What has been the most exciting part of getting published?
The most exciting part of my publishing experience is that my lifelong dream has finally come true. It’s one of those things I never really knew would or could happen. I doubted myself the whole way, and still have moments where I feel like I’m not going to measure up. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure it’s all real.
How long did it take you to get published?
There are two answers to this.
The first is: My Whole Life. I have always loved reading and writing, and have always dreamed of holding my own book in my hands. The problem I had from childhood until just recently was that I was too shy to share my work. I think the best part was that when I sent my manuscripts off to agents asking for representation and editors to see if they’d like to work with me was that I didn’t know them. There’s something really scary about people I know personally reading my work.
The second answer to this: Since I Quit Teaching in 2005. I quit teaching to stay home with my first child and to work on making my dream of being published come true. THE TENSION OF OPPOSITES is the third manuscript I have written since 2005, and it was the lucky one that attracted my agent, Alyssa Eisner Henkin.
Were you faced with rejection at first? How did you handle it?
I received over 100 rejection letters from agents for my first manuscript. Probably half as many for the second (though I received much more promising feedback). And for the early draft of THE TENSION OF OPPOSITES, I had about seven agents reading the full before I accepted representation with my ever-so-talented agent. How I handled it? I just kept writing and querying agents and writing and querying agents . . . Oh yeah, I also ate pounds of chocolate!
Where did you get your ideas for this book?
One day while my daughter was napping, I took a break from life and sat down to watch Oprah (which I rarely do). Oprah was interviewing a young man who had been kidnapped and held prisoner for four years before being found and returned to his family. I was enraptured by his story. Within a few days, the main character of Tessa started speaking to me. (I know that makes me sound a little loopy, but that’s how I work.)
What do you think or hope readers will gain from your novel?
That’s a hard question. I hope that people realize that relationships of all kinds require a lot of work. There are ups and downs and you have to ride that wave and not give up when things get tough or sticky.
However, the most important thing I hope people think about as they read my book is that there are a lot of kidnapped kids out there who are still alive, and we might pass them in public. There are several current news stories that prove this is true. I hope so very much that people will simply pay a little more attention to that voice inside when it tells them something doesn’t seem right. If more people acted on their intuition, we might possibly see a whole lot more of these reunions.
When writing do you outline or just begin?
I do a little of both. I need to start writing so I can meet my characters. It helps me to see them in action. But once I meet them, I have to outline their story to make sure enough will happen to create a novel. Plotting is by far the most difficult aspect of my writing process. I’m very thankful to have a gifted agent who is willing to hang out on the phone with me while I throw ideas out there. She’s great at asking the perfect questions to lead me to the best scenes and plot developments. (LOVE her!)
What authors inspire you?
This might be the hardest question of all! Every book I have ever read has inspired me in some way. My favorite YA authors are Laurie Halse Anderson, Jay Asher, Sarah Dessen, John Green . . . oh, this is too hard!
Complete this: While writing this book I learned...
That revision hurts and it’s fine to spend a day mourning a great scene that just doesn’t fit the storyline (while mourning, I tend to eat loads of chocolate), but that the most essential part of writing is to keep going and see it through.
Complete this: You should buy my novel because...
Is there a PC answer for this? “Because I think it rocks!” just doesn’t sound right. I simply hope people will think my novel sounds interesting enough to pick up and read. If not, pass it up and find something more your style. We’re all lucky for the state of YA literature right now. There are so many wonderful books to choose from. So go find a good book and dive in, people. And if you happen to choose mine, I certainly hope you enjoy!
Be sure to check out Kristina's book. I will be!!!