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April 14th, 2014

wca_logo_1If you’re in the area, I’d love to see you on Saturday at WonderCon in Anaheim! I’ll be appearing on an “Ask An Agent” panel with fellow literary agents Holly Root and Michael Bourret, and we’d love to see you. Saturday at 5:30 in room 208, on the second level of the convention center. I’ll be the one loaded down with new superhero gear for my babies!

Filed Under: News

ABOUT

Shoe-obsessed superagent Daphne Unfeasible blogs about books and authors, answers your questions, and talks about publishing industry gossip. , subscribe to this blog, or check out her Writer's Resources.

For more information about her weekly About My Query posts, please click here.

About My Query

0009HidingI’m in the air most of today, winging my way back from a hopefully successful trip to the Bologna Book Fair, but I didn’t want to miss another scheduled About My Query post! Without further ado, here’s V.L.A.’s query:

Dear Daphne:

Please allow me to introduce you to my novel, “Hidden Places.”

At the backdrop of Nazi occupied Poland, spanning from 1942 to 1943, the story is told through the eyes of Hanna, a young and imaginative girl who dreams of going to Hollywood to become a famous actress. Her world is turned upside down when her father decides to hide Jews. In the beginning, she is appalled and prejudiced but after she gets to know them, Hanna grows to love them. When her parents choose to no longer hide her Jewish friends, she takes it upon herself to set up a new hiding place and protects them.

Truth and honesty are woven into the fabric of the story using finely delicate threads. My heroine is not perfect; she is the product of an era steeped in anti-Semitism. Hanna thinks Jews are different… until she meets one. She must come to terms with the fact that everything she was ever taught was wrong. It is a bildungsroman story, where a selfish young girl transforms into a selfless young woman.

My novel is a historical, written in the first person as an epistolary narrative and is approximately 70,000 words. The target audience is for young adults and hopefully is reminiscent of the actual diaries that youths had written during that turbulent time in history. If “Hidden Places” meets with success, I would like for Hanna’s story to be the first in a series outlining her life during WWII.

Those who liked Ruta Sepetys’ “Between Shades of Grey,” which is a novel of a young girl living in a Soviet gulag, may also enjoy my novel.

I am a regular contributor to [website]’s online magazine “[title]” and will soon have my second non-fiction story published. I am seeking representation from an agent and would be honored if you would consider me.

Thank you and God Bless.

Sincerely,
V.L.A.

First of all, I think you have to mention The Diary of Anne Frank. Everyone who reads this will immediately think of it, and pretending it doesn’t exist is like blindly ignoring an important fact, like evolution. Beyond that, however, I think to sell this, you have to get personal. “Her world is turned upside down when her father decides to hide Jews.” How? Why? Who are they? Friends? Business acquaintances? Family? Strangers? How does their being hidden by her family change Hanna’s life? How does she get to know them? How do they change her prejudices? What’s the process behind her parents’ decision “to no longer hide her Jewish friends”? Were they nearly caught? Threatened?

I would also cut the entire second paragraph of your query. You’re retelling what you already describe in the first paragraph of description, and I would rather SEE the truth and honesty in the story than be told they’re there.

Bringing in the fact that it’s an epistolary novel in the third paragraph, I now need to know who she’s writing to. Who could she be writing letters to about this, if her entire family would likely be sent away to a concentration camp if they were found out? (If it’s a diary, then again I reiterate that you need to mention Anne Frank.) I’d also always cut any mention of future books in a series in the query letter — save that for once you actually have an agent interested in the story.

And finally, I would keep your closing professional, and cut “God Bless.” Unless you’re submitting to an agent who specializes in religious fiction or the Christian market, it’s too personal.

Readers, any further thoughts?

Photo above by Flickr user Jason Farrar, used under a Creative Commons license.
28 March 2014

Slushpile

AmySonnichsenauthorpicthumb_Krista Van DolzerWelcome back! On Monday, I turned this space over to debut authors and KT Literary clients A.L. Sonnichsen and Krista Van Dolzer, who discussed the tricky balancing act of motherhood (with multiple young ones) and writing. Here’s the thrilling conclusion to their conversation!

A.L. Sonnichsen: I like how you talked about leaving your afternoons free so you could write. Is it hard to keep that writing time guarded? What kinds of sacrifices have you had to make to protect that time?

Krista Van Dolzer: Guarding my writing time hasn’t been terribly hard because I’m an introvert and don’t really like going out, anyway:) But as my kids get older and more involved in their own lives, I’m not sure how I’m going to balance it. Like you said, though, when you have a will to write, you find ways to squeeze it in. (Which isn’t to say that I think writers have to write all the time, mind you. Not everyone writes every day, and sometimes, you have to take a break, even an extensive one, to refill your creative well.) Even though I don’t know exactly HOW I’m going to balance it, I feel confident that I WILL, because I can’t not write.

As for the sacrifices I’ve had to make, it’s funny that you mention housework, because my house is never, ever clean. That’s definitely one of the sacrifices I’ve had to make to be a writer mom (and I do see it as a sacrifice, because I’d rather live in a clean house). I’ve also had to give up the illusion that I can do and be it all. I’m never going to be the Wonder Mom whose kids look picture-perfect every second of every day, whose house is neat and spotless, and who has dinner on the table at six sharp every night. (I’m very fortunate to have a husband who genuinely likes to cook and often spends his evenings experimenting in the kitchen.) I’ll admit that I’ve had a hard time with this transition, because I’ve always been the sort of person who could juggle however many balls life decided to throw at her. Giving myself permission to put some of the balls down has been tough for me.

Of course, there are some balls I won’t put down, and those are my husband, my kids, and my church obligations. I don’t always feel like I have those things in the proper balance, but at least I haven’t stopped trying. I think–I hope–that counts for something.

Do you ever feel like you’re not living up to your own expectations?

AS: Yes to being an introvert! (It does make it so much easier to hole up at home and write. I don’t know how extroverts do it!)

Yes to the messy house! (I’m convinced that if people are going to make writing with children work, they have to be okay with a little mess every now and then. Most of the time, a lot of mess.)

Yes to the “important balls” analogy! It’s so important to figure out what those things are to you personally. Maybe to some people clean houses are up there on the list, but for me, like you, it’s God and family, then writing (plus daughter’s gymnastics).

The biggest struggle I have with expectations is the clean level of my house. I don’t like living in a messy house, either–it causes me a lot of stress. And I feel embarrassed if someone drops in and it’s a disaster. At the same time, I have to remind myself that it was my decision to be this busy. When I try to think of giving up something (like writing, for instance), I realize I’d rather live in a messy house. But it’s still hard.

There are other times when things slip through the cracks. I remember one particularly hard couple of months where I forgot week after week to take my daughters to their ballet classes. Those kind of slips make me feel like Flake of the Year, especially when they happen more than once. But they’re bound to happen when my brain is as full as it is, so I try to give myself grace, even when I feel horrible for letting my kids (or their teachers) down.

Lately I’ve been feeling occasional guilt about not blogging often, and not visiting my friends’ blogs like I used to. My blog attendance really fell flat when my daughter started gymnastics this year. The good thing is, I’m using my afternoons to write! The bad thing is, I try to stay offline so I’ll be focused, which means I’m not thinking about blogging as much. But to me, blogging isn’t one of the “important balls.” It’s one of those things I have to let slide if I’m to stay sane.

The balancing game. Not easy. But very cool, because the fact that we’re playing it means we’re living the dream!

Thanks, ladies! Readers (and fellow writers), what do you find falls to the wayside when you’re writing? What do you wish didn’t, and what are you glad you have an excuse to ignore?

26 March 2014

Slushpile

thumb_Krista Van DolzerAmySonnichsenauthorpicI’m currently in Bologna, meeting with dozens and dozens of foreign publishers, pitching my authors’ manuscripts for foreign translation, but while I’m there, I’m delighted to turn the blog over to my clients Krista Van Dolzer and A.L. Sonnichsen, both of whose Winter 2015 debut novels I’ll be chatting up with foreign editors. A few weeks ago, I mentioned to Krista being curious about how she juggles motherhood and writing, since it comes up a lot in my own work/life balance, although without the added challenge of creativity that is the hallmark of a writer. As always, Krista took an idea and ran with it, and roped in Amy to answer as well. Here’s Part I of their dialogue — Part II will follow on Wednesday!

A.L. Sonnichsen: Maybe we should start with the most obvious question: What have you learned over the years about balancing writing and motherhood?

Krista Van Dolzer: It’s ironic now, but motherhood was actually what got me writing again. I’d written stories as a kid, but I had to quit in college. Then I graduated, got my first job, had a baby, quit, and suddenly found myself with a lot of extra brainpower (and a lot of extra time). I-gots slept like a champ, and three people don’t create a ton of housework (especially when one of them can barely move). When a new idea came to me, the first idea I’d had in years, I decided to write it down.

I wrote in the mornings before I-gots woke up, during his morning and afternoon naps, and after he went to bed, so I’m a writer now not in spite of my kids but because of them. Even though I now have three–and two of them no longer nap–they’re usually pretty good about giving me time to write. Lady knows the afternoon when I-gots is at school and Monster’s taking a nap is my time to write, and for the most part, she respects that.

So I guess what I’ve learned is that you have to use whatever time you have. And you have to be willing to make sacrifices for that time. I rarely schedule afternoon activities because I need that time to write. It helps me stay productive (and the truth is, it keeps me sane).

What about you? You have a lot more kids and a lot less time:) How do you balance writing and motherhood?

AS: That is so cool that you made writing time because you’re a mother and not in spite of it. I can relate to that feeling of needing a space to create. I also became a lot more serious about my publication journey after I already had a couple kids. I was almost thirty and I remember thinking, “This isn’t going to happen if I just sit around dreaming and/or write a few words here and there.”

I’ve struggled a lot with boundaries since I started writing seriously. Eventually I started a routine a lot like yours, where I wrote only during my kids’ nap times. I had to develop the self-control to stop writing when the nap time ended. (Writers know how hard it is to stop when you’re on a roll, or having a great editing day!)

This year my life changed drastically. One of my daughters started a rigorous gymnastics schedule–twenty hours a week, twice a day, four times a week–that required home school. When I looked at our upcoming schedule, I realized I wouldn’t have any writing time anymore. Nap times would be filled teaching 2nd grade home school. I knew I wouldn’t have the energy after our busy days to write every night, so I needed to come up with a different plan.

That’s why I decided to resort to day care for my youngest daughter at the beginning of this school year. Now in the afternoons, I drop off my three-year-old and head back to my other daughter’s gym to work on my projects (we live too far away from the gym to make going home feasible). I have at least a couple hours four times a week to work and it’s been amazing! I love having dedicated time to get my work done with very few distractions. I don’t struggle with boundaries as much anymore because I rarely write at home. Everything I do happens during that “office time” in the afternoons, so I can be completely present with my family when I’m home. That’s been a nice change for me personally.

I know it’s terribly cliché, but it’s so true that when you have a will to do something, you can figure out a way. For me, it was figuring out the logistics to make this year work for me, even with my insane schedule.

Check back Wednesday for the exciting conclusion. And in the meantime, what are some tricks you use to balance writing with the rest of your personal life?

24 March 2014

About My Query

IMG_1499Wow, I’m a whole week late with this one! Sorry, T.C! Without further delay…

Dear Daphne -

Eighteen-year-old Georgia Bowen hasn’t looked at a mirror in six years, and with good reason: where normal people see a reflection, she sees a series of violent possible futures. Despite her secret, Georgia’s life is looking up: high school is a thing of the past, she gets to wear flip-flops to her summer job and college starts in a few weeks.

But when she inadvertently attracts the attention of a dangerous organization, Georgia must adapt to a new world: one in which she’s not the only person with a gift, and where the Guardians, a clandestine group that’s several millennia old, are rapidly snapping up the gifted for their own nefarious purposes. When Georgia is kidnapped by a resistance group who hopes to use her to their advantage, it becomes clear that her connection to the conflict runs deeper than she thought. Knowing that going home puts her family at risk, Georgia must choose between joining the ragtag resistance and striking out on her own. And she must master her gift to stay one step ahead of those who would use her.

Looking Glass Darkly is a YA contemporary fantasy that takes readers from rural Virginia to an island in South Carolina. The manuscript is complete at 81,000 words. I hope it will appeal to fans of Mark Frost’s The Paladin Prophecy.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best, T.C.

My first thought: Hooray! We won’t have to deal with a YA heroine looking in a mirror to describe herself! Then I stopped being flippant, and kept reading.

I’m afraid beyond the detail of the mirror, this reads as very generic to me. With a little time, I feel like I could come up with dozens of gifted-teen-sought-by-secret-organization-for-nefarious-purposes-who-finds-shelter-with-a-resistance plots*. And sure, you may say, when you put it like that, it does sound generic. So what I’d want to see in the author’s query is what sets it apart from the expected.

What makes Georgia’s story unique? Who are the individuals she encounters that tie her to the Guardians, or the resistance group? Who exactly in her family does she have to keep safe? A little brother? Her widower father? Her pet turtle? And if you’re going to tell me she’s adapting to a new world where she’s not the only person with a gift, I’d love to see those other gifted teens (or adults). How does she feel about them, specifically?

You may also want to convey more about Georgia’s journey — not just emotionally, but physically. While rural Virginia to coast South Carolina may in actuality be vastly different, to the greater population of the US reading public (and, if you find an agent who frequently sells foreign rights, to the world) that’s not a big move. From the Southern East Coast corridor to the Southern East Coast corridor.

In general, look to find a way to give us the details that make Georgia’s specific story interesting, and her character one we’d like to hang out with for the length of a novel. Good luck!

*And, in fact, I already represent one – Susan Adrian‘s TUNNEL VISION, which comes out from St. Martin’s Press in 2015.

Photo by me! Of my flip flops, taken during my 2010 picture-a-day photo project.
21 March 2014

Slushpile

There are lots of time I wished I still lived in the UK, but World Book Day is one of the big ones. A whole day to celebrate books? Boy howdy! And not just celebrate, but LIVE. Kids around the country dressing up like their favorite book characters, getting free vouchers to spend on special, limited edition books — it’s like a dream come true. Check out Twitter hashtag #WorldBookDay for some great photos.

But the best part of World Book Day this year is that we’re a part of it! Yep, Maureen Johnson is one of only two YA authors participating in the official World Book Day celebrations with her exclusive novella The Boy In The Smoke. Check it!

THE_BOY_IN_THE_SMOKE

On a cold night, Stephen Dene went to the Eton boathouse to perform a desperate act. But someone stopped him along the way, sending his life in a new and decidedly strange direction–leading him to London, to two new friends, and to a world of shadows and mystery.

For now, The Boy in the Smoke is only available in the UK, but that will change soon. Stay tuned! And in the meantime, feel free to post your book-related costumes in the comments!

6 March 2014

Slushpile

Guys, you know how sometimes an editor or agent will post something online, like, “Wow, I just read the BEST manuscript! Too bad you have to wait six months to read it! Hahaha!” I totally hate that. And yet… guys, I have just reread the BEST manuscript. Isla and the Happily Ever After is everything you could possibly want in a romance, and a perfect follow up to Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door. If you’re not already madly in love with Stephanie Perkins as a writer (as a writer only — I know her husband well, and you don’t want to get in between those two lovebirds!), you will be after finishing Isla.

“But Daphne,” you sigh, “when can I get my hands on an Isla of my very own?”

How’s August 14th strike you?

We’ll have more news soon about a fantastically fun pre-order campaign Dutton is putting together, and we may have even more to whet your whistle with soon, but in the meantime, how about a giveaway?

IMG_2047

Though most of Isla is set in Paris and New York, there’s another European city also featured. To enter to win this cool tote bag and a paperback copy of Lola, where would you go in Europe if you had a weekend, and money was no object? One commenter below will win!

UPDATE: You have until Monday to post a comment, and I’ll pick THREE lucky winners instead of just one, thanks to Steph! And yes, we will ship internationally!

FINAL UPDATE: We have our winners! Feel free to continue to add your comment below to join the conversation, but I’ve already picked the winners and have notified them.

5 March 2014

About My Query

DarkMagicAre you guys ready to get your critique on? It’s time for another About My Query!

Dear Daphne,

I’m submitting this query for review because [...] I admire both your blog and your dedication to awesome shoes. Days of Thunder, a YA fantasy complete at 90,000 words, is described below.

When Avery Imbyr ties her sister up and leaves her in the woods, she has two goals. First, avoid one of Adelaide’s legendary lectures. Second, travel to the capitol city and kill the Duke of West. The most dangerous man in the country has summoned the sisters to his home, supposedly to teach his heir about magic, but Avery knows better. For the last ten years, since the sisters died and were reborn as homunculi, his laws have treated them as criminals. To enter to Castle West is to face execution – and there’s no way that Avery is going to let her sister die. Not again.

Upon arriving in the capitol, Avery’s plan disintegrates. The Duke’s son, Kieran, is supposed to be her pupil, but he’s more interested in being her friend. He’s got bright eyes and stupidly well-defined arms, and even worse, he’s determined to show Avery that his people aren’t as prejudiced as she believes. When Kieran convinces Avery to explore the capitol, she finds dark power crawling through his streets. Soul-sucking curses are targeting children. Refugees from a foreign war hide in the sewers. The magic that the Duke despises is everywhere, and it isn’t just hunting his people – it’s hunting Avery’s.

Killing the Duke of West means the homunculi will be safe from his hatred, but if Avery can’t find the source of the darkness, then an entire city will perish. Avery must choose between the chance of saving her people and the increasing certainty of dooming Kieran’s to destruction. Either way, death looms closer with every day the curse-maker remains free, and this time, if it catches Avery, there will be no return from death.

I hope that Avery’s story would fit into the niche of character driven fantasy carved by Sarah J Maas, Rachel Hartman, and Leigh Bardugo. I am a graduate of the 2011 [Specific] Writing Workshop for Young Writers and last summer, I returned to the workshop to work aside the fabulous [BigName Author 1], [BigName Author 2], and [BigName Author 3]. I currently work as a writing tutor at the University of [State] and have a small following at [tumblr site].

Thank you for your time,
S.F.

That first ellipsis in the the opening paragraph was a reference to submitting the query her for critique, and since it wouldn’t be in an actual query to an agent for consideration, I took it out. Moving on, I love the specificity of the opening. The author gives me a good clear reason why she’s submitting to me (shoes!), and then gets the title, genre, and word count quickly out of the way. One note about the title – I have a hard time (as a child of the 80s) looking at the title and not immediately picturing Tom Cruise in the movie of the same name, driving a race car and kissing Nicole Kidman and her natural hair. I’m not saying you have to change the title, but definitely be aware that you may find some agents and editors with preconceptions of the book based on that alone.

Moving on to the summary, I’m struck once again, as with the last query we reviewed, that we have an opening that deals with two sisters, and then we leave one behind (literally tied up in the woods) to go on with our main character. Given the length of a query, is it important that we even know Avery has a sister? I’m not advocating leaving her out of the story entirely, but if she’s important enough to serve as the impetus to begin the story, I feel like she should come back into the story later. And if not, if all we need to care about are Avery and Kieran, than why mentioned Adelaide at all?

In general, actually, I think there’s too much information here. I’ve read it through multiple times, and I’m still not certain what this book is about. Avery, Adelaide, The Duke of West, Kieran, the Curse-Maker — there’s just too many people. While there’s nothing wrong with a complicated, plot-driven story, within the confines of a brief query, you want to really only talk about the big story, and save the details of the additional plot lines to reveal in the novel.

Finally, I think your bio is perfect, as are your comparables. You’ve hit on a great way to allude to a similarity with other authors without slamming the reader over the head with it.

Readers, what do you think?

Photo above by Flickr user Jeff Krause, used under a Creative Commons license.
28 February 2014

Slushpile

Yesterday, I took a look in my query pile, and liveblogged my reactions to 10 queries. If you follow me on Twitter, you already saw this, but if not, here’s a recap.

14 February 2014

About My Query

dragonbridgeHere’s to another Friday About My Query post! As always, these queries are submitted to me specifically for critique — I’m not reaching into my regular query inbox and picking on anyone. With that said, let’s go!

Dear Daphne,

When Ila and Lilly O’More’s grandfather is murdered by a dragon in Ireland, they realize that nowhere is safe for leprechauns – even three thousand miles away in America. Dragons are hunting the family to collect their luck, a physical particle in leprechaun blood. Luck is the only way for dragons to disguise themselves as humans and avoid being slain in the modern world. Ila and Lilly have one defense against the dragons; they can produce magic, a rare and valuable talent. If only the girls could control it. They need to learn to master their ability or be added to the body count.

Ila meets Chris Ardon shortly after her grandfather’s murder. He’s sweet, funny, and his Irish accent is enough to make her forget that she should be more concerned about being murdered than being kissed. Unfortunately, Chris isn’t just any Irish lad – he’s a dragon. Without the magic Ila and Lilly can produce, Chris will die.

Ila will have to decide what matters to her most – her survival or his.

LUCK is a young adult fantasy complete at 75,000 words.

I am currently a student at the University of Illinois. I spend my weekdays studying and every other moment writing.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
KD

You’ve got a strong beginning here. A little setup, with some intriguing details about a world with leprechauns and dragons in it. The subtle mention of “the modern world” helps me understand this isn’t a story of Irish immigrants in late 19th or early 20th century American (though that would be totally cool, too!). I think you might want to separate a bit the fact that Ila and Lilly have “luck”, as a physical, special thing, from the mention of their one defensive ability, to produce magic. Is there a connection between luck and magic? Can they only do one because they have the other?

My main concern comes in the second paragraph, when we focus on Ila and Chris. Here I worry that we’ve got this charming accented stranger who shows up just after her grandfather is murdered, and like YA protagonists everywhere, she doesn’t worry about the coincidence and falls in love. What happens to Lilly? Where is she in this part of the story? I’m given to understand in the first paragraph that this is a manuscript about sisters — what does Lilly think about Chris? Is she warning Ila about him? Is she the voice of reason, or a romantic urging her sister to go for it when Ila is showing caution? I’d love to know more about their relationship, which is I think what could make this manuscript special, and stand out from all the other YA paranormals in which a girl who’s different falls for a boy who could hurt her.

Especially when we come down to the hook paragraph — “Ila will have to decide what matters to her most – her survival or his.” What about Lilly? Self-sacrifice is one tale, often told, but if Ila has to decide to save her sister or her boyfriend, there’s some fun opportunity for real drama there!

Finally, I think the last five sentences have a pretty staccato rhythm. You might want to consider changing it up a bit.

Those are my two cents. Readers? What do you think?

Photo above by Flickr user Nathan Meijer, used under a Creative Commons license.
14 February 2014

Get to Know

thumb_JosieBlossI’m delighted to post another in my continuing series of blogs about my amazing clients, this time about YA contemporary author Josie Bloss. From her website:

Josie Bloss grew up in East Lansing, Michigan. She attended the University of Michigan, where she was a member of the best college marching band in the country and a staff reporter for the Michigan Daily.

After obtaining a degree in Political Science, she tried to decide if she wanted to be a lawyer while wrangling paper in several large Chicago law firms that are attempting to take over the world. Finding herself uninspired by global domination, she decided to relocate to somewhere more quiet and write instead.

When not mining her high school journals for material and wishing there were marching band options for adults, Josie enjoys obsessing over various TV shows, karaoke and all things theater.

She lives in Bloomington, IN.

Josie is the author of Band Geek Love, Band Geeked Out, Albatross, and Faking Faith, and kindly stopped by to answer my “Get To Know” questionaire!

What are you working on now?
I’m working on several very different things. One is a sort of murder-plot psychological thriller, the second has the evocative working title of ALIENS!, and the third is a paranormal girl-with-super-powers story. I love them all equally and can’t fully commit to just one! I’ve recently started a low-residency MFA program as well, so I’m working on a lot of critical craft essays that analyze other people’s books, which has been very interesting and helpful for my own writing.

What was your favorite book as a child/teen?
Beauty by Robin McKinley, hands down. It’s still my Comfort Book, and I reread it at least once a year.

What are you reading now?
I just finished up Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn, which was extremely compelling and disturbing. And I’m on the last book of N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance trilogy, which I am literally unable to put down. Like there might as well be super-glue on the cover.

Do you work with a critique group/partner?
I have a fantastic group of fellow YA authors that I work with online (all of us are kt literary clients!) and I also now have a fabulous mentor through my MFA program.

Are you a pantser or a plotter?
Half and half, I guess. I know the important points I want to hit (plot) but I rarely know exactly how I’ll get to those points (pants). Every writer’s process is different, and my experience has been that it can take a lot of time and a lot of experimentation until you really figure out how you work best.

FrenchCoverWhat’s your memory of how we started working together? How did our first submission go, etc.?
I finished Band Geek Love back in 2007 and started the whole traumatizing query process. You were so excited about the story and seemed like such a lovely, positive person that I knew I’d found the right agent. I believe I did some revising based on your suggestions, and then you sent it out. Within a couple of months, Flux wanted to buy it. And just last week Band Geek Love came out in France! Publishing is kind of a surreal experience sometimes.

What other hobbies to you have?
I’ve recently become completely obsessed with yoga. It’s turned out to be a wonderful thing to counteract all my hours of sitting like a lump while I read or write. And if you can call Netflixing an entire season of a show in one day a “hobby”, I’m pretty into that as well.

ahnu bootsWhat’s a random weird fact about you?
Prince William held the door open for me once. I studied abroad in Scotland and we attended the same university! He was very polite.

And, of course: favorite pair of shoes?
Sort of out of necessity in this time of polar vortices, my awesome purple snow boots.

Plus, bonus lightning round!
Dog or cat? Dog!
Coffee or tea? Tea!
Coke or Pepsi? Neither! (I’m weird.)
Wheat or White? Is there a way to say “voluntarily gluten-free” without being completely annoying? Probably not.
MG or YA? YA!
Morning or night? Morning!
Star Wars or Star Trek? Star Wars!
Hogwarts or Narnia? Hogwarts. Like most of the rest of the world, I’m still waiting for my letter. Any day now. I can feel it.

bank-geek-love2500band-geeked-out2500albatross-smThanks for joining us, Josie! My careful readers may also notice that while I usually link my clients’ books to their IndieBound page, in this case, all the links to Josie’s titles and the books she mentioned go to Amazon. That’s because we’re working EXCLUSIVELY with Amazon to offer Kindle editions of Band Geek Love, Band Geeked Out, and Albatross for the low price of $4.99 each. One lucky commenter below will win all THREE titles for their Kindle (or Kindle app). Just leave a note below with your high school activity. Were you a band geek? Drama nerd? Football player? Cheerleader? Let’s geek out together! (For the record, I was a drama nerd, literary magazine geek, AND cheerleader. It was a VERY small school.)

And not to leave Faking Faith out, which is still available as a paperback as well, check out this great blog review from the Queen of Teen Fiction.

4 February 2014