Hello my lovely readers!
Thanks you so much for providing me with such great questions during the last contest. There were so many questions that I cannot possibly put them all up on my website, but they were so interesting that in the next couple blog entries I will be answering all of the questions, whether or not they actually make it onto the website.
But first, an update. I've been writing full-time this summer and next week I will finish the first draft of my sequel (yay!) and then the editing starts (boo!) *laugh* Actually it's not that bad. But although I have done a lot of both writing and editing since my book sold, I have not finished a new book since I completed WINGS and it is exciting to finish again. (I finished three before that.;)) Finishing the first draft of a book is such a huge accomplishment to me. Yes there is more work to be done and yes there are still hurdles to overcome before it becomes a "real" book even if, like with this one, it is already under contract. But Dude!! The first draft is finished!!?!?!?! It's a fun feeling and i am looking forward to it next week. Motivates me to work harder till then.:)
*How many rejections did you get before Wings was finally accepted by a literary agent?
I actually already had an agent when I wrote WINGS. Jodi Reamer (my lovely and fabulous agent!) signed me with my first book, a traditional fantasy for the adult market. Ironically, Jodi was also the very first agent I sent it to. However, between me sending it to Jodi, and Jodi signing me, I racked up just over 100 rejections.
*When trying to get an agent for WINGS, you wrote that you did market research to help you find a new book idea that would be more appealing to agents since it seemed like the story of WINGS wasn't working. What was involved in that research and how were you able to find out what kinds of stories agents and/or publishers were looking for?
Okay, the way this worked is that I did my market research before I wrote WINGS. Basically, I spent a long time reading agent and editor blogs, gleaning them for advice and what they were currently looking for. (And it's not super hard to find; most agents and editors are very open about what they are looking for because . . . well, they are looking for it.;)) I did luck out, however, because one agent mention in passing that B&N was predicting that faeries would soon overtake vampires as the new trend in YA. Now, I have always loved faeries, and I have always wanted to write about faeries. So when I read that blog I had one thought: you need to write your faerie book and you need to write it NOW! And the rest, as they say, is history.:)
*What is the best part about your first book deal? (I mean, the whole idea of getting published, working with your editor to better your story, ARCs, or anything else...)
The best part of getting my first book deal was the simple knowledge that my little story was going to be a real, hardcover book that I could walk in and see in B&N or Borders. And people who I didn't even know, were going to read it (and hopefully like it!) That is the best part for me.
* Here's a question I've been wondering a lot about lately. You said you had beta readers, I have also heard you talk about AW, so here's the question. Did you ever post and get comments that were totally conflicting: some loved it and some didn't. If so, how did you go about sorting them out?
Okay, two answers here. I really love AW (Absolute Write) as well as the BlueBoards (at VerlaKay.com) but because the people on there are essentially strangers, I don't generally ask them to beta anything but my query letter. I have in the past, but I hold my cards a little closer to my chest these days. For beta readers for my whole book, I use my family, mainly my two sisters since they are close to my target audience demographic, and after they are done, I give it to three sisters in my neighborhood who are excellent readers. If the feedback I get is conflicting, then I use my judgment and make the call on what, if anything, I am going to change. But if their feedback is pretty uniform, I have learned to listen and edit accordingly.
*You mentioned that you were a little nervous to first meet some of the big kahunas on your publishing team. I know I would be! How did you handle that? Did you do any sort of preparation?
I bought new clothes. No, I'm serious! A new outfit makes me feel more confident in my appearance and I believe that kind of confidence shows through. I also created little gift-bags to take along because even if they are unimpressed with me, who can be unimpressed with chocolate? My editor also helped me get comfortable by sitting and chatting with me, my agent, and her former assistant who has been promoted, but is still working with us on the series. That got me in the mode of sitting and chatting about my books so when we went down to the conference room it was just more of the same.
*How do you deal with "writer's block"?
I have never dealt with writer's block. *knock on wood* I do jog along my creativity by bouncing ideas off of my husband (who has fabulous ideas!) Also, I often get great ideas when I am in the shower. (Weird but true!) So I guess if I did have writer's block I would take a long shower and then talk book with my husband.
*When do you find time to write with all those kids to look after? (not including your hubby in that category, of course!)
I tell everyone that there is one secret to writing with kids.
Have low-maintenance kids.
That's it. I have been incredibly lucky to have very, very low maintenance kids. I know moms who get up at the crack of dawn every day for a single hour of good writing time. I'm very lucky in that I don't have to do that. My kids will generally just leave me alone for at least an hour each day.
However, another huge part of this (and the reason I got WINGS done in time to catch the trend at all) is that my husband is a law student and during the summers he watches the kids and lets me write uninterrupted in out office. That has been immensely helpful.
*You mention church occasionally in your blog. How (if at all) does your faith affect what you write?
This is a really good question. I actually try not to let it affect my writing by making my characters non-religious. In the book I am working on next (not in the WINGS series) the main character is agnostic. That being said, I also try to write in such a way that parents who have children who are my religion will feel like they can let their kids read my book.
*Hey, you're a writer! Can I send you my manuscript / novel / poem / screenplay to look over?
Yeah, I get this a lot. And the answer is almost always no. For liability purposes, I can't review unpublished material simply because I have to protect myself form any kind of plagiarism lawsuit. I will, however, sometimes look at queries because it's something I'm good at and probably will never have to do for myself again. However, that is always based on how much time I have. Also, if your book is getting published and you are looking for someone to read it for a possible quote, that is something I am really looking forward to doing!
Okay, I've now spent almost forty-five minutes blogging and must get back to writing. I will cover all of the questions in the next week or two though, so if you don't see yours, it's coming up!