Aspiring Author 101: Famous in Love's Rebecca Serle on Putting Yourself Out There

Aspiring Author 101: Famous in Love's Rebecca Serle on Putting Yourself Out There

Do you have dreams of becoming a novelist? Aspiring Author 101 is a new feature on where we dive into the nitty gritty of writing a novel with some of our favorite, successful YA authors.

First up is author Rebecca Serle – the brains behind the popular Famous in Love series – who also happens to write for the Freeform television adaptation of her book.

We talked with Rebecca about everything from where she writes, what books she recommends, and what advice she has for aspiring young novelists like you!

Be sure to pick up your copy of Famous in Love.

JJJ Aspiring Author 101 – Rebecca Serle

What’s one book everyone should read at some point? Stephen King‘s On Writing. It’s the best book on process that I’ve ever encountered. It’s the No. 1 piece of advice I give to someone who asks me for advice about writing. I also think it’s just a great life book. And because it’s Stephen King, it’s a page-turner.

One book you’ll never get tired of reading? Harry Potter. God knows how many times I’ve read Harry Potter (laughs).

Hardcover, paperback or digital copies? It’s different for different things. I’m a big memoir person and I love to read memoir. So Patti Smith’s memoir, Diane Keaton‘s memoir, I have all of those in hard cover. And most of them are signed, which is pretty cool. That’s the fun thing about living in New York. They all come to the Barnes and Noble in Union Square, so I get to go. Books like that I have in hard cover. I prefer to read in the flesh, but because I travel so much – I’m back and forth between New York and L.A. constantly – I do use my iPad a lot. I use everything. I get a lot of paperbacks [too].

Click inside to read the rest of our Q&A with Rebecca Serle…

What items do you need to have in reach while cranking out pages? Decaf coffee. Earbuds – I like to play music when I write. And snacks. Writing hungry? Would not recommend it.

What kind of music do you write to? Everything. I recently finished 13 Reasons Why and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever seen…it blew my mind. The last few days I’ve been writing to the 13 Reasons Why soundtrack. It depends on the scene. If I’m writing romance, sometimes I’ll listen to 90s R&B. I’m working on something now that’s very different for me, so I’ve been playing around with genres.

Endings – happy, sad, or ambiguous? Here’s the thing, when I’m reading YA – people always ask “What defines a YA novel?” It is the protagonist being young? Well, no because there are plenty of adult novels who feature young protagonists – I think it’s really the idea that there’s some form of redemption at the end. The story sort of bends toward the light…I guess I prefer a happy ending? I’m a pretty optimistic, sunny person. So yeah, I prefer some happiness. Why not? Life is hard.

Who is your go-to person when you’re having writer’s block or need advice? I’m very lucky in that I have a lot of author friends who do what I do. My friend Lexa Hillyer who has a book coming out called Spindle Fire is someone I go to a lot. My friend Lauren Oliver, who’s published a ton of books. She’s amazing. I go to her frequently. My friend Leila Sales, another YA author. And then new people in the television industry. My friend Carina MacKenzie, who writes on The Originals. And Julie [Plec, creator of The Originals] has been wonderful to me. I’m lucky I have some good people to call.

Best advice for someone who wants to write a novel someday? I would say if you want to write a novel and work in publishing, move to New York. If you want work in Hollywood, move to L.A. The No. 1, most important thing is put yourself in the line of fire. Be in the place where it’s happening. I began my career here in New York and the reason why I’m published is not because I went to graduate school to learn how to write. It’s because I was going to every “drinks night,” and meeting agents and editors. I was going to every reading. I was really putting myself out there. I would say the same thing in TV. It’s really important to be in the space where it’s happening.

Famous in Love airs Tuesdays @ 9/8c on Freeform.

- Reporting by Sharon Tharp (@sharontharp)

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