Monday, June 30, 2014

Writing Process Blog Hop: Snatched!

by Kim Van Sickler

Writer and photographer extraordinaire Ann Finkelstein tagged me for the Writing Process Blog Hop. I'm happy to play along!

What am I working on now?
Snatched in Gullybrook, a YA contemporary with an expected publication date in August 2014. I'm self-publishing my debut novel and totally enamored with the process. I LOVE taking charge and bringing my line editor (Janie Sullivan from The Center for Writing Excellence) and my cover artist (Michael di Gesu) on board to collaborate with me. I love that Dr. Jacquelyn Meshelemiah, a human trafficking expert at OSU, tells me that my book is the most realistic depiction of domestic trafficking she's ever read, and I've got to publish it now so she can make it required reading for her trafficking classes. This is how writing is supposed to be! What a rush! My heart beats faster just writing about it!

How does my work differ from others in its genre?
This book is unique in that it is told from the POV of three teenage trafficking victims. All of the "experts" told me not to write it this way. They wanted the story told in one POV, but I strongly believe that telling it from three, and dovetailing the stories together, emphasizes the trafficking nature of this crime. There are more people trafficked in the world today than at any other time in human history. And in the U.S., traffickers are getting bolder. Girls from middle and upper class families are targeted via social media, via men who pretend to care about them, via women who pretend to be concerned about them, and via children their own age who pretend to be their friends. These trusting victims are manipulated, kidnapped, and forced into a life they never dreamed could happen to them.

Why do I write what I do?
I write what captures my attention, grabs hold, and refuses to let go, like my dog with his ratty piece of rawhide he gnaws at until it's coated in saliva-y grime. My other finished novel is an MG historical fiction about an orphan who works as a muleskinner (mule driver) on the 1840s Ohio Canal. The Canal Era fascinates me, and it played a huge part in the settlement of the area where I live (Northern Ohio).

How does my writing process work?
I love research! I read, watch movies, talk to experts, and sometimes try to replicate my characters' journeys. In the case of my Ohio Canal book, I actually backpacked 110 miles of the restored canal towpath in five days, a pace not dissimilar to what my muleskinner would have done. It exhausted me! I'm also a big fan of thumbing through magazines and finding pictures of my characters as I'm brainstorming my plot. Then I flesh out biographies of them as I go along, returning to my photos frequently to stare and absorb their physical power. Pretty soon I'm dreaming about them as I know them.

Megan, the maybe lesbian and sometimes kleptomaniac.
Candace, the cheerleader.
Sissy, Daddy's little princess and shopaholic.
My major villains! Clockwise: Pimps: Tex, Iron Man, and Romeo, and Trixie: befriender of unsuspecting girls.
What about you? Share something with me about your writing process, your reading process, your process of selecting what you want to write or read about... I love hearing about other journeys.


  1. It will be required reading for the class? That's awesome! Guaranteed sales.

  2. Thanks, Kathy and Alex! I need to incorporate line edits I just received back this week, while I'm on vacation. Full speed ahead!

  3. I enjoyed your writing process. I love research as well. I am most intrigued by your book, Snatched in Gullybrook--I want to follow your progress as well as its release. If you're interested in an author spotlight on my blog, just drop by and let me know! Congratulations on such a wonderful read, I hope it goes viral!


    1. Hi Elizabeth! Sounds great! We will definitely talk!

  4. Thanks for agreeing to be tagged. I'm looking forward to both your books.

    1. Thanks for tagging me, Ann! I do love learning about how writers' write and so have enjoyed the fest...even though I did finally let it run out with my post. Time to move on to another topic!

  5. Hey, Kim...

    CONGRATS on the review... to have such interest already is AMAZING!!!!!!!! I'm so psyched about your project and still banging out the details in my head. You should hear from me early next week with COVER ideas... Can't wait to share them with you!

    Have a great 4th weekend!

    1. Yay, Michael! Can't wait!!!!!!!!! (A smiley face emoticon can not capture my huge grin!)