Kelly Fiore On Writing the Second Novel

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 Kelly Fiore. Kelly has a BA in English from Salisbury University and an MFA in Small Spiral Notebook, Samzidada, Mid Atlantic Review, Connotation Press, and the Grolier Annual Review. Her first young adult novel, Taste Test, was released in August 2013 from Bloomsbury USA. Forthcoming books include Just Like the Movies, again from Bloomsbury, in 2014 and The People Vs. Cecelia Price from HarperTeen in 2015.
Poetry from West Virginia University. She received an Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council in 2005 and 2009. Kelly’s poetry has appeared in

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

Um, no. Not at all.

I always thought I’d want Taste Test to be a trilogy or a series but, frankly, I think I do better with starting fresh. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t write a sequel – I would. But I don’t miss the characters or feel like I’ve left anything unfinished. Part of that is because my lovely editor (Mary Kate Castellani, Bloomsbury USA) helped me tie up the loose ends. I feel satisfied with the ending and that makes it easier to move on.

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

My second book was due to my editor about 3 months before my first book was even released, so I can’t really answer that question. However, I can say that I’m in a weird limbo now between promoting Taste Test (out last summer) and promoting Just Like the Movies (out this summer.) I’m trying to balance my focus. For example, my in-person events are usually Taste Test focused because that is the book that is currently available, but my giveaways are all Just Like the Movies focused to drum up interest in the book.

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

This is a great question. I would say that I wrote Just Like the Movies for a combination of people. First, for my 16 year-old self. I was just like my main character, Marijke, in high school. I believed in true love and the “movie-like” happily ever after’s. I also wrote JLTM for my best girl friends, two of whom have been my BFFs since childhood. 

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

Absolutely. I think the reason I’m able to write as much and as often as I do is because I am methodical in my plotting and drafting. I do long synopses and chapter by chapter layouts for myself before I ever start the actual writing. I think that sort of organization allows for me plan and then work more efficiently.

I will say, however, that when I left my teaching job to write full time, I thought it would be so that I could write during the day and spend nights and weekends with my family. But I’ve been writing for nights and weekends for so long that I’ve had a really hard time kicking the working at night habit.

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

I would say that I’m far less nervous about things I can’t control. I’m also trying to only do things I really enjoy – I like blog posts and interviews and such, so I’m certainly doing those. But I’m trying not to stress about logistics, like sales. The truth is that whatever happens is what is going to happen. I will do everything in my power to pimp my book, but my power is limited. It is important for any artist not to equate their talent or skill to money or sales figures. (I know, it’s easier said than done.)