Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Writer Routine Wednesday: Keri Mikulski

Hey, all!
It's the LAST week of my new blog segment: Writer Routine Wednesday, where every Wednesday I have hosted an author (hopefully new to all of you).

We got to know them better and their books as well as hear them describe their usual writing routine.
But now like all good things, it's come to an end. *sniff sniff*

But guess what? We're kicking this last WRW with a GREAT author!
So please welcome YA author Keri Mikulski today and hear about her writing routine!

Keri Mikulski is the young adult author of Head Games (Razorbill/Penguin, January 6th, 2011), Pretty Tough Books 4 - 6 (Razorbill/Penguin, 2011-2012), Screwball (Blitz, 2008), and its sequel Change Up (Blitz, 2009). Keri earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Thomas Jefferson University and a master’s degree in teaching from The College of New Jersey. A three-sport athlete in high school and two-sport athlete in college, Keri worked as a personal trainer, lifeguard, registered nurse, college instructor, and high school coach. Her over thirty articles were sold to Current Health 1 and 2, Highlights for Children, Golfer Girl, Fastpitch Forever, Softball Youth, LiveStrong, and many other publications. Keri teaches writing and lives at the Jersey Shore with her husband and daughter.
FMI check out

Thanks for stopping by, Keri!

**Describe a “typical” writing day for yourself. For example: Do you get up have your coffee, check e-mail, then write to a certain time? Do you have a set word or page goal when you do write?
This definitely depends on the season.
If it’s summertime my day goes something like
But, the school year is a totally different story. It’s chaos. I wake up early, take my daughter to school, teach, pick my daughter up after work, play, hubby makes dinner (I try to fit in 1000 words or revisions during this time, but usually end up chatting about my day with hubby), hang out with my tribe, put my daughter to bed, write some more, and pass out. Most of the time I deny myself something I want to watch on television until my word count or revision goal is done. This usually works especially if it’s a One Tree Hill Monday night.

**Do you have another job outside of writing? (Being a mommie definitely counts!!) If the answer is yes, describe how you balance the two and how much time you devote to each.
Although I’m still in the process of figuring the balancing act out, my day job is a teacher and my twenty-four-seven job is Mommy.
I’ve tried everything and after some amazing advice from a working mom, I’m settling on devoting the time I’m at school to school. The time I’m with my family to my family. And the time I’m writing to writing. But, like I said, it’s a serious work in progress.
Any tips out there?

**Are you a laptop, PC, Alphasmart, or by hand kind of writer?
Definite laptop. But, I do keep a composition book for every story I write with pics, writings, articles, and just stuff. Beth Revis just turned me on to Scribner and I’m LOVING - it’s replacing my comp book.

**Plotter or panster? If you’re a plotter, how much time do think you put into plotting before writing.
I used to be a huge panster… But, since working with my editor, I’ve become more of a plotter. I’d say I’m a cream – a half and half now. I try to plot, but I end up pansting.

**Some writers make collages or listen to or create music soundtracks for their work-in-progress? Do you do any of those or have you thought about doing one of them?
Another half and half ... I definitely use google images and magazines to picture my characters and scenes, but I’ve never completed a full collage. And I do listen to certain types of music depending on the project I’m working on, but I’ve never made a soundtrack.

**What’s your favorite book on writing?
Robert McKee’s STORY helped me tremendously with my technique and plot. And Dorthea Brande’s BECOMING A WRITER helped me to understand the creative mind, the importance of writing everyday, and how to focus. I HIGHLY recommend both books.

**What’s your favorite fiction book you’ve read so far this year?
That’s a tough one since I’ve read so many amazing novels this year.. But, I’d have to go with Sophie Kinsella’s TWENTIES GIRL. I absolutely LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book.

**What’s your favorite way to reward yourself after you’ve finished writing a book?
I allow myself one gently used handbag on Ebay.

Thanks so much for having me, Jennifer!! Xoxo

Thank YOU, Keri!
If you see a great deal on Ebay let me know! :)

Keri's new YA novel HEAD GAMES will be released January 2011!
Here's a little bit about it:
The PrettyTOUGH series is back— and this time, the girls take it to the hoop!

Taylor is calm, cool, collected, and ferocious on the basketball court. A total all-star. Not so much in real life. She may be tall, gorgeous, and an incredible catch, but just try telling her that!

And lately, Taylor doesn’t know which way to turn: The summer showcase game is almost here. Her BFF Hannah roped her into a fashion show (eek!). And she can’t decide between Zach—the super-popular, super-tall, super-off-limits basketball dynamo—and Matt—the sweet boy from her math class (who may just be dating her BFF’s older sister). It’s enough to make any girl’s head spin!

Can Taylor strike a pose, land the boy of her dreams, and win the game?

Mark your calendars!
It will be available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Also, Keri and Cyn Balog (author of SLEEPLESS) will be presenting WANNA WRITE YA? at the NJRWA conference.
Here's more about it:

Wanna Write YA?
Do you have what it takes to write for teens? Join young adult multi-published authors, Keri Mikulski and Cyn Balog as they guides participants through the world of YA. Explore genre specifications, sub-categories, agents and publishers currently acquiring young adult fiction, and much more during this introductory workshop

CONTEST: Keri has generously offered to giveaway an ARC of HEAD GAMES to some lucky commenter!

Please leave a comment below to be entered to win. The giveaway contest will run from now until Thursday 11:59PM (EST). I will announce the lucky winner this Friday!

Good luck and get into your own writing routine!


Laura Pauling said...

Sounds great! Being an athlete I love sport books that are not just about the sport! congrats!

Words A Day said...

It's great to hear how writers, especially mothers, balance life, work and writing, its still a mystery to rules for writing change as much as my plot directions!
I've never heard of McKees "Story" but Brandes book is excellent - Natalie Goldberg's Writing the Bones is wonderful too. Enjoyed the interview!

Jules said...

I enjoyed the interview and meeting Keri as a writer. Thank you for expanding my reading list :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Wendy Paine Miller said...


These have been great! I always thought acquiring an editor/agent might influence the whole pants/plot deal. Interesting answer on that one.
~ Wendy

Clarissa Draper said...

Great interview. I'm going to look up the books she recommended.


Judith Leger said...

Hi Jennifer! Love to hear about how author's routines go when they are creating their works of art.

Keri, Head Games sounds wonderful! Ah, the innocence and insecurities of youth. I'm definitely going to get this book. I have two teenagers left at home. their young lives can be heartbreaking at one time and hilarious at others.

Wishing you the best with your upcoming release!

Karen Lange said...

Always fun and interesting to see how other writers work. It challenges and inspires me:) Thanks for sharing!

Laura Marcella said...

Keri, you have such a busy day! I admire writers who are parents with day jobs and still have time to write and publish! It's amazing. Keep up the good work, and your novel sounds terrific!

T. Anne said...

Nice to meet you Keri! I hang out at eBay quite a bit myself ;) Your book has a great cover!

Terri Tiffany said...

I like seeing books for girls who are into sports since my own daughter was. Thanks for sharing about how you write--love to read it!

Patti Lacy said...

I'm gonna miss this feature.
Thanks for introducing me to Keri!!


R.M.Gilbert said...

Jennifer, this series has been so great. Thanks so much for hosting so many fabulous authors.

Keri, what a hectic life. The fact that you try to make time for everything and focus on that is great. It's the same route I try to take...though sometimes it gets away from me.

Your book sound wonderful (crossing fingers for a win on this one). Otherwise, added to my TBR list. Great to read your process. Best of luck with future publications.

Susan R. Mills said...

I can't wait to read the book. One of my back-burner projects is about a girl who plays sports. Thanks for the interview, both of you.

Robyn Campbell said...

Excellent interview. But last one?? AUGH. It can't be. I have been reading if I don't always have the time to comment. Bummer.

I can't WAIT read this one. Sounds awesome. Keri sounds awesome. :) And so do you Jennifer. :)

I got my copy of HeartBreak River yesterday. The family better leave me be tonight. I'll be occupied. Thanks J.:)

Jennifer Shirk said...

I know, Robyn! *sniff sniff*

It's been a fun segment for me too!

Carol Kilgore said...

I've loved these interviews. And I've gotten a few ideas from them, too. Maybe you'll bring them back next summer??? Hint, hint....

Jessica Nelson said...

That sounds like such a fun book! Thanks for the interview. It's always fun to learn more about authors.

Keri Mikulski said...

Thanks for having me, Jenn! I'll let you know if I spot any deals. :) xoxo

Hi, Laura!! Me too! :) We need to chat books.

Hi, Words for A Day! Thanks for stopping by. Yes, BONES is fabulous. :)

Awe, thanks, Jules! Nice to meet you too.

Hey, Wendy! Yes.. agents and editors have a way with convincing. :)

Keri Mikulski said...

Thanks for having me, Jenn! I'll let you know if I spot any deals. :) xoxo

Hi, Laura!! Me too! :) We need to chat books.

Hi, Words for A Day! Thanks for stopping by. Yes, BONES is fabulous. :)

Awe, thanks, Jules! Nice to meet you too.

Hey, Wendy! Yes.. agents and editors have a way with convincing. :)

Keri Mikulski said...

Hi, Judith!! Thanks! ;) Yes, YA is a wonderful genre. So much to work with. :)

Awe, thanks, Karen! Me too! ;)

Thanks, Laura! It's definitely a WIP. :)

Thanks, T. Anne! Gotta love Ebay for a bargain! :)

Hi, Tiffany! I agree. There is such a need for great literature for sporty girls. :)

Keri Mikulski said...

Hi, Patti! Thanks for stopping by!

Thanks, R.M.! Email me and let me know what you think. :)

Hi, Susan! Yay! :) Can't wait to read your project one day. There's not enough sporty lit. :)

Thanks, Robyn! Enjoy HR!! Love Trish and her writing. :)

Hi, Carol! I hope Jenn does too. :)

Thanks, Jessica!

Happy Wednesday! :)

Sarah Laurence said...

Great questions and responses! It was especially interesting to hear how Keri's writing process changed since working with an editor. Writing/working/being a mom is a juggling act.

I know Keri but it was nice to connect with you, Jennifer. Don't add me to the drawing since I should already be receiving an ARC to review.

Carolyn V. said...

Great interview Jen! I love the title of the book. Good luck Keri! =)

Lynda Young said...

great interview. Love the cover of Head Games too.
W.I.P. It: A Writer's Journey

Keri Mikulski said...

Hey, Sarah!! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. :) Isn't this an amazing blog? Jenn rocks. :)

Thanks so much, Carolyn! :)

Thanks, Lyn!! :)

Angie Ledbetter said...

I learn something new and interesting each time I get a peek inside another writer's noggin. Thanks.

Julie Musil said...

I love Keri's reward...the gently used handbag on Ebay. How fun!

storyqueen said...

Great interviews. I love to see how other writers balance it all!


Linda Kage said...

Hi, Keri. How nice to meet you! I love the cover of your book, and the "cream" description of your writing. How orginial.

Together We Save said...

Sounds like a great book... I am not a writer, I have always wished I could be but I just can't organize my thoughts.

blueviolet said...

She sounds so likable and I love the premise of her book. I'll have to read it to find out who she chooses!

Krysten said...

I agree the Brande book is amazing. My mom bought it for me & high school, but I didn't get around to reading it my senior year of college. Amazing.

Dawn Simon said...

I'm too late for the contest, but I wanted to comment anyway. :) I enjoyed this interview. The pics in the link were precious, by the way. I have lots of craft books, but haven't read STORY yet (though I've heard good things). You just convinced me to buy it!

Keri Mikulski said...

Thanks for visiting, Angie! :) It's so nice to connect with other writers.

Hey, Julie! I'm a handbagaddict! :) Love em!

Thanks, Shelley! It's a WIP. :)

Thanks, Linda! I thought the 'cream' description was a little weird at first, but then I thought - what the heck. :) I'm a little simile/metaphor obsessed. Are you?

Thanks, Together We Save. :)

Awe, thanks, blueviolet. :) You made my day.

I agree, Krysten! After I read it, I thought, I'm not weird anymore! Yay! :)

Hi, Dawn! Enjoy STORY. It changed my writing. :)

Keri Mikulski said...
This comment has been removed by the author.