How long did it take to write your first book?
Technically, the first full-length book I wrote was a very derivative fantasy novel I started writing at the beginning of ninth grade. That one took me about seven months to write the first draft. I never went back to it because by the time I finished that draft I didn’t like it any more (with good reason).
But I’ll guess that you meant my first *published* book. GIVE UP THE GHOST didn’t come together all at once. I originally started writing it in the fall of 2004, but I only got eight chapters in when it stalled. The main characters and conflicts were the same, but I hadn’t figured out the best way for them to come together yet. There were a number of elements in that version that didn’t make it into my next attempt: for example, Cass met with all the high school ghosts at lunch and they talked together as a group; Cass had a adult ghost friend who haunted a nearby college campus and had been a professor there.
It took me several months before the missing pieces I needed fell into place in my mind, and I was ready to tackle Cass’s story again. I started the first draft toward the end of July 2005 and finished in late September–so about two months. Then there was critiquing and rewriting and more rewriting and polishing. I considered it ready for submitting to agents around the beginning of May 2006. So if you count the false start, it took a little less than two years; if you don’t, about nine months.