Author Crush Friday with Ingrid Paulson
Glitter girls, you have pressing questions for your favorite authors and we have their answers. Welcome to our weekly segment, Author Crush Fridays.
We love asking questions and we love the answers from some of our favorite authors. Today we’re talking to Ingrid Paulson, the author of the YA contemporary, Why I Loathe Sterling Lane (June 6, 2017; Entangled Teen). Thank you for talking to us today, Ingrid! We’re honored! We have a love-hate relationship with running, but we will have to try it more after your interview. It’s inspiring! 🙂
GLITTER: How did you come up with the plot for Why I Loathe Sterling Lane?
INGRID: This book started out as a little writing exercise. I wanted to write something from the perspective of an unreliable or unlikeable narrator yet keep it engaging. I wrote the first chapter, which laid down some of Harper’s rules but was basically a series of verbal barbs in a classroom between Sterling and Harper (Cole didn’t even exist at this point). I gave it to my writing group right before a retreat.
I was incredibly nervous to hear what they thought because Harper was so different than any other character I’d created, but my critique group loved it and encouraged me to keep going. I knew right away that I wanted it to be light-hearted and to be a rivalry-turned- love story, so I wove in pranks and Cole’s story to motivate Harper to keep coming back for more when ordinarily she’d ignore Sterling. Sterling and his spoiled, self-righteous ways was fully formed in my mind from the first paragraph, as was Harper. Actually, her rules were the very first kernel of the idea for the story.
GLITTER: Do you like writing contemporary or fantasy more?
INGRID: I love writing both. Contemporary is harder for me in some ways because I’m limited to the rules of our reality and it has to be believable. I think with Sterling I put reality on steroids a little, but part of that is Harper’s overblown way of telling a story. Ultimately, this book helped me figure out that I prefer writing light or fun contemporary. I tend to get so entangled with my characters that probably couldn’t handle anything dark or scarring happening to them. Writing fantasy is complicated too—particularly keeping magical objects and the rules of the world consistent. But fantasy gives the freedom to build new worlds and bend the rules a bit. I love to sit and daydream and ponder “what if” about our current reality and I love humor and romantic tension, so both genres really allow explore those interests.
GLITTER: We know you like long-distance running as well. Does that help you when you’re stuck on part of your novels?
INGRID: You have no idea. Running solves all of my problems, across the board. For me, running is more like meditating-I go crazy if I try to sit and ponder whatever plot snarl is gnawing at me. Running makes my mind go blank. Yet somehow, when I’m finished, my subconscious has been whirring away and presents the solution.
GLITTER: Has any conversation you’ve ever eavesdropped in on ever made it into one of your novels?
INGRID: All the time. And I hope no one I know is reading this, because I’m always jotting down weird or funny things people say and bending them into dialogue. I also love watching people’s twitches and ticks and little idiosyncrasies. First dates are the biggest eavesdropping jackpots—talk about a master class in tension and uncertain expectations! And yes, my family has been known to roll their eyes and move to another table.
GLITTER: What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
INGRID: The toughest criticism was probably also the most fortuitous. My first completed novel was never published even though it did help me find an agent. The feedback I consistently received was that my edits hadn’t gone “deep enough” I didn’t understand what that meant until I wrote Valkyrie Rising and went through a real, kill your darlings type of edit. It’s taught me to be more objective when I write (or to at least try). Although I do still keep a word document with any favorite lines or scenes I’ve had to cut…in hopes that they will one day make it into a new story. (delusional).
GLITTER: What has been the best compliment?
INGRID: When anyone reaches out to say they liked my book, it’s a two fold compliment—first, THEY READY MY BOOK! I seriously screamed and ran around the house the first it happened. I was stunned fact that someone other than my grandmother wants a copy of MY book—that they took the time to turn the pages and read my crazy words! And then the fact that they’d take the time to tell me and that they LIKED it. Every time I get an e-mail or a tweet like that it’s such a thrill.
GLITTER: If you could collaborate on a new book with anyone, who would you collaborate with and why?
INGRID: I’d love to collaborate with one of my critique partners, they’re all so creative and we all just “get” each other. We talk about it all the time, but also get so tangled up in our individual projects.
GLITTER: What are you working on now?
INGRID: I’m working on a contemporary that will be a companion to STERLING LANE. Because I can’t get enough of pranks and rivalry, although now I’m experimenting a little more with flat-out revenge as a driving force.
Ingrid lives in San Francisco with her husband and children and enjoys long-distance running, eavesdropping, and watching science documentaries. She has always loved books and writing short stories, but was surprised one day to discover the story she was working on wasn’t so short any more. Valkyrie Rising, a paranormal girl power story was Ingrid’s first novel. Expect another humorous contemporary romance to join the list soon.
You can visit Ingrid on the web at www.ingridepaulson.com/.