When Cole Gibsen isn’t writing books for young adults she can be found rocking out with her band, sewing crazy costumes for the fun of it, picking off her nail polish, or drinking milk straight from the jug — provided no one is looking.
She first realized she was different when, in high school, she was still reading comic books while the other girls were reading fashion magazines.
It was her love of superheroes that first inspired her to pick up a pen. Her favorite things to write about are ordinary girls who find themselves in extraordinary situations. For more info, visit her site here.
Let the conversation begin!
If this was your last day on Earth, what would you do?
Confession time: I’m a huge comic book nerd. If this was my last day on earth I think I would dress up as a superhero and wander the streets of St. Louis vigilante style.
From idea to completion, how long does it take to write a book?
That depends, what’s your definition of “book?” LOL. I can write three-hundred pages of absolute trash in about two months. It usually takes me another two months to get it cleaned up enough so that plot, characterization, and story arcs are recognizable.
Was it easier to write before or after you were published?
It’s actually easier for me now only because I’ve had the validation of a publishing contract so now I take my writing more seriously. Before, my internal editor convinced me that I was writing complete crap. Now that I know I can write books worthy of getting published, it’s easier to fend that internal editor off and put words on a page.
What advice would you give young writers?
Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and cannot do. I grew up in a household with a very negative influence. This person took great pleasure in telling me that I was stupid, would never go to college, and that I’d end up working in the mall my entire life. I take great pleasure in the fact that I proved them wrong on all fronts.
What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice I’ve ever received is to allow yourself to write complete garbage. Give yourself permission to write crap. Brilliance doesn’t have to flow from your fingertips every time you sit down in front of the computer. The only thing you have to produce are words.
How many words do you write each day?
My minimum goal for myself is a thousand words Monday through Friday. If I write more, great. But a thousand is the minimum. I also make sure that I take the weekends off just like I did when I worked in an office, to spend time with my family.
When are you the most productive?
Anytime, as long as I’ve had my caffeine.
What element would you add to your writing space if money wasn’t an issue?
Stan Lee. He’s my idol and my inspiration. If you follow him on Twitter you probably already know what a positive, humble, optimistic person he is. If money were no object, I’d pay him to sit in the corner and occasionally tell me, “You can do it, Cole!” That would rock.
What’s the first item on your bucket list?
I am in love with Japan and the Japanese culture. While there are so many things I want to see and do in Japan, if I ever get there, the first thing I’d want to see is an actual katana being made.
What do you do to recharge your creative batteries?
I’ll read books or comic books and I’ll make sure to stay OFF the internet. Nothing can zap your confidence more than comparing yourself to other writer’s and their publication journey.
What book was the easiest to write? Hardest?
KATANA was the easiest because it has all of the comic book elements in it that I love – action, fighting, romance – and that made it a blast to write.
BREATHLESS was completely opposite because I suffer from depression, and it was during one of my “dark times” that I wrote it. Edith has a very negative influence in her life – one I could relate to when I was a teen – and it spirals her into hopelessness and despair – all very real emotions that I dealt with as a teen and continue to struggle with today. While it was a hard book emotionally to write, it was very therapeutic.
Do you let anyone read your work-in-progress?
Oh my goodness, no! And it’s not because I believe my work to be top secret. It’s because I write the majority of my first draft using the Write or Die software with the backspace disabled. This means I can’t go back and correct anything I’ve written (including spelling errors) which means most of my first draft reads like alien script. It’s not pretty.