Demitria Lunetta On Writing The Next One

Welcome to another of my fabulous acronym-based interviews. The second novel is no easy feat, and with that in mind I put together a series of questions for debuts who are tackling the second obstacle in their career path. I call it the SNOB - Second Novel Omnipresent Blues. Whether you’re under contract or trying to snag another deal, you’re a professional now, with the pressures of a published novelist compounded with the still-present nagging self-doubt of the noobie.


Today's guest is fellow Class of 2k13 member Demitria Lunetta. Demitria is the author of the YA Sci-fi duology, IN THE AFTER and IN THE END. She holds a BA in Human Ecology and has spent countless hours studying the many ways in which people are capable of bringing about their own destruction. In case the end is near, she always carries a good book and a chocolate bar -- the two items essential for post-apocalyptic survival.

Is it hard to leave behind the first novel and focus on the second?

With your first novel you have all the time in the world to write it and the deadlines only come when you find a publisher and when you have to edit. For the second book, you have a deadline for EVERYTHING and life becomes very stressful. My second novel, IN THE END is the continuation of IN THE AFTER, so focusing on new characters/new plotline wasn’t really an issue. What was hardest was making the second book something fresh and new while also including all the things that readers liked from the first book.

At what point do you start diverting your energies from promoting your debut and writing / polishing / editing your second?

I started writing IN THE END before IN THE AFTER came out…so I was doing EVERYTHING at once. I don’t think I diverted energies from promotion, exactly, but it was important that I made sure my attention was given to everything that needed doing, which is not always easy! Usually it was my house/personal hygiene that would suffer…who needs to brush your hair when you’re stuck behind a computer all day!? But really, I knew it was time to get out when my husband started referring to my pajamas as my work uniform. 

Your first book landed an agent and an editor, and hopefully some fans. Who are you writing the second one for? Them, or yourself?

I wrote my first book for myself…and I think I’ll always write for myself. A lot of people say that they write what they want to read…and I do as well. I also have all these ideas bouncing around in my head at once, so it’s good to get them out on paper. Is it too cliché to say I write for my characters? Let’s just say I write for my sanity. I’m just happy when other people want to read the crazy-ness that pops out of my head.

Is there a new balance of time management to address once you’re a professional author? 

I never knew all the hats that a published author had to wear; writer, editor, blogger, social media queen, and giveaway guru. As I mentioned earlier, time management can be a huge issue. Now, I try to chop my day up into time segments and allot a certain amount of time to writing/editing and to promotion. I also make myself find the time to read because a) reading makes you a better writer b) I like to know what stories are out there and c) I just love it so much. I can’t imagine my life without books.

What did you do differently the second time around, with the perspective of a published author?

When you write before becoming published, you don’t know what an editor will say and what advice they will give. For my second novel, I had to think about editor input..before my editor even looked at it, which is not actually a bad thing. I learned a lot from editing my first book. I felt like the “rookie mistakes” I made on my first draft of IN THE AFTER weren’t present in IN THE END, which made the editing process a lot easier.