The time I didn’t have a title

Posted June 12, 2015 by Stacee in Signings | 4 Comments

I saw the event for Lindsay Cummings and Stephanie Diaz about two weeks after I had finished reading The Murder Complex. After that wretched cliffhanger ending, I knew I had to get my greedy hands on book 2. Bonus points for getting it signed.

Hubs and I got down to Mysterious Galaxy just after 6pm. This was the first time he had been at the new store and I was trying not to herd him to all of the best sections.


They set up the chairs around 7 and we quickly grabbed front row. And then settled in to wait.  Keiko got to MG around 7:15 and Hubs gave up his seat so we could sit together. Lindsay and Stephanie got there right at 7:30 and they started with talking about their books, then sort of did an in-conversation type thing.


S: How did you come up with the idea?

L: I wanted to try to murder someone. I wrote this when I was 19 and I read an article where all of these deaths were taking place in a small town. I was bed ridden for 2 years for chronic fatigue and I was pissed off at life and I decided to kill everyone.

S: I’ve always been obsessed with space. {there was a lot more to this answer}

L: Should I ask you a question now? Do you write full time?

S: I do now.

L: See, this is what it’s like to be an author.  It’s always like “should I take a shower?” “Should I wash my hair?” “Should I ask you a question?”

S: My writing schedule is so bad. Well, not really. I’m working on something now. But sometimes I just want to binge watch things on Netflix. {This prompted an entire conversation to be had about what they like to binge watch}

L: Coming to book signings are so fun because it’s all a bunch of nerds.  You just mention Netflix and everyone is like “Oooooh.”

S: So yeah. My schedule. I’m trying to force myself to start and then be done writing by 5pm, but I take a lot of breaks.  Like I’ll go to the library or just leave the house.


S: Which book was the hardest to write?

L: This book sucks. I mean it’s good now, but I had to rewrite this book 5 complete times. Not like “just fix this section”, like “this is terrible.” And then I cried and wrote a second one. Then that one wasn’t acceptable and then cried and started a third one.

My first book was rejected 120 times.  When I was about to write the book for the fifth time, I took out that first book and sort of reworked it and they were like “we love it”. So what is now The Murder Code was the first book I ever wrote.

S: I was told by two different agents to develop it, but then a different agent said it was good. The hardest one was the third book. I have the hardest time with beginnings. I’ll rewrite them like 100 times.

L: Writing is a lot harder than people realize. Like 1 out of 10 days I’ll feel creative and maybe 1 out of a million sentences are great.

If you could be any character that you made up, who would it be?

L: I would be the boy character because it would be awesome to wake up and not have to do my hair. But I would like to be Zephyr’s head because he’s sort of an assassin.  Wait.  What am I even saying?

S: The worlds we write are sort of horrible, so I don’t want to be any of them. There’s a girl named Skyler and she’s a pilot and she’s pretty cool.


How did you go from deciding to write a book to where you’re at?

L: The first thing you have to realize it that people are going to tell you no and you have to say no right back. My dad is a non-fiction writer, but I never read it. I have a friend who was self-published and she told me to go to a writing conference and I went. It was sort of a crash course on how it happened.

S: I tried getting published at 11. I started querying at 11 and it was historical fiction and it’s horrible. My older sister was also trying and I got tips from her, but a lot of it was internet research. I had a lot of people critiquing it. It wasn’t until the 3rd book, which is Extraction, that I got an agent. So I racked up a lot of rejection letters.

L: Even after getting an agent, you’ll still get rejections.

S: We’ve both written a sci-fi western type book and both of our publishers said no, so we’re both looking at other publishers.

L: Even when you’re a NYT best seller, they can tell you no.  Like Beth Revis.  She wrote an amazing NYT best selling series and wrote a different book and her publisher passed on it.

Was there a scene in the book that you hated writing?

S: There’s a death in evolution that I had been planning from the beginning, but when I got to it, it was bad.

L: There was a death in The Murder Complex that I was bummed about. I loved her and she was the comic relief, so of course she had to die.


What are you reading now?

S: I read more books when I’m on deadline. I just read An Ember in the Ashes and The Wrath and the Dawn and More Happy than Not.

L: I’m on a gothic kick, so I’m on the third book of Maureen Johnson’s series.

What book do you wish you could read first again for the first time?

Both: Harry Potter.

Do you outline?

L: I also have a middle grade series and I have to outline for that because it’s a crazy intricate thing. I hate outlining. I send the publisher an outline, but the book they get has absolutely nothing to do with it. It’s like wearing a bra that is too tight.  And I’m sure that every man in the audience can relate to that.

S: I also hate outlining, but I’m sort of a mix. I wasn’t planning on it being a trilogy. I had a paragraph for each book and that’s it.  So, I’ve gotten better at it.


What is your education background?

L: None. I didn’t go to college. {Asks husband:} How long did we go to college? 5 days? Maybe a semester? We met in collage and I just didn’t want to go to class.  I just wanted to hang out with him. I don’t have a degree or anything, but I was good at English.

S: I went to SDSU and studied film. I like screenwriting, but it’s really about reading and writing.

L: The more you read, the better you’ll be as a writer.  There’s nothing more satisfying than reading a great line and wanting to write something better.  It’s very motivating.

Is there any way you get in touch with your character?

S: I have soundtracks that I listen to, a lot of movie soundtracks.

L: I interview my characters. I’ll write things like what’s your favorite gum or hair style. Stupid questions like that will get the background. And then I’m all over Pinterest.

S: To an extent, I think everyone gets inspiration from the people they know. I try not to do too much of that, but sometimes I’ll use someone’s name and then I’ll kill them.

L: I get inspiration from movies. I watched Hanna and she’s literally Meadow, so I watched that like 20 times.


Have you met before?

L: never in person before.

From there, it was time for the signing. I was sitting right were the line started, so I was able to be first. I got up to Lindsay and Stephanie was showing Lindsay some text messages she had just gotten.  When Lindsay started signing, she asked if I had been to MG before and I said yes.  She said the store was really nice.

l1 x az

After that, I chatted with Keiko for a few minutes before heading home to pack for San Francisco. As always, the staff at MG was awesome. Lindsay and Stephanie were chatty and giggly and definitely amusing to watch.

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4 responses to “The time I didn’t have a title

  1. Yay :D I love this post Stacee. <3 Both authors seems amazing. So glad you got to meet them both :) Sounds like an awesome event. <3 Thank you for sharing about it :) And yay for signed books. <3

  2. OMG THIS LINE: “Writing is a lot harder than people realize. Like 1 out of 10 days I’ll feel creative and maybe 1 out of a million sentences are great.”

    I’ve always loved writing. It’s my passion. It’s my life. But L. C. nailed it on the nose. I want to cry. LOL

    This is a great interview. I just got a new inspiration. I love Lindsay Cummings for not giving up despite being rejected a lot of times. She’s giving me hope! ;)

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