Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

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Today I am so thrilled to have debut author Gennifer Albin here and to help celebrate the release of CREWEL, which releases tomorrow. I loved the world Gennifer created about spinsters weaving what happens in life. It’s such an interesting concept. And Adelice is such a sympathetic and strong character as she loses so much and then finds out what it really means to be a spinster.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads

Incapable. Awkward. Artless.

That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: she wants to fail.

Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. But if controlling what people eat, where they live and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and wove a moment at testing, and they’re coming for her—tonight.

Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her Dad’s stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.

Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back.
Hi Genn. I’m so excited to have you here today.

1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.
I’m a former teacher and academic who always loved stories. I wanted to write books from a young age and I finally got serious and made it a priority shortly after my daughter was born in 2010.

2. I always admire people who always knew they wanted to write. It gives you such an advantage because you've been practicing for awhile before you get serious about writing. 

How did you come up with the idea of the Spinsters and controlling the world through weaving?
At first I was hesitant about using the term Spinster, but it grew on me. My advisor in graduate school actually studied 18th century female writers who were considered Spinsters, so I liked the idea of taking the term back and playing with our concept of what a Spinster was. 
The idea for the novel stems from a painting by Remedios Varo where girls sit in a tower and embroider the world. I built on that by adding more traditionally female arts like weaving and spinning. It’s been tricky to create a woven world, and even trickier to get the idea out of my head and onto the page, but I’m finding that there’s a lot of room for expansion on the concept. In book two, we’ll meet characters with different powerful skills that can affect the fabric of life.

3. So fascinating that your idea comes from a picture. And you've already got me dying to read book 2. I loved Adelice and her independence in a world where women are really restricted. Share with us how you created her as a character and why you chose a society that definitely is not a liberating one for women.
The world came second to the situation Adelice was put in. It started with a girl who could weave and embroider the world, and so when I decided to use the term Spinsters, the dynamics of power naturally gravitated toward gender hegemonies.

4. You did the romance really right here. There was some but it didn’t overshadow the plot. Give us some tips on how to weave the romance into our plot driven stories.
Romance is so hard to get right, because I remember being a teen and falling in love for the first time and it was HEAVY stuff (I eventually married my first love, so yeah, I DO believe teens can really fall in love). For me the key to Crewel was that romance can’t be Adelice’s whole world, because she has a lot going on. When she’s in the romantic moments, they’re all consuming, but she still has goals and issues outside her relationship. I’m not sure I was that balanced as a teenager. In fact, all I remember is HORMONES, but Adelice has a better head on her shoulders.

5. So glad Adelice didn't get into that obsessive first love of teenage years. I remember it being pretty intense too.

Okay we must, must talk about your publication journey. On your website, you share that you had seven agents wanting to represent you and five publishing houses wanting to buy your book in a week. And I read that WriteOnCon played a major role in getting an agent. We’d all love to have your experience. Tell us about it and how you picked Molly Glick as your agent and Farrar Straus Giroux as your publisher.

I have to admit the whole story still shocks me. There were several agents who were excited about Crewel, and I loved them all, but after several conversations with Mollie, I realized she was the person I wanted to email when I had a question. I really couldn’t ask for a better advocate. It was a similar circumstance that led me to choose FSG. They were passionate about the book from the beginning, and they’ve done an amazing job throughout the editorial and publishing process.

6. Isn't Genn's experience amazing? And there's more. Your book was a BEA YA Editor’s Buzz Pick for 2012. How’d that come about and what was it like being at BEA? Do you recommend debut authors try to go to BEA?

I have to thank my publicist for that. She submitted the novel and additional material to the committee and they chose it. It was an amazing feeling to walk into BEA. Every time I turned around I saw an author I admired and then there was the books! So many books! If a debut author has the means to go, they should. I met so many other 2012 debut novelists there. It was a great networking experience, but it was also a lot of fun!

7. I'd love to go to BEA sometime and get a haul of awesome ARCs. Going as an author would be even better. I’m guessing your publisher has been helpful in getting the word out about your book. What are your plans for marketing and what advice do you have for debut authors getting started on this?

I definitely can’t take much credit for the marketing and buzz surrounding the book. I’m very fortunate that Macmillan has been so proactive and passionate about Crewel. What I’ve focused on is using social media to engage with other writers, bloggers, and readers. I enjoy that though. My best advice is to figure out what you enjoy doing in terms of PR and marketing and focus on that. You can’t do it all, so try to find what you are comfortable doing.

8. That's great advice Genn to focus and remember you can't do it all. It's so easy to get overwhelmed. What’s your best advice for us aspiring authors?

Don’t over-analyze. Just write.

9. What are you working on now?

I’m working on the rest of the Crewel World series at the moment, but I have a MG on the back burner. I’d like to write something for my kids.

Ooh, I'd love to read a MG by you. Thanks Genn for all your great advice. You can find Genn at her website and her blog.

Genn's publisher generously offered an ARC 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 midnight on October 27th. I’ll announce the winner on October 29th. 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 to enter my contests for THE TORN WING and ASHEN WINTER, two awesome books. The links to the contests are at the top of the blog.

Here's what's coming up:

On Wednesday I'll be sharing about THE RAVEN BOYS by Maggie Stiefvater and giving away my ARC. I'm a HUGE fan of Maggie's and this urban fantasy is one of my favorites by her.

On Friday I'll be sharing a guest post by debut author Jordan Jacobs and giving away a copy of his middle grade book, SAMANTHA SUTTON AND THE LABYRINTH OF LIES. It's a story about a legendary ghost, a hidden treasure, and a ancient temple in Peru. 

Next Monday, I'm interviewing debut author Shelby Bach and giving away a copy of OF GIANTS AND ICE. It's a unique fairy tale retelling centering around the Ever After School that I enjoyed and I think you will too.

Next Wednesday, I'm interviewing debut author Laura Ellen and giving away an ARC of BLIND SPOT, a fantastic contemporary YA book about a girl who's dealing with macular degeneration, a schoolmates death, and a whole lot more.

And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Thursday agent spotlights.

Hope to see you Wednesday!


Andrea Mack said...

I love the concept of a girl not wanting to assume this controlling and powerful role. The spinning idea is interesting, too. Thanks for the interview.

Jemi Fraser said...

That's an awesome interview! Such an exciting journey. The cover is so beautiful and really matches the story - can't wait to read it! :)

S.A. Larsenッ said...

It's great to meet Genn. This is a very intriguing premise. I think what I like about it most is that this girl shuns those abilities. Wonderful interview!

Steph Sessa said...

Love the interview! I'm really excited to read Crewel (plus the cover is gorgeous)!

Lydia Kang said...

Congrats to Genn! I read all about her news on QT. It was pretty exciting.

Hannah Milton said...

I'm super excited to read this book. It's been on my goodreads list for ages! And thanks for the interview!

Unknown said...

I love this premise! Congratulations to Genn for getting this far and doing so well in the process! I'll definitely love to read this book when I get the chance.

Jess said...

Wonderful interview! Crewel sounds fantastic :)

Kayeleen Hamblin said...

Crewel sounds like such a great book. I'm excited to read it.

Kris @Imaginary Reads said...

Great interview! I enjoyed learning more about the writing process behind the book and how Genn's team of support for Crewel formed! I was also interesting to hear about the romance :)

ilima said...

Ooh, I want to read this one!

Llehn said...

Love the advice : Don’t over-analyze. Just write!

David P. King said...

Gennifer is all kinds of awesome and I can't wait to read her book. Wonderful interview, you guys! :)

Joanne R. Fritz said...

I love that romance is not Adelice's whole world. Great interview, Natalie and Genn. Congrats on your impressive journey to publication.

Natalie, please let someone else win this; I have an ARC of my own.

Kristin Lenz said...

Wow, the concept of Crewel is fascinating, and what a whirlwind publishing story! Please enter me in the giveaway, Natalie - thanks!

Barbara Watson said...

What a great sounding book!

And the advice -- don't over-analyze, just write -- is perfect, Genn.

(Don't enter me in the giveaway, Natalie. I've got a pile to read, but thanks for the opportunity.)

warisha_jayanti said...

The books sounds really good and the cover is just gorgeous!

thank you for this giveaway!

Myrna Foster said...

Loved this interview! I can't wait to get my hands on CREWEL. :o)

Rachna Chhabria said...

Congrats to Genn. Wishing her lots of luck.

Matthew MacNish said...

Ooh, fascinating premise!

Lisa Gail Green said...

What an awesome interview as usual! How exciting to have so many offers! It sounds like a wonderful and original book.

Lisa Marie said...

I can't believe release day is almost here! I am so excited to read this book! Thank you for the giveaway!


Vivien said...

I've been waiting for this book to be released for months. She has such great advice in this post. And she's a riot on twitter :D
GFC: Vivien

deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

Unknown said...

ah I can't wait to read this book!
gfc - katharyn

katvela12345 At hotmail dot com!

Loie D said...

I can't wait to read the book ! Looks amazing :)

Stina said...

I've seen the clover around the blogosphere, but I had no idea what the book was about until now. Sounds like a great premise. :D

Stephanie Garber said...

Great interview! Crewel sounds awesome!
Thanks for the giveaway!

sngarber (@) gmail (dot) com

Anonymous said...

Great advice!

Psyche said...

I am follower: Maly

Beth said...

Crewel sounds really interesting, and set it in a great world. I'm hooked!

Pili said...

I've had Crewel on my Good reads TBR list for a long time now, so happy to get a chance to get it!

Maidenveil said...

I'm so excited for this book! It's on my TBR list!

-Len of Musings of a Reader Happy

CB Soulsby said...

Can't wait to read this :D

Ryan Snyder said...

I have been dying to read this! :D snyderyan16@gmail.com

Cassi said...

This book sounds so good and I would love to read it. Thanks!
cassinz10 at gmail dot com

Jill the OWL said...

Very excited for this book!!! Looks fantastic.

themgowl at gmail dot come

Neysa Kristanti said...

Great review, and really looking forward to this book!
Thanks for the chance :D

email : mnkbooklife (at) yahoo (dot) com

Evie said...

I love that cover! So beautiful :)

Alex Villasante said...

I feel like I've been waiting for CREWEL for AGES! Bring it on!
anvillasante (at) gmail (dot) com

Veronika said...

I keep hearing about Crewel amazing things! I really need to pick it up! Love the cover!
GFC: Veronika
verusbognar (at) gmail (dot) com

Sophia Chang said...

Been following Gennifer's blog for a while now too - very helpful interview and spot-on advice.

tweeted: https://twitter.com/sophthewriter/status/259968321171116033

Laura Pauling said...

Definitely couldn't ask for a better agent/editor story than that! Congrats! :)

And you know my email. :)

SarahO said...

Really looking forward to this book! Great cover too.

Eli Yanti said...

wow the cover looks so great, hope can win :)


The Clements Family said...

Wow, wow and WOW! What a cool publishing story and a great book on top of that! I hope I win! Thanks,

The Clements Family said...

Oh, my e-mail that follows your blog is meganclements4 [at] yahoo [dot] com. Thanks!

JennaQuentin said...

I'm a follower and I just tweeted about this https://twitter.com/JennaQuentin/status/260684989472055296
I heard about Genn and CREWEL at the WriteOnCon ;)

The Reader said...

Interesting! I be my niece would love this! she is a 16y/o in high school...oh to go back to those days!

The Reader said...

Oh I follow you via google+ =)

Joshua David Bellin, Sci-Fi Author said...

What an amazing and original concept! Can't wait to read it--and I don't even know the first thing about weaving!

Esther Shaindel said...

This sounds awesome! Can't wait to read it!

Cassie B. said...

This book seems to be everywhere these days. I'm looking forward to finally reading it. Tweeted.

Cassie said...

the comment form at http://knowsprose.com will link to my e-mail, btw.

Rebecca Gomez said...

What an interesting premise! (rjgomez08 at aol dot com)

Texas Book Lover said...

I also fell in love with my first love. We were 16 when we met and have been together 20 years now. Now that my daughter is nearly that age it's pretty scary though let me tell you!

Tweet: https://twitter.com/TexasBookLover/status/262363694510518272

GFC: Texas Book Lover

mmafsmith AT gmail DOT com

Anonymous said...
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