Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Rebecca Williamson Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 7/8/2024
  • Sheila Fernley Agent Spotlight Interview, Critique Giveaway, and One-Hour Zoom Call on 7/29/2024
  • Erica McGrath Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 8/12/2024

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated through the letter "K" as of 3/28/2024 and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for more information as I find the time to update more agent spotlights.


First I want to give a big shout out to my friend, Shannon O'Donnell. CONGRATS! SHE HAS AN AGENT! She just signed with Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary LLC. She queried Terrie after seeing Casey's spotlight of Terrie. I'm so excited for Shannon! Go congratulate her here.

Today I’m so excited to be a part of Stasia Ward Kehoe’s blog tour for her debut YA book AUDITION that was released on October 13, 2011. I’m going to confess something. I’ve never read a book in verse before and I was a little scared about whether I’d be able to read and enjoy one. I was so surprised at how fast a read Stasia’s book was and I loved entering the world of ballet. I could relate to a lot of the sacrifices Sara made for her dream as I watch my own daughter competitively swim. I think a lot of kids will relate to this too.

Here’s a description of AUDITION from Goodreads:

When high school junior Sara wins a coveted scholarship to study ballet, she must sacrifice everything for her new life as a professional dancer-in-training. Living in a strange city with a host family, she's deeply lonely-until she falls into the arms of Remington, a choreographer in his early twenties. At first, she loves being Rem's muse, but as she discovers a surprising passion for writing, she begins to question whether she's chosen the right path. Is Rem using her, or is it the other way around? And is dancing still her dream, or does she need something more? This debut novel in verse is as intense and romantic as it is eloquent.

Hi Stasia. Thanks so much for joining us.

1. I’ve read that you danced as a kid, in college, and had a job at the Kennedy Center. Wow! How did your own dancing experiences influence the plot of AUDITION and Sara’s self-doubts about her path?

While the performing arts have always been a part of my life, I think I was usually a much happier, more strong-willed dancer than Sara. Still, from experience I know that dance offers great things, like the glory of the discipline, the joy of collaborating with other artists, and the thrill of performance. There are also tough things, including a livelihood dependent on your physical abilities and, like high-level musicians and athletes, the fact that you must forgo other opportunities to reach your goals. I certainly wanted to show both positives and negatives of Sara’s experience. Also, I struggled with shin splints, which are a kind of constant reminder of how vulnerable your body can be. I gave those to Sara, too!

2. I think a lot of kids who aren’t dancers can relate to some of this, like the giving up of opportunities to play a sport in high school and the injuries associated with it. Sara’s relationship with Rem is different than many YA romances that are love at first hot sight. Tell us a bit about their relationship and how you decided to plot it the way you did.

Because she is a country girl coming to the high-level city ballet scene a bit late, Sara is trapped between the younger students with whom she is technically on par, and the older dancers who are her chronological peers. I wanted to establish this before introducing Remington because I think he is very much a part of her uncertainty about wanting to grow up at all and how that is tied to her ballet dreams. Being attached to Rem also means being attached to a kind of dance success which Sara deeply wants.

3. You did a good job showing her as the country girl often with the younger students. As I read AUDITION, I was struck how you made every word count. What are some of the challenges in writing in verse?

With each poem, I asked myself, “Does this have to be written this way?” “Do the metaphors work?” “What would happen if I wrote this in prose?” For me, the verse form is a process of repeated questioning, lots of revision, and having the courage to scrap pages and try again.

4. You worked at Random House Children’s Publishing and Simon & Shuster Children’s Publishing. Tell us about these experiences and how they’re influencing your marketing decisions, if at all.

Like the performing art of dance, the literary art of publishing is very subjective and whimsical. Coming to the author side of it after years supporting other writers, that I know I’ve got to have a thick skin. More importantly, I have truly come to believe that the best thing you can do for your own book and the entire industry is to encourage and support other writers.

5. I bet those connections are invaluable. And yes, it is so important that we support each other. That’s one of the things I enjoy most about blogging. You were part of an awesome vlog about collective book promotion and marketing at WriteOnCon this year. (You can listen to the vlog here. ). Tell us about Stages and Pages and share some of your tips on collective book promotion and marketing.

Stages on Pages is an opportunity not just to talk about my own book but to explore and celebrate novels about the arts in a broader way. The tour consists of twelve authors. Appearing together is less scary and it gives us opportunities to create presentations that are more conversational and, hopefully, fun for audiences. The biggest tip I’d give to others about collective promotion is to make sure you have an organizing principle that excites everyone involved.

Thanks Stasia for all your advice. Good luck with your book. You can visit Stasia on her website and her blog.

Stasia’s publisher generously offered an ARC for a giveaway. All you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment by midnight on November 5th. I’ll announce the winner on November 7th. If your e-mail is not on Blogger, please list it in your comment. International entries are welcome.

If you mention this contest on your blog, Twitter, or Facebook, please let me know in the comments and I’ll give you an extra entry.

And don't forget to enter my giveaways to win a copy of DARKFALL by Janice Hardy and CROSSED by Ally Condie. Links are at the top of the blog.

Here’s what’s coming up. Next Monday, I’m interviewing another debut author Anna Staniszewski and giving away a copy of MY VERY UN FAIRY TAIL LIFE. And on November 7th, I’m interviewing Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson and giving away a copy of THE FAMILIARS SECRETS OF THE CROWN. I’ll let you know about the rest of November later.

Hope to see you next Monday!


Old Kitty said...

Good luck to Stasia and her book too!!!

Love how Stasia connects writing poetry with prose! Thanks for the fab interview! Take care

Barbara Watson said...

Intriguing book! In verse, wow. Thank you for word about it and for the interview.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Great interview! This is a book I know my high school girls are going to love. I plan to get a copy for my classroom. :)

jpetroroy said...

I love both novels in verse and ballet novels, so this is right up my alley!

jpetroroy at gmail dot com

Natalie Aguirre said...

Stasia, thanks so much for letting me part of your blog tour.

Shannon, Old Kitty, Barbara, and JPetroroy, thanks so much for stopping by.

Monica Fumarolo said...

Good luck, Stasia! A novel in verse, and about something in the fine arts, too? I LOVE IT! This is why I love Literary Rambles. (I sing your praises on my own blog http://fumafiles.blogspot.com) Count me in for your ARC giveaway


I tweeted and put this on my facebook. I love Stasia. She is an amazing lady and one of the most friendly writers out there. xo

Vivien said...

Really excited for this one!
GFC follower


deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

Kristin Lenz said...

Thanks Natalie and Stasia for sharing your experience. I've only read a couple novels in verse (Ellen Hopkins and Sonya Sones), and it's time for another!

Steve MC said...

Always a pleasure to see Stasia. I didn't know she worked in publishing, and it'll be interesting to see how she wrote all those levels of character and conflict in verse.

LTM said...

First, yes! super-congrats to Shannon! She's awesome. And this is the second time I've heard about Stasia's book! I like you was worried about the whole "in verse" thing, but it sounds really great. Can't wait to check it out~ :o) <3

Casey McCormick said...

So happy to see Stasia on Literary Rambles today! We talked for a bit at SCBWI-LA and it was such a pleasure. Wishing AUDITION a wide audience!

And congrats, again, to Shannon. Thrilled for her!

Christina Lee said...

Stasia, I hear so many amazing things about your book--cannot WAIT!!

Hi Natalie (and GO Shannon)!!

Ghenet Myrthil said...

Great interview! I'm excited to read AUDITION. :)


KatieC said...

This looks amazing!


Victoria Dixon said...

I've heard of people writing novels in verse. As a writer, the thought terrifies me. LOL Kudos to you who do! The book sounds great.

Jessie Humphries said...

This sounds like a fabulous read. I love small town girl meets big city boy!

Stina said...

I'm dying the read the book. Thanks for the awesome interview. It makes me want to read the book even more.

(And yay, Shannon!!!) :D

Kiki Hamilton said...

Great interview Stasia and Natalie! I love the sounds of this book and how great that Stasia comes from a dancing background. I also love the comment about supporting each other as writers. I whole-heartedly agree. We're in it together! :-) Best of luck with Audtion.

Alison Miller said...

Awesome interview! I've been trying to win a copy of this one!

And congrats to Shannon!

Jill the OWL said...

I have some many girl students that are in dance, and I know they would love this book! Thanks for the giveaway and the cool interview. REally enjoyed it.

themgowl at gmail dot com

Val said...

Nice. Thanks for the chance to win.


Unknown said...

I love books in verse -- but most of them are about such edgy, painful subjects . . . it's nice to hear about one that sounds really different for this genre.

Heather said...

I'm so excited for Stasia and Audition! I love novels in verse and have been looking forward to this one for a while. Great interview!

Angela Ackerman said...

Huge congrats to Shannon--she totally deserves it! :)

Audition should be a great book--I can't think of a lot of books that center on this topic of professional dance. :)

Angela@ The Bookshelf Muse

Linda said...

I really want to read this book, it looks awesome! Thanks for the giveaway :)

linda.lea.wiley (at) gmail (dot) com

Sharli said...

I've read a couple of novels in verse and I've really enjoyed them. Plus the dancing really appeals to me. I'd love to read it!

Tweet: http://twitter.com/#!/Entre_Libros/status/128732306956492806

entrelibros_blog at hotmail dot com

Cassandra @ Book & Movie Dimension a Blog said...

Enjoyed the interview. Its nice to hear that authors can support each other.
Thanks for the giveaway too.

E-mail: hernandezcassandra50 (at) yahoo (dot) com

+1 Entry- Twitter:https://twitter.com/#!/BookLoverC/status/128580990015766530

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Audition sounds wonderful! Very cool that Stasia worked at the Kennedy Center. :D

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Wonderful interview, and this sounds like a wonderful book. I have always been interested in ballet and the arts and have wanted to see more fiction about characters involved in the arts. I also recently read a novel in verse and was surprised to see how much I liked that form. So this is a book on my "must get" list. I'm Tweeting it and mentioning it on Facebook.

Wendy Wahman said...

Congratulations to Stasia and what an excellent interview. I'm so happy to get Literary Rambles in my mailbox every day. Being an old(er) dancer, I love anything dance. And verse! I'm so excited to read AUDITION.

Wendy Wahman said...

Oh - and I tweeted and Fb-ed :-)

Facebook: http://tiny.cc/9m5hu
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#/wendywahman

Joanne R. Fritz said...

Gosh, Natalie, you have the most amazing author interviews ever. That was fascinating reading. Thanks!

I'm just warming up to novels in verse, having recently read and loved both IMPULSE by Ellen Hopkins and MAY B by Caroline Starr Rose, two very different books but both powerful.

Maji Bookshelf said...

Been pining over Audition for the longest time! this book sounds amazing :)

Thanks for this awesome giveaway!
email: mc.jay.jay at hotmail dot com
GFC: maji bookshelf

Michael G-G said...

Sounds amazing. I just tweeted about it too!

Juliana said...

Oh, I'm a ballerina! I want to read it!

I posted about the giveaway on twitter and facebook ;)


cpullum said...

I love reading this one looks awsome!

Sophia Chang said...

I love this kind stuff! I was trained as an actor-dancer-singer my whole life and went pro in my 20's so this is right up my alley.

+1 I facebooked it: http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=119831811459702&id=100002692737184

sophiathewriter at gmail

Stasia said...

Thanks for hosting an Audition blog tour stop, Natalie. I love Literary Rambles--it's where I first heard of my agent!

DustySE said...

This is a terrific interview for a book that sounds fabulous!

Lola Sharp said...

Wonderful interview, ladies. :) YES to supporting fellow writers (and all the arts)!

My daughter (15) has been in a dance company in NJ for years,and taking dance since she was 3. It's been a big part of her life (thus mine by proxy), and I think she's starting to back away from it. Academics have to come first, she knows that, and she's in all AP classes this year and I think trying to excel in both is too much.
Anyway, she'd LOVE this book, and I've been hearing nothing but great things about it. So please count me in!


Paula said...

Oh I've been waiting to read this since I saw the author (and cover) at the WWSCBWI. I LOVE verse novels and am always excited to find a new verse author.

Great interview. Thanks!!

Reading Mind / The Loyal Book said...

I've been reading such good things about the book!Would love to read it.

Aik said...

I would love to read this book! I've heard so much about it! :)

I'm a blog follower - Aik.

aikychien at yahoo dot com

Aik said...

I tweeted:


houseofrocc said...

I love this Literary Rambles site and I'm very excited to read this new book!

FairyWhispers said...

would like this

Am a follower via GFC





FairyWhispers said...





Kelly said...

Thanks so much for the giveaway!

Jennie Englund said...

Yay, Shannon!

Yes yes yes yes yes!!!!