|Author photo taken from http://reginasirois.com/|
Regina Sirois believes in a lot of things: running outside when it's raining, walking to the mailbox barefoot, banana popsicles on hot days, crisp, white sheets, and especially the power of words.
She identifies herself as a reader first and a writer second, and as such her loyalty lies with readers. She believes that a book should not just mildly entertain- it should change us.
She graduated summa cum laude from Missouri State's Departments of History and English and settled in the golden wheat fields of Kansas with her High School love. She is currently doing laundry (probably) and raising her two daughters. She fell in love the day she learned to read and cried the first time she did a word problem in math ("But it's not a problem..." sob, sob. "It's a story!").
In her debut novel, Sirois explores the many ways we get love wrong, and why, despite every disappointment, we keep fighting to get it right.
Some of you may remember me mentioning that one of the books I read for the ABNA contest last year was Regina's On Little Wings. Well, Regina very graciously agreed to answer a few questions for me on the blog today and I couldn't be more excited to get to share more about her and her work here with you!
1. How long did it take you, from first spark of idea to entering ABNA to write "On Little Wings?" How long has the process been to officially publish the book since you won the ABNA contest's YA section?
I started this book four years ago, when my daughter was in first grade. She will be finished with fourth grade before the first copies hit bookstore shelves.
I spent one year writing.
One year editing and trying to get it published.
One year giving up and not writing anything.
And one year winning ABNA and getting it ready for publication.
2. Since all of this happened, how has your writing/life routine changed?
Since writing On Little Wings I have finished two more manuscripts and am working on a fourth. It changed my life because it got me in the habit of writing. When people were interested in what I had to say I felt so much more excited to sit down every day and try to make something special. Now I devote about an hour or two a day to writing or research. Sometimes research for a book takes far more time than writing the book. Also, I now give presentations to schools, libraries and community organizations so some of my writing time is swallowed up in preparing for public appearances. Now that more people know I write, it is harder to find time to write!
3. Any advice for aspiring authors out there?
Yes! My advice to have a person you trust to read your work. And make sure you respect them by being objective and trying their suggestions. If you try it and hate it, then brainstorm other possible solutions with them. Knowing someone is waiting for my chapter every week, and knowing it is a writer that I respect immensely, keeps my derriere in the chair and makes me stretch myself. Writers need frequent feedback. It won't always be good, but I save my harshest criticism for the books and writers I love the most. It is only when I see amazing potential that I take the time to get very particular and nit-picky. Don't be afraid if they criticize. That probably means they think your writing is special.
4. If you could write a book under a pseudonym that no one would ever connect to you, are there any genres you would love to secretly explore?
I wouldn't have to have a pseudonym because I write for the genre I love the most. Literary YA is my first and biggest passion. If someone said I could never write YA again I might try a historical novel because I majored in history in College and am passionate about it.
5. If you could cross one thing off your bucket list tomorrow, what would it be?
I would be throwing things in my suitcase right now because tomorrow I would be standing on a British moor with my family, a castle in the background, a village in the valley below me, reciting Bronte, Shakespeare, Dickinson, Doyle and every other pioneer of the English language that changed my life with his/her words.
6. Quick Picks List:
Favorite vacation destination? Sanibel Island, Florida
Favorite childhood book? You have no idea how cruel you are being right now. It would cause me physical pain to narrow it down to one. Oh, What a Busy Day by Gyo Fujikawa, Quick as a Cricket by Audrey Wood, Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag, Cat Stories by James Herriot and any poems that anyone would read me.
Favorite writing snack food/drink? Chocolate covered berries, chocolate covered almonds, italian cream soda
Favorite item of clothing? As much as I love to dress up and look pretty, nothing compares to an old pair of jeans.
Regina, thank you so much for stopping by my blog and taking the time to answer my questions. I love to hear about the writing process and get that little peek deeper into authors' lives.