My book, THE HONEST TRUTH, is about a boy who runs away from home with his dog to climb Mt. Rainier. He runs away because he learns that the cancer that he’s been fighting for years has returned, and he doesn’t want to go back into the hospital for more treatments. Yes, it is my debut novel. Not the first book I wrote, but the first book that was good enough to get published!
Are you a plotter or a free writer?
I am definitely a hybrid. I usually have a rough outline in my mind (very specific in places), and a solid handle on characters, themes, beginning and ending. Philosophically I agree with the idea of really sitting down and outlining and planning and getting it all together before starting to write, but I can never seem to actually do it. I like the freedom and flexibility of not having a strict outline, but I do know that structure can suffer and that it almost guarantees a lot more heavy work during the revision stages. Honestly, I’m working at doing a better job of doing some good foundational pre-writing stuff in the projects I’m starting now. But I think I’ll always be a happy mix of forethought and inspiration.
Is your book part of a series or a standalone?
It is definitely a stand-alone. I’ve thought a little bit about a sequel, but I don’t think it’s in the cards. I am working on outlining a series right now (see my above answer!), though, and that is really a whole different kind of challenge!
Do you require silence when writing or do you listen to music?
Sometimes music and sometimes silence…but, if there’s going to be music, I’m picky about it. It has to match the mood of what I’m writing (I have some very well-developed playlists I’ve curated for different moods) and it has to have absolutely no words. If the music has any words they crowd into my head and push out whatever words I’m writing. And I CANNOT write in public, like a coffee shop. I’m way too easily distracted…I’ll sit there for two hours and get about ten minutes of writing done.
Are you writing your next book? Can you share a little about it?
My second book is called SOME KIND OF COURAGE, and it’s going to come out in January 2016 (right around the corner!). It’s historical fiction, set on the frontier in 1890, and is about an orphaned settler boy on an epic cross-country adventure to get his beloved horse back. I’m really excited for it to come out. And, of course, I’ve also got several other projects percolating in my head: a couple of stand-alone ideas, and the series I mentioned above. I’m going to start writing one of them in September…I’m just waiting to see which one I get most excited about!
How long were you writing before getting a publishing contract?
Like so many people, it was a long time. I work full time and have three kids, so my writing time is pretty darn limited (but I’m cutting back to working only half time starting in September, so I’ll soon have a lot more time to write). I wrote four books before THE HONEST TRUTH, and they’re all pretty terrible. But I learned and got better with each one. I queried and submitted those projects for years, plus a couple of picture books, so I had plenty of rejections. By the time I sold THE HONEST TRUTH (which, thankfully, sold quickly), I’d racked up exactly 99 rejections over 8 years! I finally got my “yes” on the 100th query!
When does your book release?
My second book, SOME KIND OF COURAGE, will be published on January 26, 2016.
Dan Gemeinhart is the author of The Honest Truth, a debut middle-grade novel that was a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection, an Indie Next List selection, and an Amazon Best Book of the Month. A teacher-librarian and the father of three daughters, he lives with his family in Washington state. His website is dangemeinhart.com, and he can be found on Twitter @dangemeinhart and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/dangemeinhartbooks