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.


Hi Everyone! For those of you in the U.S., hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving! We went to Toronto to celebrate my husband's 60th birthday. With all his health problems, I'm so grateful he's still alive. Wish I could say it was a fantastic trip, but it involved driving in a snowstorm for over an hour, someone breaking our back passenger side window in our rental car and stealing my husband's backpack with his medicine, and the highway being closed for over an hour on the way back because of an accident. But otherwise, we had fun.

Before I get to my interview, I have lots of winners to announce. Yay!

The winner of THE COLORED CAR is Akoss!
The winner of MOONLES is Carina Olsen!
The winner of BUTTERMAN TIME TRAVEL, INC. is Nicole!
The winner of GRAVITY is Johanna Garth!
The winner of A CHANGE OF PLANS is Sara Bowers!
The winner of MISTAKEN is Pachi!
The winner of CHAMPION is Medeia Sharif!
The winner of THE FAIRY GUARDIAN is Karen Lange!
The winner of A SPY LIKE ME is Tammy Hudson!
The winner of ALLIGATORS OVERHEAD is Jocelyn!
The winner of A GUILTY GHOST SURPRISED is Marie!
The winner of THEY ALL FALL DOWN is Stephanie Garber!
And the winner of my Gratitude Giveaway is Cherry who picked THE CROWN OF MIDNIGHT!

Congrats to all the winners! Please e-mail me so I can have your books sent to me. Please e-mail me by the end of Wednesday or I'll have to pick another winner. And thanks to you all for being such great followers!

Today I’m so thrilled to have debut author and one of our followers Lydia Kang here to share about CONTROL, which releases on December 26, 2013. It’s always so awesome to have a blogger friend here to celebrate their new book. And I loved CONTROL. As I read the first 50-60 pages, I kept on being amazed on how much was happening that was major. And the plot kept moving forward without a dull moment. And right away we know what Zel’s problem is, which helps draw you into the story. I loved the emphasis on gene mutations and the fact that while the characters had an inner beauty, outwardly they wouldn’t be perceived as hot, great looking kids. It gave the book a much more real feel.

Here’s a description from Goodreads:

An un-putdownable thriller for fans of Uglies

When a crash kills their father and leaves them orphaned, Zel knows she needs to protect her sister, Dyl. But before Zel has a plan, Dyl is taken by strangers using bizarre sensory weapons, and Zel finds herself in a safe house for teens who aren’t like any she’s ever seen before—teens who shouldn't even exist. Using broken-down technology, her new friends’ peculiar gifts, and her own grit, Zel must find a way to get her sister back from the kidnappers who think a powerful secret is encoded in Dyl’s DNA.

A spiraling, intense, romantic story set in 2150—in a world of automatic cars, nightclubs with auditory ecstasy drugs, and guys with four arms—this is about the human genetic “mistakes” that society wants to forget, and the way that outcasts can turn out to be heroes.

Hi Lydia. Thanks so much for joining us.

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

Hi Natalie! Wow, it’s weird to be on this blog after being a reader for so many years! Well, I’ve always wanted to write, but I didn’t know what to do. I simply couldn’t comprehend the how of idea generation. Where did authors get these clever premises from? How did they create characters? A few years ago after I got my feet wet writing poetry and non-fiction, I came up with an idea for an urban fantasy. I wrote a tiny outline and just went for it. That was June 2009, and I wrote the book in a month. (It’s now sitting on my hard drive.) I haven’t stopped writing fiction since.

2. OMG! I’m so impressed you wrote a book in a month. Where did you get the idea for your story?

It started with this blog post:


I could almost see this girl with this affliction and wondered...how could I make her into a hero? I knew I’d been wanting to write sci-fi, and soon this got me thinking of mutant teenagers and before long, the idea for CONTROL was born.

3. Funny how a blog post could inspire a story. I loved the gene mutations and the scientific
influence throughout the story. It was so unique! And I know you’re a doctor. Share a bit about how gene mutations fit in your world building and how your medical background influenced your story.

I’m a fan of superheros and X-men and paranormal books, but one thing that always irked me was the believability of all those special powers. So when I created these teens, I decided very firmly that I would do my best to root the origins of their mutations in real science. It wasn’t that hard to dream up, to be honest. That’s where having a background in science came in super handy!

4. Yeah, I bet it really helped you and saved on having to do extensive research. I’ve read that Zel is your favorite character. Me too, though I loved Cy too. Share three things you love about Zel. Are there parts of you in her?

I love her crazy hair. I would love a head full of frizzy hair. No joke.
I love her intense devotion to her family. Her life and her own identity is so entwined with family, and it was fascinating to have her change as these relationships changed through the book.

5. Okay, I used to have terribly frizzy hair. Trust me, you don’t want that part of her. Your plotting is fantastic and I’ve read you’re a plotter. What’s your plotting process like? Do you have any tips for the rest of us on how to keep our plots moving like you have?

Pantsers, I bow down to you. Because I would love that freedom to let go and just let the story happen, but I can’t do it. I have to know exactly where things are going before I lay a finger on the keyboard. A few words of advice: every chapter has to reveal something pretty major about the story or character, and never do fake cliffhangers. If you leave a reader hanging at the end of a chapter, it had better be for a significant reveal. Or else!

6. That’s great advice on what your chapters must do for your story. Your agent is Eric Myers. How did he become your agent? What was your road to publication like?

CONTROL was my third novel written (though I’d plotted a 50 page outline of a dystopian before CONTROL). Once my first draft was done, I’d sent to my betas who told me unequivocally that I’d finally written a shelf-worthy book. So I knew I was going to query until I dropped. I’d received two offers of representation when I finally chose Eric. He was experienced and wise and I felt like I was in very good hands.

7. I’ve seen that you’ve done some pre-release interviews with ARC giveaways and have been going to some conferences like ALA. Share a bit about how you decided where to set up these interviews/giveaways and what conferences to go to. What’s your experiences been going to these conferences?

The ALA panel was set up by members of the Class of 2k13 so I was happy to be included. To be honest, most of the interviews and giveaway opportunities have just fallen into my lap. The good thing about having blogged for several years and finding lots of Twitter friends is that people have just found me. I’m really bad with saying no, so I basically do every interview that’s asked of me. I’m pretty generous with offering swag giveaways when asked. My Goodreads giveaway last month was set up by Penguin. Next year, I won’t be as accessible though—I’m getting swamped with promo work and it’s only going to get busier!

8. That’s awesome how the interviews have just come to you. And great to hear that Twitter can help with that. What are your plans for marketing your book now that it’s being released?

I’ll be doing several school and library visits in the midwest, along with select conferences, like RT and some book festivals. As for online promo, I’ll just be out there. Twittering, Tumbling, and blogging as much as I can handle. One thing I’d like to concentrate more on next year is gathering more subscribers to my newsletter (which I have yet to send!) and Tumblr more often.

9. I’ll have to watch what you do to learn from you. What are you working on now?

I’m in between projects, but I have an idea for another sci-fi that’s very tempting. :)

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

League of Extraordinary Writers: http://leaguewriters.blogspot.com/
The Class of 2k13:  http://classof2k13.com/

Lydia and her publisher Dial Books 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 through December 14th. I’ll announce the winner on December 16th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, please leave it 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. You must be 13 or older to enter. International entries are welcome.

Here’s what’s coming up:

Next Monday I’ll be off. I’m going to Florida to see my mom for a few days the weekend before so will be offline for a few days.

The following Monday I’m interviewing our follower and debut author Lexa Cain and giving away a copy of SOUL CUTTER, her YA romantic horror story set in Egypt. I'm excited for this book for the setting alone.

The next Monday I’ll be participating in Anna Staniszewski’s blog tour for the last book in her series, MY SORT OF FAIRY TALE ENDING. She’ll be doing a guest post on marketing a series and there will be a giveaway of all three of her books in this series.

Then on Saturday, December 21st I’ll be participating in the Midwinter Eve Giveaway Hop. I’ll have lots of great YA book choices. This will be my last post until January 6, 2014.

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

Hope to see you in two weeks!


Joni said...

Been keeping my eye on this one. Thanks for the giveaway! ^^

Old Kitty said...

Fantastic to see the lovely Lydia here!! Wishing her all the best with her fab Control! Yay for her!!

Have a good break Natalie! Take care

Donna K. Weaver said...

Congrats to Lydia. Yes, writing a book *coughfirstveryroughdraftcough* in a month is an amazing experience. Love your premise. For some reason, reading that her sister was stolen for her DNA made me shudder!


Cherry said...

Yay!! Thank you!!

Kelly Polark said...

I can't wait to read Lydia's book! Lydia, I hope you are doing a library visit somewhere near me in the Midwest when you tour!! :)

Bish Denham said...

So sorry about the troubles you had, but I so glad you had a good time ANYWAY! Lydia's book sounds wonderful!

Lydia Kang said...

Thank you Natalie for having me! I'll be blogging about Literary Rambles this week and highlighting today's interview soon!

Vivien said...

I am so eager to get my hands on this book!! I absolutely loved the Uglies series so I know I'm going to enjoy this one. Sounds fantastic!
GFC: Vivien


Kel said...

Definitely sounds like an interesting read. I especially like the emphasis on family relationships. And doh! Writing about something that I already know about that requires a little less research next time sounds like a brilliant idea when suffering research fatigue.

Thanks for the giveaway!
kmpeterson89 (at) gmail (dot) com

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Lydia, be thankful you don't have frizzy hair. Mine's thick with some waves and that's enough, believe me. On humid days, it sticks out everywhere.

nutschell said...

Lovely to see Lydia here!! I've been dying to read her book. Congrats to all the winners!

Barbara Watson said...

So excited for you, Lydia! And it's interesting how, even though I've read your blog for quite some time, that and interview like yours, Natalie, reveals new things. Well done, ladies.

Barbara Watson said...

I meant read Lydia's blog for quite some time and that this interview reveals new things about Lydia. My first response was not well crafted.

Angela Brown said...

Loved the interview Natalie and Lydia. I'm so happy for Lydia. It's been a joy following Lydia's journey at her blog and to be so close to publication. Such a thrill :-)

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to read Control!!! Great post and interview with Lydia Kang. Have a wonderful holiday season and travel safe.

Brenda said...

So sorry to hear about your travel difficulties Natalie, glad you both were able to still have some fun. Wonderful interview and its always lovely to see where the story idea comes from. No need to enter me in the giveaway, I have a book and review I'm working on still.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Members of our family had some travel difficulties also. I like a story about misfits and how they rise above societies expectations.

Chenise Jones said...

I love that this sci-fi story is written by a doctor! Lends a huge amount of credibility to the subject matter!

CG @ Paper Fury said...

Woot! Such an awesome interview! I reeeeally want to read this one (I keep looking at it on Goodreads and...wishing.)

Gwen Gardner said...

I adore unlikely heroes. The book sounds really good. Congrats Lydia :)

Have fun at your mom's, Natalie (((hugs)))

Crystal Collier said...

Hi Lydia! *waves*

The book is on my TBR list. Just let me get this darn time stopper working again...

Ruth Schiffmann said...

Wow, Natalie, sounds like an eventful Thanksgiving. I'm glad everything worked out in the end.
Great interview with Lydia. Wishing her great success with CONTROL!! And I have to second your opinion on the frizzy hair. I've spent a lifetime battling frizz. I think flat irons are straight from heaven ;)

mshatch said...

Great interview Natalie and Lydia and I would LOVE to win an arc of Control :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Lydia, don't say no to any opportunity right now! Trust me. Don't kill yourself with a blog tour comes out, but leading up and afterwards, go for everything.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Natalie, Hi, Lydia,

So glad to be back in the blogosphere after being away in the Andes for so long… LOL.

What a fantastic premise, Lydia… Sounds like a really intriguing story. Love to win it!

Thanks for featuring Lydia today, Natalie. I hope all is well.

I tweeted too….https://twitter.com/DAK86/status/407654224986525696

Hope you get a chance to drop by my blog… Posted pics today!

Andrea Mack said...

Thanks for this interesting interview. This sounds like a book I'd like to read.

mariska said...

yeap..i would love to win this book :) thank you for the chance !

gfc follower

S.P. Bowers said...

Nice to meat you Lydia. I love how you rooted the mutations in real science. Too often I read dystopians and things just don't seem plausible.

Congrats to the winners!

Unknown said...

Awesome interview! Looking forward to reading Control!

gfc- van pham

Laura Pauling said...

Woo hoo! I read the first few chapters of Control on Wattpad and the beginning was awesome!!

Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to Lydia's debut. Thanks for the interview and please don't enter me in this giveaway. :)


Danielle H. said...

I'm looking forward to reading Lydia's book! Thanks for the giveaway. I will share on Facebook.

Bregje said...

I read about this book on Goodreads and was so excited! I love stories set in the future and defenitely when genetics is involved.

Joanne R. Fritz said...

"But otherwise we had fun." Wow, Natalie! So sorry to hear about the snowstorm and your husband's medicine being stolen! Gosh. Glad you're okay. What a scary time that must have been.

I am dying to read CONTROL! I've followed Lydia for a while. And hey, I tweeted: https://twitter.com/JoanneRFritz/status/408067432750665728

Aisha said...

I'm now a follower! Would LOVE to get a copy of this book :)

Rachna Chhabria said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rachna Chhabria said...

Lydia is a dear friend and one of my earliest blog buddies. Good luck to Lydia. Her book sounds super. Am eager to read it.

Carina Olsen said...

YAY! So happy that I won. <3 Congrats to the other winners as well :) Also! Ohh. I love the cover for Control. Think it sounds like an awesome book :D I would love to win it. <3 thank you both for the chance and the awesome blog post :)
Love, Carina

Anonymous said...

Congrats to the winners and I'm glad I was included.

Yay for Lydia. I wish her much success. This book sounds fantastic. sharif(at)sharifwrites(dot)com

Cherie Reich said...

Congrats to all the winners!

And congrats to Lydia! I love the cover for her book, and it sounds awesome!

PK HREZO said...

I totally get Lydia there. I have to plot too. I cant possibly sit down and write without it. Cant wait to read Control!!

And congrats to all the winners!

S.A. Larsenッ said...

Even more impressed than I already was, Lydia. Congratulations on your success!

Leslie S. Rose said...

I love Lydia's blog - especially Medical Mondays. I am DYING to read Control.

Sherrie Petersen said...

I've been following Lydia's Medical Mondays for a while. It's cool to see her book finally ready to hit the shelves!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the giveaway--and the great interview! kiersti.hogue@yahoo.com

Beth said...

Congratulations to Lydia! Sounds like an exciting premise.