Jodi Meadows is the author of the INCARNATE Trilogy, the ORPHAN QUEEN Duology, the FALLEN ISLES Trilogy (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen), and the NIGHTRENDER duology (Holiday House). She is also a coauthor of New York Times bestsellers MY LADY JANE, MY PLAIN JANE, and other books in the Lady Janies series (HarperTeen). She lives in rural Virginia. Her latest book, DAWNBREAKER, hits shelves next week! We’re so excited to have Jodi on the Ready Chapter 1 blog today to talk all things writing and publishing!
Hi! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your upcoming novel, Dawnbreaker?
My name is Jodi; I’m an author who really likes to knit, spin, and weave. I also think I’m getting pretty good at taking nice photos of my cats.
DAWNBREAKER is the second book in a duology. The first is NIGHTRENDER, about three kingdoms locked in endless war, an ancient evil rising, and a champion sworn to protect the people who betrayed her. There’s arranged marriage, soulmates, and scary (but not too scary!) reality-bending magic.
Without giving any spoilers, what are you most excited for in Dawnbreaker?
I wrote it, so I’m not able to give a totally impartial answer to this question. But my totally flippant answer is . . . the cows. You will see.
What did your road to publishing look like when you were trying to get your debut novel, Incarnate, out into the world?
My road to publication was paved with rejection. INCARNATE was my first published novel, but it was the seventeenth one I wrote. I had a lot to learn about writing, publishing, and — frankly — myself. While it was emotionally difficult to wait so long for someone to say yes to one of my books, I’m glad it happened that way. I was forced to become a better writer.
You’ve co-written two series (The Lady Janies and The Marys) with authors Brodi Ashton and Cynthia Hand. What is the process like writing with two other people? (i.e. do you each write from a certain characters’ perspective?)
The short answer is yes, we each choose a character and write from their viewpoint. When we plan our books, we write an outline and have “rounds” — like A, B, C, A, B, C. Each character gets a turn, then we start over. That way, they all get equal page time. And (under ideal circumstances!), we can each write a chapter a day, following the outline.
After we revise our own chapters to make them work right, we read through the whole book together to make the voice uniform and ensure the transitions between characters are good.
How do you ensure you end up with one cohesive work when co-authoring a book?
That’s all baked into our process. And we work really hard to go over the book again and again to make sure it reads smoothly. We talk about the characters, discuss their motivations, and really get a feeling for one another’s characters, too. While we are individually responsible for our own characters and chapters, the work doesn’t stop there. We go over the book as many times as it takes for it to read seamlessly.
You’ve written quite a few series. What does your planning process look like for writing a story that spans two or three books? Do you always know how the series will end, or do you find out as you go along?
Ideally, I know where the story ends. In practice . . . that can sometimes change.
I used to write by discovery, with only a few milestones to get me from point A to point Z. But when I was beginning to write INCARNATE, I decided I would plan that one. So I wrote a synopsis for the entire trilogy. (After edits on the first book, quite a lot changed in the second and third books. But the notes did give me something to work with.)
Now I plot all of my books, for the most part. It helps me to have a strong idea of where I’m going, especially since I don’t usually have time to make a lot of wrong turns these days. Deadlines just won’t allow for it.
Of course, there are still plenty of discoveries along the way. That’s one of the fun parts about writing!
Can you provide links to any websites or social channels you’d like readers to follow?
My website is www.jodimeadows.com
My newsletter is https://jodimeadows.substack.com/
And my insta/threads username is @unicornwarlord
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