Our teen interviewer caught up with Patrice Lyle, the author of the upcoming Lethally Blonde.
What inspired Lethally Blonde?
I was trying to figure out what to write next and then I started thinking about what books and movies I really loved. Sweet Valley High instantly popped to mind – I loved that series when I was in high school! Then I thought about how much I loved Elle Woods in the movie Legally Blonde… and then I thought what if Elle Woods was a teen demon in high school? And it went from there. I originally titled the book Demon Valley High, but soon realized that Morgan’s story was supposed to be called Lethally Blonde.
How long has it taken you to write this story?
It took me about six months to plot and write Lethally Blonde. Then I had revisions to do for Leap Books before they agreed to publish it.
Have you become particularly attached to any characters?
Oh, yes. Morgan Skully (the main character) for sure! She is so fun to write with her obsessions with shopping, pink, and hottie Derek.
Did you ever get stuck in your plot line? If so, how did you move on?
No, but only because I wrote the first three chapters and then I outlined the rest of the book. That works best for me because I’m really a pantster at heart, but I’ve written myself into too many corners that way. So writing the first three chapters pantster-style gives me time to get to know the character and see what the central conflict is. Then I plot out the rest of the book, chapter by chapter, and write the rest of it. Sometimes things change plot-wise as I actually write the rest of the book, but I usually stick pretty close to the plot as I originally envisioned it.
Did your story change considerably during editing?
Not a lot changed plot-wise, but I added a lot of meaning and motivation during the editing phase.
When you began writing did you anticipate how the story would end or did it just evolve?
I had no idea when I wrote the first three chapters, but once I outlined the entire book I definitely knew how it would end. And Lethally Blonde ended like I originally envisioned it in the plot outline.
How would you advise young adults who want to become published authors?
Read as much as you can and write every day! Even if you only write for a half hour a day, it’s critical to write daily to keep you in the writing zone. It can be so hard to get back into the zone once you leave so my advice is … never leave! Stay in the zone every day. After that, join a writer’s group (like SCBWI - the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), take classes (I have a Masters from Seton Hill University in Writing Popular Fiction – an excellent program!) and then submit, submit, submit! And lastly, don’t ever give up on your dream.
Thanks, Anna and Patrice!
Patrice is also an author of one of the craft articles in the award-winning writing book, Many Genres, One Craft.