Tuesday, February 14, 2017

WOTP: Heather Christie, Young Adult Author

Are you ready for the next author in the Wielders of the Pen series? I sure am! Today Heather Christie, blogger extraordinaire (not to mention amazing author!), is stopping by. Keep reading for a glimpse into the world of an agented author on submission.

To start on a personal note, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am a wife, mother, writer, real estate broker, amateur cook, exercise freak, and avid reader. When I’m not selling houses, I’m writing books and blogging at www.HeatherChristieBooks.com. I have a BA in Literary Studies from the University of Texas, Dallas and I recently received my MFA from Pine Manor College, Boston, MA where I completed my first novel WHAT THE VALLEY KNOWS. My work has appeared on Scary Mommy, Elephant Journal, Mamapedia, The Good Men Project, Grown & Flown, Parent.co, Bon Bon Break, Her View From Home, the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, Sammichs and Psych Meds, and The Lighter Side of Real Estate.

What is your “how I got my agent” story? 

I did a first round of forty queries. I had nine request for either partials or fulls. All passed, except for one who said that if I did “certain things” to the manuscript, she would reread it. I worked with a developmental editor for a year, revised the novel, and sent it back to that agent. I didn’t hear a peep! In the meantime, I attended the New York Pitch Conference and received two requests from editors to see the manuscript. I emailed the agent again, saying that I had interest from two editors. She got back to me immediately and we set up a phone call for the next morning.

What novel landed you your agent?

My first novel is titled WHAT THE VALLEY KNOWS. (YA-Women’s Fiction crossover)

Tell us about the much anticipated and nerve-wracking “Call” with your now agent.

At first I thought her interest was stirred because I said I had two editors wanting to see the book, but during the call, it became obvious that she’d read the manuscript very carefully as she had several suggested edits before she wanted to go on submission. We agreed to a timeframe in which to complete the edits and set up a time to meet the following week.

Have you written/queried other books before? 

No, this is my first attempt.

What is the hardest part about being on submission?

The waiting is by far the hardest part. I’ve been on submission for sixteen months. We’ve had several “almosts.” My novel is told from three points-of-view: two kids and one adult. The YA editors have asked for revisions, removing the adult voice. My agent and I have decided I need to revise, but that it would be best to have a second novel ready and lead with it before going out on submission again.. Ugh! So, I’m back to my writing desk.

What is the best part about having an agent?

The access to the top houses.

How do you cope with waiting to hear back from publishers?

The waiting is brutal. To stay sane, I started a blog in an attempt to begin growing my author platform on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. My hope is that a publisher will recognize that I have a bit of a built-in audience and be willing to roll the dice on me. Plus, the positive feedback from readers is the shot in the arm I need to keep plugging away. I’ve also had a bunch of my pieces re-syndicated on larger sites and they’ve gotten great feedback (and I’ve even been paid for a few essays)!

Do you have any tips for writers who are querying?

Make it perfect out of the gate. You only get one chance to make a first impression. Study great query examples, take a webinar, find a trusted reader to tear it up, and then rewrite it again!

Finally, how will you celebrate when you eventually get your book deal?

I will break down and cry! The process has been so long and taxing. Sometimes, it feels like it is never going to happen. When the deal finally comes to be, I plan the relish in the moment, savor it with every particle of my being, AND shout the good news from my rooftop! And then I’ll frame the book cover and hang it on my wall! 

Framing the book cover sounds like an awesome idea! Who knows, ten years down the road you may need to get a new wall to hang all your shiny book covers.

Want to keep in touch with Heather? Make sure you check out her:

Until next Tuesday!

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