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.
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)
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