CURRENT GIVEAWAYS

Here are my current Giveaway Contests


Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway through March 31st

GABE'S GUARDIAN ANGEL through March 31st

Ann Rose Query Critique through April 4th

THE SOUND OF STARS through April 4th

THE SILENCE OF BONES through April 18th

Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews and Guest Posts w/ Debut Authors & Query Critique Giveaways

Kristy Hunter & Author Loriel Ryon Guest Post & Query Critique Giveaway on 4/20/20

Lindsay Davis Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 4/27/20

Erin Clyburn Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 5/20/20

JESSICA KIM INTERVIEW AND STAND UP, YUMI CHUNG! GIVEAWAY

Happy Monday Everyone! I’m excited to have debut author Jessica Kim here to share about her middle grade contemporary, STAND UP, YUMI CHUNG! It sounds like a fantastic blend of humor and dealing with heavy issues that many middle graders can relate to.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads

One lie snowballs into a full-blown double life in this irresistible story about an aspiring stand-up comedian.

On the outside, Yumi Chung suffers from #shygirlproblems, a perm-gone-wrong, and kids calling her "Yu-MEAT" because she smells like her family's Korean barbecue restaurant. On the inside, Yumi is ready for her Netflix stand-up special. Her notebook is filled with mortifying memories that she's reworked into comedy gold. All she needs is a stage and courage.

Instead of spending the summer studying her favorite YouTube comedians, Yumi is enrolled in test-prep tutoring to qualify for a private school scholarship, which will help in a time of hardship at the restaurant. One day after class, Yumi stumbles on an opportunity that will change her life: a comedy camp for kids taught by one of her favorite YouTube stars. The only problem is that the instructor and all the students think she's a girl named Kay Nakamura--and Yumi doesn't correct them.

As this case of mistaken identity unravels, Yumi must decide to stand up and reveal the truth or risk losing her dreams and disappointing everyone she cares about.
 

Hi Jessica! Thanks so much for joining us.

1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer. 


To be honest, I’d never really considered becoming a writer. In my former life, I was a classroom teacher and I assumed that I’d retire as one. It wasn’t until I moved away to New York City for three years and started a personal blog that I realized how much I enjoy storytelling. As my readership grew beyond my friends and family, I started to hear the comment, “You should really write a book!” and that stuck with me. So much so that when we moved back to California, I decided not to return to the classroom as planned but decided to pursue publication seriously. I joined a critique group and took some writing classes and pretty soon found the writing community, which has been very supportive.

2. Love how you got into writing. Where did you get the idea for STAND UP, YUMI CHUNG!?

I really wanted to write about the complexities of being a second-generation American and the unique challenges we face toggling between our parents’ culture and the American one we grew up in. Specifically, I wanted to write about the desire to pursue something less conventional, something more creative, and more “risky.” At the time, I was dealing with my own conflicting feelings about a career in publishing and found myself second-guessing myself because of all the things I was taught when I was younger: do something practical, regular Americans aren’t interested in our stories, find a stable more predictable endeavor. At the same time, the passion I had for writing was growing and I knew I’d always regret it if I didn’t at least try to chase my dream of writing a book. That inner turmoil became the seed for the idea of STAND UP, YUMI CHUNG!

3. I bet a lot of kid will relate to the feelings you were dealing with. Your story has a lot of humor and jokes that Yumi is working on. People who have read it said that they laughed out loud. Did the humor come easy to you? What tips do you have for authors who want to write stories that include humor? 

Some of the observational humor that’s included in the narrative was easy for me to write, but the jokes and bits she uses in her acts on stage were very difficult. I have my own notebook full of jokes that never made it into the book. Comedy truly is a craft and I needed to hard work on making those bits work. As far as tips, I’d suggest simply spending time with young people, watching the media they find funny, and immersing oneself in that world. Personally, I have a ten-year-old daughter so that part is not a choice for me.

4. Yumi also has to deal with a lot more issues in the story, like disappointing her parents and
risking her dream. How did you create a balance the humor and serious moments in your story? 

I really wanted to write a fun adventure story full of hijinks and high tension but also one that went deep into authentic family relations and the conflicts that happen there. In a sense, the nature of that friction between Yumi and her parents naturally led to some of the more serious moments in the book. I was careful to bring comic relief throughout to maintain a balance between light and heavy. It’s kind of like seasoning your food when you’re cooking. A little of this, but not too much, and a little of that, but not too much.

5. I like the food analogy. What was a challenge you had in writing STAND UP, YUMI CHUNG? How did you overcome it?

I wanted to be careful about stereotypes. It was important that I portrayed the characters in an
authentic light without turning them into caricatures. In the first draft, I may have over-corrected in my writing of Mrs. Chung, Yumi’s mother. I was keenly aware of the way Asian women are often painted in Western media: stern and harsh tiger moms. So, in the original version she spoke perfect English, had a crush on George Clooney, and joked around with her kids. But she never really rang true to me. In my revision, I tried a few more times to nail her down and finally ended up writing her based on the moms I grew up with in my community. At first glance, especially in the first chapters, Mrs. Chung might come off as your stereotypical strict academic-minded Asian mom. However, as you read on and come to know her, you see more dimensions of her personality and by the end you’re rooting for her because you understand her and the tremendous love she has for her daughter. I learned that I can’t just write in reaction to the stereotypes that are out there. I need to write deeper to explore what’s beneath the surface and then, in my specificity, I can tap into the universal. 

6. Thao Le is your agent. How did you get your agent and what was your road to publication like? 

A year before I signed with my dream agent, Thao Le, I actually queried her with a different manuscript. I’ll never forget receiving her rejection email, it said something about how she couldn’t “connect to my voice.” I was devastated because there are a lot of things I can change about my writing, but voice wasn’t one of them. I thought that’d be the end of Thao and me. But then a year later, I pitched my new story, STAND UP, YUMI CHUNG! on #DVpit, a Twitter pitch event for marginalized writers and illustrators, and to my surprise she requested materials from me. I held my breath and sent it, bracing myself for another rejection. You know, because of my “voice.” But this time it was a YES! Just another reminder that we can’t give up hope and even if we get rejected, we can’t stop, we have to keep writing something else and keep trying.

7. That's a great story of how to get an agent that I think the rest of us wouldn't mind having. I saw on your website that you’ve planned a number of events since January 2020 outside of California, where you live. Were these events scheduled by your publisher or you? What was the experience like of attending them and making presentations as a new author? 

So far, all the events I’ve attended or will attend have been set up through my publisher. I haven’t been to a lot of events yet, but the few I attended were wonderful. It was so great talking about my book and the inspirations I had for it. I am currently working on making a presentation for my future school visits and I can’t wait to meet my young readers!

8. Besides events, what are other ways that you are promoting your book and building your social platform?

I’m working with my local indie bookstores to help boost other authors, moderating signings, and being active in my community promoting representation.

9. What are you working on now?

Currently working on writing book 2! Stay tuned for another fun middle grade novel soon.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Kim. You can find Kim at www.jesskimwrites.com and @jesskimwrites on all social platforms.


Jessica has generously offered an ARC of STAND UP, YUMI CHUNG! for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower  of my blog and leave a comment that includes your email address by April 18th. 

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog and/or follow me on Twitter, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry for each. You must be 13 years old or older to enter. This giveaway is U.S.

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is hosted by Greg Pattridge. You can find the participating blogs on his blog.

Here's what's coming up:

Tuesday, April 14 I am participating in the Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop 

Monday, April 20th I have a guest post with debut author Lorial Ryon and her agent Kristy Hunter and a giveaway of Lorial's MG magical realism INTO THE TALL, TALL GRASS and a query critique by Kristy

Monday, April 27th I have an agent spotlight interview with Lindsay Davis and query critique giveaway 

Hope to see you on Tuesday!




JUNE HUR INTERVIEW AND THE SILENCE OF BONES GIVEAWAY AND IWSG POST

Happy Wednesday Everyone! I hope that you are all healthy and that all your family is healthy too in our challenging times. I'm looking forward to reading how everyone is and sharing how I'm doing in my IWSG post. 

Today I’m thrilled to have debut author June Hur here to share about her YA historical murder mystery THE SILENCE OF BONES. This is one of the books that I’m dying to read this year because I’m really murder mysteries these days, and it has the added bonus of being historical fiction set in Korea too. But first I have my IWSG post to share.



Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday is officially Insecure Writer's Support Group Day.

The co-hosts this month are Diane Burton, JH Moncrieff, Anna @ Emaginette, Karen @ Reprobate Typewriter, Erika Beebe, and Lisa Buie-Collard!

Optional Question: The IWSG’s focus is on our writers. Each month, from all over the globe, we are a united group sharing our insecurities, our troubles, and our pain. So, in this time when our world is in crisis with the covid-19 pandemic, our optional question this month is: how are things in your world?

At first, I was really overwhelmed by how quickly the coronavirus threat escalated. One night I went to dinner with a friend and planned to see my mother the next day. Then the very next day, her independent living facility closed to guests and I was shopping for both of us and planning to stay in as much as possible. I know this is all for the best and my mom's safety. Thankfully, no one there has gotten the virus.

Once I got over the shock, I have adjusted to my new life, which is mostly at home alone with my sweet dog. We're under a stay at home order in Michigan. I still go to my boyfriend's three nights a week, walk with a friend at a local park most days, and otherwise stay in unless I need to go to the grocery store.

As a contract writer for an online company, I can still work from home. My daughter and her boyfriend are hunkered in together and healthy. So I'm feeling grateful in these scary times. I also feel pretty strong and resilient. I feel up to doing my part to help get rid of this horrible virus and face this huge national crisis we're in the midst of.

I'm actually starting to enjoy a quieter, slower life for a bit. I am planning to support local restaurants by ordering delivery. And I'm hoping to read and write more during the six weeks to two months that we'll have to stay inside.

What about you? How you doing?

FOLLOWER NEWS

David Powers King's new YA THE DRAGON'S HEART releases today. Love his cover ! Here's a blurb:

Terrible things happen whenever Princess Celesia falls in love—she blacks out and attacks her suitors, which makes an alliance with a more powerful nation impossible. Believing that she’s cursed, Celesia is given two choices: marry without love, or be responsible for her kingdom’s demise. Instead, she sneaks off in search of a remedy. 

She doesn’t make it far when she encounters a dragon who bears a curse of his own—he is a prince, desperate to reclaim his humanity before the dragon takes over. He's heard of a stone that can lift both of their curses, but neither of them can find it alone, and they’re not the only ones after it. An evil alchemist is intent on using it to steal the land’s magic and dominate the realm. Only together, with the help of an even greater magic, can Celesia and the dragon stop this evil, or be bound forever by their curses.
And some links:
Bloghttps://www.davidpowersking.com

And I want to give another shout out to Jemi Fraser whose book 
DANCING WITH DEMENTIA released this week. Here's a blurb: Dementia slammed
into our family a few years ago. It took us by surprise and we missed a lot of clues. The book Dancing With Dementia is the story of our journey through the early stages of the disease.
Throughout the book, we share tips of what worked to help our Mom combat the disease. We share what didn’t work. What made us laugh and what made us cry. And here's a few links:
Amazon.com           Amazon.ca.          Apple Books.           Barnes & Noble          Kobo.     
Add it to your Goodreads shelf
June Hur's Interview

Now onto June's interview. Here’s a blurb of THE SILENCE OF BONES from Goodreads:


I have a mouth, but I mustn't speak;
Ears, but I mustn't hear;
Eyes, but I mustn't see.


1800, Joseon (Korea). Homesick and orphaned sixteen-year-old Seol is living out the ancient curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Indentured to the police bureau, she’s been tasked with assisting a well-respected young inspector with the investigation into the politically charged murder of a noblewoman.

As they delve deeper into the dead woman's secrets, Seol forms an unlikely bond of friendship with the inspector. But her loyalty is tested when he becomes the prime suspect, and Seol may be the only one capable of discovering what truly happened on the night of the murder.

But in a land where silence and obedience are valued above all else, curiosity can be deadly.

June Hur's elegant and haunting debut The Silence of Bones is a bloody tale perfect for fans of Kerri Maniscalco and Renée Ahdieh.

Hi June! Thanks so much for joining us.

1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.

I was born in Korea and spent most of my life in Canada, except for the time I attended high school in Korea. I wasn't too fluent then in the Korean language, so I'd spend most of my time in class writing stories. But I never really considered pursuing a career in writing until I started querying, which was around the time I started university. Behind this dream were two books that really made me fall in love with storytelling: pride and prejudice, and Jane eyre!

2. I admire you starting to query when you started college. I can't imagine having the time to focus on writing. Where did you get the idea of THE SILENCE OF BONES? 

I got my idea while studying about Korean history, mainly the early 19th century when Korea (a closed-door kingdom) was trying to fight off any form of Western influence (i.e. Catholicism). It was a piece of history I didn't know about, and there were so many fascinating historical figures involved in this time period, so I ended up wanting to explore this world further and ended up basing my story on what I'd learned.

3. Your story is set in Korea. Your bio says that you lived in Korea while in high school. Did that help you with getting the setting and culture right? What research did you need to do?

The main way my experience in Korea helped me with the writing of my debut was by allowing me to immerse myself in the Korean language. Knowing the language made a huge difference when it came to researching, which I needed to do a lot of since my book is a historical. While there are English translated Korean resources, the very niche information are difficult to find unless you research in Korean. But besides the research, the lived experience as a Korean in Korea helped me represent the culture as accurately as I could.

4. That's so interesting that you feel learning the language was so important. How did you plot out your story and the mystery elements of it? Do you have any tips for other writers who want to write a murder mystery?

I plotted out my story by choosing certain historical events I wanted to write about, and used plot as a
vehicle to narrate those events. As for the mystery aspect, I found it quite challenging as I'd never written a mystery before. I spent the first few drafts trying to figure out who the killer was, and the remaining drafts connecting the dots and refining the killer's motive. Throughout this experience, what really helped me, besides reading mystery novels and writing books, was watching and studying a really good mystery TV show. Something about the visual aspect of television helped me understand the structure of a mystery better. An excellent example of great mystery storytelling would be Broadchurch.

5. I added Broadchurch to my Netflix wishlist as I'm interested in learning how to write a mystery. Share a bit about your main character, Seol, and something that surprised you about her as you wrote her story.

When I first began to draft THE SILENCE OF BONES, Seol was supposed to be a cynical woman in her 20s whose loyalty to the Queen Regent would be tested. But draft by draft, I kept seeing the image of Seol as a 16-year-old teen, smiling and skipping down stairs, totally clueless about the horrors awaiting her. This is why I love writing. It’s moments when suddenly the characters come to life and take over the story!

6. Your agent is Amy Bishop. How did she become your agent and what was your road to publication like? 

8 years and two failed rounds of querying later, I put aside my first book and decided to work on a new project. A korean historical mystery. I didn't think anyone would be interested in a police drama set in 1800s Korea, but I didn't care at this point and just wrote the book for myself. Fortunately, as I was browsing through Manuscript Wish List, I found an agent who was passionate about diverse literature, and so I decided to send a query her way. I didn't think Amy Bishop would actually offer. But then on September 20, Amy emailed me with an offer and shared that my debut was a book she wished had existed when she was a teen.

7. What an awesome road to getting an agent.I noticed that you have a large twitter follower—over 5000 followers. How did you build up your following and how long did it take? Do you have any tips for the rest of us on using Twitter?

Over a span of two years, I had two tweets go viral and that's where I gained a good chunk of my followers. After that, most of the followers were gained from maintaining a steady presence and engaging with others, being honest and transparent about the ups and downs of publication. So that would be my tip—to be consistent and to engage with the writing/bookish community, to be open and vulnerable, but also to make sure you know your boundaries so twitter doesn’t end up becoming toxic.

8. How are you marketing your book? What are you doing to connect with your readers in the United States given that you live in Canada?

I'm not marketing myself as much as I'd like! I have a baby so I've had to be very selective about how I use my time. Often, it's either a question of: do I spend my time working on the second contracted book, or do I use that time to market myself? Usually I end up choosing to write, but if I do decide to focus on marketing, I usually make pretty graphics, or I share interesting facts about the Joseon dynasty-era Korea.

Also, thanks to Twitter and Instagram, even though I live in Canada, I’m able to engage with many U.S. readers, and even readers all around the world. It’s wonderful how encouraging and supportive bookish people can be.

9. You also work in a library in Toronto. How can debut authors connect with libraries that aren’t in their home town?

Many libraries these days have an online presence via Twitter or Instagram, mainly through the librarians. So in order to connect with libraries, I’d definitely encourage that authors get to know the librarians who work there.

10. That's great advice. What are you working on now?

I'm working on the second book of my contract, titled THE FOREST OF STOLEN GIRLS. It's about two estranged sisters who are forced to work together in search of their missing father, who happens to be the greatest detective in Joseon Dynasty-era Korea.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, June. You can find June at:
Twitter: @writerjunehur
Instagram: @junehwrites

June has generously offered an e-book of THE SILENCE OF BONES from Amazon for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower  of my blog and leave a comment that includes your email address by April 18th. 

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog and/or follow me on Twitter, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry for each. You must be 13 years old or older to enter. This giveaway is international.

Here's what's coming up:

Monday, April 6 I have an interview with debut author Jessica Kim and a giveaway of her MG contemporary STAND UP YUMI CHUNG

Tuesday, April 14 I am participating in the Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop 

Monday, April 20th I have a guest post with debut author Lorial Ryon and her agent Kristy Hunter and a giveaway of Lorial's MG magical realism INTO THE TALL, TALL GRASS and a query critique by Kristy

Monday, April 27th I have an agent spotlight interview with Lindsay Davis and query critique giveaway 

Hope to see you on Monday!


ALECHIA DOW INTERVIEW AND THE SOUND OF STARS GIVEAWAY


Happy Monday Everyone! I hope that you are all healthy and safe. I can't believe how much is changing every day with the coronavirus and how it is affecting your lives. After a few days of being shell shocked over the magnitude of it all, I am gathering all my inner strength to get through this. I haven't been able to see my mom who is independent living for over a week but we talk daily. I know it's for the best and no one there has become ill yet. Just trying to be thankful these days and hunker in almost total isolation. Hope your family and you are surviving this too.

Today I’m thrilled to have debut author Alechia Dow here to share about her YA dystopian/science fiction THE SOUND OF STARS. I’m super excited because it’s part dystopian and science fiction, two genres that I really like, and has secret books. Need I say more?

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads 

Can a girl who risks her life for books and an alien who loves forbidden pop music work together to save humanity?

Two years ago, a misunderstanding between the leaders of Earth and the invading Ilori resulted in the deaths of one-third of the world’s population.

Seventeen-year-old Janelle “Ellie” Baker survives in an Ilori-controlled center in New York City. Deemed dangerously volatile because of their initial reaction to the invasion, humanity’s emotional transgressions are now grounds for execution. All art, books and creative expression are illegal, but Ellie breaks the rules by keeping a secret library. When a book goes missing, Ellie is terrified that the Ilori will track it back to her and kill her.

Born in a lab, M0Rr1S (Morris) was raised to be emotionless. When he finds Ellie’s illegal library, he’s duty-bound to deliver her for execution. The trouble is, he finds himself drawn to human music and in desperate need of more. They’re both breaking the rules for love of art—and Ellie inspires the same feelings in him that music does.

Ellie’s—and humanity’s—fate rests in the hands of an alien she should fear. M0Rr1S has a lot of secrets, but also a potential solution—thousands of miles away. The two embark on a wild and dangerous road trip with a bag of books and their favorite albums, all the while making a story and a song of their own that just might save them both.
 


Hi Alechia! Thanks so much for joining us.

1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.

Hello! My name is Alechia Dow, and I’m the author of The Sound of Stars. I’ve been writing since I was a kid, but never thought I was talented enough to become a published author. Through working odd jobs, going to school, and reading a million books, I wrote stories. But not seriously until 2016, when I wrote my first heavy duty scifi book that was selected to be mentored by Tamara Mataya… and that I eventually shelved. Tamara taught me how to write smarter and better, and I applied that to my next book, which was THE SOUND OF STARS. I’ve been very lucky and humbled by this process, and grateful that Tamara, my agents, and Inkyard Press took a chance on me!

2. That's awesome that Tamara helped you so much. Where did you get the idea for THE SOUND OF STARS?

The Sound of Stars was that book that just felt right to write. Out of nowhere, I was inspired by the idea of a secret, illegal library. Which got me to thinking, why is it illegal? And then it evolved over the course of a long walk into a story about a rebel librarian and an alien who loves music. This is often how my mind works, one minute I have a fragment of an idea, and the next, it's a full-fledged plot bunny that I tend to follow on the page.

3. I love that this is a mishmash of two different genres. What made you decide to do this? Was it difficult to make your story part dystopian since publishers do not seem too interested in this genre after flooding the market with books in this genre?

Dystopian is a tough sell right now, but if you package it in a different way, publishers tend to give it a chance. That’s where I got lucky. The world after an alien invasion could have been bleak, yet I kept it sort of quirky and filled it with songs and stories. By making this not just a love story but a love letter to music and books, I feel like I snuck through publishing’s gatekeepers. This story has a big piece of my heart, and I’m lucky that Inkyard gave me this opportunity!

4. What was your plotting process like? Has it changed at all after writing THE SOUND OF STARS?

I’m a planster; half plotter, half seeing where the story takes me. I tend to write the first three chapters without an outline, and then by the time I’ve wrapped the first 30-ish pages, I understand what the plot should be, who the characters are, and what their arc will look like. I learned this process with THE SOUND OF STARS, and thankfully it’s the same process for all of my books now.

5. That's awesome that you found a process that works for you. People who have reviewed your book have said that your characters are memorable. Do you have your characters set before you start to write or do they grow with your story? What tips do you have for writers having challenges developing the characters in their stories?

It’s a bit of a both situation, ha! I write as if I’m creating a scene in a movie. The more details, the more attributes, sensory descriptions, and dialogue, the clearer the scene. I knew Ellie and Morris before I began writing their story, but I didn’t know them so completely until I was revising them. They didn’t show me every detail of their personality until I was working with my brilliant editor, Natashya Wilson. My biggest tip for writers who struggle to develop characters: write a paragraph about them—their strengths, weaknesses, goals, take personality quizzes as them, and find critique partners that you can trust, who can keep your voice consistent but also point out where you could make the scene and character clearer.

6. Your agent is Natalie Lakosil. How did you get your agent and what was your road to publication like?

Like most people, I wrote several books before I signed with an agent. I wrote The Sound of Stars in June 2017. I
pitched the story to Pitch Wars in August and didn't get in. Then I pitched it in #PitMad in September, and agents liked it! Three days later, I had an offer. After months of revising with that agent, we realized we had different visions and parted ways. Then I was back to querying this nearly finished book! A month later, I signed with a new agent. And six months later, we had an offer. It was wild, I didn't believe it was possible. But I was lucky to have the perfect editor for my story and Inkyard Press has been incredibly kind to me, not only giving me a *gorgeous* cover, but supporting me throughout this process. It's been an absolute dream.

7.  How have you built your social media platform and connected with your readers since you signed your book publishing contract?

I’m a black American living in Germany, and that is incredibly isolating sometimes. Social media helps me feel like a part of the book community, and introduced me to so many lovely friends! My platform has grown since getting a publishing deal, but I don’t treat it as a way to boost my career… if that makes sense. I’m very much myself online; I’m honest about my struggles and my lack of confidence, I want to congratulate everyone on their life news, and I care about the world and the people in it. I post pictures of my sweets, and generally have a good time.  There are some struggles with boundaries here and there, yet mostly, it’s nice to keep the communication open with readers, friends, and acquaintances. I want to be there for folks.

8. What have you been doing to promote your book? What are some crucial steps that you would advise writers getting ready for the publication of their debut book to take?

Inkyard Press is doing so much to promote my book! They’ve set up blog tours, interviews, and made adorable buttons. They’ve attended book conferences and handed out arcs, they’re superstars. Personally, I’ve shared quotes from my story and some of the amazing blurbs my book has received from incredible authors. I retweet the interviews and all the book love I receive… I try not to spam everyone online lol, but show that some people really like my book and think it’s worthwhile. I have launches coming up in a few weeks with a lot of great authors and friends, and again, I’m really grateful for all the support. People have been helping me from the beginning of this process, and I’m beyond lucky. My advice for writers getting ready for publication of their debut: be careful with your time, lean on your publisher, agent, and publicist for help (THEY WANT YOU TO SUCCEED!), and take a step back when you need to. It’s really overwhelming and you have to take care of yourself!

9. You are a former YA librarian. How has this helped you connect with libraries about your book? What advice do you have for the rest of us who sadly are not former librarians?

I am a former librarian, but I’m also over here in Germany. So I feel a bit cut-off from where I grew up and worked. That said, I did contact my colleagues and tell them about my book. Some were really excited and made sure their library purchased a copy or two! How cool is that? My advice for authors who want to make sure their books find a space on a library shelf: go to your public library, introduce yourself to the staff, and go to the programs when you can! Librarians want to support books and authors, they want to support literacy, and if you say hello each time you step inside, it can be such a positive interaction for you both.

10. What are you working on now?

Well, I wrote a YA foodie fantasy book that's just so foodtastic and fun. It includes recipes I've created over the years, and it's the kind of story I would have loved to read as a teen! I also wrote a dystopian-esque YA that's very daring and twisty, and I'm working on another scifi project, a space rom-com! I'm having fun writing all of these! 
  
Thanks for sharing all your advice, Alechia. You can find Alechia at:
Twitter: @alechiawrites
Instagram: @alechiadow
Website: alechiadow.com


Alechia has generously offered an ARC of THE SOUND OF STARS for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through April 4th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter either contest.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog or follow me on Twitter, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 years old or older to enter. This giveaway is international.

Here's what's coming up:

Wednesday, April 1st I have an interview with debut author June Hur and a giveaway of her YA historical mystery THE SILENCE OF BONES

Monday, April 6 I have an interview with debut author Jessica Kim and a giveaway of her MG contemporary STAND UP YUMI CHUNG


Tuesday, April 14 I am participating in the Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop 

Monday, April 20th I have a guest post with debut author Lorial Ryon and her agent Kristy Hunter and a giveaway of Lorial's MG magical realism INTO THE TALL, TALL GRASS and a query critique by Kristy

Monday, April 27th I have an agent spotlight interview with Lindsay Davis and query critique giveaway 

Hope to see you on Wednesday, April 1st!




AGENT SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW WITH ANN ROSE AND QUERY CRITIQUE GIVEAWAY


Today I’m thrilled to have agent Ann Rose here. She is a literary agent at Prospect Agency.

Hi­ Ann! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Ann:

1. Tell us how you became an agent, how long you’ve been one, and what you’ve been doing as an agent.

I didn’t become an agent the “typical” way for sure. I wasn’t a creative writing major. I didn’t always dream of being a writer. Actually, I never thought either of these things were in the cards for me. But I couldn’t be more happy with how I ended up here. It all started about a million years ago (okay, maybe not that long, but go with me on this) my niece asked me to read some books with her. She was a vivacious reader, and her friends really weren’t, but she wanted someone to fangirl with over books. I told her to tell me what to buy, and we started our own little book club. After one of her favorite characters died, and she called me sobbing, (ten points if you can name the book and the character) I told her I’d write her a book. This is where my story truly begins. I decided if I was going to write her a book I was going to learn everything there was to know about the publishing industry which included getting an internship at an agency on top of my forty hour(+) a week job managing a portfolio of applications for all of America and part of Latin America.
I found agenting to be fascinating, and I loved how each day brought different challenges to conquer, so after a few years, and my day job being eliminated (thanks corporate America) I took to agenting full time and found a home with Prospect Agency. I call it serendipity because really all the stars aligned to make it happen, and I haven’t regretted it a day since. 
As an agent, I do all the things agents do. I represent my clients work to publishers. I work with them on edits to make sure they have the best chance at getting their books picked up. Since I’m remote, I schedule calls with editors to connect with them and discuss projects they are interested in. I’m a sounding board for my client’s ideas and also a shoulder to cry on when imposter syndrome hits hard. There’s probably not a lot of things I wouldn’t do for my authors, really.

About the Agency:

2. Share a bit about your agency and what it offers to its authors.

Prospect Agency has a motto: We see the forest and the trees. Basically, meaning that not only do we notice the small things, but we are always looking at the bigger picture. It’s not just one book, it’s an author’s whole career we are interested in. Prospect has a solid reputation in this community, and I’m so grateful to be a part of it.

What She’s Looking For:

3. What age groups do you represent—picture books, MG, and/or YA? What genres do you represent and what are you looking for in submissions for these genres?

I rep MG and YA of all genres. And in the adult realm, I enjoy light sci-fi/fantasy, romance, and stories with humor and heart. Overall, I’m always looking for great writing, and for stories I haven’t heard a million times before. I love stories that will keep me guessing. I enjoy thriller but not horror. (I’m not into all the blood and gore.) I’m excited to be opening up to Author/Illustrator graphic novels as well. For a more comprehensive list of what I’m looking for, check my website at http://www.prospectagency.com/agent.html#ann_rose or https://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/mswl-post/ann-rose/

4.  Is there anything you would be especially excited to seeing in the genres you are interested in?

I’m very excited to be opening up to graphic novels so I can’t wait to see what comes my way. I’m still very interested in a YA version of CLUE with the same kind of wit and humor. I’d love more LGBTQIA stories, and would love a story about two girls who are both running for class president that fall in love. Stories that take me to new places I’ve never been before whether in contemporary or fantasy.

What She Isn’t Looking For:

5. What types of submissions are you not interested in?

This is much easier than what I am looking for as sometimes I don’t know unless I see it but this list is pretty solid below on what I don’t really want…
Horror (I don't love all the blood and guts stuff)
Erotica
Non-fiction
Picture Books
Poetry (books in verse are the exception) 
Screenplays
Novellas
Stories that start with a character waking up
Stories with graphic rape
Misogynist stories 
Stories that depict animal cruelty - if the dog dies, I don't want it
Books set in the 80s-90s - Unless there's a darn good reason. If you can pick up the plot and move it present day, you probably should. 

Agent Philosophy:

6. What is your philosophy as an agent both in terms of the authors you want to work with and the books you want to represent?

I want to work with career authors. Authors who understand that sometimes the first book isn’t the breakout they dreamed it would be and they have to write two or three or four… more. I want to work with professionals who are able to understand we need to value each other’s time. All my clients have my cell number and are open to text when they need, but not one single one of them has ever abused this.
I want to rep books that represent the world we live in and also books that explore new worlds and ideas. Books that challenge the norms of today. Books with strong, capable women that don’t need men saving them. Books that make me think and keep my on the edge of my seat and guessing until the very end.

Editorial Agent:

7. Are you an editorial agent? If so, what is your process like when you’re working with your authors before submitting to editors?

I’m very editorial, any of my clients would tell you this. We will go through a number of rounds of revisions—as many as it takes—to get the best book possible. In the end we both have the same goal, sell books, so I want to give each client/book the best chance possible.

Query Methods and Submission Guidelines: (Always verify before submitting)

8. How should authors query you and what do you want to see with the query letter?

Submissions are all done through our online website at: https://www.prospectagency.com/submit.html
I want to see letter that shows me the author has at least Googled, “How to write a query letter.” They don’t have to be perfect, rarely they are, but it is obvious when an author has done their homework and when they haven’t.
Make sure to follow guidelines which means for our submission process that you include the query, a synopsis (preferably not longer than 2 pages) and the first 3 chapters or 30 pages in one document that you will attach right there on the submission site. I get so many submissions that are just pages because maybe authors think the Q&A part of the submission is their query. It isn’t. You still have to send a query letter. Lots of authors also love to leave out the synopsis—which I get they suck, but for me, I need to see where you think the story is going and how it ends before I can commit to reading it. And yes, the synopsis has to tell the ending, spoilers and all. A lot of authors think the query and synopsis are the same thing, and they are not. So do your homework.

9.  Do you have any specific dislikes in query letters or the first pages submitted to you?

For queries, I don’t love it when people don’t even address the letter to me. Not even that they get my name wrong, because yes, this happens a lot, but that there is nothing. No greeting at all—like they just did a quick copy paste, and I wasn’t even worth the time to say hi to.
I don’t love queries that spend more time talking about the author than they do talking about the story.
When they pitch me multiple books at a time, and I don’t mean “series potential” but saying book 1 is this, and book 2 is that, and so on. Or after they pitch book one they say, I also have this other book about XYZ if you want. Pitch me your best book.
Queries that don’t tell me the word count or genre of the book. (And for kidlit the age group.) I need these details.
For first pages my biggest pet peeve is a character waking up. I see it ALL THE TIME. Yes, there are exceptions to every rule, but my rule of thumb is—don’t think you are the exception. Try starting in a different place, and who knows, you might surprise yourself how much more awesome your story is. 
I’m also not a huge fan of prologues as most of the time they aren’t needed. This won’t make me immediately reject or anything, but I would suggest asking yourself—does the reader need this information now? Or do I just think they do?

Response Time:

10. What’s your response time to queries and requests for more pages of a manuscript?

Prospect has a no response is a no because of the number of queries we receive. I average at least 40 hours a month just reading query letters if that give you any idea how many I personally see.
When I request pages, it takes me more time than I like, and I’m working on picking up my speed. But I want to make sure I give each submission the time and attention it deserves. I don’t mind an occasional nudge email to check on the status—I just suggest not doing it the week after pages are sent.

Self-Published and Small Press Authors:

11.  Are you open to representing authors who have self-published or been published by smaller presses? What advice do you have for them if they want to try to find an agent to represent them?

Yes, I’m open to previously published authors whether they are small press or self-published. The only caveat would be that they must submit a new project, meaning one that hasn’t been published before. If it is or has been on Amazon for sale, it’s published.
Be upfront with agents on what you want is the advice I can give. If it’s “I need someone to market my self-published books for me” then they haven’t done their homework on what agents do.

Clients:

12. Who are some of the authors you represent?

In the YA space, I represent C.M. McGuire who’s book Ironspark will be coming out this fall! Be on the lookout for this amazing story—seriously go add it to your Goodreads List right now.
Amalie Jahn, USA Today Best Selling Author of The Clay Lion Series, and The Next to Last Mistake is also on my list. If you want heartfelt contemporary YA, she is your girl.
Honestly, I’d love to shout out about all my authors, but I don’t think we have the time. If you are curious to know more check out the #RosebudAuthor hashtag and you’re bound to find them.

Interviews and Guest Posts:

13. Please share the links to any interviews and guest posts you think would be helpful to writers interested in querying you.


Links and Contact Info:

14. Please share how writers should contact you to submit a query and your links on the Web.

If people want to query me, they should go to the submission page on the prospect agency website.
If people just want to know about my shenanigans, I’m best found on Twitter @annmrose

Additional Advice:

15. Is there any other advice you’d like to share with aspiring authors that we haven’t covered?

Keep writing. This industry is so subjective and what doesn’t work for one person might be exactly what someone else is looking for. If this is your dream don’t give up.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Ann.

­Ann is generously offering a query critique to one lucky winner. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follower button if you're not a follower) and leave a comment through April 4th.  If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter either contest. If you do not want to enter the contest, that's okay. Just let me know in the comments.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. This is an international giveaway.

Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at natalieiaguirre7@gmail.com

Note: These agent profiles and interviews presently focus on agents who accept children's fiction. Please take the time to verify anything you might use here before querying an agent. The information found here is subject to change.