Take Five With Sybil Nelson

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Welcome and thanks for stopping by to help me kick off the Take Five With... series.

Today, we have Sybil Nelson, a prolific Young Adult fiction writer whom I met online several years ago. In that time, she has produced amazing work, which has drawn positive reviews.  My favourite character she’s written to date is Priscilla, a feisty seventh grader with superpowers and ‘baby twin brothers who could scare the sin off of Satan’.  That said, I'll jump in with my first question.

1.       What led you to write in the genre that you do and at what point did you realize your writing was good enough for publication?

I was a high school teacher for 9 years and I constantly got ideas for stories from my students. So it was only natural that I started writing YA.
As to publication, you never really know for sure, but when you hit different milestones you realize you're close. For example, when I got an agent, I knew I had to be somewhat good. When I sold the movie option to my book that was further validation. And now, every single review I get reinforces the fact that I'm good enough.

2.       Do you have any writing rituals?

I don't really like to use outlines to write my books but I do like to put myself on a word count schedule. When I'm in writing mode, I'll give myself a goal like 60k words in two months and then I do whatever I have to in order to stick to that. One thing that helps me personally is red wine and dark chocolate M&M's. Mmmm, the perfect writing treat.

3.       How do you find time to write, considering your hectic schedule and how long does it take you to write a novel?

I don't have time to write. I make time to write. I always carry a notebook with me in order to jot down notes and when it's time to write, no matter how tired I am, I grab another cup of coffee and put words to paper.

On average, I’d say it takes me about two months to write a first draft. But the editing process could take years.

4.       What is the next project in the pipeline?

Books 2-4 of the Priscilla the Great series are complete and I'm currently taking notes on Book 5. I'm thinking about saving that for my Nano project this year, but who knows.

 5.    What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned as a writer?

Patience. Many new authors think they written the world’s next bestseller after they've finished the first draft of their first book. I know I did. But it takes patience to hone your craft and to then break into publishing. I have by no means had that breakout success yet, but I'm building momentum and I know I will get there soon. I just have to have a little patience.
Sybil Nelson lives in Charleston, South Carolina with her husband and two children. She is currently earning her Ph.D. in Biostatistics from the Medical University of South Carolina and has completed ten Young Adult novels. She also writes under the pen name Leslie DuBois.
Feel free to leave any comments and/or questions you may have for Sybil. One lucky follower who comments will win an e-book of his/her choice from those shown above.  The winner will be announced on Saturday, March 5, 2011.


  1. Nice interview. It's always great to know a little more about other writers.

    Lynnette Labelle

  2. Lynnette and Micheal, thanks for stopping in.

  3. Nice interview Joy. I liked getting a peek into what makes Sybil tick. :)
    I've read 'Secrets of Eden' and think it's an awesome book

  4. Great interview, ladies! I wish I could wip out a first draft in 2 months. And, agreed. Patience is key. New follower and fellow crusader here, just (finally) making the rounds. Happy Tuesday!

  5. Haven't read Eden yet, Tina. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Donea Lee, thanks for dropping in.

  6. Joy, I'm always delighted to discover a new writer. Thanks for posting the interview. I'll definitely have to check out her work!

  7. I like the idea of giving yourself rewards for completing your writing task for the day. I'm going to try that. Great interview!

  8. Stacy, you should check out Priscilla. She's hilarious.

    Clarissa, I should try that too.

    Sybil, no problem. It's a pleasure.

  9. Thank you so much for introducing us to Sybil Nelson. Priscilla sounds like a great character.

  10. "I don't have time to write. I make time to write."

    I'm going to tape these lines to my computer.

    Great interview. I teach teens as well. They're great for authentic dialogue too!

  11. I like her advice, very inspiring. Patience is so important at every step of the process! Thanks for this interesting interview.

  12. Great interview. I like that you make time to write. I think it's an important distinction.

  13. Great itnerview. I loved this: "I don't have time to write. I make time to write." Brilliant :)

  14. I love author interviews! And it's wonderful to get to know Sybil Nelson. Thank you for this. : )

  15. Patience is definitely key.

    And that quote about the twins...priceless!

  16. What a great interview! Thanks for sharing! :)

  17. Wow! Thanks for all the comments. So glad you enjoyed it!

  18. Hey JL!
    Great interview here! Thanks for dropping by my blog and adding yourself on my friends list. I'm a new follower here and I look forward to reading more of your posts!

  19. I enjoyed learning about this prolific young writer. 10 books already! Wow. The Priscilla series sounds especially interesting to me. But I admired so much of what she had to say about writing.

  20. Nutschell, thanks!

    Elizabeth, Sybil is amazing. She's one of the most productive writers I know.

  21. Sybil, I admire your writing discipline. Maybe I learned something reading your story :)

    Thanks, J.L., for stopping by my blog.

  22. Thanks for such a great interview! I loved Sybil's comment that she MAKES time to write. So true. And chocolate is the perfect sidekick for writers :D

  23. Great interview I have not heard of this author before so will definitely look her up :O)

  24. Thanks to all of you for dropping in and sharing your thoughts on Sybil's interview. Tune in week after next for another author interview.


Don't be shy, I'd love to hear what you think.