure out the plot a little more before I start. I’m sure the story will change as I write, though–it always does!

What makes your work different?

I am a genre-mixer: I can’t stop combining historical and contemporary fiction. I love exploring the relationship of past and present, and I’m drawn to characters who are the same. In When Audrey Met Alice, contemporary First Daughter Audrey discovers Alice Roosevelt’s wild life through reading a diary, and much like Audrey, I love discovering the complex stories of real historical figures through books. I’m fascinated by famous and historical settings, too–like the White House and the Lost Colony of Roanoke.

I don’t want to generalize too much about historical fiction, but I do think that a lot of books in that genre have a more serious tone. I tend to write slightly humorous voices, which I think is another thing that makes my work unique.

Why do you write what you do?

They’re all an answer to the same question, “What book would you have wanted to read ?” Most of my stories start from me thinking about what I was interested in as a middle-grade reader, like First Kids and mysterious disappearances and science and strong, inspiring women.  Especially because I tend to do a lot of research for my books–I better have a healthy interest in what I’m writing about!

What is your writing process?

First, I come up with the concept, which sometimes takes days, weeks, or months of brainstorming and lots of long walks/runs to work out the heart of the story. Then, I write an outline. After I have an outline, I do baseline research–enough that I can work out the plot and characters, but not so much that I get bogged down in details. (Otherwise, I’d never get to drafting–there are too many rabbit holes to fall down!) I write a first draft, slowly. I stop to do more research as needed along the way. Once I have a first draft, I put it away for a while–at least a few weeks. While drafting, I probably realized that I needed to explore certain topics much more in depth–so yes, there is even more research at this point. And then the revising starts–many, many rounds. Whoever said that “writing is editing” was right! The first draft is just a sketch; the shading and color and detail all comes later on, building slowly with each round.

Tell me, what’s your writing process like?