016 – Cristin Terrill – YA Author

For this week’s episode I was lucky to get a twice published YA author by the name of Cristin Terrill. She is the writer of All Our Yesterdays and Here Lies Daniel Tate.  Both books are fantastic reads and I recommend checking them out.

Cristin talks about how her mother kept telling her to write novels for a living, because, you know, she needed a more stable job. And while that may not make complete sense, her mom was on to something. She talks about the entire process of trying to get published from writing the manuscript, to queries, to getting an agent, and then the long wait to actually getting published.

There are some parallels to screenwriting and some noteworthy differences. Cristin and I go way back to when I worked at summer camp and the mood is quite fun and conversational. I hope you enjoy listening as much as I did talking about her journey…err…I mean, path to being an author.


The epic typo from All Our Yesterdays


EMAIL: eclipsethescript@gmail.com



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  • Kirk Diggler

    Enjoyed the show. It’s good to hear about writing outside the world of screenwriting. And it’s clearly just as competitive and as much a grind as writing film/tv scripts.

    I have a few questions for your guest Cristin, assuming of course that she will check the comment section.

    I recently started playing around with Scrivener. I’m curious if that’s what she uses to writer her novels? If not, which program does she prefer?

    Also, is there a contract template that she can reference for her book agreements/contracts? I have an opportunity to write a book and am looking for information on contracts.

    • andyjaxfl

      FADE IN software has a really user-friendly and intuitive novel manuscript template. I tried Scrivener in the past and the effort it took to learn how to do any formatting just wasn’t worth it to me.

      • Kirk Diggler

        It’s not that bad really. A few Youtube tutorials covered the basics. It’s not perfect either, as i can’t find a way to actually write ‘in format’…. in other words, I can only format what I’ve written by compiling a PDF and seeing how the page breaks came out. Which is not good.

        • andyjaxfl

          Ugh, that sounds like too much work and is one of the reasons why I bailed on Scrivener after a few weeks of experimenting.

      • Cristin Terrill

        I can’t speak to how Scrivener works for screenwriting, but I love it for novels. I literally can’t imagine trying to draft now without the split-screen function. It does take a little work upfront, like a few minutes watching a tutorial online, but you don’t need to understand all the bells and whistles to use it. You can discover and incorporate things as they become useful to you.

    • Linkthis83

      I’ve reached out to her…I will let you know

    • Cristin Terrill

      I almost exclusively use Scrivener to write, and I LOVE it and peer-pressure everyone I know into trying it.

      As for as contracts, in my experience each publisher has their own boiler plate that then gets tweaked as necessary, and I’ve never seen two that look alike despite covering mostly the same ground. You can probably find some examples if you Google around, but I wouldn’t sign anything without having a literary agent or lawyer familiar with publishing contracts look at it.

      • Kirk Diggler

        Thanks for the response. I only started messing around with Scrivener but I do like it, particularly how you can compile in so many different formats. I wish there was a way to see page breaks as you write though.

        • Cristin Terrill

          Is that important for screenwriting? That’s not even a consideration for novel-writing, so it’s not on my radar at all.

          • Kirk Diggler

            Well, yes I consider it important for screenwriting and perhaps I’m carrying over that concern to my novel writing. There is something about a clean page that looks better….

            But I can see how that concern might be pretty silly in novel form, in which there are sentence run-ons on practically every page! So yeah, I better get used to it. 😉

          • Cristin Terrill

            You could always just add a new text card when you want a clean sheet!

  • ScriptChick

    Loved the banter between you two! And the workshop sounds really engaging and fun. If you get writer’s block while at the one in Port Aransas, take some time to go crabbing!

  • Scott Serradell

    I’ll echo ScriptChick here: The back-and-forth between you two was playfully delicious — Kind of Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell but without the blatant sexual tension (and that’s meant to be a compliment.) I hope you find some reason (any one will do) to have Cristin on again.

    I was curious about this one — specifically by what differentiates a YA author from a “normal” one (I also looked it up.) It’s interesting for me since — when I was of the age-group for these books — they did not exist; when I was 15 the two course-altering books I dove into were “Steppenwolf” by Hermann Hesse and “Inferno” by Dante (personally, I was ready and willing to exit adolescence ASAP.) It’s strange to me that (a mere 25 years later) there is now a whole genre of books — written by adults — dominating the publishing field. What’s the appeal? Why now? (and What changed?)

    And — again: on a personal level — it’s a bit sad to me that an author who seems so confident and articulate would dub “adult” fiction as boring. If someone came to up to me and said (again: so-called) adult fiction was boring I would steer them to better books.

    • Linkthis83

      I can see what you mean about it being “sad”, but there are plenty of things that I dislike that others would say are “classics” or the “best” of something. Tastes are tastes. Especially if you listen to how the YA type stories affect her. I mean…my whole life my dad has been trying to steer to that which is better. Not so successfully either. 🙂

      I’d love to have her on again. I tell her all the time that I enjoy talking with her.

    • Cristin Terrill

      What differentiates a YA author from a “normal” one is only that we write YA books! It’s not a category that reeeeally existed when I was an actual YA either, so I think most of us just moved on to adult books when we became teenagers and were too old to read kids books anymore. So it’s not that the audience has changed, just that there’s a new category to cater to them that didn’t exist before. And, of course, a pretty big percentage of the YA audience is actually adults. The category is about based on the age of the characters, not the readers.

      And my comment about adult fiction being boring is mostly tongue-and-cheek. On the whole, I think YA is a much more progressive and experimental and diverse category, but I read a fair amount of adult genre stuff and obviously there are amazing books written for adults in the world. But the idea of reading ANOTHER literary novel about a married English professor who’s sleeping with his TA to try to relieve his middle-aged, middle-class, white ennui puts me into an instant coma.

      • Kirk Diggler

        ” On the whole, I think YA is a much more progressive and experimental and diverse category,”

        I agree.

        I haven’t read a ton of YA beyond the Hunger Games, but I did read a book called Unwind about an American civil war that sprung up from culture war issues, particularly, abortion.

        It was actually a hell of a read and quite provocative storytelling. Would recommend if you haven’t already read it.

        • Cristin Terrill

          I have read it! I love that series. Neal Shusterman is actually a friend of mine and a fantastic writer.

  • Lynn Moor

    Y’all are too cute!! Completely
    loved this podcast. I’ll be a new follower.

    I must say, Cristin is a little hard on her mother, who I’m sure recognized her talent after finding her hidden fan faction, but im sure her mom is happy with whatever Cristin does.

    • Cristin Terrill

      LIES! You never found it!