Sadly, it’s the final day of the Debut Author Interview Extravaganza. But I'm very happy to close out the week with Angie Smibert, a fellow Elevensie and also a classmate of mine in the Class of 2k11. Once again, there are more new interviews on the blogs listed at the end of the post. (In addition, I have one more interview up my sleeve; details below.)
Tell us about your book.
Memento Nora (Marshall Cavendish, Spring 2011) is young adult science fiction. It’s about a teenage girl’s struggle to hold on to her memories—and her identity—in a world that finds it far more lucrative for everyone to forget—and keep on shopping. I pitched it as Feed or Extras meets Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Can you tell us a little bit about your road to publication?
In October 2008, I went to the SCBWI Mid-Atlantic conference in Arlington, Virginia, which was the best $100 (or however much it was) I’ve ever spent. The four editors on the editors’ panel invited everyone who attended to submit queries and/or chapters directly to them. I sent Memento Nora to three of the four. (The fourth didn’t handle science fiction.) A couple of months passed. I’m thinking it’s time to chalk it up to experience when I get a letter from Marshall Cavendish saying they’d like to see more. Happy holidays, indeed. I sent the editor (now my editor) the whole manuscript. And waited. A few more months pass. Then I heard back that they might be interested if I change the ending a little. So, I rewrote furiously and send it back. Meanwhile, I heard from one of the other panel editors that she wanted to see the whole manuscript—which luckily I’d just rewritten. Long story short: a bidding war did not ensue. The second editor graciously declined, but my rewrite was enough to convince Marshall Cavendish.
Was there ever a time you felt like giving up? Why didn't you?
I’ve been writing fiction off and on (with varying degrees of skill and luck) for many, many years. I did give up on it for long stretches of time, using the excuse that life just got in the way. Finally, a few years ago I decided that I needed to just quit the day job and take a real crack at this writing thing. I don’t recommend that drastic approach for everyone, but it seriously concentrated my focus--plus I think I was finally ready to write the stories I wanted to write. And, here I sit with a few dozen published short stories and a novel set to debut next year. So, ultimately I didn’t give up. Why? I guess I haven’t found anything else that’s as satisfying as writing my own stories. That, and I think I always believed deep down that I could do it.
What’s the one thing that’s surprised you most on the journey from starting your novel to publication?
The waiting. I don’t know why that surprised me. A writer’s life is full of waiting. You write. You send it out into the world. And you wait. And wait. And wait. I guess the part that surprised me was that after you sign on the dotted line, you wait some more. That was ignorance of the process on my part, though. I didn’t realize how long it takes a book to go from contract to shelf.
Where were you when you got the news that your book had been sold?
I was at home working. I was so excited I couldn’t remember phone numbers. Thank goodness for speed dial.
What did you do to celebrate?
I don’t remember. ;)
To find out more about Angie and her book, check out the following links:
Web site: www.angiesmibert.com (under construction)
Thanks, Angie! I love the premise for your book!
Well, I think we've learned three things this week: successful writing involves waiting, the SCBWI and chocolate. Tune in next week for a bonus interview, to see if 2010 author Rhonda Hayter agrees!
Today, visit my fellow blogging interviewers:
Lisa & Laura Roecker
Suzette Saxton & Bethany Wiggins
I'm a novelist and screenwriter living in Los Angeles. Find details on this "blog" about my books and appearances. Want to reach me? You can Contact Me here.
What I'm working on now:
- A new YA novel
- A middle grade novel
- An original screenplay for the Disney Channel
Writing Book of the Month:
"The Comic Toolbox" by John Vorhaus.