Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Kelly Dyksterhouse Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 12/12/2022
  • Savannah Brooks Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 12/19/2022

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.

KAT ZHANG INTERVIEW AND WHAT’S LEFT OF ME GIVEAWAY

Happy Monday everyone! By the time most of you read this, I will have been to school to provide breakfast of bagels, juice, yogurt, milk, etc. for the swim team after their 6:00 am practice. They grab the food on their way to class. They so deserve it so we all take a turn providing breakfast. And then of course, there's a busy day of work. Hope you're having a great day!

So before I share my fabulous interview with you, I want to announce the winners of two contests.

The winner of SKYLARK is VERONIKA!

The winner of EMBRACE is MARTINA!

And the winner of THE MOON COIN is ANUBHA!

Congrats! E-mail me your addresses so your books can be sent to you.



I’m so very thrilled  to help celebrate Kat Zhang’s debut with her and to share her fantastic new book WHAT’S LEFT OF ME that releases tomorrow. I’m so excited to share this book with you because I love it. I got totally sucked into the idea of two souls in one body from page 1. I loved Eva’s voice and her struggle to survive. 

I had just started this before going to the airport in Dallas in July to come home. When we got there, we found we had a three hour delay before we left. Kat’s book kept me totally entertained through the 10 hours of sitting around and I almost finished the book. I still remember how much I enjoyed the whole experience because of her book.

Here’s a description from Goodreads

What's Left of Me tells the story of a fifteen-year-old girl fighting for her right to survive in a world where two souls are born into each body and one is doomed to disappear. Pitched as The Golden Compass meets Girl, Interrupted.

Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t…

For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable–hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet…for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.

See what I meant about this being an amazing story?

Happy Debut Kat! Thanks so much for joining us.

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

Hi! J Thanks for having me! I’m currently a senior at university, where I study English and Creative Writing. I read voraciously as a kid, started writing stories early, and decided to publish a book at age 12 (after which I quickly learned that in order to publish a book, one has to actually finish writing a book—something that didn’t happen until much later). I’ve always loved to tell stories; my best friend and I made up all sorts of stuff starring ourselves, and we wrote plays and drew comics. I guess it was only a matter of time until I started writing J
 
2.  That's so awesome you wanted to be published at 12. Can you share how you came up with the idea of two souls in one body and how the idea evolved as your story did?

Sadly, there isn’t any super cool story about how I came up with the idea for WHAT’S LEFT OF ME! I just started thinking about the idea of an internal monologue, and how in a lot of movies, it’s portrayed as this whole other voice loud and clear in the character’s mind, and what if that voice really belonged to someone else? And what if she couldn’t control your body at all, but could only speak to you in your head? What would that be like? That’s how the idea for Eva, the recessive soul, came about, and the rest of the book developed from that.

 3.  Maybe that doesn't sound like an awesome way to come up with the story since you've been working on it for so long, but I think it's brilliant. I love learning how writers come up their ideas.

I love Eva’s voice and experiencing the story as the soul who should have disappeared. You could have switched POV from her and Addie or told the story from Addie’s POV. What made you pick Eva as the only main character?

To be honest, I never considered telling the story from Addie’s POV. It was always Eva’s story for me, which isn’t to say that Addie isn’t important, or that I didn’t spend a lot of time figuring out her feelings and motivations! But like I said, the idea for WHAT’S LEFT OF ME came from the idea of that captive “inner voice,” that trapped character, and so when I wrote the book, it just naturally stayed in Eva’s POV. There’s a lot to explore from her perspective, and I think the book would be quite different overall if Addie had a POV, as well J

4.  And I really like how you explored from the trapped soul. Yet you can't help but sympathize for Addie too. You have the challenge of showing the internal conversations between Eva and Addie. You did it in an interest way. For example:

We swayed.
Addie cried.
And
I said.


Sorry everyone, but the marks don't show up in blogger here but you can see them in Kat's answer. The marks surround the dialogue above.

Tell us how you came up with this way of them communicating. Did you have any other challenges in developing them as characters?

I think one of my critique partners actually suggested the use of the < > marks. In the beginning, I just used italicized double quotes, but it did get a little confusing, because there isn’t that much difference between “Run!” and “Run!” (the former being someone shouting Run! aloud, but emphasized, and the later being Addie or Eva shouting it in their head!).
I also had to pay a lot more attention to pronoun use than ever before, and it was a bit of a unique challenge to show some of Eva’s emotional reactions because I couldn’t use normal physical cues (i.e. “I frowned” or “my stomach twisted” or “my legs weakened”).

5.  I bet it was a challenge showing Eva's emotions. But you did a great job because it never seemed anything but natural to me. I’ve read that you wrote this while in high school. Seeing how busy my daughter is and she’s only finished 9th grade, I have a hard time imagining how you found time to write this. Share how you juggled school and writing. How are you juggling it now that you’re in college?

Congrats for your daughter for finishing 9th grade! Hope she enjoyed her freshman year J I started WHAT’S LEFT OF ME during the winter of my senior year of high school, and I finished my first draft the spring of my freshman year of college (I then revised until the end of summer), so I did take my time on it. It’s easier during the summer, of course. During the school year, there’s a lot of writing before class or writing late at night. I carry a notebook around everywhere and do a lot of typing up later. Other people pull all-nighters for schoolwork; I pull all-nighters for revisions ;) (well, I pull all-nighters for schoolwork, too!). It’s a balancing act, but it’s work that I enjoy very much.

6.  Juggling the writing and school must be such a challenge, but it will help you find the balance if you have another job as well as write after school. I know the writing and working is a challenge for me.

 Emmanuelle Morgen of Stonesong is your agent. I read about how Emmanuelle became your agent and how you sold your story to Harper Collins. It’s a pretty amazing story. Please share it with us.

Emmanuelle is wonderful! I signed with her about two months into querying, and we revised over the winter, going on submissions in spring. I think we got our first offer about a week into subs, and we sold in a pre-empt to HarperCollins Children’s about a month in. It was all a bit of whirlwind of the nicest kind J

7.  That's such an amazing story. We'd all wish to have our journeys to publication go that easily. How are you marketing your book and how is being in college affecting your marketing plan? Do you think it will be any easier for you to get the word out about your book to teens because you’re so close in age to the high school YA readers?

I guess I’m marketing my book the usual way—I’m having a launch party, and I’ll be doing a number of events like signings and panels, plus internet-y things J I don’t think being in college will have a huge effect on marketing efforts, though my creative writing professors and the entire creative writing department at my university have been incredibly kind and supportive. I’m not sure if high school readers will be more interested in my book because I’m closer in age to them! I do hope to do some school visits! (where I’ll probably be mistaken for a student, because I look ridiculously young). 

8.  That's so awesome your professors are so supportive. What are you working on now?

I’m currently working on revising Book 2 of The Hybrid Chronicles, and I’m on-and-off writing a YA fantasy and a contemporary, as well.

Thanks Kat for all your advice. I hope you have a wonderful debut. You can find Kat on Twitter @KatZhang, her website, and her blog.

Kat's publisher generously provided an ARC of WHAT'S LEFT OF ME for a giveaway.  To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment by September 29nd. I’ll announce the winner on October 1st. If your e-mail is not on Blogger, please list it in your comment. International entries are welcome.

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

And don't forget all my other awesome contests at the top of the blog including for ENDLESSLY, the final book in Kiersten White's series ENTICE, the second book in Jessica Shirvington's EMBRACE series., and THE PECULIAR, a stempunk fantasy.
Here's what's coming up.

On Wednesday, I'm participating in Shelli Wells-Johannes' (also known as S.R. Johannes) blog tour for her new book UNCONTROLLABLE, a murder mystery set in the Smokey Mountains. UNTRACEABLE, the first book in the series, made the Kindle YA Semi-Finalist for Best Indie Books of 2012. Shelli will be sharing marketing advice and giving away a copy of her book.

Thursday I'll be doing a cover reveal for Elana Johnson's new book ABANDON.

Next Monday I'll be sharing THE CROWN OF EMBERS, by Rae Carson. It's the sequel to THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS. I can't believe I got it. I'm giving away my ARC. It's a fantastic fantasy series and I'm so excited to have an ARC to share with you.
 
Next Wednesday Lisa Nowak will be sharing a guest post on publishing options and sharing about her new book DRIVEN, a contemporary romance about a girl who loves to work on cars. And there will be a giveaway.

The following Monday I'm so excited to help debut author Shannon Messenger (she's the founder of the Marvelous Middle Grade Monday posts and one of the founders of WriteOnCon) celebrate the release of her book, KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES. I'll be interviewing her and giving away a copy of her book.
And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Thursday agent spotlights.

Hope to see you Wednesday!





64 comments:

Unknown said...

This book seems so fascinating. I actually have a family member that struggled with Dissociative Identity Disorder, so I am particularly interested in this concept. Thank you for sharing!

Unknown said...

Also I would live to enter the giveaway. I follow the blog and my email is emilyanngirdner@gmail.com

Thanks for the generous giveaway :)

Please also stop by my blog if you get a chance:
Www.anythingimagined.blogspot.com

S.A. Larsenッ said...

Congrats to all the winners!

I've seen Kat all over the blogosphere lately. 'Hi' Kat! Love the looks of your book. Nicely done!

Carina Olsen said...

A lot of people seem to love this book. And I must admit, the cover is gorgeous :D And the summary is pretty interesting ;) I would love to read it. <3 Thank you for this amazing interview and giveaway :D
Love, Carina

Jemi Fraser said...

Wow! Great concept! I definitely will be picking up this book!

Sara said...

I love the concept, it's really unique and I don't think I've read anything like it before. Can't wait to read this one!

Creepy Query Girl said...

This sounds like such a unique premise that Kat really did justice! Loved learning more about her and her writing! Great interview:)

Eli Yanti said...

wow... new author to looking forward :)

https://twitter.com/Eli_Yanti/status/247683389807808512





Lori M. Lee said...

I love the way she came up with the premise. An internal monologue actually coming from another voice inside you? And she's NOT crazy? lol. I can't wait to read this book. Thanks for the fab interview!

Lili said...

I follow via GFC as Lili (:

I've had my eyes on this book for a while, but I've been slightly worried because I keep seeing mixed reviews. But gosh, did this interview really pique my interest. One thing I love is learning how people come up with their story ideas because it could come to them randomly or in a dream, or be suggested, but this one was really cool with the whole internal monologue type thing like they do in movies. I like that, I don't think I've encountered such a thing before. So interesting to me haha

Carmella Van Vleet said...

Sounds like a fascinating read!

David P. King said...

Awesome interview, that the premise of What's Left Of Me sounds great. Thanks for hosting Kat! :)

LTM said...

This sounds like a fantastic book! I've been seeing it around. Best of luck to Kat--I love the idea of an internal monologue being so loud and the characters... wish I could see those!

Thanks for sharing, Natalie! Great rec~ <3

alicia marie said...

Thanks for the great interview! I have heard so many awesome things about this book! I can't wait to read it : )

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I've been wondering about this book for a while. I'm so glad you did this interview! :-)

Barbara Watson said...

Wow! Such an intriguing concept.

warisha_jayanti said...

The book sounds really good!

Cassi said...

The book looks great!
Thanks!

Lydia Kang said...

I can't wait to read this. Kat's book sounds amazing!

Stina said...

I love the complexity involved with this story. It sounds amazing. :D

jpetroroy said...

This sounds so intriguing,

americangirlemmie said...

Thanks for the amazing giveaway! My email is mads(at)meylor(dot)com and I also follow you on GFC!

Thanks again and congrats to the winners!

Maddie

Akoss said...

That's a neat concept. I will be looking forward to the release. :)

Anonymous said...

Oooooh, I reallyreallyreally want to read this! Love this awesome interview!

Chey said...

I cannot wait to read this one. It just sounds incredible and unique. Thanks for the giveaway!

GFC- Chey
mcrs_venin(at)hotmail(dot)com

Angela Ackerman said...

Oh my holy bananas, I love it when a truly unique concept comes along. And once is so rich in the blurb...can't wait to read this one.

ange

The Pen and Ink Blogspot said...

What a unique idea. I head the reading siren singing to me.

Unknown said...

Hey, thank you for stopping by my blog. It was nice to hear from you and I'm looking forward to your next post.

Natasha said...

I can't wait to read this one!! Thanks for the chance to win!
natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

Unknown said...

Wow--compared to two amazing books. Can't wait to read What's Left of Me.

cathe@simplynaturalbooks.com

Llehn said...

I'd love to play please.

GFC follower.

lesly7ch(at)yahoo(dot)com

Laura Pauling said...

So many awesome books ahead here! Can't wait for some of them! I'm glad that the road to publication has been easier for some! :)

Beth said...

This sounds like a terrific plot idea. Congratulations to the other winners!

Anonymous said...

Great interview and an intriguing story! Ooh, I hope I win the ARC!

Reading Mind / The Loyal Book said...

She's is so young and with a book already releasing! congrats!!!

Follower: reading mind


aliasgirl at libero dot it

magic5905 said...

I follow on gfc-magic5905
Book looks good. Thanks.
magic5905 at embarqmail dot com

Julie R said...

This book sounds very interesting. Different than anything I have read. It sounds great. julierupert@gmail.com

Carmen said...

Sounds like my kind of book. I'd love to read it!

cerickson at integra dot net

Steph said...

I can't wait to read this book - it's been on my wishlist forever! Thanks for the giveaway!

Tweet: https://twitter.com/adreamindream/status/248128255998189569

Shared on Facebook too.

stephward84(at)hotmail(dot)com

Veronika said...

I've heard about this book so much! Can't wait to read it!
GFC: Veronika
verusbognar (at) gmail (dot) com

AmieSalmon said...

What a fab interview!

I've heard so much about this lately, and Golden Compass is one of my all time favs. I like the idea that this plays with format, so I definitely think I'll have to check this one out.

amie_salmon134@hotmail.co.uk

Linda A. said...

Kat and Natalie,
I enjoyed this post and definitely would like to be included in the giveaway drawing. Kat, you have a bright future ahead of you!
landersen74@yahoo.com

Joanne R. Fritz said...

You know I love this book, Natalie! And like you, I read it very quickly because it was so compelling. Loved hearing all about Kat's journey to publication and can't wait for the next book in the series!

I already have a copy of this, so please give it to someone else.

Mary Preston said...

WHAT'S LEFT OF ME looks like an amazing read. I can't wait for this one.

marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

a reader who reads said...

Really want a copy of this book! Thanks for the giveaway :)

kpoo18@gmail.com

Amanda said...

When I hear about young authors who managed to get a deal and published in college, I am simultaneously jealous and hopeful. Kat Zhang's story is definitely amazing and inspirational - even if she doesn't have a specific aha! moment of inspiration for What's Left of Me. The book sounds like an interesting premise and I love supporting new authors. Congrats to Kat Zhang and I can't wait to read this book! And thank you for hosting this interview and giveaway!

latenightswithgoodbooks@gmail.com

Becca said...

On Twitter I said this is the new book I've most been looking forward to this fall. I love Zhang's concept for WHAT's LEFT OF ME and am eagerly looking forward to seeing how the story turns out! :) Congrats on the release!

Steve MC said...

What you said of internal monologues in movies, and what if that voice really belonged to someone else, reminded me of the Steve Martin / Lily Tomlin movie "All of Me." They have a lot of fun with her being trapped in his body.

By the way, I love that cover. I saw it in the Goodreads newsletter the other day and promptly saved the image as an idea for my own portrait work. And congrats on the starred review!

Rachna Chhabria said...

I love the cover of What's Left of Me. I am intrigued by the premise, two souls in one body.

Evie said...

I can't wait to read this book! Love that cover :)
GFC follower: Evie
by.evie at yahoo dot com dot br

Anubha said...

thank you very much for this wonderful opportunity... :D
GFC: Anubha
Tweet: https://twitter.com/miliminni/status/248504626943496192

ZaraAlexis said...

Wonderful! Please count me in! I follow your blog by email: zgarcia(dot)alvarez(at)gmail(dot)com.

Thanks! This is a great giveaway and a great book!

Zara Alexis

Texas Book Lover said...

This book sounds very intriguing. Love the cover concept. It looks like it matches the book well, which is a pet peeve of mine (when they don't I mean).

Thanks so much!
GFC follower: Texas Book Lover
mmafsmith AT gmail DOT com

Tweet:
https://twitter.com/TexasBookLover/status/248792222995214337

Sheena-kay Graham said...

GFC- Sheena-kay Graham
Tweeted: https://twitter.com/queendsheena/status/248829117338886145

I've wanted this book for months. Thanks for the giveaway and love the interview.

queendsheena@hotmail.com

Diana said...

Looks like a very interesting book!
GFC-Diana

Giada M. said...

WHAT'S LEFT OF ME does not only sound good but also...that cover! It is to die for! *_* Thank you for the interesting interview and the chance to win WHAT'S LEFT OF ME!

GFC: Giada M.

fabgiada (at) gmail (dot) com

Peggy Eddleman said...

I've seen this book a lot, and it sounds SO GOOD!

Cassi said...

Thanks so much!!!
cassinz10 at gmail dot com

Lisa Marie said...

I met the author at BEA this year. She was great! Thank you for the giveaway!

:).

lisalueddecke at yahoo dot com.

Anonymous said...

I would love to read this book. Thank you for the opportunity!

feldringer at gmail dot com

Unknown said...

This book sounds really interesting! Always love to hear about new authors' successes.

mpwritingnow@gmail.com

Valia Lind said...

Great information here!!! Thanks so much for sharing!!

valialind(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Neysa Kristanti said...

Hi, great interview!

Would love to win the ARC!

My email is : mnkbooklife (at) yahoo (dot) com

Cath Brookes said...

I am fascinated by the idea of two souls living in every body. What an out of the box, interesting thing to think about, let alone craft into an intriguing story. Kat Zhang has hit a home run with WHAT'S LEFT OF ME--the first book in THE HYBRID CHRONICLES. Can't wait to read more.
Best site for Divorce Attorney Seattle Information