Was “Life by Committee" inspired at all by Post Secret?
Actually, no LIFE BY COMMITTEE was inspired by a film I fell in love with-- LOVE ME IF YOU DARE. I loved the way the film explored how something fun can turn into something dangerous. I do love comparisons to PostSecret, though, as I think that's a really cool project!
There were also some parts of the book that reminded me of the movie Mean Girls. Did you feel that way too?
You know, the part of the book that tends to remind people of Mean Girls-- namely the ending-- was based on something that happened at my high school when I was a sophomore. It never occurred to me that it was similar to Mean Girls at all, since the scene was so much based on my own experience. But again, that's a movie I love, it simply wasn't an inspiration here. My own life was the real inspiration for this book!
I love that Tabitha buys used books with annotations. Is that something that you like to do too?
Yes! I love active reading. It helps me engage more with books when I write in the margins and underline things. It helps me focus and feel more excited about what I'm reading. I also love seeing what other people have noted in their copies of books.
What are your ambitions for your writing career? What would your career look like in an ideal world?
I really honestly just hope to get to keep writing books and exploring new ideas. Of course I want the best for my books-- tons of readers and attention and love-- but above all else I want to keep living a creative life and to be able to be a professional writer. It's a total dream come true.
Which writers inspire you?
SO many. Growing up I loved Sylvia Plath and John Irving and Lois Lowry and Sandra Cisneros. I was really inspired by all of them-- they all have different strengths as writers. They also taught me to write what you care about and to explore the themes that interest you. I think with all of those writers you can see what they care about.
Give us an insight into how you create your main characters.
There's a fairly organic process to finding characters. I think a name is really important, and so is their general physical look, including their personal style. Those superficial things help me learn more about who they are inside. I'm interested characters who are very complicated. I don't have interest in writing inauthentic, perfect characters. I stay very aware of what bad choices my characters make and what their flaws are. I think you learn the most about characters through their mistakes and flaws.
What are you working on right now?
Currently I'm working on a middle-grade novel that deals with grief and magic as well as another YA novel that is a little bit of a departure for me-- it is about community and the pressure we put on young girls, as well as love and tragedy.
How much research do you do before writing a book?
It absolutely depends on the book. My most researched book was my first, OCD LOVE STORY. That required many levels of research-- academic, intellectual and emotional/personal. LIFE BY COMMITTEE probably required the least amount of research. I did do some research on teenagers in communities online, but otherwise I didn't need to do much research.
Why do you write?
I've always written, it's a part of who I am. I'd like to say I have amazing, lofty intentions. And certainly I love when my books reach people and help them. But honestly I just love writing. It's my calling, it's a huge part of who I am and always has been.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I've learned a lot, writing my first few books. I think I'm more and more interested in taking risks-- structural, plot-centric, genre-wise. I've learned that I want to push myself and challenge myself always. I think my creativity has really opened up as I get more and more comfortable with the idea of trying new things.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Not comparing myself to other writers is what I struggle with most. Not letting things like jealousy occupy my brain and steal time away from the work.
What is the easiest thing about writing?
For me the easiest thing is showing up. I know that's not true for everyone and may not be true for me forever. But at this time in my life I find discipline and self-motivation come easily. Everything else is hard, showing up (for me, right now) is easy.
What book/s are you reading at present?
I just started Adam Silvera's MORE HAPPY THAN NOT and I'm very excited about it. I recently read Courtney Summer's ALL THE RAGE, which I recommend highly.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
I'm always on twitter: @coreyannhaydu. That's the best place to find me and hear about my writing, my life, my books! And you can keep up with me on my website: www.coreyannhaydu.com.
Read my review of Corey Ann Haydu's book, Life by Committee!