NaNo Day 19: Interview with Rebecca Cao

I’m seriously falling off the NaNo bandwagon right now. A ton of stuff came up yesterday, which led to me not being able to settle down to write until 11:00 PM again, so I only got about 1.3k done.

Upside: Since it’s Tuesday, I don’t have any writing scheduled, and for the first time this semester I have a cancelled class this afternoon. So that gives me a little extra time (although I really ought to be spending that on school-related things). While I’m not likely to get the just-under-3k done today that I’d need to in order to catch up with my goal, maybe I can still pump out a couple thousand?


In order to give you a broader perspective on NaNoWriMo than you’d get from solely my experience, throughout the month of November I’m sharing interviews with various, totally awesome NaNo writers.


Today’s interview is with one of my writing friends from the University of Michigan, Rebecca Cao. Rebecca and I sort of stumbled across one another via the blog of a local bookstore last spring, and we’ve been friends ever since. She’s represented by the Irene Goodman Literary Agency and on her way to getting a book deal. All around, she is a very driven, fantastic person who I look up to greatly. Be sure to check out her blog!

Q: Is this your first year doing NaNoWriMo, or are you a veteran? What do you think of the event?

A: I believe 2011 was the first year I tried NaNo. That time, I made it a few days in to my memoir and then I gave up. So if I finish this time, it’d be my first year actually completing NaNo! I think it’s a great event to create camaraderie, but it can be hard for a first-time novelist to finish. This year, I have two novels under my belt and I’m going into NaNo with 50,000 words already written and I’m planning to add another 50,000, so it’s a lot easier than starting with a blank slate.

Q: In one sentence, what is your novel about?

A: When an 18-year-old girl discovers she’s pregnant, she chooses to raise her baby instead of attending college.

Q: Plotter or pantser?

A: Definitely pantser. I was always that student in English class who absolutely hated doing brainstorms, character sketches, and whatever other cruelty the teacher came up with. I will have a very, very vague idea of where my book is going, but mostly I just sit down and write and better things come out of that than I could have ever planned.

Q: Do you have any particular process for writing? Do you have a certain location you like to write at, or a type of tea you need in order to brainstorm, or anything like that?

A: It’s a lot easier for me to write first thing in the morning, before I’ve talked to anyone and my mind’s been clouded with other things. Obviously, that doesn’t always happen. My first two and half novels were all written while I was a full-time college student, so I wrote a significant portion of them in class. Oops. As for brainstorming, I do it unwittingly in the minutes before I fall asleep.

Q: Any writing advice?

A: There’s tons of amazing advice out there already. While I don’t agree with everything here (, some of it is just gold. Otherwise, you can check out my Creative Process series ( for my take on writing. The one thing I will say is: if you are serious about getting published, you have to treat writing as a job.


Thank you, Rebecca, for completing this interview, and thanks to you for reading!

day 19

Off to try to get enough school stuff done that I can actually write before my next class.


6 thoughts on “NaNo Day 19: Interview with Rebecca Cao

  1. Another superb blog post and interview, Julia! Whether you realize it, you are having an extraordinary month, and will be very successful in November! All of your goals will come to fruition, and the best is yet to occur in what will be a quite fulfilling month for you!


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