Monday, July 19, 2010

Still Going

More answers!

Let's say there was a big battle and you and one other person was left on the planet, who out of all your characters would that be and why?

Logan Bane. He'd figure out a way to save himself - he's cunning, particularly when it comes to self preservation.

My question: what's the biggest misconception of being an author/writer?

That you have to know someone to get an agent/get published. I was really naive going into this process. I did research on the internet to find my agent, but knew absolutely nothing about the industry. My wonderful agent, Charlie, pulled my manuscript out of the slush pile.

I was just wondering what inspiration brought about Nightshade. Some author's say that they had a dream of a certain scene or one of the characters just really spoke to them. So, for you, what was your inspiration in writing this story, and were there any scenes that really stood out to you?

Nightshade is Calla's story and she was the inspiration for the book. I tend to write from characters and Calla was floating around in my head for a week or two before I started putting her story onto the page. I knew she was a girl who was also a wolf. I knew she was strong, but also in serious trouble. I couldn't figure out how someone so powerful could be in that sort of a fix. That's where Nightshade's world emerged, it was all about building a history and society that explained Calla's predicament.

Was there any part of your publishing journey from original manuscript to final, sold product, that changed your life? And if so, how do you feel about where you are now?

Great question. It's a little odd but I'd say everything has changed and nothing has changed. Here's what I mean: Everything has changed in that the dream I wanted more than anything has come true, I have a multi-book deal, I have amazing new writing and publishing colleagues, and I get to travel to meet fantastic readers. Nothing has changed in that I still have my day job, I still live in Minnesota, and I still spend most days doing the same things I always did - except now when I write without feeling guilty for neglecting other parts of my life - it's what I'm supposed to be doing, it just took me 30 years to figure that out!!

My question: when did you realize you wanted to become a writer (and a potential author)? Was it a lightbulb moment or was it one of those slow realizations over many years? Did you ever at some point think, "This may not be for me"?

I'd spent my whole life writing, but I never pursued publication. Then two summers ago I was in a horseback riding accident where I ended up with a broken foot. I couldn't walk for eight weeks, so I decided to finally go after my dream of writing a novel. I was hooked instantly and knew there was no going back. I wrote two "practice" novels that will live forever in my desk drawers and then I wrote Nightshade. I knew from the beginning it was "the one," and I began querying agents. Charlie Olsen, my phenomenal agent at InkWell, requested the full manuscript and called me to say he loved it in March 2009. I did more revisions with Charlie and we went on submission in the summer of 2009, receiving a pre-empt from Michael Green at Philomel shortly thereafter. It was amazing - and in the publishing world, it happened at record speed.

I didn't know anything about publishing going into the process and I am so grateful for the positive (and fast!!!) experience I've had. My publisher and editor and the whole Penguin team are wonderful people who I consider my friends now. They love Nightshade just like I do and we make a great team! Having said that, when I began querying it was one of the scariest things I've ever done. I knew I wanted to pursue a writing career more than anything else, but I felt like I was jumping into the deep end of a pool without knowing how to swim. At times I was sure I'd never see my dream of being a novelist materialize. Fortunately I have a wonderful husband, family, and friends who were always cheering me on.