CURRENT GIVEAWAYS

Here are my current Giveaway Contests


Winter Wishes Giveaway Hop through January 31st


Tricia Skinner Query Critique through February 6th

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

Abigail Frank Agent Spotlight Interview on 2/10/2021

Pam Gruber Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 2/17/2021

Allison Hellegers and Sam Taylor Guest Post and Query Critique Giveaway on 2/22/2021

Caryn Wiseman and Merriam Sarcia Saunders Guest Post and Query Critique Giveaway on 3/15/2021

Jennifer Herrington Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 3/17/2021

Emily Fortney Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 4/14/2021

Agent Spotlight Updates

All agent spotlights and interviews have been updated as of 7/15/2020, and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for them to be fully updated again in 2023.

Agent Spotlight: Tricia Skinner Interview and Query Critique Giveaway

 Today I’m thrilled to have agent Tricia Skinner here. She is a literary agent at Fuse Literary.

 Hi­ Tricia! Thanks so much for joining us.

 About Tricia:

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


I had what I consider to be a rather normal change in careers. In 2015, I was laid off from a job in academia and instead of immediately seeking employment within the same field, I spoke to my literary agent Laurie McLean about what I wanted to do next. The business side of publishing had always interested me, and Laurie supported my decision to become an agent. She trained me, supporting my move into an industry I had only seen from the point of view of an author. With her mentorship, I’ve built my client list in genres I love. I’m living my dream job, helping other authors enter and thrive in publishing. It’s a very satisfying role for me.

 About the Agency:

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

I think the underlying organization of most literary agencies is the same. All have agents who each have areas of specialization. We all have an internal or external person or agency handling subrights, contracts, marketing, etc. What Fuse offers on top of the expected benefits of working with an agency is a sharper personalized approach. We’re a small agency that is hands-on with our clients. We don’t run like the bottom line is all that counts. Each client is cared for based on what their career path requires; we don’t force them in the same box and expect them to create the same, produce the same, be the same. We recognize our clients as people who have various routes in their publishing careers.

 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?

My root area is adult genre fiction. I’m selectively adding MG to my list, and to a lesser degree YA. My focus is science fiction, fantasy, romance, and horror. I can separate those into subgenres, but that would take too much space to list! It’s necessary to point out that editor tastes change and I have to be aware of what they want and don’t want. That’s why I seek writers based on their skill at storytelling. I’m constantly seeking extraordinary books because those can withstand market fluctuations the best.

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

I’m more interested in who is creating the story. I’ve always encouraged writers from marginalized communities to query me because there are so many untold stories they can share. I want to explore different experiences and see a different point of view in genres I love.

 What She Isn’t Looking For:

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

I don’t represent faith-based/religious manuscripts, short story collections, screenplays, poetry, picture books, chapter books, erotica, novellas, or non-fiction. I won’t consider previously published or self-published books because they’re nearly impossible to sell unless they’re a blockbuster.

 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?

We have the same goal, which is to build and grow a successful publishing career. I signed them because they have extraordinary writing skills, but I also believe we’re suited on a personality level. I don’t sign people for one book. I sign them for what I believe will be a long, productive, positive business partnership. The lovely side effect to this has been the creation of new friendships with people who create stories I adore and who are amazing human beings.   

 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?

 Each client is different but, overall, any of them can expect me to be available to brainstorm ideas, help outline their story points, read their manuscript and provide detailed feedback and suggestions, conceptualize series, offer insight on the industry and where their story fits, and more. I’ll be as hand-on or hands-off during the process as they wish.

 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?

There’s only one preferred method - http://QueryMe.Online/querytricia. The submission portal keeps queries organized. I never read queries sent to me through any other medium. When I receive a query through my direct email or social media, I just delete it. As for the query letter, there are plenty of free online resources that detail exactly how to write one, what to include, how to structure it. My online submission form asks for specific information and leaves a spot to include a synopsis (not required) and the first 20 pages.

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

 I ask to see the first 20 pages of the manuscript without the prologue. Sadly, some writers ignore this and send the prologue, which is a waste when I will not read it. I don’t care what the prologue reveals. If the story won’t hook me from chapter one, there’s a problem.

 Response Time:

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

 I wish I could say I send a response within a week but that’s impossible. I read queries and manuscripts when I am not focused on my clients work. Clients are my top priority. I also can’t tell the future. In 2020, I had no idea COVID-19 would happen, or that my mother would die, or that I’d have major back surgery with a long recovery, or that I’d end up homeschooling my kid. My query and manuscript response time for 2020 was horrible. I still have a few responses to send. I can only apologize to those authors and do better in 2021.

 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?

 I love authors. I don’t care what path brought them to me! If you look at my current client list, you’ll see authors who’ve self-published or wrote for small presses. Editors want never-before-published manuscripts. If you are a self-published writer who wants an agent, send the agent an unpublished manuscript. An agent is going to focus on selling your work to a traditional house (Big 4) first.

 12. With all the changes in publishing—self-publishing, hybrid authors, more small publishers—do you see the role of agents changing at all? Why?

 Agents will always adjust as publishing changes. There are so many options for great books. Streaming services, app-based reading, augmented reality, graphic novels, comic books, and foreign markets. I see agents as always being flexible because we see changes and shifts all the time. We anticipate many and help our clients accordingly.

 Clients:

 13. Who are some of the authors you represent?

My current client list can be found at https://www.triciaskinner.com/clients/. I’m continuing to build my list so expect that page to grow!

 Interviews and Guest Posts:

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

A recent interview: https://darlingaxe.com/blogs/news/book-broker-tricia-skinner

Links and Contact Info:

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

My personal agent site: https://www.triciaskinner.com/. Please view the MSWL page for submission information.

 My agency: https://www.fuseliterary.com/. Please view my Team Fuse page for submission information.

My main social media: https://twitter.com/4triciaskinner. No submissions or pitches accepted on any of my social media (or email).

Additional Advice:

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

Take the time to research the agents you’re interested in. Remember that any rejection received is for the manuscript and not personal. Look at the rejections you do receive for clues on what’s not working in the manuscript, then revise it to make it better/clearer/stronger.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Tricia.

Tricia is generously offering a query critique to one lucky winner. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (via the follower gadget, email, or bloglovin’ on the right sidebar) and leave a comment through February 6th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest. Please be sure I have your email address. 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.

 

 

Guest Post: Agent Amy Brewer and Debut Author Dana Swift and Cast in Fireflight Giveaway

Happy Monday Everyone! Today I’m excited to have debut author Dana Swift here with her agent Amy Brewer to share about her YA debut Cast in Fireflight. It sounds like a fantasy story with a unique magical system and hidden identities.

 Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

 


The first book in an epic, heart-pounding fantasy duology about two royal heirs betrothed to be married, but whose loyalties are torn, and a ruthless enemy who threatens their world, perfect for fans of Sabaa Tahir, Hafsah Faizal, and Renée Ahdieh.

Adraa is the royal heir of Belwar, a talented witch on the cusp of taking her royal ceremony test, and a girl who just wants to prove her worth to her people.

Jatin is the royal heir to Naupure, a competitive wizard who's mastered all nine colors of magic, and a boy anxious to return home for the first time since he was a child.

Together, their arranged marriage will unite two of Wickery's most powerful kingdoms. But after years of rivalry from afar, Adraa and Jatin only agree on one thing: their reunion will be anything but sweet.

Only, destiny has other plans and with the criminal underbelly of Belwar suddenly making a move for control, their paths cross...and neither realizes who the other is, adopting separate secret identities instead.

Between dodging deathly spells and keeping their true selves hidden, the pair must learn to put their trust in the other if either is to uncover the real threat. Now Wickery's fate is in the hands of rivals..? Fiancées..? Partners..? Whatever they are, it's complicated and bound for greatness or destruction.

Now here’s Dana and Amy!

So glad to be here today! Thank you, Literary Rambles.

I think the best place to begin is the beginning. So, let me start with how I met my agent, Amy Brewer. And yes, met!

In 2018 I attended the DFW Writer’s Conference, which is run and hosted by the DFW Writer’s workshop. At the time I was an active member and officer so I helped out where I could.

On the Friday night before the event, I was at a cocktail hour, surrounded by my writing found family and literary agents. At one point I had a question for the President of the Workshop and when I found her, she was talking to an agent. The President introduced us and said the nicest thing a fellow writer can say, “Dana has a great book,” before leaving.

This was my first pitch of that conference and I hadn’t even walked over to pitch my work. The notecards in my head were still undefined and scrambled. But I did it. I told this lovely woman who my main character was and what she wanted in the world and then blurted out bits and pieces of conflict and comparison titles. By the end I was a pile of nerves, wondering aloud if that pitch even made sense. And it must have because Amy Brewer from Metamorphosis Literary Agency asked for the full manuscript of what would become CAST IN FIRELIGHT. A book that will hit shelves tomorrow after ten years of striving for this dream of publication.

Anything you would you like to add in regard to our first meeting and my pitch? What drew you in and made you request? And what do you recommend when pitching an agent, be that in person or through cold querying?

I loved the casual nature of the DFW cocktail hour where the staff and DFW team got to


socialize and chat with the agents and editors freely. You may have felt like it was a messy pitch but the main characters, plot, and hook, got me immediately. Just like the title of the prologue in Cast in Firelight “I Meet the Love of My Life and Slap Him in the Face” That is the kind of attention getter that I love. You also had the time and grace to explain that your manuscript had beta readers and that you knew the YA fantasy genre inside and out and that was a real plus for me asking for the full manuscript and not just a few chapters. When I read it the first time, I knew the ending wasn’t right and I gave Dana a revise and resubmit. She must have worked night and day because she resubmitted it within two weeks. I knew that any writer that had that kind of drive and passion was/is the kind of writer I want to work with.

When pitching an agent, I recommend practicing with friends in writing groups and beta readers. Both for queries and in-person pitches. Even if you say or read the words out loud and get feedback from friends it will get better. I also recommend doing a practice Twit-pitch just so you can narrow down your concept into acceptable elevator pitch form. Know your genre, know your word count, know what your plot points and hook are… and breath.

Oh wow, thank you Amy! I actually love the editing process more than drafting. Since getting an agent and editor I seem to thrive when I know what direction to take the book and make changes for the better. Plus, deep down I think I also felt the ending was a little off. You pushed me and gave me enough freedom to create a much better ending. It’s a shame I can’t say more about what I did wrong and what Amy advised, but I don’t want to spoil anyone. Maybe in a few months I’ll talk about it in depth for fellow writers who want to see how I changed so much in such a short turn around.

From an author’s point of view, I think pitching in person is a little different than writing the query. First, I begin differently. On a query I start with why I am querying a particular agent, inputting the research I found that led me to think we’d be a good match, or the agent would like the book. In-person I start with a more basic introduction: my name, the books title and its genre. Second, I shorten my in-person pitch to be a more basic one or two sentence summary. Amy’s advice on practicing and perfecting your pitch for Twitter pitching opportunities like PitMad is a great idea.

After the introduction and shortened pitch if the agent seems interested or has immediate follow up questions it devolves into more of a conversation, which makes the whole thing more relaxed and casual. On a written query I make it look/sound similar to the blurb on the back of a book, which is how you want your query to read.

I know many people won’t have the opportunity to go to conferences, and especially in the last year and months to come. But, it’s always a good skill to learn how to verbally describe your book (though I know it’s difficult) to better understand the premise and selling points. I’ve also been hearing about virtual conferences opportunities. 

What do you think of the virtual conferences? How are they different than in-person? Any advice for pitching authors?

I’ve had the honor of doing some virtual conference this year and I enjoyed them. When it came to pitches I feel like the authors were more comfortable because they were pitching from their own homes. They also asked more questions and I was happy to see that. What was missing from the online conference were the casual meet and greet situations that I really love about in-person conferences. Being online takes away my ability to alleviate author anxiety by being anonymous. I enjoy sitting down amongst authors and listening to them talk about books casually with their friends and conference mates. I like weighing in on questions and being part of groups without the gravitas of my title.

If I hear something that clicks with me, I will ask if the author is represented and then make a request. The brilliant and wonderful editor, Deb Werksman from Sourcebooks likes to have knit and pitch workshops where she knits and authors can knit or craft or color while they pitch to her and chat with friends in a casual environment. If authors can forget that you are an agent or editor and feel more comfortable chatting, we see deeper insight into the book, not just the highlights. Writing a book is personal and forcing that book into a one-page query or elevator pitch is painful because it becomes less personal, it is the authors first step toward making it a business. That is why the casual, at home, relaxed, knit-n-pitch is a great way to find authors. 

I love how you try to make writers comfortable and knit-n-pitches sounds amazing. Overall, I miss events so much. 2020 has been such a year. For me, it’s meant a lot of learning how to debut in a time where debuting has changed in major ways very quickly. I think networking for one has been so hard. I had many plans to attend local writing events and meet more authors. So, there has been a feeling of isolation. But at the same time, I’ve gone to virtual events I would never have been able to and connected online with my debut group in such wonderful ways. The writing community has always been supportive, but this year I think so many fellow writers have lent a helping hand in regard to promotion and being there to listen to each other talk through our own struggles. 

How did 2020 change work as an agent? What’s major differences in your daily routine and/or yearly? And if there aren’t any big changes what is an average day as agent like? 


I feel very lucky because I’ve always worked remotely as an agent. I have to, I live in Oklahoma. Before 2020, I had no issues jumping on a flight to either coast to do what needed to be done. So, just like everyone else in 2020 it is all done by Zoom meeting now. It evened the playing field in a way for me, because now the New York and L.A agents are in a similar boat. I have found that some editors are more apt to chat on the phone now because they miss the office environment and all of the book talk that we so love.

My routine has changed because my boys are at home. I have two teen sons and though I feel immensely lucky that they are old enough to learn online without any guidance from me, I miss the quiet reading time.

I guess my routine has changed because I sleep later now. Now I sleep till a luxurious 7am. I have coffee and check social media and wake-up and start returning emails within the hour. If I send an email before 8 am there will be a grammar mistake in it, I guarantee. Then it is calls or zoom meetings with editors and clients. I try to lunch away from my desk and in the afternoons I read and I research editors and shop manuscripts. That has changed too, before Covid, I generally knew when staff meetings were and when editors were most responsive, that has all gone sideways. There were “seasons” for when it was a good time to shop, and all of that has changed. I think the biggest changes have yet to unfold. Penguin Random House acquiring Simon and Schuster will have huge ripple effects throughout the industry. BEA in New York has been permanently canceled and I look forward to seeing what develops out of that void. I could go on and on. Overall, I look forward to the future and I know that no matter what changes come to this industry both good and bad, we will still exist because people love stories. 

It's so interesting how you were able to adapt and thrive because you were already working remotely. I know for me one thing in my routine that hasn’t changed is reading books. I’ve always loved Romance, but this year in particular I’ve been reading romance a lot more. Of course, I will always love fantasy stories as well. Some of favorites this year include: TWEET CUTE by Emma Lord, SHIELDED by KayLynn Flanders, BY THE BOOK by Amanda Sellet, and in adult romance, YOU DESERVE EACH OTHER by Sarah Hogle.

2021 books I’m anticipating include: HAPPILY EVER AFTERS by Elise Bryant (which just came out Jan 5th), PRIDE AND PREMEDITATION by Tirzah Price, THESE FEATERED FLAMES by Alexandra Overy and A DRAGONBIRD IN THE FERN by Laura Rueckert. Plus so many more! 

What books are you liking right now? Since I imagine readers want to know - any insights into what you want to see in your inbox? 

This is a hard one for me because I rarely need to venture outside my in-box for entertainment. Almost everything I read and love is published 2-3 years after I read it. That being said, the minute I get my delivery of Cast in Firelight, I’ll be settling down with a big cup of tea to have a blissful reread. Today, I’m finishing the soon to be released Tasty Dish, by Kelly Cain. Tasty Dish is a diverse contemporary romance and the second book in her Everheart Brothers series. The brothers are all chefs and they all find love in different ways and I love them so much. All of the books combine my favorite things, food, humor, angst and love.

Outside my in-box, I’m a total fan-girl. To be fair, I’m a fan-girl of all of my authors too. I’m anxiously awaiting Gena Showalter’s next book in her Gods of War series. I am patiently waiting for Patrick Rothfuss to publish his next book in the Kingkiller Chronicle series. I also hope I can read your fellow Delacorte author Brandon Sanderson’s Skyward series this year. I just bought N.K Jemisin’s, The City We Became and I can’t wait to dive into that one. I love her.

I was going to say that I’m reading more contemporary romance at the moment and enjoying light and positive works but I’m obviously waiting on several sci-fi fantasies too. I also think Bridgerton has inspired me to possibly take on another great historical romance author. As per my usual, I’m open to almost anything as long as it captivates my heart and imagination.  

You can see her wish list and how to query her here: https://www.metamorphosisliteraryagency.com/submissions

Thank you so much Amy! You were the first person to see potential in CAST IN FIRELIGHT and now it is one day away from hitting the shelves and e-readers. The journey was long and filled with huge joys like seeing the cover for the first time and holding the final book in my hands to disappointments and hardship with a Pandemic, but thank you for being there with me through it all. 

Thank you, Dana, I always appreciate to opportunity to chat about books. It is easy to recognize a wonderful book like your Cast in Firelight. Your imagination, creativity, and earnest heart have birthed brilliant, complex, and deep characters and you placed them in a world like no other. Your courage, strength, and work ethic has left little for me to worry about. You deserve every success. That being said… get writing on the next book. 

            I’m on it! In fact I can’t wait to dive back into edits for CAST IN FIRELIGHT’s sequel after the first one releases, and then onto starting a whole new book! 

Thanks for all the advice, Dana and Amy! You can find Dana at: 

www.danaswiftbooks.com

https://linktr.ee/DanaSwift 

Giveaway Details 

Dana has generously offered a hardback of Cast in Firelight and Amy has generously offered a query critique for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower of my blog (via the follower gadget, email, or bloglovin’ on the right sidebar) and leave a comment by January 30th. If you do not want to be included in the critique giveaway, please let me know in the comments. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest. Please be sure I have your email address.

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. The book giveaway is U.S. only and the critique query is international. 

Upcoming Interviews and Giveaways

Wednesday, January 20th I have an agent spotlight interview with Tricia Skinner and query critique giveaway

Monday, January 25th I have an interview with debut author Chrystal Giles and a giveaway of her MG contemporary Take Back the Block

Wednesday, January 27th I have an interview with author Gita Trelease and a giveaway of Everything That Burns as part of her blog tour

Wednesday, February 3rd I have an interview with debut author Jennifer Gruenke and a giveaway of her YA fantasy Of Silver and Shadow and my IWSG post

Monday, February 8th I have an interview with debut author Kristy Boyce and a giveaway of her YA contemporary Hot British Boyfriend

Wednesday, February 10th I have an agent spotlight interview with Abigail Frank and a query critique giveaway

Hope to see you on Wednesday!

Winter Wishes Giveaway Hop


Happy Saturday Everyone! Today I'm excited to participate in the Winter Wishes Giveaway Hop hosted by MamatheFox. This is my first time participating in this blog hop. I want to welcome any new followers. I hope you like Literary Rambles and will stop by often to enter blog hop and other book giveaways and enter my query critique giveaways if you are a writer wanting to get published. 

FYI I am starting to participate in two book giveaway blog hops every month so that I can feature more books that you'll hopefully want to read. You can enter my other giveaway by clicking on the link in the Current Giveaways at the top of the blog. 

Here are the newly released MG and YA books I'm offering in this giveaway hop. You can also choose another book in the series by these authors. You can find descriptions of these books on Goodreads. Here are your choices:



























If you haven't found a book you want, you can win a $10 Amazon Gift Card.


Giveaway Details

One lucky entrant selected by the entry form will receive a book of their choice listed above or a $10 Amazon Gift Card. Open to entrants internationally as long as Book Depository ships to you for free, 13 years and older. Open for entry from 1/016 – 1/31/2021 at 11:59 pm EST. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. The selected winner will have 48 hours to respond to the notification email to claim this prize or a new winner will be selected.

Please note that you must be a blog follower and leave a blog comment to enter the contest.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Upcoming Interviews and Giveaways

Monday, January 18th I have a guest post by debut author Dana Swift and her agent Amy Brewer and a query critique giveaway and book giveaway of Dana's YA fantasy Cast in Firelight 

Wednesday, January 20th I have an agent spotlight interview with Tricia Skinner and a query critique giveaway

Monday, January 25th I have an interview with debut author Chrystal Giles and a giveaway of her MG contemporary Take Back the Block

Wednesday, January 27th I have an interview with author Gita Trelease and a giveaway of her YA fantasy Everything That Burns as part of her blog tour

Wednesday, February 3rd I have an interview with debut author Jennifer Gruenke and a giveaway of her YA fantasy Of Silver and Shadow and my IWSG post

Monday, February 8th I have an interview with debut author Kristy Boyce and a giveaway of her YA contemporary Hot British Boyfriend

Wednesday, February 10th I have an agent spotlight interview with Abigail Frank and a query critique giveaway

Hope to see you on Monday!

And here's all the other blogs participating in this blog hop:


MamatheFox and all participating blogs are not held responsible for sponsors who fail to fulfill their prize obligations.



Debut Author Interview: Caroline Gertler and Many Points of Me Giveaway

Happy Monday Everyone! Today I’m excited to have debut author Caroline Gertler here to share about her MG contemporary Many Points of Me. It sounds like a fantastic story with characters you can relate to that deals with issues of grief, friendship, and family.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads

When Georgia finds a secret sketch her late father—a famed artist—left behind, the discovery leads her down a path that may reshape everything holding her family and friends together. Caroline Gertler’s poignant debut is a character-driven story about friendship, family, grief, and creativity. Both literary and pitch-perfect for tweens, Many Points of Me is Rebecca Stead meets From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

Georgia Rosenbloom’s father was a famous artist. His most-well-known paintings were a series of asterisms—patterns of stars—that he created. One represented a bird; one, himself; and one, Georgia’s mother. There was supposed to be a fourth, but Georgia’s father died before he could paint it. Georgia’s mother and her best friend, Theo, are certain that the last asterism would’ve been of Georgia, but Georgia isn’t so sure. She isn’t sure about anything anymore—including whether Theo is still her best friend.

Then Georgia finds a sketch her father made of her. One with pencil points marked on the back—just like those in the asterism paintings. Could this finally be the proof that the last painting would have been of her? Georgia’s quest to prove her theory takes her around her Upper West Side neighborhood in New York City and to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which was almost a second home to Georgia, since she had visited favorite artists and paintings there constantly with her father. But the sketch leads right back to where she’s always belonged—with the people who love her, no matter what.

Caroline Gertler’s debut novel explores friendships, grief, and self-identity with deep heart and a deft, delicate hand. Georgia’s world is filled with fully drawn characters that readers will easily identify with. This page-turning and thought-provoking read is for art lovers and mystery readers, as well as for fans of The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise and Finding Orion.

Follower News

Before I get to my interview with Caroline, I have Follower News to share with you.

J.Q. Rose's memoir, Arranging a Dream: A Memoir, was recently released. Here's a blurb and a few

links:

In 1975, Ted and Janet transplant themselves, their one-year-old daughter, and all their belongings to Fremont, Michigan, to make their dream of building a blooming business in the floral industry come true. Laugh with them. Cry with them, but most of all watch them grow as they cultivate a loving marriage, juggle parenting and dig deep to discover what it takes to root a thriving business.

Pre-order Kobo https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/arranging-a-dream

Pre-order Nook BN.com https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/arranging-a-dream-jq-rose/1138258568?ean=2940164728984
Pre-order SW https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1054054
Pre-order amazon page https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08NDZNYQJ
Paperback at amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Arranging-Dream-J-Q-Rose/dp/0228615542/
http://www.jqrose.com/


Chrys Fey a new book release, A Fighting Chance, in her Disaster Crimes series. She is also offering a free ebook short story, The Disaster Curse. Here's a blurb and a few links:

A FIGHTING CHANCE is Book 6 in the Disaster Crimes series, but it’s a spin-off featuring a new couple, so it can be read as a standalone.

Amanda is scared of her attraction for Thorn. Most of all, she’s terrified of her ex-boyfriend, who is lurking nearby where no one can find him. When she grows closer to Thorn, Damon retaliates, jeopardizing their happy ending.

Book Links: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iTunes

Author’s Note: I wrote The Disaster Curse to answer a few lingering questions readers may have after reading A Fighting Chance, and to tie the whole series together with a neat, shiny, perfect little bow. Plus, there was one disaster that I hadn’t written about yet. *wink*

Book Links: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iTunes

And Melanie Steele at The Writer's Soul is offering a free weekly five-minute meditation series and accompanying journal prompts for writers to help them get in touch with what matters, nurture their writer-self, and let their light shine. Here is the link: Monday Meditations for the Writer's Soul.  

Interview With Caroline Gertler

Hi Caroline! Thanks so much for joining us.

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

I always knew I wanted to be a writer. I grew up in New York City, the third of four children—a good position in sibling order to become an observer of the world. My favorite time as a reader was the middle grade years, eight to twelve.

In college, I got my first internship in publishing, for incredible children’s book editor Christy Ottaviano. I learned so much from her, and that’s when I decided it was the field for me. I did an MA in art history, and worked in children’s publishing for six years. The whole time, I was writing, and learning the craft. I left publishing when my first daughter was born, and now, eleven years later, my first book is being published.

 2. That's awesome that you were able to get an internship in college. Where did you get the idea for Many Points of Me?


The initial spark of the idea came from wondering what it would be like to be the child of a famous artist who died young, and there being some sort of art-related mystery for that child to uncover—something about her father’s art that only she could understand. A gift from him through time. I also wanted to write a bit of a love letter to the Met, which feels like a second home to me.

3. It sounds like Georgia and the other characters in your story are really developed, memorable characters that will pull at readers’ heart strings. Not all authors get this right. Share your process of portraying characters so vividly. Was there a character that you found especially challenging to bring to life and why?

Thank you—I do hope I got it right! There’s always the gap between what lives in my head, and what the reader gets on the page. I wish I could point to a process of how I develop characters; I’ve never been one for character-development tools, it’s a more organic process that comes from getting to know them in drafting and revising. I think Harper was the most challenging—I wanted her to be more than a stereotype of a spoiled rich girl.

4. How long did it take you to write the first draft of Many Points of Me? What was the revision process like for you?

It took a long time! The first spark of an idea came to me in the summer of 2014, and I think I finished a first draft in two years. I was super slow, raising young children, not very disciplined, and writing by the seat of my pants. But I was determined to revise and make it work. The book reached its final form as you have it now in early 2020.

The revision process was fascinating. I marvel at where the book started, and what it’s become, and all the different iterations it went through. There are only a few details and scenes that remain the same (in fact, there’s one scene that comes from an earlier manuscript I wrote and never revised).

I especially loved revising as I got further along in the process, when my agent or editor would give a suggestion, and it was like a jigsaw puzzle, changing one thing here or there to make things fit correctly. Early on in the writing process, there are SO many choices to make, and I have a hard time with that. It’s like closing doors on different paths you could take, and hoping you choose the right one. I’m not great at plotting/planning/logical thinking in the early stages, but as the story and characters became more defined in the later stages, I loved the feeling of “knowing” what edits to make.

5. I'm a slow writer of a first draft too and love revising more. Your story deals with issues of friendship and grief. How did you weave these issues into the story so that it sounded like a natural part of the story and didn’t get preachy?

I approached the friendship story from what feels like a less-explored angle, to me: I wrote from the point-of-view of the friend who’s doing the growing apart, rather than the one who’s being left behind. So I hope that keeps it fresh, and not preachy. Georgia might seem selfish at first in her actions, but she kind of needs to be in order to process her grief and figure out who she is and what she needs. And in the end, her best friend, who is like family, is there for her.

 6. You have a MA in art history and give tours at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. How did you draw on this when developing Georgia’s quest to find out more about her father and his art? 

A lot of the art knowledge was in my head and ready to share in the book. Originally there was a sort of heist scene, where Georgia tries to break-in to get her competition entry back, and then goes on the run from the security guards at the Met, sneaking through the corridors that are only used by staff. That scene was so fun to write, and important to me for a long time, but toward the final draft before submitting to editors, I was finally ready to take it out to make the book work better.

 7. Your agent is Sara Crowe. How did she become your agent and what was your road to publication like?

I’ve known Sara since my days as an associate editor at Wendy Lamb Books. I always liked her as a person, and admired her submissions and her authors. When I left publishing eleven years ago, I had in my mind a list of agents I’d want to be represented by when I was ready with a manuscript to submit, and Sara’s always been at the top of that list. She was the first person I submitted this project to when I felt it was ready. But it took some time before I actually signed with her. We then spent a few months revising, making the book much stronger. And I was over the moon excited by the offer from Martha Mihalick at Greenwillow Books—my dream editor/publisher.

8. That's great that you already knew Sara from when you were an editor. How are you planning to promote your book given the pandemic? Will your marketing plan change as it becomes safer to do more in-person events later in 2021?

Social media is invaluable these days in terms of providing support, and a strong community of readers and writers. I’m awed by the teachers and librarians on twitter who are such enthusiastic champions of middle grade literature. I’m spending time connecting with new people, and doing some virtual events, including a virtual launch on January 27th. I’m up for doing virtual school visits—so please feel free to reach out to me! And I hope to be able to do in-person events in the not-too-distant future.

9. What are you working on now?

Another middle grade novel is in the works!

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Caroline. You can find Caroline at www.carolinegertler.com. On Twitter: https://twitter.com/cmgertler. And on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/carolinegertler/


Giveaway Details

Caroline has generously offered a hardback of Many Points of Me for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower of my blog (via the follower gadget, email, or bloglovin’ on the right sidebar) and leave a comment by January 23rd. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest. Please be sure I have your email address.

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.


Upcoming Interviews and Giveaways

Saturday, January 16th I'm participating in the Winter Wishes Giveaway Hop

Monday, January 18th I have a guest post by debut author Dana Swift and her agent Amy Brewer and a query critique giveaway and book giveaway of Dana's YA fantasy Cast in Firelight 

Wednesday, January 20th I have an agent spotlight interview with Tricia Skinner and query critique giveaway

Monday, January 25th I have an interview with debut author Chrystal Giles and a giveaway of her MG contemporary Take Back the Block

Wednesday, January 27th I have an interview with author Gita Trelease and a giveaway of Everything That Burns as part of her blog tour

 Hope to see you on Saturday!