Friday Five

 

Ok, I’m finally hopping on the bandwagon.

It’s not like I’ve been diabolically opposed to doing the Friday Five or anything, but I just used to do a Friday Forecast on the publishing industry, etc. You know what though? I love reading people’s Friday Fives! And since I STILL have yet to get livejournal, I figure, I can at least join in the fun in small part. So here I go, my first Friday Five:

 

1. He’s Just Not That Into You comes out tonight and I’m so excited to see it! (Although I have to wait until tomorrow.) I’m a huge sucker for romantic comedies, etc. Anyway, you know on the trailer when Ginnifer Goodwin is going everywhere with her cellphone out. She’s doing yoga and keeps checking to see if she missed a call. That is so me! First, when I was waiting for the Agent Call and now being on submission. And then Drew Barrymore talks about how myspace, blackberries, etc. and how exhausting that is. I feel like that too! Except with writing stuff–twitter, myspace, AW, blueboards–it IS exhausting! Too funny.

 

 

2. Going to see Legally Blonde the musical tonight. I’m excited. My girlfriends at school planned this at the beginning of our first semester at law school. I can’t believe we’re finally going! Time flies.

3. I’ve been asked by my agent to push the flashbacks I added in a little farther by incorporating more dialogue and description, so I believe that is my project for today, although I’m also kind of in the midst of writing Chapter 5 and 6, so I guess we’ll see where my brain takes me.

4. I started reading Looking for Alaska last night by John Greene. This is defense against my reading Hunger Games because I know I would sit down, start reading Hunger Games and not get up ’til I’m done. I’m not sure I have that kind of time. And it’s not that Looking for Alaska isn’t amazing. So far it is! But it’s a bit quieter of a book, I think. So, I can stroll through it and enjoy the beautiful writing at less than breakneck speed.

5. I don’t understand Twitter. At all. I have an account. And as far as I can tell you just post a sentence about what you’re doing. What’s the point? Do you have conversations on it?

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2009 Debutante Author Interview Series: Carrie Ryan

 

In Mary’s world, there are simple truths.
The Sisterhood always knows best.
The Guardians will protect and serve.
The Unconsecrated will never relent.
And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village….


forest_home

 

I have been oh-so-excited about this interview. Carrie Ryan is the author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth, which will be published by Delacorte and will hit shelves March 10th. Everyone is talking about this book. I know that I’ll be buying a copy the day it launches. For personal reasons, I’ve been dying to know how Carrie handled law school, working at a firm, and writing books. I’m so thankful Carrie put so much thought into these answers. Hope y’all enjoy.

 

The Forest of Hands and Teeth is your debut novel, so a big congrats on that. But can you give us a little statistical rundown on how long it took you to get to this point? How many books? How many rejections? How many days, months, or years?

 

The short answer: Three completed novels (The Forest of Hands and Teeth was the third); seven years (only three years of actually writing); 19 rejections.

 

Longer answer:  I started writing my first novel just before graduating from college and I finished it that next year.  It was a western historical romance (long story behind that choice) and I queried about six agents — a few requests but all ended up as rejections.  And I realized I was okay with the rejections because I never wanted to write another western historical romance again!  After that I wrote a romantic comedy that I never polished or queried.

 

Then I had this grand long term plan that I’d write chick lit and I somehow convinced myself that the best way to do that was to go to law school (another long story behind that choice!).  So basically I stopped writing for four years while I applied and attended law school. 

 

After starting work as a lawyer for a few months I decided I needed an exit strategy and I started writing seriously again.  I had many false starts (I wrote about 172k words that year but finished nothing).  I started writing The Forest of Hands and Teeth on November 2, 2006 (I still have the email where I sent myself the first line).  I finished the rough draft in April 2007, revised it until the end of August when I started querying agents and sold in October!

 

Oh boy. An exit strategy from practicing law? I need to cover my ears!

 

Which “Call” thrilled you more? The call in which you landed an agent or the call in which you landed your book deal? Can you describe to us what it felt like?

 

Wow, I don’t think I can compare the two!  My agent, Jim McCarthy, called me on a Monday and it was totally out of the blue.  I was standing in the kitchen when I heard his voice on the answering machine asking me to call him back.  I just stared at my fiancé, JP, and he stared at me and he started jumping and dancing but I just kept saying “it could just be that he wants to talk.  It might not be an offer.”  It was well after business hours and for about twenty minutes I walked around the house in a daze unable to really utter anything coherent.  Then I checked my email and Jim had sent an email letting me know that he wanted to offer representation.  That’s when I started dancing too and we went out to celebrate!

 

The call for the book deal was also way unexpected!  We were going to send FHT out on submission on a Monday but Jim called Friday afternoon and asked what I thought about sending out a sneak peek to a few editors who’d showed early interest.  I was all for it!  So when he called on Monday morning I figured it was just to check in and talk about sending out the rest of the submissions.  But he was calling to tell me there was a pre-empt!  When he gave me the details I just remember staring out the window completely floored. 

 

Actually, now that I think about it, I think the call for the book deal thrilled me more.  Getting that offer of representation was an amazing feeling but knowing the book had sold – wow.  I floated all day (I’m still floating!)

 

Now THAT is a fast sale.

 

You’re lucky enough to have quit the day job now, but how did you balance the demanding task of being a lawyer as well as being a writer?

 

I had no life – haha!  Seriously, I decided that if I was really going to do this — write and try to sell a book — that I had to figure out how to make it work.  I didn’t want five years to pass and look back and lament not really striving for my goals.  I cut out most TV (and honestly, that’s how I found a lot of time), I ate frozen dinners, the house teeters on being a wreck (our Christmas tree was almost always up through my birthday in mid-January).  I’d wake up, go to work, come home and write.  On the weekends, I’d write.  Some months (when I was working on a big trial) the only time I had to write was the 8 minutes while the pasta was boiling for mac ‘n’ cheese!  I’m not really sure I would call that balance – haha!

 

That’s a really honest answer. Thanks for sharing.

 

I believe when I talked to you last you were rushing to meet a deadline. Are you working on the sequel to Forest? What fresh challenges are there in writing a sequel and in trying to avoid the infamous sophomore slump?

 

I made that deadline – yay!  I’m working on a sequel to The Forest of Hands and Teeth that will come out in Spring 2010.  It’s kind of a loose sequel, though, set quite a while after the end of the first book and with a different POV character.

 

Fresh challenges — there were plenty (and old challenges too!).  One challenge for me was that I’d never planned to write a sequel so I hadn’t created a character arc and plot arc that I felt like could span another book.  I had a few other issues but can’t get into them without spoilers But I think that’s one reason I ultimately decided to use a different POV character for the second book and set it later.  So I’m using the same world, but it’s not really a direct sequel.

 

I also think it’s often nice that the lead times with YA are so long that you have plenty of time to write the next book in a vacuum without hearing public feedback about the first book.  I think sometimes hearing the responses to the first book can really influence the way you think about the second!

 

Interesting. I had no idea different genres/categories of books had different lead times.

 

This is Fumbling with Fiction, so I have to ask, in your writing career have you ever had a big “Oops!” moment?

 

Oh yes!  The first one that comes to mind is when I ended up querying an agent before the project was remotely ready.  In my defense, it was a pitch workshop with an agent and I didn’t expect her to actually be requesting material, but I didn’t even have the partial ready!!  I scrambled to edit that and sent it before the book was finished (never did finish the book) and got a rejection (rightfully so!).

 

However, I’m also a big fan of believing that things tend to work out and happen for a reason.  I definitely learned not to query until the manuscript is as polished as possible and I also met my critique partner, Diana Peterfreund, without whose support I’m not sure I’d have sold FHT.

 

I think your fiancé is also a writer and an attorney. That’s two writers/lawyers under one roof! Good, bad, or ugly?

 

Lol, I asked him this question and he was like “all three.”  For me it’s wonderful.  He understands that writing can be hard, he supports me unequivocally, and he’s an amazing editor.  He’s not afraid to tell me when something’s not as good as it can be nor is he afraid to heap on the praise   The hardest part for me is that he is truly an amazing writer and I strive to write as well as he does!

 

You’re now at the beginning of your writing career. Can you believe it? Where would you like that sure-to-be illustrious career to take you?

 

No, I still can’t believe it!  Honestly, there are days when I just clap my hands and dance around with glee!  For me and career goals… I’d just love to be able to keep writing (and to keep writing full time).

 

Tell us a little about receiving your first editorial letter. What was yours like? How did you feel when you received it?

 

My first editorial letter came on the Wednesday after I sold that Monday!  So I was utterly surprised because I thought I’d be waiting weeks or months!  The first letter focused on broader issues and then we worked on smaller and smaller issues with subsequent letters.  I was really energized when I first got it because it made everything feel so real!  I think for me the key with revisions has been understanding the “why” of it — if I know WHY my editor wants a certain change it’s easier for me to figure out how to make that change.

 

Your editor must have been really psyched to start your book. That’s great!  Finally, if you could have written one book previously published by another author, which book would it be?

 

I’m sure it will seem quite strange to most people, but I wish I’d written Lolita by Nabokov.  I remember when I first opened that book, standing in the college bookstore loading up for my semester classes, and I had to sit down on the floor because the beginning is so stunningly written.  I love the wordplay, the fun with language and I learned a lot from that book about how to write descriptions and choose words. 

 

 

           (Be sure to check out the coolest book trailer ever!)

 

                 

 

 

 

2009 Debutante Author Interview Series: C. Lee McKenzie

It’s not a heart-grabbing noise like when somebody jiggles the doorknob to see if it’s locked. It’s not a bitter smell like the electrical short we had last month, when all the breakers popped. No. It’s something in the air, something like a ghost making its way through the room. And it can’t be Monster, not after last night.

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C. Lee McKenzie’s here! She has her debut novel, Sliding on the Edge, coming out from WestSide Books in April and she was kind enough to answer all the questions I had about her road to publication. Thanks, C. Lee!

Sliding on the Edge is your debut novel, so a big congrats on that. But can you give us a little statistical rundown on how long it took you to get to this point? How many books? How many rejections? How many days, months, years?
I had to dig into my archives to answer this one. I’ve written two Middle Grade stories that are gathering moss on my C drive. Sliding is my first YA and I think I sent queries and sample chapters to about six publishers who either didn’t think it suited their mix or didn’t respond. As to how long this book has been in the pre-birthing phase: I started thinking about it in 2006. I wrote some of the ideas down in my notebook (something I consider an additional appendage) through the first part of 2007; then I started actually putting those ideas into scenes and chapters. I hauled what I now refer to as the first draft to a conference and was asked, “What made you write about something like this?” It wasn’t a nice question, BTW, and I was thoroughly discouraged for about half an hour. I finally sold the book in January of 2008. So . . . three books, seven rejections, two years to sale, three years and three months to publication.
Seven rejections! That’s it? Pretty amazing! Which “Call” thrilled you more? The call in which you landed an agent or the call in which you landed your book deal?
Wish I had a comparison to offer, but I don’t have an agent. I’m flying solo without any pre-flight instruction. But talking to my editor is an all-time high, so as life moments go, I’d rank our discussions right up there at the top. The first time we spoke the conversation was pretty one-sided with her doing most of the talking. I was working on breathing while I searched for the part of my brain that knew words. I guess you’d describe the moment as “exciting,” but that’s such an inadequate word.

I’m so impressed by authors who can go it alone. Congrats on making that sale. I know you also write Middle Grade fiction. How do you switch gears when writing between two different age groups? Are there certain things you need to keep in mind for each?
I guess my head just goes into another place when I’m writing and if I’m into MG, I sort of nestle into my pre-teen self. It’s still in there, waiting to be noticed and enjoyed again. My angsty YA is pretty demanding. It has a lot to say, so when I’m there things kind of pour out, like sweat after a run. I’m not really “in” my usual mind when I write. I can’t explain it very well, except to say that I kind of slip into my character(s) and they tell me stuff. So I guess my answer is I don’t have any problems about keeping the two genres separate.

This is Fumbling with Fiction, so I have to ask, in your writing career have you ever had a big “Oops!” moment?
Only one? I hope I’m allowed more than that because I’m way over my quota if I’m not. My biggest oops is probably sending a query addressed to one publisher to another. That was super embarrassing, but the publisher was kind and returned the letter to me with something like “oops!” (and not dodo bird) written across the top. She also included a short note saying she liked my idea, but it wouldn’t work for her house. Sigh.
Hey, we’ve all been there. Or at least I have! You’re now at the beginning of your writing career. Can you believe it? Where would you like that sure-to-be illustrious career to take you?
I’d be very happy to see another book of mine on the shelves and in the hands of readers. I’ve completed (loosely speaking) another YA novel and am working on a third, so I guess I’m thinking continued publication would please me greatly.

Tell us a little about receiving your first rejection. What was yours like? How did you feel when you received it?

My first one? Oh not that! It was horrible. They actually rejected my book (one of my Middle Grades). How could they? That book was positively brilliant. It was the next Harry Potter of the publishing world. Of course, after a few years I came to recognize that the brilliance was more in my head than on the page.

Well, hopefully your upcoming book will be the next Harry Potter, right? Finally, if you could have written one book previously published by another author, which book would it be?
This is not only the last, but also the most difficult question, Chandler. Thinking. Thinking. Thinking. Only one? I seem to be asking that question a lot in this interview. Well, I’ve been re-reading S.E. Hinton lately, and I really love the way she captures the young male adults in her books. So I guess I’d choose my favorite among her publications and say I wish I could have written Rumble Fish.

2009 Debutante Author Intervew Series: Deva Fagan

In Fortune’s Folly, a girl who survives by telling fake fortunes must
make one of them come true to save her father’s life–to succeed,
she’ll have to procure a wicked witch, recover a pair of enchanted
slippers, and, worst of all, find a princess to marry the prince she’s
falling in love with herself.

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fortunesfolly

 

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Does that not just sound like the cutest story? A girl has to find a princess to marry the prince she’s fallen in love with–LOVE it! Today’s deb is Deva Fagan, author of the forthcoming Fortune’s Folly. You can reach Deva through her website at www.devafagan.com. And! be sure to look for her book this Spring.

Fortune’s Folly is your debut novel, so a big congrats on that. But can you give us a little statistical rundown on how long it took you to get to this point? How many books? How many rejections? How many days, months, or years?

I wrote an absolutely terrible novel in junior high (it had a silver-eyed girl who was the Chosen One and an anti-hero who looked like my favorite pop star and lots and lots of very overblown prose), so if you start counting with that, it’s been over 20 years, 5 completed (now trunked) novels, and too many rejections to count.

On the other hand, it was only in the last five years that I got a handle on the submission process (thanks in large part to the resources available online!) and really made writing a top priority in my life. Once I stopped flailing about things began to improve. I started getting personalized rejections, then positive rejections, and finally a sale! 

Which “Call” thrilled you more? The call in which you landed an agent or the call in which you landed your book deal? 

 Actually, I didn’t get any calls at all! My communications with both my agent and editor throughout the submission processes were done over email, and I’ve still never spoken with either of them on the phone (though we have met in person and do email regularly).

But one moment that did truly thrill me was on January 1st, 2006. I like “firsts” and will often start new projects or endeavors on the first of a month (or week, or year). I had just suffered several rounds of rejections, but I had decided to hold fast to my determination and send out another spate of query letters to agents. I was in the middle of sending off my e-queries and suddenly a response popped up in my in-box.

I was sure at first that I’d mistyped and it was a bounced mail, but no, it was a request from one of the agents to see more. I had sent her the query at 7:13 and the response came back at 7:18. I nearly fell out of my chair! Apparently that was an omen of things to come because just about a month later I had signed with her, and just about a month after that we sold the book!

When it happens, it happens fast!

I think you said you actually wrote Fortune’s Folly as a “break” from the big, serious book you were then writing. Whatever happened to the big, serious book?

Unfortunately, it was SO big and serious it was also terribly dull and spiritless. So right now it’s sitting in my virtual trunk. At some point I may chop out the parts I still like (some of the secondary characters, the setting) and reuse them, but for now it’s been set aside.

Well, it sounds like you made the right decision in starting something new!  I’m always curious about this subject: How do you balance writing and your day job? What do you do when you get overwhelmed?

I’m a morning person, so I usually wake up early enough that I can get in a good two hours of writing time before I have to go to the office. It can be difficult, though, because my day job involves sitting in front of the computer (I’m a software developer).

What helps me keep the balance is making plenty of time to get outside (my dog helps with that, since he is always up for a walk!). I also always have paper and a pen with me so if I get an inspiration when I am at work, I can jot it down. Of course this leads to my purse being stuffed with scraps of paper scribbled with things like “her hair turns purple!” and “minions have pumpkin heads” that I then have to sort through. I really ought to get a notebook!

Hey, Whatever works, right? Did you feel your relationship with your agent changed after your sale?

Not really, since the book sold so quickly I didn’t really have time to establish a relationship before the sale happened!

This is Fumbling with Fiction, so I have to ask, in your writing career have you ever had a big “Oops!” moment?

Oh plenty! Though thankfully most of them relate to the actual writing and thus only impacted me personally (well, and my friends who had to listen to me bemoan my mistakes). I tend to find the plots and settings of my books first, and then have to sort of wait for the characters to introduce themselves and become real people in my mind.

Unfortunately I am not always good about waiting for that to happen. I want to rush ahead and write the story down. This has led to quite a few partial (and, sadly, full) novels with cardboard characters, that I end up having to toss aside and rewrite once I find the real, living, breathing characters who belong in the story.

You’re now at the beginning of your writing career. Can you believe it? Where would you like that sure-to-be illustrious career to take you?

It is hard to believe! I am very grateful to be here. The thing that thrills me the most is the idea of people reading, and hopefully enjoying, my books. If I can look back on my writing life as an old woman and believe that I have entertained people, that I have brought magic and adventure and love and beauty to them, then I would be a very happy old lady!

That’s such a sweet sentiment.

Tell us a little about receiving your first editorial letter. What was yours like? How did you feel when you received it?

My first editorial letter was about three pages long. I love my editor for many reasons but one of them is that she always finds something nice to say (before getting to the part that’s going to be hard work). So it started with some quite nice things that made me blush, and went on to the things that she felt would make the book stronger.

The two main issues we dealt with in that revision were pacing and establishing more empathy with the main character. I will admit that at first I was intimidated! Both seemed like daunting tasks. But then I saw that my editor (bless her!) had also included lots of notes on the manuscript itself to show me where to start. I decided I would go through and do all the “easy” stuff first, and then tackle the big stuff. That eased me into it and by the time I did get to the big stuff, it felt much more manageable.

Finally, if you could have written one book previously published by another author, which book would it be?

I would love to write a book as beloved as my own childhood favorites, and to feel that I was part of the grand tradition of storytelling. With that in mind, I might chose Lloyd Alexander’s The Black Cauldron (from his Chronicles of Prydain series) because it combines adventure, humor, tragedy, and heart. I loved those books as a kid (and still do!).

Thanks for having me, Chandler!

2009 Debutante Author Interview Series: L.K. Madigan

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Fifteen-year-old Blake has a girlfriend and a friend who’s a girl. One of them loves him, the other one needs him.
When he snapped a picture of a street person for his photography homework, Blake never dreamed that the woman in the photo was his friend Marissa’s long-lost meth addicted mom. Blake’s participation in the ensuing drama opens up a world of trouble, both for him and for Marissa. He spends the next few months trying to reconcile the conflicting roles of Boyfriend and Friend. His experiences range from the comic (surviving his dad’s birth control talk) to the tragic (a harrowing after-hours visit to the morgue).
In a tangle of life and death, love and loyalty, Blake will emerge with a more sharply defined snapshot of himself.

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New Week, New Deb. This week we’ve got the incredibly funny L.K. Madigan, author of the forthcoming Flash Burnout, which will be released by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt this fall! L.K. is an author living in Portland, Oregon. Visit her at: http://www.lkmadigan.com.

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Flash Burnout is your debut novel, so a big congrats on that. But can you give us a little statistical rundown on how long it took you to get to this point? How many books? How many rejections? How many days, months, or years?

 

The short answer is that I got serious about writing for young adults in 2001. Eight years later, my book is coming out.

 

The longer answer is that I wrote some picture books and two novels during the first four years, submitted them to probably 25 agents, got discouraged, and shelved them. I started working on a third novel, completed it in December 2005, and spent the next two years querying about 20 agents/editors. I was thisclose to giving up the idea of writing for publication when I got the YES from my agent, Jennifer Laughran. I look at those two years of rejection now as fate. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was waiting for my Dream Agent to decide she wanted to be an agent.

 

 

 

That’s so sweet. It’s like y’all were meant to be! Which”Call” thrilled you more? The call in which you landed an agent or the call in which you landed your book deal? Can you describe to us what it felt like?

 

One was thrilling in an OMG-I’ve-Been-Going-on-Blind-Dates-for-Two-Years-Have-I-Finally-Met-Mr-Right?! kind of way.

The other was more of a You’ve-Just-Won-a-Million-Dollars-AND-Fulfilled-a-Lifelong-Dream kind of thrill. (Er, not that I got paid a million dollars … just that I felt like I did.)

So they were both massively thrilling in very distinct ways.

 

Million dollars or Mr. Right? Glad you didn’t have to choose. Tell me a little bit about writing from a teen boy’s perspective. Easier? Harder?

 

I don’t know what this says about me as a person with lady parts, but I do find it easier to write from the teen boy’s perspective. I’m a big fan of the male animal, and have spent my life in close study and ardent admiration of them.

 

 

 

Throughout your journey as a writer, what resources have you found most valuable to your success? Websites? Books? Conferences?

 

Voices in my head.

 

Coffee.

 

Critique groups.

 

A laptop.

 

And more recently, a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. (The better to hear the imaginary voices with, my dear!)

 

I marvel at the intimacy of the Internet, too. I’ve made many friends over the four years that I’ve been blogging, some of whom I’ve even gotten to meet in person. My writing life would be much lonelier without them.

 

 

 

You mentioned voices in your head. Does that, um, worry you? Should you maybe see a doctor?

 

(What does she mean, asking us such an impertinent question?!) (Shh, let me handle this.) No, Chandler, haha. Awkward! I was being metaphorical. They’re not ACTUAL voices. (We’re not? We’re not real?) (Shh! I said be quiet!) (She’s pretty.) (Let’s name a character Chandler.) (I’m hungry.)

 

 

Yes! Listen to them. Name a character Chandler!

Did you feel your relationship with your agent changed after your sale?

 

No, she abuses me with undiminished enthusiasm.

 

 

 

This is Fumbling with Fiction, so I have to ask, in your writing career have you ever had a big “Oops!” moment?

 

Errgghh, I am never going to stop cringing over it: I confused an agent’s last name with a new client at work. (They both started with Sch, if you’re really curious.) She was completely kind about it, but like I said … still cringing here.

 

 

Hey, if that’s the worst thing that happens, I think you can consider yourself ahead. You’re now at the beginning of your writing career. Can you believe it? Where would you like that sure-to-be illustrious career to take you?

 

 

To Disneyland!

 

And then back to my comfy red chair, where I do a lot of my writing.

 

Truly: I want it all. I want the goofy hats and the teacups and the rollercoasters of publishing, then I want peace and quiet to focus on the craft.

 

That would be awesome.

 

 

I was unaware that publishing came with goofy hats and teacups. See! THIS is why I need to interview you guys. Tell us a little about receiving your first editorial letter. What was yours like? How did you feel when you received it?

 

Authors who have received 12-page editorial letters are going to curse me, but my first editorial letter was one page long. It accompanied a marked-up manuscript, too, of course, but it was a pleasant surprise to read it and feel like, “I can do this,” instead of curling up into a frightened ball. I did gasp audibly, however, at one line: “I’d like you to start thinking of other possible titles.” In the end, my editor decided to keep FLASH BURNOUT, much to my joy and relief.

 

 

One page! Wow. Finally, if you could have written one book previously published by another author, which book would it be?

FINGERSMITH, by Sarah Waters. I just read it this year, and I can’t stop raving about it.

It’s set in the Victorian era, and it’s brilliant. It’s fast-paced and tense, full of all the elements you want in a Victorian mystery: orphans and thieves, a creepy country estate and a handsome scoundrel, burning desires and cruel greed. Sigh. I would love to be able to write like that.

Thanks for the interview, Chandler!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2009 Debutante Author Interview Series: Sarah MacLean

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Seventeen-year-old Lady Alexandra Stafford doesn’t fit into the world of Regency London — she’s strong-willed, sharp-tongued, and she absolutely loathes dress fittings. Unfortunately, her mother has been waiting for years for Alex to be old enough to take part in the social whirlwind of a London Season so she can be married off to someone safe, respectable, wealthy, and almost certainly boring. But Alex is much more interested in adventure than romance.

Between sumptuous balls, lavish dinner parties and country weekends, Alex, along with her two best friends, Ella and Vivi, manages to get entangled in her biggest scrape yet. When the Earl of Blackmoor is killed in a puzzling accident, Alex decides to help his son, the brooding and devilishly handsome Gavin, uncover the truth. It’s a mystery brimming with espionage, murder, and suspicion. As she and Gavin grow closer, will Alex’s heart be stolen in the process?

Romance and danger fill the air, as this year’s Season begins!

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Ok, so by now, most of you have probably seen the blurb and cover for The Season and can’t wait to get your greedy, little hands on it, right? I know I can’t. Lucky for us, Sarah MacLean has been gracious enough to stop by to answer a few questions. And, although, I doubt that will tide us over ’til March, it sure does help!

Thanks so much for your time, Sarah.

The Season is your debut novel, so a big congrats on that. But can you give us a little statistical rundown on how long it took you to get to this point? How many books? How many rejections? How many days, months, or years?

Well, I had a bit of an unconventional route to publication.  I’ve dabbled in writing for years, kicked around a few adult romance novels, but never finished anything…and then an editor at Scholastic who knew I was really into historical romance suggested I try my hand at a ya historical.  The Season was born…  So I guess technically it was one book.  But that seems off, considering how much paper there is in boxes at the back of my closet. 

Wow! That is unconventional. Which “Call” thrilled you more? The call in which you landed an agent or the call in which you landed your book deal? Can you describe to us what it felt like?

hmmm… that’s hard.  The call during which I sold The Season was pretty fantastic.  I got that one straight from the editor…and it was super exciting.  After I sold The Season, I got an agent–the fabulous Alyssa Eisner Henkin–who has been with me every step of the way since.  It was Alyssa who delivered the most recent call…announcing my three-book adult historical romance sale to Avon…and that was probably the best moment of my life.

There’s a huge difference between selling a book on your own and doing it with an agent…When you’re on your own, you’re acutely aware of everything that’s going on…so it takes some of the mystery out of the experience.  But when you have an agent, the call is such a surprise…such an out of the blue, oh my god, kind of experience…and she’s so excited with you and for you…it’s pretty awesome. 

I’ve heard great things about Alyssa! She went to my alma mater and was so sweet when I queried her. But a new three-book deal! Congrats again!

Throughout your journey as a writer, what resources have you found most valuable to your success? Websites? Books? Conferences?

Definitely other writers.  Some of my closest friends are writers who are old pros with the process, and they were kind enough to let me call them with hysterical questions and concerns.  I’m also a member of the 2009 Debutantes, and the experience of interacting with a group of such incredibly talented similarly green writers has completely changed the way I look at the art and craft of writing.  My first piece of advice to anyone looking to write a book is to find a group of writers to commune with.  It’s the best part of the job.

Great advice and fun to follow. Thanks!

I know you work in publishing. How has that helped you become and be an author?

For years I was a literary publicist (no longer, though)…so that has been both a good and bad thing during this whole process.

There have certainly been things that I had to learn, though.  PR doesn’t come into play until the end of the publishing process…so I knew nothing about the editorial process…the sales process…the design process…so, I was just as green as everyone else in that sense. 

It’s a nice feeling when your editor tells you something about sales or marketing and you don’t have to ask them to explain, I know how much concern and confusion that can bring for authors, and I haven’t had much of that. On the other hand, knowing all this stuff sometimes backfires. It’s hard not to think about the best and worst case scenarios for your book when you’ve seen successes and failures up close and personal.

Add to that the fact that it’s impossible to remain aloof and impartial when it’s YOUR book, and…well let’s just say there’s plenty of crazy in me despite my industry experience. Luckily, I have an editor, an agent and a publicist who are patient with me…and wield iron hands when need be.

This is Fumbling with Fiction, so I have to ask, in your writing career have you ever had a big “Oops!” moment?

Uhm…yeah.  I’ve had too many of those to count.  🙂  Writing historical adds a whole layer of accuracy to novels. 

If I were writing fantasy about, say, hobgoblins, I’d have a certain amount of freedom to make things up…you’ve never (I assume) met a hobgoblin, and so I can tell you exactly what they look like, what they wear, the words they use, etc.  As long as I stick to my own hobgoblin world rules, you can’t tell me they’re not accurate.

Not so with Regency England.  EVERYTHING has to be historically accurate, checked and double checked, there are dresses and foods and titles and words that didn’t come into the lexicon until a century later…and if it weren’t for my very dilligent editors, friends, and copyeditors, I would be exposed as a fraud.  And, I promise you, there have been some MAJOR oops! moments.

Stupid history.  Next book, hobgoblins.  Hot ones. You heard it here first. 

I’m sure your agent and editor will be so pleased to learn your next book idea. You’re now at the beginning of your writing career. Can you believe it? Where would you like that sure-to-be illustrious career to take you?

No.  I can’t believe it. And, for the most part I go back and forth between thinking that people are totally crazy for buying my books and that I am totally crazy for doing this for a living.  🙂  But it’s pretty awesome.  And I would be a big fat liar if I didn’t say I loved every minute of this wild ride and sometimes daydream about a life of champagne wishes and caviar dreams.  And, now, I’ve dated myself.

Your March release date is quickly approaching! Where in the process are you right now?

Where in the process am I?  I’m in the freaking out part of the process.  My book is, as I type, being shipped to kids via Scholastic Book Clubs…and pretty soon I’ll be able to walk into a bookstore and see it on the shelf.  I have absolutely no control over people buying and/or liking my little book…and that scares the bejeezus out of me! 

Understandable, but from the buzz you’ve been getting, I doubt you have anything to fear. Tell us a little about receiving your first editorial letter. What was yours like? How did you feel when you received it?

It’s a super exciting moment, receiving your first editorial letter.  If you’re lucky (as I was) your editor is kind and gentle and appreciates that you are a first-time author with all the complete and utter neuroses that come with that label.  My letter was 6 pages long, which scared me half to death, before I started reading it, and realized that my editor had included sweet little passages about the things she liked as well as the things she was curious about. 
It should be said that my editor is a full-on genius.  She has brilliant ideas that make me feel like my brain is small.  Truly.  She can ask a question delicately…or gently suggest an addition or a deletion…and it’s like the text sings.  I love editorial letters from her…because they make me see my book as way more than the sum of its parts.

That must be an awesome feeling to have someone so involved in your book with you. Finally, if you could have written one book previously published by another author, which book would it be?
Emma.  Because then I’d be Jane Austen.  And Mr. Knightley would live in my head.  🙂  

I should have guessed! Thank you again, Sarah, for answering all my questions. I can’t wait to pick up The Season in March and I’m sure we’ll be seeing great things from you in the future!

Y’all can reach Sarah at her blog: http://macleanspace.blogspot.com

2009 Debutante Author Interview Series: Jackson Pearce

Seven months ago, Viola’s boyfriend told her he was gay—moments before she was going to lose her virginity to him. Heartbroken, Viola has resigned herself to near invisibility, until she inadvertently summons a young jinn out of his world, Caliban, and into her own. Here he will remain until she makes three wishes.

Jinn is anxious to get back to Caliban, but Viola is terrified of wishing, afraid her wishes will be manipulated into curses. Jinn knows that should she wait too long, the Ifrit, guardians of earthbound jinn, will press her to wish by hurting those around her.As they spend time together, Jinn can’t deny that he’s slowly falling in love with Viola, blurring the lines between master and servant. It’s only after Viola makes her first wish—for a popular boy to love her—that she realizes the feelings are mutual.

With every wish Jinn’s time with her diminishes, but the longer she waits to wish the greater danger she’s in from the Ifrit. Together, Viola, Jinn, and Viola’s ex-boyfriend try to outwit the Ifrit while dealing with their own romantic complexities and the alcohol-laced high school social scene.

 

It’s that time. The first Deb of the New Year! Today I’m sharing my interview with Jackson Pearce, author of the forthcoming AS YOU WISH, which will be published by HarperCollins and hit shelves in the fall of this year. Her second  book, SISTERS RED will be released by Little, Brown in the Fall of 2010.

Before we get into the interview, I think you’ll appreciate Jackson better if you watch this youtube video she created titled, “The Imaginary Writing Process.” It’s hilarious, trust me.

 

Hi, Jackson! As You Wish is your debut novel, so a big congrats on that. But can you give us a little statistical rundown on how long it took you to get to this point? How many books? How many rejections? How many days, months, or years?

Let’s see…
Books: 2– AS YOU WISH is my second completed novel. The first one is eternally shelved, and there were several bits and pieces of novels that never became full-fledged books.
Rejections: A zillion. I sent my very first book, KEYBEARER, to EVERY agent in the business– I was so desperate that I actually sent it to a few agents who had terrible reputations! AS YOU WISH fared a little better, but I still had to do two major revisions while querying. By the time it got to my current agent, it was all revised up, and she offered to represent me.
Days/Months/Years: This is a tough one; being a writer is all I’ve ever really wanted to do, so in a way I’ve been working toward it for ages. I didn’t start seriously looking into the business side of writing until my junior year of college– mainly because I started to worry about having to get a “real job” when I graduated, an idea that I wasn’t a fan of (but, for the record, ended up having to do anyway). I sent my first query out in early 2005. I sold AS YOU WISH in mid-2007.
 
 

Which “Call” thrilled you more? The call in which you landed an agent or the call in which you landed your book deal? Can you describe to us what it felt like?

Believe it or not, I think the call when I landed my agent was a bigger deal to me. It was totally out of the blue– I was spying on my neighbors (they were talking about me right outside my front door, I swear) and suddenly a call from a 212 area code appeared. I answered and tried to speak coherently but mostly just babbled. When the call about the book deal came in, I was already anticipating it; we’d had enough interest that I’d already accepted and gotten excited about the fact that the book would likely sell, so it was a little more relaxed. I still had to pull off to the side of the interstate though.

 
Throughout your journey as a writer, what resources have you found most valuable to your success? Websites? Books? Conferences?

I didn’t go to any conferences and only read a handful of books– most of which I wasn’t a big fan of. There are, however, some REALLY helpful websites that I adore: The Blue Boards (http://www.verlakay.com/boards/index.php), Agentquery.com, and the livejournal community. I think that personal interaction with other writers is the key to success. On the more tangible side– a laser printer. Oh man, I would wither away to nothing without my laser printer. I bought my first one off Craigslist– met the guy in a parking lot and paid cash in a very shady deal– and it saved my life. Other tangible valuable writer resources include caffeine, candy, and a DVR so you stop missing Deadliest Catch because you’re revising.

 
A laser printer? Never heard that one before, but I have to say, I’ve had my eye on one for awhile. Craigslist is a great idea to start out.

You’re a young author! Did you write As You Wish in college? Do you think your age has affected your journey to publication at all?

I wrote AS YOU WISH my junior and senior years of college, and found my agent just after I graduated. I think my age has had a profound affect on my journey to publication. On the purely business side, I realized about midway through college that I didn’t really WANT to work (shocking, isn’t it?). I wanted to write, all the time. I began seriously looking at getting my work published because I wanted it to be my career. I think that if I were a little older and had a more established career path, I wouldn’t have been quite as eager to get published.
The downside to being a young author is a lot of older authors– even those still “young” by most standards– give you a bit of a brush off. There are times where I would be incredibly frustrated about queries or rejections and someone would say “oh, you’re so young! Don’t worry about it! You have time!” It always felt a bit like a cold shoulder; yes, I’m young, but I still know what I want and aim to succeed. That said, those people were the minority of the writing community, and the support I found in other venues was priceless.
Thanks for sharing. I’m always interested in the subject of young authors–I’d love to follow a similar path! (I signed with my agent a few months after graduating college, too.)  During the time that you’ve been a client, your agent started her own literary agency, I believe. Was that a difficult transition? Is it normal to stay with the agent or the agency?

Soon after AS YOU WISH sold, my agent formed Bliss Literary, her own agency. To be honest, it wasn’t a difficult transition at all– nothing much changed, and staying with her was an easy decision since I hadn’t had too much contact with the rest of her previous agency. Bliss has been very successful, and I have no regrets at all about moving with my agent.
Agents tend to move around, it seems; I think that’s why it’s so important to find an agent you really click with, one you’ll stick with wherever she goes.
 

Always nice to hear about solid agent-author relationships.

This is Fumbling with Fiction, so I have to ask, in your writing career have you ever had a big “Oops!” moment?

 I’ve done a few careless things– misspelling agents names, using the wrong form of “there” by mistake, but I’ve actually been lucky so far and had no major disasters.
 

Lucky you! You’re now at the beginning of your writing career. Can you believe it? Where would you like that sure-to-be illustrious career to take you?

No, I can’t believe it! I actually remember thinking while in college how great it would be to just write books and coach colorguard (something I’ve done for a while). Now that I’m actually doing it, I’m in a bit of shock. I’m not sure where I want to go from here though; I’ve spent so long focusing on getting to this point that thinking beyond it just seems crazy.

 
It’s nice that you are appreciating it as you go through it, though.

Now that you are a soon-to-be-published author, seeing the view from the other side, what has been your favorite moment in the publishing process so far? What part of the process has most surprised you?

My favorite part was finishing up the last round of revisions, actually. I think I was so interested in the industry from the start that I didn’t have any serious OMG surprise moments.
Tell us a little about receiving your first editorial letter. What was yours like? How did you feel when you received it?

I actually loved my first editorial letter because it was very, very clear. XYZ are the problem, here are some examples, go to it! I wasn’t left overwhelmed by vague advice, so it was easy to know exactly where to start. I also have grown to somewhat enjoy the revising process, because it’s fun seeing the book improve as you go along. I think the key is not allowing yourself to stress over it– to remember that it’s JUST WORDS, and it’s okay to move/rearrange/delete them. You aren’t murdering the story 🙂

 
Finally, if you could have written one book previously published by another author, which book would it be?

I would love to have written any of John Green’s books for the quality, J.K. Rowling’s for the way they revolutionized the industry, or Little Women because….well, it’s Little Women. It’s awesome.

But What if It Does?

What if it doesn’t sell? What if it doesn’t sell? What if it doesn’t sell? What if it doesn’t sell? What if it doesn’t sell?

Like that stream of consciousness?? James Joyce, I’m coming for you.

But, seriously, I think that…a lot.

Not because I’m a Negative Nancy or anything. It’s more a prepare for the worst type thing.

 That seems sensible, right? Don’t want to get your hopes up. Etc, etc. Very practical. Like Aquasocks.

But just because Aquasocks keep you from stepping on shells at the beach doesn’t mean you wear them!

What I’m trying to say is, I think it might be MORE important to think: But what if it does?

Like I talked about in the last post, it’s the planning and dreaming that keeps you going.  The, what-will-it-be-like-when-Dream-Agent-calls?

I had planned a bunch of things to do IF I was ever offered representation. I wanted to pop champagne, do a video blog for here, call about a zillion people, go out to celebrate…

I did do a bunch of that. The first night though everyone was sort of studying and I didn’t want to bug anyone. I had just moved to Austin so my friends were still pretty “new.” Nate was a few weeks away from moving down here.

So, the night I got the Agent Call, I did…nothing. I hung out by myself! But that was ok, because I was able to do lots of solo dancing to Miley Cyrus that miiiiiiiiight have been awkward had my roommate been around. Posting on AW and on the Blueboards was really fun as soon as I decided on which agent.

That weekend my new Austin friends had a little get together for me where they brought champagne and took me out, so that was cute!

I chickened out doing a vlog for some reason…sad. I think it’s really funny to watch other writers reactions when they get good news.

Anyway, IF I ever get a book deal, here’s what I’m going to do:

1. Jump around a lot.

2. Go sit in my car and play “So Much Better” from the Legally Blonde soundtrack, so I can take it all in.

3. Come back to the apartment for some more Miley Cyrus dancing. Maybe some High School Musical soundtrack, too. I’ll keep it open,

4. Figure out who I’m calling and in what order! I know I’ve got to call Nate and my parents. But what if I were with friends at the time?? Would I just tell them? I’m thinking maybe if I were with really good friends I would just be quiet, go ahead and call Nate or my parents and then they would overhear so they would know. Brilliant! I know.

5. Make sure I don’t look like a complete scrub and then do a vlog. Don’t let me chicken out people! I might look like a total spaz, but o well.

6. Buy something fun. Maybe not the first day, but I still would want any $, no matter how small, to be used on something I really really wanted.

7. Oh, if I’m in class, I want to just gather up my stuff and walk out. Don’t want to let the moment pass. But yeah, prob will be too scared to do that one.

8. Not sure what I want to do to celebrate, but I’m sure I’ll figure that out. Probably have some close friends over.

 

Alright, so IF I ever have the opportunity, y’all have got to hold me to this and make sure I do it up right.

Any other ideas? What have you seen done that you thought was a really cool way to mark the occassion? (I saw how Jay Asher told everyone and I just thought that was the coolest thing ever.)

What are you planning to do when you get an agent or a book deal? I’ll be sure to hold you to it.

 

Status: Yes, blogging has been a bit spotty because of these things called law school exams. Although it is tempting to blow them off, I have this nagging conscience that keeps bugging me about maturity and foresight and doing my best. As for submissions: No new is no news right now.

Rejection’s Not the End of Your World Unless You Let It Be

Warning! Warning! Second post of the week in which I get all mushy!

 

Awhile back I interviewed Mandy Hubbard (debut author of Prada and Prejudice) as part of the 2009 Debutante Author Interview series. I already frequented her blog, but several commenters mentioned reading her “Road to Publication” posts. Well, if y’all don’t know, Mandy had a pretty long road to publication, so I was really curious to read how her experience was. I mean, how often does a writer really outline the rejections as she gets them? Answer: not often.

So anyway, I decided to wait until I went on submission as sort of a treat, food for the “on submission soul,” I guess. Of course, with all sorts of other things swishing around in my head, I forgot it until I’d been on submission for a couple weeks. As soon as I remembered, I opened up the Road to Publication posts in a new window. First thing I read was this:

“So, THE JETTSETTERS SOCIAL CLUB has now been out on submission for 8 days. Those dreams of an overnight sale are dashed. Ha. Just kidding. I’m way more reasonable than that. My dream was 2 days….still kidding.”

I loved this! We can say we understand that it takes time to sell a book, blah, blah, blah, but any writer that claims they do not secretly hope (and maybe even more than hope), just a little, that that their book is going to land on an editor’s desk Friday afternoon only for a 212 number to pop up on the caller ID Monday morning—well, let’s just say any writer who claims they don’t hope for that is going to have a nose longer than Heidi Klum’s left leg.

As I continued to read through Mandy’s posts, I was constantly amazed by her honesty. But with her honesty, came a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.

“I was burnt out…the idea of reading and writing wasn’t so exciting. I didn’t think of it every single night as I fell asleep. I didn’t conjure up a thousand different versions of what it would be like to get THE CALL.”

That statement hurt my heart. I do fall asleep every single night thinking about what it will feel like to get The Call. What I will do to celebrate? Who will I tell first?—Extremely important considerations, of course. It’s incredibly comforting to know that other writers on submission (or even not yet on submission!) feel this, too. Because, I’ve got to admit, sometimes I feel a liiiiiittle silly with so much thought devoted to the dream of publication and of sharing my book with others.

This, however, reminded me that these thoughts are actually a blessing. It’s when these dreams disappear that your dream is in danger or dying. Every second I spend hoping to realize that goal pushes me to materialize it. But sustaining that level of hope and that level of desire requires energy. It can really take it out of you! So, I can certainly see how I could get burnt out. And THAT is one of the saddest writing thoughts I’ve ever had. Fortunately Mandy pulled out of her slump and proved that secret to success is persistence.

Yes, Mandy’s story is incredibly inspiring for sure. But seriously, somebody ought to canonize her and her agent because they both truly stuck with it. And the very thought of waiting that long makes me want to jam the voteß(Please see SNL for reference)

Then again, she reminds us that “there is ONE SINGLE PERSON who could change everything.” She’s right. It only takes one editor. Or one agent. Whatever it is you are hoping for. But you can’t snag one if you don’t put anything out there.

“No one thinks, ‘okay, this is going to take a year.’”

How true is that? No one thinks that at all. I certainly don’t. But Mandy’s experience is probably MUCH more common than we realize. Sobering, but I’ve also learned from her that it’s not the end of the world unless you let it be.

Anyway, I just wanted to share and to publicly voice my appreciation for these posts. Y’all should definitely head over to her blog and read through these. I’m so thankful that she was willing to voice her feelings as she felt them during the submission process.

 

NOTE: I provided the link to her posts above. Skip to the beginning. You really can’t appreciate unless you read through the process as she goes through it.

2009 Debutante Author Interview Series: Erin Dionne

Thirteen-year-old Celeste Harris is no string bean, but comfy sweatpants and a daily chocolate cookie suit her just fine. Her under-the-radar lifestyle could have continued too, if her aunt hadn’t entered her in the HuskyPeach Modeling Challenge. To get out of it, she’s forced to launch Operation Skinny Celeste—because, after all, a thin girl can’t be a fat model! What Celeste never imagined was that losing weight would help her gain a backbone . . . or that all she needed to shine was a spotlight.

modelsdonteatcookies

 

Our next 2009 Debutante was inspired by events that occurred in seventh grade, when she wore a scary peach bridesmaid dress in her cousin’s wedding and threw up on her gym teacher’s shoes (not at the same event).  Although humiliating at the time, these experiences are working for her now–he manuscript Models Don’t Eat Chocolate Cookies was awarded the 2006 PEN/New England Children’s Book Caucus Susan P. Bloom Discovery Night Award, and the book will be as a 2009 Featured Title for Scholastic Book Fairs.

This week’s interview is with author Erin Dionne. I’m excited to share it with you partly because I’m so tickled by her blurb (HuskyPeach modeling!), but also because she has some great insights to share! So, without further delay…

 

Congrats on your debut novel, Models Don’t Eat Chocolate Cookies. Can you give us a little statistical rundown on how long it took you to get to this point? How many books? How many rejections? How many days, months, or years?

Thank you! And thanks for hosting me.

MODELS is my second middle grade novel, but I worked on my first one for seven years…and hopefully it’ll never see the light of day! It took me about a year and a half to write and revise MODELS multiple times. After it was complete, I queried 37 agents, received 35 rejections, and was also rejected by two publishers before signing with my agent.

 

Good for you and so glad you made it! Which “Call” thrilled you more? The call in which you landed an agent or the call in which you landed your book deal? Can you describe to us what it felt like?

The call where my agent told me she’d sold the book, hands down. I was thrilled to sign with my agent, don’t get me wrong, but when I found out that my book was going to find an audience–become REAL–that was amazing. I went into total shock after I hung up from my agent (after giggling through the whole call and struggling to sound as professional as possible), and when I called my husband to tell him the news I couldn’t speak! All I could whisper was “aw-FUR! We got an aw-FUR!” It took him a minute or two to figure out what I was saying.  : )

 

Haha! “aw-FUR”–Love it! Well, This is Fumbling with Fiction, so I have to ask, in your writing career have you ever had a big “Oops!” moment?

Oh, so many! How about not finishing a manuscript before sending a query letter? That happened with MODELS. Of course, the agent requested the first 50 pages, then asked for the rest of the manuscript 24 hours after that. I’d only written about 100 pages! I scrambled to write some more, then did a chapter-by-chapter synopsis for the rest of the book. Needless to say, I wasn’t offered representation. *hangs head in shame*  But I like to think of that as a “teachable moment”–so learn from my mistake: FINISH YOUR BOOK BEFORE YOU QUERY!

Now that you are a soon-to-be-published author, seeing the view from the other side, what has been your favorite moment in the publishing process so far? What part of the process has most surprised you?

Working with my editor has been the best experience. I was very lucky in that I had a choice in where MODELS went, and what convinced me were the quality of revision suggestions that my now-editor, Alisha Niehaus, had asked me to do on the first chapter before she took it to Acquisitions. She really *got* my book and characters, and her suggestions make me a better writer.  I’m very grateful for the opportunity to work with her.

As for the most surprising…I would have to say that my level of involvement with things like catalog copy, back cover and flap copy has been more than what I expected. My editor has run everything by me and encourages me to make tweaks and changes to follow the voice of the book. I thought I’d have zero input on anything outside of the text. So it’s been fun to be part of all aspects of the process.

Wow! So cool. I had no idea that authors got to do that much in the process. Tell us a little about receiving your first editorial letter. What was yours like? How did you feel when you received it?

It was good, actually! It was about 6 pages long, and focused mainly on expanding scenes and developing themes. I didn’t have to change any plot points in MODELS, so most of the editorial process was focused on augmenting things that were already there. I love revision (I revised MODELS 7 times on my own before it was sold), and was very excited to see what my editor thought and what areas she felt could be improved. Her insights were spot-on, and I agreed with 99.9% of what she said–so it made doing the work fun. I could see the book becoming stronger thanks to her guidance.

I understand your husband is a writer, too. What’s it like living with another writer? Helpful or does it drive you crazy?

He is! He’s a freelance copywriter and writes nonfiction articles. He used to write fiction, and I’m hoping he’ll go back to it someday.

It’s wonderful being married to another writer. Not only does he understand my weird neuroses or obsessions when it comes to revision, but he’s incredibly supportive. I wrote the majority of the first draft of MODELS at our dining room table, in 4 marathon writing sessions, and he never once complained about the number of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and pizza we ate during that time! He’s always encouraged me to put other things aside to write, and now that we have a baby he is really good about taking her and shooing me out the door to my critique group or to write in the library or a cafe. He told me that MODELS would sell…I dedicated the book to him for that reason.

Aww, that’s so sweet! But, 4 writing session!? Those MUST have been marathons.

Finally, if you could have written one book previously published by another author, which book would it be?

THE GIVER, by Lois Lowry. It’s one of my favorite books of all time. She confronts some major life and family issues in a direct, head-on way, and does so beautifully. Plus the setting is just horrifying to me (in a good way!). There’s so much in that book that I use it in my college English classes quite often!

Thanks so much, Chandler! This was fun!

 

Congratulations again, Erin. And best of luck on your big debut!!