Welcome Akemi Dawn Bowman to Introvert Problems! Akemi is the author of Starfish and the upcoming Summer Bird Blue (Fall 2018). She’s a proud Ravenclaw and Star Wars enthusiast, who served in the US Navy for five years and has a BA in social sciences from UNLV. Originally from Las Vegas, she currently lives in England with her husband, two children, and their Pekingese mix. She is represented by Penny Moore of Empire Literary.
1.Congratulations on the upcoming release of Starfish! Describe your road to publication.
Thank you so much! It took me four manuscripts to find an agent. While we were on sub with a YA sci-fi, I wanted to keep myself busy and work on a new project. I chose something that was completely different than anything I had ever written before (a contemporary!), and my agent loved it so much that we sent it out on submission while we were still waiting on news about the YA sci-fi.
STARFISH ended up finding a home at Simon Pulse a handful of months after that in a two-book deal. It was a lot of hard work, a lot of writing and re-writing, and a lot of sheer stubbornness. When agents would reject a manuscript, I kept telling myself I hadn’t written the right book yet and would try again with something new. Eventually, it paid off!
I spent a lot of my childhood feeling really lonely, so in a way, writing characters was like writing my own friends. It was an outlet for me, and it allowed me to sort of live out my dreams. I have social anxiety like Kiko, and similar to the way Kiko expresses herself through her art, I’ve always expressed myself through story-telling. So, in a lot of ways, my inspiration to write came from simply wanting to feel like I existed.
3. What does your writing process look like? Are you a plotter or pantser?
Maybe a little of both? I have a three-year-old and a one-year-old, and it’s become significantly harder for me to find structure with my writing. I try to be flexible, but still write a little every day. And every book I write seems to need something different. With my contemporaries, I did significantly less plotting. They’re emotion-driven, and a lot of the story revolves around the characters learning about themselves and working through complicated feelings. I find it easier to learn about them as I’m writing, rather than trying to understand them ahead of time. When I’m writing fantasy or sci-fi, I tend to have way more notes that help keep me on track with world-building. I don’t feel like I can be as flexible with the story, and I need at least a rough outline. So yeah, I’m a little of both, and it depends on the manuscript!
4. What’s your advice for new writers?
You can’t write the book that pleases everyone. It’s impossible. So, stay true to yourself and write the book that’s in your heart. And have patience! “Overnight success” is often not what it seems, and there is a lot of waiting up ahead. Try to be patient, and always stay focused on writing the next book.
5. What is your dream project?
I wish someone at Marvel or DC would let me write a YA superhero/villain origin story! I mean seriously, if I could write a book about Rogue? Or Poison Ivy? I’d be in heaven.
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