Colleen Clayton and What Happens Next
What Happens Next is about Sid and her struggle to cope after the unthinkable happens. Full of wit and raw emotion, this is an excellent real read.
Please describe Sid in five words.
Sid’s a Fighter. Capital F.
Talk about the relationship between Sid and Corey, and the importance (significance) of their friendship.
I wanted to write a story in which a victim of sexual assault reclaims her sexuality and sense of desire but does so in a healthy way. I wanted to create a guy who is the ideal dreamboat; a guy who is handsome, masculine, respectful, and kind. I wanted to show young women that THIS is the way you should be treated… don’t settle for less. And for any males who might pick up my book, I wanted to show them that THIS is how you treat the love in your life. One of the things I like best about Sid and Corey’s relationship is that it unfolds over time, a six month period or so. I’m a big believer in taking the time to really get to know someone as a friend and fellow human being first.
Tell us a little about your writing process for WHAT HAPPENS NEXT.
I followed the voice and let Sid take me where she needed to go. I wrote the bulk of it in about four months. I fiddled with it endlessly, queried, got rejected, did more fiddling, queried again, etc. This went on for about two years before I signed with an agent. It was rejected by about 40 other agents first.
While writing this story, was there a moment, or a scene perhaps that caught you off guard?
The ending, in the initial drafts, was very different than it is now. I was pleasantly surprised by how the ending changed over the editorial process. The sense of closure was always there, but the plot points, and how Sid arrives at that closure changed a lot.
Is there a list of books that you always push? Something you’re currently reading that you feel you need to shout it out to the world?
FINDING GRACE and WALKING NAKED by Alyssa Brugman are two YA books that I always push. They changed my life and the way I view “voice” in writing. Alyssa also has a book coming out in 2013, yet-to-be-titled, that I had the pleasure of beta reading. It’s going to do very well, I know it. She’s very popular in Australia, her home country, and it is always my hope that American and world audiences get their hands on her work as well. Also, I love the YA books BREATHING UNDERWATER by Alex Flinn and STOLEN by Lucy Christopher, these two are stories that have stuck with me. In adult fiction, anything by Daniel Woodrell. (He writes country-noir and is an amazing contemporary American author, a national treasure, really…) Anything by Jean Shepherd and then A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES by John Kennedy Toole which, from a craft and humor perspective, is “voice” defined. Also, a collection of poems titled LETTERS TO A STRANGER by Thomas James. It makes me cry every time I read it.