Friday, April 2, 2010

Pay It Forward Interviews - Karen Mahoney!

Happy Friday, all!!!

It's time to finish up our Pay It Forward Author Series with a great, great girl from across the pond...


1. Tell us about your book. (Publication Date, Publisher, One or two sentence description.)

1. THE IRON WITCH (Llewellyn*Flux, early 2011) is a contemporary fantasy set against the backdrop of a centuries-old war between human alchemists and the dark elves (who were kicked out of Faerie for being... um... dark). Aided by a gorgeous half-fey dropout, a girl with magical iron tattoos must race to save her best friend's life - even if it means betraying the secret of immortality and confronting the very thing that destroyed her family. Secret societies! Adventure! Romance! Indian cooking!

Find out more at:

2. Can you tell us a little bit about your road to publication (finding an agent)?

Ooooh... The Journey! The thing with me is that I came to all this later than a lot of my writer friends. I always WANTED to be a published author of fantasy novels (preferably for teenagers), but I never had confidence in myself - for a lot of reasons that we won't go into here. ;) I always wrote - well, apart from the 5 years I gave up completely - but in January 2007, a good friend took me aside and told me to stop whining about my 'lost dreams' and get back to work! REAL work. Which I did. (I am forever grateful to him, by the way, and not only is a character in THE IRON WITCH very loosely based on him, his name will be front and centre under: Dedicated to...)

Anyway, I digress. So I wrote and wrote and wrote. I wrote a LOT in the following year; I honestly believe that all the frustration during those five years when I gave up sort of poured out in one go. It was like a tidal wave of creativity! In January 2008 I started querying agents in the US with THE IRON WITCH. I'm from the UK - based in London - and I'd already decided that because I love urban fantasy so much (both YA and adult) I wanted to be published first and foremost in the US market. In July 2008 I signed with an agent who I can only describe as that very dangerous cliche: Dream Agent. We revised and went out on submission later that year. But! The road to publication is never smooth, and in January 2009 (there are lots of January's in this story!) the publishing industry in the US got into some serious trouble which affected many writers out on submission, especially those looking for their first sale - myself included. We waited... and waited... and waited. To cut a long story short, after a total of 10 months on submission I finally started getting offers and signed with Flux in a two-book deal. Flux could not have been more enthusiastic about the book and the world I created, and I am so grateful to them for this opportunity! Not only do I get to see my debut novel on ACTUAL bookshelves, I'm able to write the sequel under contract. *beams*

3. Was there ever a time you felt like giving up? Why didn't you?

As I said in the previous answer, I sort of DID give up during my earlier incarnation as a writer, but I realise now that I just wasn't ready back then. It wasn't my time. When I started again in January 2007 I can honestly say that I never once thought of giving up. I'm not saying there weren't 'down' periods (for sure, it was tough being out on submission with a wonderful agent but not getting any responses from editors at all) but I was never down enough to want to throw in the towel. Maybe I would've got there eventually, but I told myself: Just try for 5 years. If you don't have a book on the shelves by 2012, maybe this isn't for you. Luckily, my first book will be out in early 2011 so I didn't do too badly.

Other things that helped keep me going: the writing community, especially those writing urban fantasy and YA. LiveJournal was such a source of inspiration during the first couple of years, along with VerlaKay's blueboards and many other writers' blogs. I am grateful for how generous the YA/MG authors community is! If it weren't for the internet, I would never have met all my wonderful friends and CPs and fellow writers. I was also lucky enough to get introduced to editor Trisha Telep shortly after I signed with Miriam Kriss, and because Trisha had worked with Miriam's clients on an adult anthology and they had a good relationship, I was given the opportunity to submit a short story to a YA vampire anthology. My story, 'Falling to Ash', seemed to go down very well and has enjoyed a lot of success and positive reviews in THE ETERNAL KISS (Running Press, 2009). I have a follow-up story coming out in another anthology this summer. While we out on submission with THE IRON WITCH, that anthology kept me going throughout last year - working on it, seeing it published and then getting emails and LJ comments from teen readers all over the world. It was wonderfully inspiring! :)

4. Bonus: Favorite kind of cupcake? (NO cupcake is NOT an answer O_O)

4. Hmm... this is a difficult question, V. I do love cupcakes, but I'm definitely addicted to blueberry muffins. But okay, since you insist! *g* It would have to be a chocolate cupcake, there is absolutely no contest from any other kind. (Please see photo!) Mmmm....

Victoria, thanks so much for having me - you are one of those awesome and inspiring people that I'm happy to have met! Thank you for sending me many of these: *\o/* when I needed them most, especially in recent months.

Karen, you are incredible, and I'm happy to know you and to witness your ascent into rock star-dom :)

Thanks everyone for joining me this week! Be sure to check out Karen's blog HERE, and have a great weekend :) Thanks to all the authors for participating!

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment