Now, to the good stuff! We have the honor of having author, C.J. Omololu. You might know her by Cynthia or CynJane from following her blog. If you aren't already, please check it out today! Cynthia is agented by Erin Murphy of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency. And she is the fabulous author of Dirty Little Secrets, available NOW.
I noticed you also have a children's book published, When It's Six O'clock in San Francisco. What led you from that to Dirty Little Secrets?
I didn't think about writing books until after my kids were born and it was pretty natural to start with picture books. I got lucky and Six O'clock was published last summer. One of my critique partners started writing novels and I decided to give it a try. Now I can't imagine doing anything else.
The title of the book speaks volumes. Was this the original title, or did it change after hitting editors?
When I was writing it, I called it Living Like This and then changed it to Hoarding Normal after I sent it to my agent. Right before we were going to send it out on submission I thought of Dirty Little Secrets, but I wasn't sure about using that title because there were already other books with that name. Apparently, that doesn't matter. On one episode of Hoarders, a woman says that her house was her dirty little secret and I nearly fell off my chair. Apparently the book ended up with the right name after all.
You've mentioned on your blog that you spoke with a lot of people that had personal experiences with hoarding. How did you go about finding those people and what was their initial reaction to your book idea?
I got the idea from a magazine article and then Googled 'hoarding' to find out more. I stumbled upon the website www.chilrenofhoarders.com and sent an email to the woman who runs it. She set me up with two other women who grew up in hoarded homes and all three of them were really amazing about sharing stories and ideas. They all read bits and pieces of the book and told me when I was getting it wrong. As children of people with this mental disorder, I think they wanted a light to be shined on this worldwide secret so that it might help kids who are living with it today. This was about a year before Hoarders started running on A&E(Mondays at 10), so I think there is a lot more focus on the issue now.
How did you land such an impressive cover?
Ha! I'm glad you think so. Pure luck - I didn't see it until it was finished. They used a stock photo, but the girl on the cover looks a lot like I did when I was seventeen which is pretty funny.
Do you plan your writing projects, or do you sit down and start writing stories?
I try to outline, but I'm way too impatient. I usually have an idea that percolates for a month or two and then I try to do a 9 step plotting diagram(it's on my blog). Most of it is pretty seat-of-your pants writing. A lot of the time I have no idea what's coming next, which is a little scary. Revising is SO much easier.
Is your writing time spent only writing in a new project, or do you consider your editing/revisions/social networking part of that time too?
I try to break it up. I work from home, so I try to keep the morning free for answering emails and computer time. After lunch, I try to get a few hours of new writing in before the kids get home from school. I also tend to write late at night from about 11-1. When you're a writer, you're pretty much on duty all the time.
What type of genre do you enjoy reading?
I really like contemporary YA(The Mark by Jen Nadol is a great new one with a paranormal twist), although lately I've been reading some great new fantasy like Magic Under Glass by Jackie Dolamore and Ash by Malindo Lo. I mostly read YA because there's so much good stuff out there, but I'll drop everything for a new David Sedaris book.
I always said that I'd never write paranormal romance and that I'd never try a series. Never say never.
*Just for fun* If you could live anywhere in the world without the thoughts of economic status or war because this is our imaginary place where everything is perfect...where would it be?
Oooh. Tough one. If everything was perfect, I'd like to move to Nigeria because that is where my husband is from. We've only been there once and the kids don't remember it. It would be nice to give them some time with that part of the family, but it's a really difficult place to live right now.
As always, please feel free to leave comments, ask questions, etc.. For a great read you can find Dirty Little Secrets at Borders, B&N or Amazon.