1. This week on the YA Rebels, we're having guest authors. And mine is...
2. It's time for my next Pay It Forward Interview!! It's none other than the witty, talented, pixie-haired...
1. Tell us about your book. (Publication Date, Publisher, One or two sentence description.)
BLOOD MAGIC is a contemporary gothic horror love story insane Frankenstein amalgam of a book about two teens who meet in a cemetery and plunge into a dangerous world of dark magic, first love, and the deadly secrets that hide in blood. It comes out Summer 2011 with Random House Children’s Books, and the sequel CROW MAGIC comes out in 2012. More here: www.tessagratton.com
2. Can you tell us a little bit about your road to publication (finding an agent)?
WELL. I did this weird thing where I would write a book, query 5 agents, and when they would read 50 pages or a full only to say “sorry, nice, but no,” I’d write a whole new book. Instead of, ya know, trying more than 5 agents.
I did this three times. And finally I had this YA book that I was really happy with and my crit partners (Maggie Stiefvater and Brenna Yovanoff) said, “TESSA THIS IS THE ONE.” So I wrote a query to Laura Rennert of ABLA, who was also Maggie’s agent, saying that I was Maggie’s bloodier doppelganger and that we should have literary babies (half of this clause is absolutely true). I only sent the book to her, and because she knew who I was through working with Maggie and our fiction website The Merry Sisters of Fate (www.merryfates.com), she asked for and I gave her an exclusive.
Three weeks later we signed together. We did some revisions after that, sent Blood Magic out to editors, were slowly and achingly rejected, revised again, sent out again, and then in August 2009 Blood Magic went to auction while I was at a wedding in England. WHEW.
It was almost exactly one year from writing the first words to getting the first offer.
3. Was there ever a time you felt like giving up? Why didn't you?
Only one time. I mentioned above that our first round of submissions failed. My book went to THREE acquisitions meetings, and still the final answer was no. I worked with my agent, my crit partners, and my SO to figure out what was drawing everybody in so well, but then ultimately causing them to reject. It came down to the fact that in the last third of my book I was dealing with to pretty major taboos; queerness and necromancy/suicide/grief.
The queer issues/gender issues were what had caused me to write the book in the first place, but the way the book developed over 6 complete rewrites made those issues less of the focus (to the betterment of the story, I assure you). It became painfully clear that I was trying to do too much. To say too much. The queer/gender issue had to go. It was too big for the role I’d given it.
When I quit graduate school to write, I promised myself I’d always try to make a difference with my stories. And I still believe that. But removing that theme from Blood Magic was the hardest thing I’ve ever done with my writing, emotionally and spiritually. But I truly believe that it is better suited to another story.
The morning I finally made the decision, I shut myself up in a bathroom stall and balled my eyes out. For about 2 minutes I considered quitting.
But I knew if I did, I’d never find the right chance to tell all the stories I’m meant to tell.
4. Bonus: Favorite kind of cupcake? (NO cupcake is NOT an answer O_O)
Red Velvet. Or lemon. Or… red lemon velvet. Does that exist? I should experiment.
Thank you, Tessa! Loved those answers. Everyone, make sure you check out Tessa's RIDICULOUSLY PRETTY WEBSITE.
Here are the other Pay It Forward Interviewers...
Elana Johnson, Lisa and Laura Roecker, Beth Revis, Leah Clifford, Kirsten Hubbard, Susan Adrian, Dawn Metcalf, Carrie Harris, Amy Holder, Kathy McCullough, Gretchen McNeil, Kim Harrington, Tiffany Schmidt, and Suzette Saxton/Bethany Wiggins.