The Secret Diamond SistersBy: Michelle Madow
As for the four main characters, there are pieces of me within each of them. Savannah, with her dreaming, optimism and desire to fit in, has bits of my high school self in her. Courtney, who is self-aware and happy to be who she is without needing the approval of her peers, has a lot of my current-day self, and she’s what I wish I had been like in high school. Peyton is the most different from me of the four, but she has my dislike of following arbitrary rules and my desire for individuality. Madison has my confidence and ambition, along with my tastes in clothes and food. From there, I took those qualities and built each character into their own person.
Time to fess up—do you have a favorite sister? How about a favorite potential hero?
Out of the four main characters, I would most like to be friends with Courtney. But the ones I have the most fun writing are Savannah and Madison. Out of the guys, Brett is definitely the one who I would most want to date. You know all of Courtney’s reasons for liking him? Well, those would be mine, too.
You’ve given those heroes a lot of room to grow. Can you spill any secrets or give us a hint of what’s to come for any of the guys?
At the end of The Secret Diamond Sisters, none of the guys are where they want to be, as they’re all trying to figure out what they want—either in life, or in their relationships. As the story continues, more secrets will be revealed that will challenge everyone, and will push them to think about where they’re going in life and with whom their loyalties lie.
What’s in store for the Diamond sisters in book 2, Diamonds in the Rough?
In Diamonds in the Rough, major secrets will be uncovered that will change everything. I don’t want to give anything away, but I hope you end up feeling completely differently about certain characters by the end of Diamonds in the Rough than you did at the end of The Secret Diamond Sisters!
What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
A writer I know once told me, “You have to write one million bad words before you write anything others want to read,” and that is so true. Writing is a skill, and like any other skill, it takes practice to improve. Experiment with different approaches to writing a novel so you can find what works best for you. I can’t write a book without outlining it in detail first, but some people like to let the story come to them as they write. There is no right or wrong way—only the right way for you.
Most importantly, above anything else, you have to write. Know what time of day you get your best writing done, and force yourself to write during that time, even if you’re not feeling “inspired.” Writing is work, and it’s not going to be fun all the time. There will be parts you will struggle with, that will frustrate you to no end and make you want to hit your keyboard, but you need to keep your end goal in mind. Set a minimum goal of how many words you can comfortably write per day, and reach that minimum five days a week. Make sure your goal per day is attainable for you—if it’s too high, it will be frustrating and will make you want to quit. And remember that even if you’re having a rough writing day, force yourself to reach that minimum. First drafts don’t need to be perfect, since you will edit it afterward.
Once you draft and edit your first book until you can’t edit it any further, write and edit a second. Your second book should be the first in a new series and not a continuation of the first book you wrote, because this will improve your chances of one of your books getting picked up by an agent. Then do the same with a third, and so on. During this time, do your research on the publishing world and submit your books to agents. If you continue to do this, if you believe in yourself and if you want it badly enough, you are giving yourself the best chance for success. Remember: the people who make it are the ones who never gave up!