UtopYAns Interview Best-selling Romance Author, Sylvia Day

Utopia Authors, NA, Speakers

silvia day framedOur #utopYA2014 Saturday keynote speaker, and the woman who created Gideon Cross, Sylvia Day, generously agreed to answer 10 questions for a blog feature. We decided it would be more fun to have all of YOU ask her the questions. Official #utopAY2014 NA blogger, Delphina Miyares of Delphina Reads Too Much, held a contest on her blog to glean the best questions for Sylvia. You just might see your question below!

* Oh, and you might see a few of my own ‘peanut gallery’ comments in parentheses.

Sylvia, you write in several genres, do you have a favorite? Are there others you would like to tackle in your writing career?

All of my books contain romantic elements and those are my favorite books to write. Yes, I have a fantasy young adult that I started a few years ago that I would like to finish, and a supernatural horror story that I would like to finish as well.

Did you base Gideon’s character off of someone you knew personally and if so, can I meet him (take a number, sister)? Okay, I was just kidding about the last part, but I would like to know if you based his personality and his traits off of someone in your life, or was he just a part of your imagination?

Gideon’s physical characteristics are based on a business man that I saw during one of my trips to New York, but his personality and character traits are actually a composite of those that I uncovered during my research into childhood sexual abuse survivors.

Do you have any odd writing habits, like things that you absolutely have to do or have to be able to write? A special coffee, a pair of comfy pants, etc? 

I have to have coffee and dark chocolate. (Amen)

How do you balance your writing schedule with the rest of your life?

I make time to write. It is a compulsion and a joy. It is just as necessary to me as breathing.

What happens when you get stuck? Any special tricks to get unstuck?

If I get stuck in my book, it’s because I tried to force the story in a direction that I felt it should go, but that the characters disagree with. I call this “author intrusion.” I will go back, read through everything I have written so far until I reach the point where I see that I tried to force the story in an unnatural direction, and start from there.

The NA genre is relatively new and very much misunderstood. What is your definition of NA and why?

New Adult is about college-aged people who are transitioning into full-fledged adulthood. It’s about “firsts”: first jobs, first time living on their own, first serious relationship, first time having to deal with problems without being able to ask their parents to bail them out, and more.

Every writer knows at heart that you can’t let criticism and bad reviews get you down for too long, but, ultimately, we all want to know if there’s a secret formula for getting past the punch in the gut. How do you handle negativity?

You have to have 100% belief in your story before you put it up for sale. If you are 100% positive that you wrote the absolute best book that you could write, that it is as good as it could possibly have been at that point in time, and that you gave it all the time and attention that it needed, you will know in your heart that it could not have been any better, and that makes it much easier to deal with other people’s personal opinions, which are based on their own subjective experiences.

With a hit series like the Crossfire books, you must feel pressure to “write the next hit.” How do you find inspiration among that kind of pressure and deliver the goods to the fans while still staying true to yourself?

It helps that I am a decades-long published writer. This isn’t my first time at the rodeo. I have been writing the same sorts of books for ten years, and I imagine that I will continue to write the same sorts of books for the next ten years. Being a member of Romance Writers of America has certainly given me the tools I need, the networking that helps, and the education to help me foresee what’s coming next.

Any regrets?

No. Careers aren’t built from success, they are built from the lessons you learn from your failures. (Tweet that. Memorize it. Own it.)

What’s your advice to aspiring writers out there? Or, more specifically: When you’re starting out, and things look overwhelming – “how will I publish?,” “will anyone read it?,” “what if they hate me (my book)?” – what advice would you give to that person?

Write three novels, beginning to end. Getting to the end is hard, and doing it once is not enough. The second book is harder to write than the first. Once you write three, you will know it is possible to get to the end, that you can start the next book, and you know at that point what you like to write. You also understand then how long it takes you to write a book.

We want to thank all of the readers who submitted questions, Delphina for hosting the contest, and especially Sylvia Day for her time and thoughtful responses.

Sylvia Day is the #1 New York Times and #1 international bestselling author of over 20 award-winning novels sold in more than 40 countries. She is a #1 bestselling author in 21 countries, with tens of millions of copies of her books in print. Her Crossfire series has been optioned for television by Lionsgate, and she has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Author.  Visit her at www.sylviaday.com, Facebook.com/AuthorSylviaDay and on Twitter @SylDay.