With the arrival of 2021, my debut year has ended and it’s time to get to know a new group of debut authors. Luckily for all of us, the Class of 2021 is an impressive class indeed. These authors have so many fabulous books coming out this year I’m going to need a whole new wall of bookshelves to hold them all.
Today, I am thrilled to feature a Q&A with one of those talented 2021 debut authors—who also happens to be my agent sibling—Aggie Blum Thompson.
I can relate to so many of her answers here, especially about trying to carve out some time to write when your entire family is home because of the pandemic. Might be time to get myself a pair of noise cancelling earphones too! 🎧
After you finish reading Aggie’s interview, please click the link at the bottom to pre-order your copy of I DON’T FORGIVE YOU. If you don’t, you’ll never forgive yourself. 😉
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I can’t remember ever not wanting to be a writer! I was one of those kids who was writing poems, stories, and plays in elementary school. In high school I wrote a scandalous novella in middle school and revealing all the secrets of seventh grade. I put basically everyone I knew in it. It was a hit at school, until it was confiscated in biology class.
What was the first thing you did when you found out you were getting published?
I started to cry, but in a good way! I was on the phone with my agent and I remember writing in hug block letters on a yellow legal pad, I AM GETTING PUBLISHED. Then I called my husband.
How long did it take you to write your debut novel?
It took about two years. But that was the fourth novel I’d written and tried to get to published, so my journey is just a wee bit longer than just those two years!
What does your writing schedule look like?
Oh, boy. In an ideal world, as soon as I get back from my morning walk with my dog, I settle in and get three solid hours of writing done. Then I break for lunch and am back at my desk for another few hours. In reality, life always seems to intervene. Especially now, with the COVID quarantine, and my kids and my husband being home all the time, I’m lucky if I can make it to my desk to get one uninterrupted hour! I’ve become a master of carving out time and space for myself – noise canceling earphones help too.
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk or habit?
My most interesting quirk or habit would probably be my color-coordinated drafting process. I write a skeletal rough draft on the computer and print it out, but then I do the real writing by hand. I curl up on the couch with coffee and colored pens and begin marking up my manuscript. Little changes are made on colorful sticky notes but large sections that need to be rewritten are done so on special yellow graph paper, which I order in bulk. What results is a messy, coffee cup-stained, colorful, and bursting at the seams piece of art. Something about the tactile nature of it makes me very happy. Color makes me happy, and I love the physical act of writing by hand, which seems to access a different part of my brain.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your books?
How much of the book emerges while rewriting, or editing, it. At this point, I have come to trust the process, and I feel less discouraged by an anemic or weak first draft. I know now that it will get better as I revise, because I will strengthen and deepen it with each pass.
What is your biggest writing-related dream?
My biggest dream has always been to walk into some wonderful independent bookstore with my family, and see my book for sale on the table! I want my daughters to be able to hold in their hands this thing their mom has worked so hard on. I would also love to be somewhere far away, at a beach on vacation, or on the subway in another city, and see someone reading my book. That would be too cool.
ABOUT I DON’T FORGIVE YOU
An accomplished photographer and the devoted mom of an adorable little boy, Allie Ross has just moved to an upscale DC suburb, the kind of place where parenting feels like a competitive sport. Allie’s desperate to make a good first impression. Then she’s framed for murder.
It all starts at a neighborhood party when a local dad corners Allie and calls her by an old, forgotten nickname from her dark past. The next day, he is found dead.
Soon, the police are knocking at her door, grilling her about a supposed Tinder relationship with the man, and pulling up texts between them. She learns quickly that she’s been hacked and someone is impersonating her online. Her reputation―socially and professionally―is at stake; even her husband starts to doubt her. As the killer closes in, Allie must reach back into a past she vowed to forget in order to learn the shocking truth of who is destroying her life.
ABOUT AGGIE BLUM THOMPSON:
Before turning to fiction, Aggie Blum Thompson covered real-life crime as a newspaper reporter for a number of papers including The Boston Globe and The Washington Post. Aggie is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers, and serves as the program director for the Montgomery County chapter of the Maryland Writers Association.
For the past nine years, she’s lived with her husband and two daughters in the suburbs of Washington D.C., which has afforded her a front-row view of suburban intrigues and helicopter-mom Olympics. I Don’t Forgive You is her debut novel.
Author Website: www.AggieBlumThompson.com
Facebook: Aggie Blum Thompson Author
Publisher’s website: Macmillan Books