Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Danielle Chiotti Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 11/15/21
  • Agent Cortney Radocaj/Author Claire Winn Guest Post + Query Critique & Book Giveaway on 12/1/2021
  • Jemma Cooper Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 12/13/2021
  • Stacey Kondla Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 12/15/2021

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • All Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated as of 7/15/2020, and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for them to be fully updated in 2023.

Three Tips on Writing Middle Grade Novels by Agent/Author Melissa Nasson and Alex Perry + Pighearted & Query Critique Giveaway

Happy Monday Everyone! Today I’m excited to have debut author Alex Perry and her agent Melissa Nasson here to share a guest post to celebrate the release of Alex’s MG contemporary Pighearted. It sounds like a page turning story that will pull at your heart.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

Charlotte's Web meets My Sister's Keeper in this charming story told from the alternating perspectives of a boy with a fatal heart condition and the pig with the heart that could save his life.

Jeremiah’s heart skips a beat before his first soccer game, but it’s not nerves. It’s the first sign of a heart attack. He knows he needs to go to the hospital, but he’s determined to score a goal. Charging after the ball, he refuses to stop…even if his heart does.

J6 is a pig and the only one of his five brothers who survived the research lab. Though he's never left his cell, he thinks of himself as a therapy pig, a scholar, and a bodyguard. But when the lab sends him to live with Jeremiah's family, there’s one new title he’s desperate to have: brother.

At first, Jeremiah thinks his parents took in J6 to cheer him up. But before long, he begins to suspect there's more to his new curly-tailed companion than meets the eye. When the truth is revealed, Jeremiah and J6 must protect each other at all costs—even if their lives depend on it.

Follower News


Before I get to Alex’s and Melissa’s guest post, I have Follower News to share. 

Dr. Susan Berk Koch has a nonfiction MG Chemical Reactions. Here’s a blurb: Chemical Reactions brings chemistry to life with hands-on, science-minded activities and plenty of text-to-world connections that invite kids ages 7 to 12 to discover the wonderful world of chemical reactions! Links: Website: https://susanberkkoch.com/  Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Chemical-Reactions-Science-Projects-Explore/dp/1619309416 Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/chemical-reactions-dr-susan-berk-koch/1139977512?ean=9781619309449 Indie bound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781619309418

 

Tyrean Martinson has a new science fiction Nexus: The Rayatana, Book 2. Here’s a blurb: Amaya is supposed to bring peace to the galaxy. Which is tough when she’s being held for crimes against the Neutral Zone. Her imprisonment is on her own ship with her own crew. Close quarters create tension. Honestly, her role as the Rayatana is a mess. Links: Website: https://tyreanstales.com/nexus-the-rayatana-book-2/ Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09BMHPQ1X Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/nexus-the-rayatana-book-2

 

 

Melissa Nasson and Alex Perry Guest Post on Three Tips for Writing Middle Grade Novels

Remember that kids aren’t your only audience

Alex: If you write middle grade, your readers won’t buy themselves your books. Kids are notoriously broke. Knowing that, I like to keep in mind the professionals who help get my book into children’s hands: librarians and teachers.

Ask yourself how a librarian would recommend your book to a kid. For example, a librarian could recommend Pighearted to a kid who liked soccer, was interested in animals, medicine, science, humor, or struggled with a chronic medical condition. Incorporate a diverse array of ideas that would make your book connect with young readers.

The elements that make for compelling reading also make it easy for a teacher to use the book in class. When I taught sixth grade, I’d want to do lessons on particular literary devices. Unfortunately, sometimes the chapter of the book we were reading didn’t have any strong examples. I kept that in mind during revisions and tried to include opportunities for kids to make inferences, notice every character’s growth, and find loads of literary devices.

Melissa: This is excellent advice. It is so important to think beyond the target reader. Clearly, having Alex as a client makes that process a whole lot easier! Agents also think big-picture about audience, because finding an editor who loves the book is only the first step. Once you have that person who connects and sees a place for the book on their list, the editor usually needs to persuade the rest of their colleagues and higher-ups in editorial. And then they need buy-in from sales and marketing. Aside from the editor, a lot of other publishing professionals need to have a vision for how to position the book to reach those librarians and teachers, who will eventually (finally!) connect the book with that kid who will love it. Thinking beyond just the reader—or just the editor—can give a book the best shot possible.

Keep it interesting

Alex: Most kids don’t read at grade level. This is caused by a wide variety of factors, and means that authors should be aware of trying to make their prose accessible to struggling readers. Maybe they’re learning English or have had some gap in their reading education, but for a lot of these kids reading isn’t enjoyable or relaxing. Illustrated books and graphic novels make things a little easier for them, but using tension and pacing can help no matter what format or genre you’re writing in.

When I taught eighth graders, so many of them said their favorite book was one they’d read in sixth grade: The Outsiders. They loved the characters, the stakes, and tension. It kept their attention. If you write for middle graders you need to draw them in by the end of the first paragraph. Pighearted is an extreme example because my protagonist has a heart attack in the first sentence.

Melissa: I can tell you firsthand that Alex’s writing drew me in from the very first sentence, so she knows what she’s talking about :) Capturing and keeping a reader’s attention is especially critical (and challenging) for young readers, since they have so many forms of entertainment competing for their attention all the time. No matter where or how you begin your story, the reader needs to care about what’s going to happen next. Easier said than done, I know.

Don’t be afraid of complexity

Alex: A student’s reading level has absolutely no bearing on what kinds of concepts they can understand. It sounds weird to say, but when I taught 6th grade every one of my students was brilliant and able to surprise me with their ideas. You don’t need to shy away from emotionally or ethically complex topics to reach a young audience. Kids go through so much and are capable of processing almost anything and books can and should reflect that.

Pighearted asks its readers difficult questions. Is it okay to genetically engineer an animal to serve as an organ donor? Can you kill one intelligent being to save another?

It’s okay to write something complex that gives kids something to think about while not always giving them the answers. We underestimate young readers at our peril. They’re much smarter than we are.

Melissa: I totally agree—I think the best books for young readers are the ones that give them a topic to chew on. This is one of the major reasons I was drawn to Pighearted. And beyond introducing a challenging topic, it’s important to present it in a way that’s respectful of young readers and doesn’t write down to them. As Alex said, kids can handle more than we think. I can’t wait for young readers to encounter the moral and ethical questions—and the wonderful characters, humor, and heart—that Alex has created with Pighearted. I hope it sparks plenty of discussions in homes and classrooms!

 Alex: You can pre-order Pighearted now, it’ll be out October 26th. https://www.lbyr.com/titles/alex-perry/pighearted/9780316538800/

And you can find me online at alexperrybooks.com or on twitter @alextheadequate.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Alex and Melissa!

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

 Giveaway Details

Alex has generously offered a hardback of Pighearted and Melissa has 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 October 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. and Canada and the query critique giveaway is International.

 Upcoming Interviews and Giveaways

 Monday, October 25th I have an agent spotlight interview with Ginger Clark and a query critique giveaway

 Wednesday, November 3rd I’ve got an agent/author guest post by Steven Chudney and Carley Heath and a query critique and YA fantasy The Reckless Kind Giveaway and my IWSG post

Monday, November 8th I have a guest post by debut author Jessica Speer and a giveaway of her MG nonfiction BFF or NRF (Not Really Friends)? A Girls Guide to Happy Friendships

Tuesday, November 9th I’m participating in the Super Stocking Stuffer Giveaway Hop

Monday, November 15th I have an interview with debut author Terry Catasús Jennings and a giveaway of her chapter book Definitely Dominguita Sherlock Dom

Monday, November 22th I have an agent spotlight interview with Danielle Chiotti and a query critique giveaway

Monday, November 29nd I have an interview with debut author Nancy McConnell and a giveaway of her MG fantasy Into the Lion’s Mouth

Hope to see you on Monday!

 

 

 

 

Cheeky Pumpkin Giveaway Hop



Happy Saturday Everyone! Today I'm excited to participate in the Cheeky Pumpkin Giveaway Hop hosted by MamatheFox I hope your fall is going well. I can't believe how fast time is going. Halloween is only a few weeks away and the Thanksgiving and Christmas will come soon too. I'm pretty organized this year and have already started my holiday shopping.

Book of Your Choice or Amazon Gift Card

I am offering a book of your choice that is $20 or less on Amazon or The Book Depository. I’m looking forward to seeing what books everyone is looking forward to reading. If you don’t have a book you want, you can win a $10 Amazon Gift Card.


One lucky entrant selected by the entry form will receive a book of their choice for $20 or less at Amazon or The Book Depository or a $10 Amazon Gift Card. Open to entrants internationally as long The Book Depository ships to you for free, 13 years and older. Open for entry from 10/16 – 10/31/2021 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, October 18th I’ve got an agent/author guest post by Melissa Nasson and Alex Perry and a query critique and MG contemporary Pighearted giveaway

Monday, October 25th I have an agent spotlight interview with Ginger Clark and a query critique giveaway

Wednesday, November 3rd I’ve got an agent/author guest post by Steven Chudney and Carley Heath and a query critique and YA fantasy The Reckless Kind Giveaway and my IWSG post

Monday, November 8th I have a guest post by debut author Jessica Speer and a giveaway of her MG nonfiction BFF or NRF (Not Really Friends)? A Girls Guide to Happy Friendships

Tuesday, November 9th I’m participating in the Super Stocking Stuffer Giveaway Hop

Monday, November 15th I have an interview with debut author Terry Catasús Jennings and a giveaway of her chapter book Definitely Dominguita Sherlock Dom

Hope to see you on Monday!

And here are 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.

The Conflict Thesaurus Blog Tour and Giveaway Contest

Happy Wednesday Everyone! Today I’m excited to be a part of Angela Ackerman’s and Beeca Puglisi’s blog tour for The Conflict Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Obstacles, Adversaries, and Inner Struggles. Details on the giveaway contest are at the end of the post. FYI, you only have until October 15th to enter the contest.

Do you have a bookshelf of writing guides? I do, and well, it's an addiction, but a good one. I'm going to flag one for you to look into: The Conflict Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Obstacles, Adversaries, and Inner Struggles (Vol. 1).

This book is from Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi, the authors of The Emotion Thesaurus. I'm such a fan of their writing guides I joined their Street Team. Every time they release a book they do something epic and fun to celebrate, and I get to tell you all about it!

But first, you're probably curious about this book, so let me break it down. The Conflict Thesaurus is set up like the other books in their series: part how-to, part thesaurus. This guide shows writers how to maximize conflict and use it to build tension, drive the plot, reveal your character's inner layers, and most importantly, keep readers glued to the page.

It's packed with conflict scenarios like Moral Dilemmas, Ticking Clocks, Obstacles, No-Win Scenarios, Temptations and more. It can help you nail down your plot and character arc, so check it out!

Now, speaking of conflict, I have a BIG question for you.

Can You Survive Danger as Well as Your Favorite Protagonist?

You're probably pretty good at throwing problems at your characters and making life difficult for them. After all, that's part of being a writer. But do you ever think about how you'd do if you had to face the same situations? If you were the protagonist, would you hold up to the pressure? Would you make good decisions and succeed, or screw up and fail?

Let's find out.

Introducing... The Conflict Challenge

Become the protagonist in a story Angela & Becca created using scenarios found in the Conflict Thesaurus to see if you've got what it takes to win.

The Conflict Challenge is fun, campy, and will put your wits and instincts to the test.

And if you survive, you will win some cool stuff!

GIVEAWAY ALERT

While you’re checking out the Conflict Challenge at Writers Helping Writers, make sure to also enter their Conflict Thesaurus release day giveaway, too. But hurry – it ends October 15th.

So, take the Conflict Challenge…if you dare. 

 

Upcoming Interviews and Giveaways

Saturday, October 16th I’m participating in the Cheeky Pumpkin Giveaway Hop

Monday, October 18th I’ve got an agent/author guest post by Melissa Nasson and Alex Perry and a query critique and MG contemporary Pighearted giveaway

Monday, October 25th I have an agent spotlight interview with Ginger Clark and a query critique giveaway

Wednesday, November 3rd I’ve got an agent/author guest post by Steven Chudney and Carley Heath and a query critique and YA fantasy The Reckless Kind Giveaway and my IWSG post

Monday, November 8th I have a guest post by debut author Jessica Speer and a giveaway of her MG nonfiction BFF or NRF (Not Really Friends)? A Girls Guide to Happy Friendships

Tuesday, November 9th I’m participating in the Super Stocking Stuffer Giveaway Hop

Monday, November 15 I have an interview with debut author Terry Catasús Jennings and a giveaway of her chapter book Definitely Dominguita Sherlock Dom

Hope to see you on Monday!

 

 

 

Agent Spotlight: Kristin Ostby Interview and Query Critique Giveaway

Today I’m thrilled to have agent Kristin Ostby here. She is a literary agent at The Greenhouse Literary Agency.

Hi­ Kristin! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Kristin:

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

Hi! Thank you for having me at Literary Rambles! I was a children’s book editor for many years, chiefly at Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster. Over time, I began to wonder in the back of my mind if agenting might be a good fit. My creative relationships with authors and illustrators have always been incredibly important to me; I also get so much satisfaction out of my industry relationships—I love book talk with publishing friends. Being able to pair great clients with great editors sounded really satisfying.

When Greenhouse came calling and it was the perfect fit. Their sterling reputation and remarkable track record speak for themselves, and Sarah Davies and Chelsea Eberly approach the job with a strong set of values and a sincere love for the work. Since joining Greenhouse, I’ve been reading queries, signing clients, and laying the groundwork for what I hope to be a successful career representing true talent.

About the Agency:

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

Greenhouse is a place where writers and illustrators can grow—we’re committed to fostering our clients’ careers. We’re an established, reputable agency that leads with not just our taste but our values, and we have a proven track record of success. Currently, our agents each come from the editorial side of the desk. That means we have been through the acquisitions and negotiations process at major houses and we know how publishers think. It gives us a big advantage as we work to find the best possible homes for our clients’ works.

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 represent middle-grade and young adult fiction, as well as picture book author/illustrators.

In middle grade, I’m looking for voicey, character-driven stories of the commercial and/or literary variety. I love middle grade that uses humor as a tool to reveal funny, unspoken truths about kids’ experiences or to carry heavier themes about family life or the world at large. Books should honor children’s capacity for understanding and imagination, and I’m not afraid of stories that artfully push the envelope in addressing evolving societal issues or norms (all wrapped in a page-turning narrative, of course). I have a soft spot for middle-grade mystery. I also love lyrical middle-grade writing.

In YA, I’m largely drawn to contemporary, be it literary fiction, humor/romantic comedy, or thriller.

In both middle grade and young adult, I would love to find tightly written, tightly plotted, fast-paced commercial stories. I also enjoy subversive narratives, genuinely surprising twists, and unreliable or unexpected narrators, and I particularly adore stories with unabashedly intersectional overtones.

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

Underrepresented voices.

What She Isn’t Looking For:

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

I am not looking for picture book manuscripts or issue books.

(Please also note that Greenhouse does not represent poetry collections, short story collections, screenplays, erotica, or titles for the Christian/inspirational market.)

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 authors whose writing captivates me, pure and simple—typically that means writing that showcases craft and ingenuity while also being good, raw entertainment. I want books that are daring and surprising and hopefully funny too. And ideally many of the books I represent will help to create empathy for the unique ways in which children from all backgrounds experience the world.

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 am an editorial agent, yes. I take a lot of pleasure in the creative process. With a manuscript, I give it a close read, compile a lot of notes and ideas, and draft an editorial letter outlining my vision for how to shape the story. After the author has read the letter, we will hop on the phone and discuss, working collaboratively to find the best approach for revisions in order to take the manuscript to the next level and get it ready to go out on submission. (This stage is where the magic happens—putting our heads together on ideas is incredibly energizing.) Sometimes we will do two or three rounds of this, and at the end I’ll go in and line edit, making suggestions to help the story sing at the sentence level. (My former side gig as a freelance copy editor also comes in handy at this stage for preparing a clean manuscript.) Once the author and I are feeling good about the text, and confident editors will share our vision for the book’s potential, it’s ready to go!

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?

Authors can query me through Query Manager: https://querymanager.com/query/kristinostby

The strongest query letters give me a tagline or hook right up front with the genre/age category, followed by a succinct summary and a brief biography. I always appreciate comp titles. And I like it when authors bring their voice to the query letter too—it’s nice to get a sense of personality.

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

It’s disappointing when I can tell an author hasn’t put in much time or effort into their query letter. I prefer to work with authors who are willing to put in the work, and a query letter is often indicative of whether or not that’s the case.

Response Time:

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

I try and reply to queries within a few weeks; same with manuscripts.

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’m focusing on representing previously unpublished works, though I’m open to new works by previously self-published authors or authors who have published with small presses. It can be particularly compelling for an agent if you can share strong sales data, press, or awards for previous works, whether self-published or with a small press.

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?

A good agent will always have the best interests of their clients in mind and work to the best of their abilities to match good books with the right publisher.

Clients:

13. Who are some of the authors you represent?

So far my clients include Winifred Conkling, Alexandra Diaz, Natalie Lund, Meghana Narayan, Molly Kasperek, Tricia Springstubb, Sophie Stewart, and Shawn Stout.

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.

n/a

Links and Contact Info:

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

https://querymanager.com/query/kristinostby

https://www.greenhouseliterary.com/the-team/kristin-ostby/

https://www.publishersmarketplace.com/members/kristinostby/

Additional Advice:

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

n/a

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Kristin.

­Kristin 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 October 23rd. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the 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.

 

Debut Author Interview: Sacha Wunsch and Lies My Memory Told Me Giveaway and the IWSG Post

Happy Wednesday Everyone! Today I’m excited to have debut author Sacha Wunsch here to share about her YA psychological thriller Lies My Memory Told Me. It has such an interesting premise that makes me excited to read it.

In addition, Sacha is a founder of a new literary development company, As You Wish Literary. You can read about it in my interview with her in June. 

Here’s a blurb of Lies My Memory Told Me from Goodreads:

From the thrilling voice of Sacha Wunsch comes a heart-stopping psychological mystery in a world where memories can be shared—and one girl can’t trust any of them.

Enhanced Memory changed everything. By sharing someone else’s memory, you can experience anything and everything with no risk at all: learn any skill instantly, travel the world from home, and safeguard all your most treasured secrets forever. Nova’s parents invented this technology, and it’s slowly taking over their lives. Nova doesn’t mind—mostly. She knows Enhanced Memory is a gift.

But Kade says Nova doesn’t know the costs of this technology that’s taken the world by storm. Kade runs a secret vlog cataloging real experiences, is always on the move, and is strangely afraid of Nova—even though she feels more comfortable with him than she ever has with anyone. Suddenly there are things Nova can’t stop noticing: the way her parents don’t meet her eyes anymore, the questions no one wants her to ask, and the relentless feeling that there’s something she’s forgotten…

IWSG POST

Before I get to my interview with Sacha, I have my IWSG Post.

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

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!

My awesome co-hosts for the October 6 posting of the IWSG are Jemima Pitt, J Lenni Dorner, Cathrina Constantine, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, and Mary Aalgaard!

Optional Question: In your writing, where do you draw the line, with either topics or language?

Well, I don’t ever want to write erotica, so that’s a line I’ve drawn. Because I write middle grade and young adult, I do have to be more careful with the language I use and the topics I present, especially for middle grade. Right now, I’m writing a young adult fantasy with some mob leanings. I’m okay with presenting more sensitive issues and using more adult language. I’m not going into graphic details though when I present things in the story.

What lines do you draw in your writing?

Interview With Sacha Wunsch

Hi Sacha! Thanks so much for joining us!

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

Hi Natalie, thanks so much for having me! It’s funny, I never dreamed I’d be a writer when I was a kid like a lot of authors do. I was a bit of a late bloomer when it came to writing. I was working an office job and there wasn’t enough work for me to fill the day with and wanted something I could do while I was bored sitting in front of a computer at work – and writing novels seemed to fit the bill!

2. I never imagined writing novels as a kid either. So funny that you started writing when you were bored at work. Where did you get the idea for Lies My Memory Told Me?

It was actually a happy chance encounter during a conversation with a friend. She was talking about how a relationship with another friend had deteriorated to the point where they had decided to part ways. My friend had this beautiful thought - that we all have these collections of memories in little, imaginary boxes.  She pictured herself as a little ballerina in one of these jewelry boxes of memories, which her former friend would take out every now and then and remember all the fond memories they shared. I loved that image so much – and the ballerina even made it into the book! 

3. What was your world building process for building your world and the new technology that Nova’s parents created?

New technologies come out and hit the scene so quickly nowadays, and it’s much the same in the world of Lies My Memory Told Me. There’s so much focus on both the benefits and potential dangers of technology, things like social media, screen time, appropriate content, etc. and I really wanted to explore that paradox and what it might look like in the not-so-distant future. With that in mind, I thought about how that could play out and how the tech could feel futuristic and yet accessible at the same time.  

4. How did you plot out your story and keep the tension building in it? What tips do you have for other writers who want to write a psychological thriller?

To keep the tension high, it was important to always stay close to what Nova was feeling as the events of the story unfolded. There had to be a sense of her finding things out at the same time as the reader – the idea being that Nova would be wondering about certain aspects of the story at the same time as the reader might be asking those same questions. She was very much as in the dark as anyone else coming to the book. In order to build the tension throughout the story, Nova had to be close to the tech (her parents invented it), and she had to have access to contrasting points of view on it, which other characters brought in. This gave Nova the opportunity to struggle with the opposing ideals, and in turn, struggle with intense emotional turmoil.  

5. That’s great advice on building up the tension. You’ve also written romantic comedy stories for adults. How has the process of writing for teens been different than writing for adults?

I actually started out writing for teens, and then my first adult rom-coms kind of morphed out of that, so I don’t find the process all that different, to be honest. Although now that I’m a stepmom of four, there’s a lot more thought about how difficult it is to be a teenager these days. There’s a lot of pressure that comes with growing up in the age of social media, so that was really at the forefront of my mind as I Lies My Memory Told Me. 

6. Yes, I bet you’re getting a good perspective on teenagers now that you’re raising four. What was a challenge you faced in writing Lies My Memory Told Me and how did you overcome it?

My biggest challenge was in finding Nova’s story. It took a while to discover who she needed to be in relation to the plot. In the first drafts, Nova’s parents weren’t as integral to the technology as they became in the final version. The first “world” of the novel was more far reaching – particularly the world of the tech. In the final version, the book became much more Nova’s – as in it was much more about how it affected Nova than how it affected the world in general.

7. What was your road to publication like?

It was quite a long and winding road, actually. I originally sold a different book to my publisher way back in January of 2019, which was supposed to be released last year. Unfortunately due to market conditions and a variety of factors that were no fault of my publishers or my own, that book never made it to the shelves. But my publisher, Inkyard Press, was amazing and allowed me to fulfill my contract with a new book, and that’s the one we’re talking about today!  

8. That’s great that your publisher allowed you to debut with another book. What have you been doing pre-release to promote your book and connect with readers, librarians, and teachers?

I’m actually a pretty strong believer that a writer is best served by doing what they do best – writing. The world we live in now can be difficult for someone who doesn’t necessarily love to be in the spotlight. Social media really puts pressure on us to put ourselves out there and to “be your brand”. And you can certainly see this very idea in my book!

It's actually been really difficult for me as an introvert to struggle with how much to put myself out there. It definitely doesn’t come naturally to me. That said, I am lucky enough to have an amazing publicist at Inkyard who helps source interviews, etc. Beyond that, I’m announcing events and celebrating online when a good review comes in.

9. I’m an introvert too, so it’s good to know that I don’t have to put too much pressure on myself if I ever get published. How are you planning to celebrate the release of your book and to market it?

The marketing has been going on for a while now, and so I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing with that. As far as celebrating I honestly don’t have any plans, I’m not all that sentimental, I suppose – I’m just hoping the day goes smoothly. J

10. What are you working on now?

I’ve got several projects on the go at the moment, but the one most closely related to Lies My Memory Told Me is a young adult novel with multiple timelines, tentatively titled LIFELINE. I was lucky enough to be awarded a Canada Council for the Arts grant for the project, which I am incredibly grateful for.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Sacha. You can find Sacha at:

Instagram - @sachawunsch

Twitter - @sachawunsch

Giveaway Details

Sacha has generously offered a hardback of Lies My Memory Told 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 October 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. and Canada.

Upcoming Interviews and Giveaways

Monday, October 11th I have an agent spotlight interview with Kristin Ostby and a query critique giveaway

Wednesday, October 13th I’m hosting Angela Ackerman to celebrate the release of the Conflict Thesaurus

Saturday, October 16th I’m participating in the Cheeky Pumpkin Giveaway Hop

Monday, October 18th I’ve got an agent/author guest post by Melissa Nasson and Alex Perry and a query critique and MG contemporary Pighearted giveaway

Monday, October 25th I have an agent spotlight interview with Ginger Clark and a query critique giveaway

Hope to see you on Monday!