Tuesday 19 June 2012

Guest Post - Nina-Marie Gardner

Could you talk about your writing journey history so far with I'm Not This Girl.

I started I'm Not This Girl when I was doing my MA in creative writing at the University of London, Royal Holloway. Everyone else had most of their novels finished by the end of the course, but I pretty much spent the whole year writing and rewriting the prologue to I'm Not This Girl. The book is more biographical than Sherry & Narcotics, and I wrote the first draft in about 3 months, while I was living in my mom's basement immediately after I had returned to the US after finishing my degree--I think this was all the way back in 2006. I sent that very first draft to this big agent in London who loved it, and I spent the next 3 or 4 years writing drafts until I was thoroughly frustrated and heartbroken. Looking back, I can see how this time was really valuable as I was learning to write and craft a novel, sort of feeling my way. But the book was a mess instead of being any better by the end of that time. So in 2009 I put I'm Not This Girl aside, and wrote Sherry & Narcotics, which came out in a fast, fourth month blast. That book was immediately picked up by a publisher, and I think the wonderful reviews and response it received gave me the courage to take another look at I'm Not This Girl.

I reread the very first draft I had written of I'm Not This Girl, and for what it was, I really loved it - flaws and all. I decided to dust it off, and do a few minor edits and simply publish it myself as it was. Im Not This Girl is really the prequel to Sherry & Narcotics, so I thought it would be fun to put it out there for all the people who enjoyed Sherry--even though I'm Not This Girl is a very different book, much lighter and bit more sprawling. I like to say it is my 'first pancake' book--a little warped and misshapen, but still sweet.

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