Pay It Forward Week continues with our third guest, a pretty rocking woman who is my editor-mate, the fabulous...
1. Tell us about your book. (Publication Date, Publisher, One or two sentence description.)
FETCHING, December 2011, Disney-Hyperion.
(Stealing the PM description here: A crew of middle school nobodies secretly use dog training techniques on their classmates to go from eighth-grade underdogs to leaders of the pack, only to discover being top dog isn't all they expected it to be.
2. Can you tell us a little bit about your road to publication (finding an agent)?
*lays down on couch and prepares to re-live harrowing journey*
It started innocently enough. I made my lists, devised a strategy (three or so agents at a time), got all chuffed up about my query letter, told myself I wouldn't let the rejections get me down, and then BLAM! The first rejection stung more than I expected. The second had me questioning my writing ability, my story, and myself as a whole. And the third? Well, the third brought me to tears because it wasn't just a standard rejection. It was a request for a full, which overinflated my heart with hope, and only THEN turned into a polite rejection, therefore effectively sticking a pin into that overfull heart.
The following months saw much of the same cycle of hope and despair -- both speedy rejections and requests for fulls. Then, one day, an agent emailed me to schedule a call. We talked for a long time, and she said all sorts of fantastic things about my writing, nearly causing me to faint with joy. She asked me to tweak a few things in the story, and I did, quite happily. But then a month later, the crushing pain arrived via email. The revision didn't move her, she said, and the market sucked even more than it did the month before. STAB! It felt like a terrible breakup, and I was tempted to take to my bed for about a month, waking only to write a few lines of bad poetry here and there.
Thank God for the Verla Kay blueboards. Very few people outside of the writing world really understand the misery. After a few days of whining, crying, and okay, posting anonymously about my strife, I forced myself back into the game. The upside to this? I became a little jaded. Rejections were like paper cuts rather than the full-on assaults they used to be, and interest felt more like little snack-bites of hope rather than organ-altering, head-swelling promises. And then, when I least expected it, I got THE CALL. One of the best memories of this whole experience was being able to send an email to other interested agents with the words, "I HAVE AN OFFER" in the subject line. And yes, in all caps.
And then it got even better. People wanted to buy my book! And we had a sale! I feel so fortunate that things worked out the way they did. I have both a wonderful agent and a fantastic editor, and all that angst along the way? Was totally worth it.
3. Was there ever a time you felt like giving up? Why didn't you?
For a while, querying did seem like an "all signs to point to no," type of situation. But my best friend/chief beta reader kept saying, "I can't imagine someone not loving this book." And she's the type of friend who will tell me (and often does) when I'm being stupid, clueless, naive, or basically any form of ass clown. The Verla Kay boards, like I said, were also an infinite source of support from smart, experienced, helpful people who really know what they're talking about. And I think stubborness played a small role in it too.
4. Bonus: Favorite kind of cupcake? (NO cupcake is NOT an answer O_O)
Now, this changes from time to time, but I can say that I can really, really appreciate a really well-done vanilla. *ducks* But hang on! I'm not talking about let's-just-add-sugar-and-a-teaspoon-of-the-synthetic-stuff and pass it off as vanilla, but the really, really GOOD stuff. The kind of cupcake you can huff and actually start hallucinating about warm, exotic places. Pure Ugandan Gold.
Or, wait. Do they make ice-cream cupcakes? Because that would totally work as well.
Kiera, thank you so, so much for sharing your fabulous answers, and everyone, be sure to check out Kiera's BLOG!