Wednesday, August 26, 2015

GUESTOPIA! Interview with Candice Lemon-Scott

It is with great pleasure I bring a very special author interview straight from the Gold Coast today. Please join me in welcoming Candice Lemon-Scott to Guestopia!

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Hi Candice! Thank you so much for joining us!
Is this your first published book?

No, I had several standalone chapter books published before the Jake in Space books, as well as a school reader. I’ve also published a novel for adults, Unloched, which received a commendation in the Victorian Premier’s Awards for an unpublished manuscript before it was picked up by Odyssey Books.

Which genre?

Science Fiction.

Which age group?


Is it a series or standalone? 

Click for OptionsIt’s a six-book series.

Are you an agented author?

No, I don’t have an agent.

Which publisher snapped up your book?

New Frontier Publishing.

Do you have another job?

Yes, I own a bookstore on the Gold Coast, Big B Books.

Did you receive many, if any, rejections prior?

I received two rejections before New Frontier Publishing picked up the first book and asked me to create a series from it.
What created/what were you doing or watching when the first idea for this book sneaked up on you?

I have no idea how I ended up writing a science fiction adventure. It just evolved that way from my memory of failing my driving test numerous times (I won’t tell you how many, it’s way too embarrassing). As such, I had to learn a lot about space and the science of space travel to write this series. It’s been an exciting learning curve.

How long did you plot/plan until you started writing it?

I don’t really plan my stories out so I just started writing about this boy, Jake, who kept failing his driving test and was sent to remedial space car driving school on the Moon. The adventure developed from there. I quickly discovered I needed to learn some stuff about the Moon to write this story when he got there though so it took about a month to do all the research so I could write the book.

Once you started, did the story flow naturally or did you have to step in and wrestle it into submission?

Because there’s a mystery element involved I did have to wrestle with the story a bit so that the pieces of information were revealed at the right time and made logical sense, as much as you can in a futuristic setting where kids learn to drive space cars and use slooper goo.

How many drafts did you write before you let someone read it? Who was that someone?

Usually I only write my first draft before I read my work to my husband, and sometimes my kids if it’s appropriate for their age. Reading aloud is my process of beginning the editing process because it’s then I notice anything that needs attention, such as where the story isn’t working as it should, if there are any issues with flow and plausibility and of course picking up any poor spelling and grammar or word repetition.

How many drafts until it was published?

I did about 3-4 drafts myself, then another three with the publisher, plus a final proofread.

Has the book changed dramatically since the first draft?

The story itself hasn’t changed much but the writing style has. I originally wrote it in first person, present tense until my editor suggested I rewrite it in third person, past tense. It works much better in the new form. Oh, and Jake wasn’t called Jake originally.

Are there any parts you’d like to change even now?

Click for OptionsNo, it’s gone through enough edits and I’m now completely happy with it, phew!

What part of writing do you find the easiest?

Writing the initial story – that’s the fun part.

What part do you find hardest?

Fixing anything that’s implausible – especially when it comes to science fiction.

Do you push through writing barriers or walk away?

Push through them usually, unless it’s a problem with the overall story. If I didn’t do that I’d give up and never get anything finished.

How many projects do you have on the go at the same time?

Usually only one, or two at most. I like to concentrate all my creative energy on one project at a time once I know what story I want to tell.

Do you think you’re born with the talent to write or do you think it can be learned?

I think it’s a combination of both, like with anything. For me, I was always an avid reader and keen writer. English was my favourite subject at school and teachers often read my stories to the class. I later went on to study writing and editing though through my Bachelor of Communication/Diploma of Arts (Professional Writing & Editing) so I learned to refine and improve my writing skills then. I’m always learning to become a better writer even now too and, like everything, writing gets better with practise.

How many future novels do you have planned?

Lots! I have so many ideas that I just need the time and patience to write them.

Do you write other things, such as short stories, articles, blogs, etc?

I published several parenting articles and had a regular blog spot when my children were little. I also have a media background so I’ve written a gazillion news reports.

What’s the highlight of being published so far?
Having Jake in Space: Moon Attack listed in the Herald Sun ’12 Books Children Will Love in Christmas 2014.’

 Give me five writing tips that work for you.

1.       I must have a great character with a massive problem to deal with.

2.       I need to get inside the head of my main character and write as though I am that person.

3.       My ideas come when I get active and have a clear mind to allow the story to appear, not from sitting in front of a computer screen.

4.       I need to have a story outcome in mind as a guide but I don’t need to stick to it if things take a different direction.

5.       I have to enjoy the writing – if it’s a constant struggle, the story isn’t there yet so I need to take a break and rethink it or let it go.

And one that doesn't.

Not caring about the main character and what happens to him or her – if I don’t care, no one else will either.

Can you give us a clue or secret about the next book?

My YA novel Clearwing just received a highly commended place at the CYA Conference so I’m hoping to develop that further now.

Thank you so much, Candice! Good luck with Clearwing!

Go out an buy Jake in Space, YAtopians, it's a fantastic series for lower middle grade readers, I promise you won't be disappointed.

If you want to know more about Ms Lemon-Scott and follow the progress of her new projects, check out these links below.


And even Jake has his own website!


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