Today the YA Buccaneers are thrilled to welcome Dawn Klehr, author of the YA thriller THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR, which will be released on Tuesday, October 8, 2013.
I'm fortunate to have known Dawn for several years, first as a serendipitous critique partner through the Minnesota chapter of SCBWI, and since as both a CP and a close friend. Dawn is amazing. She's extremely well-read, intelligent, intuitive, and so very generous with her time and advice - on writing and publishing. Huge thanks to Dawn for taking time out of her day to answer our questions here.
Without further ado:
Dawn Klehr began her career in TV and though she's been on both sides of the camera, she prefers to lurk behind the lens. Mostly, she loves to get lost in stories - in film, the theater, or on the page - and is a sucker for both the sinister and the sappy. She's currently channeling her dark side as she works on her next book.
Dawn lives in the Twin Cities with her funny husband, adorable son, and naughty dog. THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR is her debut YA novel.
THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR
Behind-the-scenes secrets could turn deadly for Desmond and Riley.
Life in the Heights has never been easy for seventeen-year-old Riley Frost, but when she's publicly dumped and outed at the same time, she becomes an immediate social outcast at her high school. So Riley swears off romance and throws herself into solving the shocking murder of her favorite teacher, Ms. Dunn.
Riley turns to her best friend, budding filmmaker Desmond Brandt, for help. What she doesn't know is that Dez has been secretly directing her life, blackmailing her friends, and hoping his manipulations will make her love him. When his schemes go too far, Dez's web of lies threatens to destroy both of their lives.
Sara Biren: What inspired you to write THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR?
Dawn Klehr: It all started with my protagonist, Riley. She was a character in one of my other manuscripts and I was dying to know more about her. The novel actually started as a love story. But as I began to discover her world, Dez showed up and all my plans were shot to hell.
SB: THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR is both Riley's story and Dez's. Tell us about writing from a dual POV and capturing the voice of both male and female characters.
DK: Dez was much easier to write for me. I think that was because his motivation was clear from the very first page. There things, however, that I needed to ask my husband to ensure Dez's believability - like what would Dez notice about Riley physically? When would he react and when would he hide his feelings? I continued to ask questions like that throughout the process. Riley was more difficult to write because what she wants changes during the story. Her journey is much more complicated.
SB: Tell us a little bit about your path to publication.
DK: With or without tears? Just kidding. My road to publication wasn't that bad. I've played around with writing since I was a kid, but the moment I got serious was about six years ago. I basically went into hiding for a year and did nothing but read, write, and play with my son. I was also freelancing at the time, but kept my work to a minimum. Then I joined writing organizations, found critique partners, and did another two years of solid writing. After this time, I had a manuscript to query.
Well no, not really. The manuscript wasn't ready, but that didn't stop me from querying. I would not recommend it - very foolish. Thankfully, I was also revising the entire time I was querying. Amazingly (or not), once the manuscript was ready, I got an offer of representation. Unfortunately, that book didn't sell. So I spent another year writing another book - that was THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR. We had interest pretty early on in the submission process and a year later, here we are. So it went slow and then really, really fast.
SB: What did you love most about the process of getting your book into print?
DK: It is very rewarding to having something tangible after years of writing. A real book! Watching the designers come up with an amazing cover, working with editors, all of it has been incredible.
SB: What was most challenging for you?
(Editor's note: Word.)
SB: Switching gears for a moment - what is the best book you've read in 2013?
DK: I thought Gone Girl was fabulous. I think I read it in 2013. I'm not sure. It's been a crazy year.
SB: What upcoming release(s) are you most looking forward to?
DK: Carrie Mesrobian's Sex and Violence looks fantastic. Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Pirouette by Robyn Bavati looks really cool as does Backwards Glass by David Lomax. Chasing Shadows by Swati Avasthi.
SB: THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR has such wonderful cinematic elements to it. What are some of your favorite films?
DK: My favorite films are a combination of Dez's and Riley's tastes. I love sinister movies like The Godfather, Reservoir Dogs, and Seven. And the sweet, such as The Wizard of Oz, The Sound of Music, It's a Wonderful Life, and My Fair Lady.
SB: Your sinister film favorites are more contemporary while your sweet faves are all classics from the late 30s to the 60s. Is there any particular reason for that, do you think?
DK: That is so interesting. I have no idea why. Maybe the sweet of today doesn't appeal to me as much. I'm not sure why. I loved Shakespeare in Love, Love Actually, and such, but even those are several years old. Hmmmm.
SB: If you could share one piece of advice with unpublished writers, what would it be?
DK: Keep going - keep learning and reading and writing and growing!
Great advice - and it certainly paid off you, Dawn! Thanks once again for sharing your story with us and best of luck with your release!
Connect with Dawn:
THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR will be available on Tuesday, October 8, 2013. Buy it here:
AND! Dawn is holding a book trailer contest during the month of October. Check out this video and all the details on Dawn's blog.
Dawn has offered a copy of THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR for this month's Treasure Chest. Be sure to enter for your chance to win!