How did you get a literary agent?
The old fashioned way — querying. I’ve actually worked with two literary agents. The first offered representation while I was querying my third completed manuscript; she turned out to be a bad match. I signed with the second, Victoria Marini, a few years ago, and she’s fantastic. You can read more specifically about my experience querying and signing with her HERE.
How do you write a successful query letter?
Honestly, query letters are not my strength. But I can point you toward some excellent resources: YA Highway, author Susan Dennard, Writer’s Digest, publishing guru Jane Friedman, Query Shark, and author Nathan Bransford, to name a few.
How did your book deal with Swoon Reads come about?
You can read the specifics about why I decided to submit to Swoon Reads HERE, but the short answer is this: I wrote and revised a swoonworthy YA story. Later, I heard a tidbit about Swoon Reads via social media. I researched their inception, business model, editors, and marketing plans before coming to the conclusion that my story, Kissing Max Holden, would be a great fit for the imprint. You can read all about my publishing journey leading up to the submission of Kissing Max Holden to Swoon Reads HERE.
Can you tell me more about Swoon Reads?
Um… It’s awesome? 🙂 I suggest you check out their About page to get a feel for the Swoon Staffers, as well as their FAQ page, which is a wealth of information. You can also get an idea of the sort of books Swoon Reads publishes by perusing their Selected Books (spoiler alert — Kissing Max Holden is one!). Interested in submitting your original and complete manuscript to Swoon Reads? Check out the guest blog post I did for the YA Buccaneers: 8 Lessons I Learned from Submitting My YA Romance to Swoon Reads.
When can I buy/borrow Kissing Max Holden?
August, 2017. I know what you’re thinking: That’s such a long time from now! It is, isn’t it? But publishing is notoriously slow, and there’s a lot that must happen to a story between its initial acquisition and its publication. If you just can’t wait to meet Jillian and Max, you can check out Kissing Max Holden‘s Pinterest board HERE.
Why do you write for young adults?
I’ve never attempted to write anything but young adult fiction. I’m fascinated by the teenage experience, and perhaps more significantly, I adore romance. Stories for young adults are perfect for exploring the many complicated feelings that come with first love.
What are you working on now?
A slew of WiPs. There’s this one about a forbidden, multi-cultural romance. And this one about a long-missing person and the road trip meant to find her. And then there are a few I’m still holding close… 😉
What are your favorite YA books?
There are so many! Look at my About page for a rundown, but if I have to pick a few… How to Love by Katie Cotugno, Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson, The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry, The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore, The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski, If I Stay by Gayle Forman, Stolen by Lucy Christopher, In Real Life by Jessica Love, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han, and the Graceling Realm Trilogy by Kristin Cashore.
What’s your review policy?
As I’m a writer, not a book blogger, I don’t have an official review policy, other than to make a point to shout about the books I love. I like to think of my reviews more as “recommendations” because I believe all stories have an audience. Even when I read a book that ends up not being for me, I can still discern its strengths, and I always choose to emphasize those when I chat about books on my blog.
How long have you been blogging?
Seven years… It’s a lot of work, but I enjoy it.
Why do you move so often?
Haha… My husband’s job. We stay in any one place for as briefly as eight months, or for as long as three years. So far, we’ve lived in Washington, Arizona, Tennessee, Arizona (again), Washington (again), California, Florida, and we’re currently in Northern Virginia. This life is an adventure!
Will you provide feedback on my query/synopsis/manuscript?
I’d love to, but unfortunately my time is limited. I already have a group of savvy CPs who I trade work with, and my relationships with them are invaluable. I highly recommend finding a similar writing group. Try: Maggie Stiefvater’s Critique Partner Love Connection, How About We CP, Susan Dennard’s CP/Buddy Match-Up, You’re the One That I Want: 2016 Critique Partner Matchmaking, or any number of online writing forums.
Where else can I find you online?
Here I am on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr. My Goodreads author page is HERE, and you can mark Kissing Max Holden “to read” HERE. Kissing Max Holden‘s Swoon Reads page is HERE, and my author profile is HERE. You can also find me (and many other 2017 debut authors!) at The Swanky 17s.
Got a question?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll do my best to answer.