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Christine Duval
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Archived- Promotional Q&A's > Q&A with Christine Duval - CLOSED

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message 1: by Beatriz (new)

Beatriz Velazquez | 1 comments Hi Christine, I really enjoyed reading your book. Congratulations! Are you working on a sequel? If so when can we expect it by :) I would like to know how long did it take you to complete your book? I am working on my first YA novel and it is very exciting yet intimidating for me, How did you feel when you first started to write Freshman Forty? Thank you!


message 2: by Deborah (new)

Deborah | 1 comments Christine,
What recommendations would you give to an author who wants to write in this genre? Were there books you read that were helpful?


message 3: by Holly (new)

Holly Hi Christine! Really enjoyed Freshman Forty! What is your writing process? Do you find you write better at certain times of the day or do you run to the computer when inspired? Also, how did you connect with your publisher? Looking forward to more!


message 4: by Raquel (new)

Raquel Valldeperas (raquelvalldeperas) | 25 comments Hey Christine! I'm curious about where you got your inspiration for the idea behind Freshman Forty? It was unlike any book I've read, in a refreshing way!


message 5: by Caryn (new)

Caryn Tomljanovich | 1 comments Hi Christine, I really enjoyed Freshman Forty. I have two questions. How did you weave together elements of fiction with such a strong sense of place that was based on a specific area of upstate NY? It all worked together really well. Also, what was the best use of social media in developing and promoting your book?


message 6: by Christine (last edited Aug 04, 2013 04:28AM) (new)

Christine Duval | 20 comments Raquel wrote: "Hey Christine! I'm curious about where you got your inspiration for the idea behind Freshman Forty? It was unlike any book I've read, in a refreshing way!"

Hi Raquel,
A couple years ago my dearest friend Jen announced she was pregnant and at the same time my babysitter was going off to her freshman year of college. I don't know why but I started thinking, wow, if you were newly pregnant and heading away to college, you really could hide it from people back home (I know I have a weird brain). I've had 2 kids, so I know how the weight comes on and realized Laurel could easily hide it through Thanksgiving and Christmas. Then I just let Laurel tell me her story.


message 7: by Christine (last edited Aug 04, 2013 04:35AM) (new)

Christine Duval | 20 comments Caryn wrote: "Hi Christine, I really enjoyed Freshman Forty. I have two questions. How did you weave together elements of fiction with such a strong sense of place that was based on a specific area of upstate..."
Easy...I lived up in the Finger Lakes for 4 years. It is a beautiful place when the sun is shining but there are a ton of dark, grey, cold days. You live for the sunny ones but honestly, when I was there, my mom received more than her share of phone calls from me begging to come home just to see the sun. Ultimately, the good friends I made kept me planted but it is a long, hard winter (thus easy to hide behind a big coat). I give credit to all those wineries who struggle to make a living there. This is not Napa Valley.

Regarding social media...if you have a book to promote, it is the only way to do it these days or at least the most important way to do it. Thanks to Goodreads, Ava, Laura, Derna and all the ladies here in the New Adult Book Club, Twitter, Facebook, NA Alley (a great blog to follow if you write NA), I was able to reach several thousand readers who downloaded my book in four short months.

I've worked in social media for years so I am pretty comfortable with it. Think of it as an online cocktail party. Go in, introduce yourself, and listen to what people have to say. Don't just force your book on people. It isn't only about selling. You can learn a lot.


message 8: by Christine (new)

Christine Duval | 20 comments Beatriz wrote: "Hi Christine, I really enjoyed reading your book. Congratulations! Are you working on a sequel? If so when can we expect it by :) I would like to know how long did it take you to complete your book..."

Thanks so much Beatriz! I am working on the sequel and hopefully will have it complete by December, which is when Freshman Forty is projected to be released with Bloomsbury Spark. I wrote the first draft of FF two years ago during a Nanowrimo competition (November National Novel Writing Month), where you are challenged to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Then I put it away for December, picked it back up in January and had it complete to enter into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest around the third week of that month. But it has evolved quite a bit since that version thanks to a bunch of beta readers and a really good critique group who demanded more of my characters and more from the plot. I'd recommend doing Nanowrimo if you are just starting out writing your first novel. It really is an inspiring month and around the clock, through Twitter, there is someone in the world working on their novel. I remember I used to do word sprints in the middle of the night with a girl in South Africa. We'd turn on the timer and race write for ten minutes then compare how many words we wrote. With Nanowrimo, it is all about quantity, not quality. You push yourself to write as much as you can and amazingly by doing that, you let your guard down and really surprise yourself with what you come up with. Plus, it forces you to look at your novel every day so it is always with you, you are always thinking about your characters. And, there's one right around the corner since it is an annual event. Best of luck with your project!


message 9: by Sherry (new)

Sherry One of the things that struck me about your book is the very strong and distinct voice of Laurel. She feels very real. Is she based on anyone, or a group of people, you know?


message 10: by Christine (last edited Aug 05, 2013 02:43PM) (new)

Christine Duval | 20 comments Sherry wrote: "One of the things that struck me about your book is the very strong and distinct voice of Laurel. She feels very real. Is she based on anyone, or a group of people, you know?"

She really isn't based on any one person or even a group of people. Some of the situations she finds herself in are based on real things. Not the pregnancy but the premature death of her mom, the places, the struggle to move on while her dad is building a new life with someone. I don't think there is one person out there who hasn't witnessed, whether first hand or via a good friend, someone who needs to accept a parent's new husband or wife. And the gossipy doorman...yeah.

I think the choice to write the book in first person, present tense helped to strengthen Laurel's voice. It isn't an easy way to write because everything is happening to your character while you are writing it. I was very influenced by two books when I set out to create this story: Laurie Halse Anderson's "Speak" and Julie Buxbaum's "The Opposite of Love." I loved how Laurie was able to keep Melinda quiet the whole year in a believable way when she had such a big secret to tell. And, I love the way Julie balances strong emotion and humor as her main character Emily is forced to face her fears.


message 11: by Tami (new)

Tami Charles | 1 comments Christine, first off a HUGE congrats on your success! I adore Freshman Forty and was wondering how much the story will change once published via Bloomsbury? Or will the changes be minor? Lastly, how do find the experience working with Bloomsbury? SO very happy for you!!!


message 12: by Christine (new)

Christine Duval | 20 comments Freshman Forty is now Positively Mine, slated to be re-released in December with Bloomsbury under their new imprint Spark. And, as a bonus, there will be a few more chapters! Cover reveal coming soon! Positively Mine


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