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.


Happy Monday! Anna Li and I had a fun week. We went to the mall to catch some July sales and out to dinner to celebrate my birthday on Tuesday since Anna Li works that night. And we/I had two dinner birthday celebrations with friends. And we're going to the Ann Arbor Art Fair this week. I confess that I haven't gone in years. But Anna Li has never gone so I told her we'd go this year.

I'll be late in getting to your blogs today. It's the summer championship swim meet for Anna Li. It's her last year to be able to swim this so we're going to definitely enjoy it.


David Powers King and Michael Jensen just released the cover for their YA fantasy WOVEN that's being released by Scholastic on January 27, 2015. Go to David's blog for more info.

And C. Lee McKenzie is sharing a cover reveal for her new YA contemporary Sixteen-year-old Hutch McQueen is a smart kid who can barely read. He makes one bad choice after another, trying to find a way to escape his rotten life at home and at school. Each time he gets into more trouble.
DOUBLE NEGATIVE that releases July 25th. Here's a blurb:

And a few links:
Buy Link:

 And I have a few winners to announce.
 The winner of ALL FOUR STARS is Jenni Enzor!

Congrats! E-mail me your address so I can send you your book. Please e-mail me before the end of Wednesday or I'll have to pick another winner.

Today I’m excited to have debut author Stephanie Diaz here to share about her new YA sci-fi EXTRACTION that released two days ago. I found the world building about a world where many people lived in different layers under the planet fascinating. And Clementine is such a sympathetic character desperately trying to rescue her friend Logan.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

Clementine has spent her whole life preparing for her sixteenth birthday, when she’ll be tested for Extraction in the hopes of being sent from the planet Kiel’s toxic Surface to the much safer Core, where people live without fear or starvation. When she proves promising enough to be “Extracted,” she must leave without Logan, the boy she loves. Torn apart from her only sense of family, Clem promises to come back and save him from brutal Surface life.

What she finds initially in the Core is a utopia compared to the Surface—it’s free of hard labor, gun-wielding officials, and the moon's lethal acid. But life is anything but safe, and Clementine learns that the planet's leaders are planning to exterminate Surface dwellers—and that means Logan, too.

Trapped by the steel walls of the underground and the lies that keep her safe, Clementine must find a way to escape and rescue Logan and the rest of the planet. But the planet leaders don't want her running—they want her subdued.

With intense action scenes and a cast of unforgettable characters, Extraction is a page-turning, gripping read, sure to entertain lovers of Hunger Games and Ender's Game and leave them breathless for more.

Hi Stephanie! Thanks so much for joining us.

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

Hi there! I started writing stories pretty much as soon as I learned how to read. First they were short stories, sometimes only a couple sentences long, and gradually they grew into things shaped like books. I knew as early as second grade that I wanted to be a published writer. In seventh grade, I queried my first full-length novel. It took another nine years before I landed an agent and sold a book (EXTRACTION). But it did happen!

2. Wow! That was really brave for you to query in 7th grade. Where did you get the idea for EXTRACTION?

I wondered, really out of nowhere, what the world would be like if the moon were a giant, poisonous threat in the sky. Then I made up a planet, Kiel, in a distant galaxy, put the poisonous moon in orbit around it, and put Clementine on the planet's surface. The plot line for her story slowly came to me after I'd created most of the world.

3. Cool how the world building came first. I loved the idea of a planet where it wasn’t safe to live on the surface. And you took it to another level by creating different underground levels. Share about your world building process and some of the limitations you struggled with in creating a world underground.

I conceived of the different levels of the planet Kiel before I came up with the actual plot of the story. I wanted to create something almost like the Death Star, but make it part of a terraformed planet. It was pretty challenging to work out the kinks, and as I've worked on book two—and now book three—in the series, I've run across more questions I've had to figure out answers to. But hopefully I've managed to create a world that could potentially exist in some far-distant galaxy.

4. I’ll be interested to see if we learn about some of the other levels in Book 2. The plot is fast-paced and Clementine is constantly facing challenges. What was your plotting like?

I am a horrible plotter. When I sat down to write EXTRACTION, I knew the beginning, the midpoint, and
the ending, but everything in between took forever to come together. Basically, I would plot a couple chapters, write them, and then plot the next set. It was a rough process.

5. That’s similar to how I plot. I hope mine works as well as yours. Tell us about Clementine and some fun facts about her. Is she at all like you and if so, how?

Clementine is the clever, fearless heroine of EXTRACTION. An author friend of mine once said Clem reminded her of Arya Stark, which made me grin since I'm a huge fan of Arya. I did write some of myself into Clem; I gave her a number of my weaknesses. I wish I could say I'm as brave as her, but sadly I'm still working on it.

6. Ha! I’d need more than one life to get to her level. I read you wrote this in college. How did you juggle the demands of writing and planning your debut with the demands of school?

Luckily, my particular major in college (film production) was the sort that didn't require a huge amount of work outside of school, except on specific production days when I was on set for hours at a time. So I really had a good amount of free time to fit writing into my schedule, though it did conflict with schoolwork sometimes, especially on those production days. But I managed to balance everything and make it work. I also made use of lulls during certain class lectures.

7. You were lucky to have some days the load was easy. Your agent is Alison Fargis. How did she become your agent and what was your road to publication like?

Alison is fabulous. I originally queried another agent at her agency, Stonesong, simply because I ran across that agent's name before I found Alison's. The first agent already represented a book with subtle similarities to mine, so she passed off my manuscript to Alison, who loved it enough to make an offer. She won me over within a couple minutes of our first phone call, and she's been my rockstar champion ever since. We spent a few months revising EXTRACTION together before it went out on submission. It sold to St. Martin's about six weeks later.

8. What an awesome road to publication story. You make it sound easy. What’s surprised you about the process leading up to your book being published?

The support from bloggers and fellow debut authors has really astounded me, in a good way. I'd heard other authors say something similar, but it didn't quite hit me until I started experiencing it myself. Basically, there are a lot of awesome people in the sphere of booknerdigans.

9. Yes, it is a really supportive community. What’s your favorite social media platform and why? Do you feel you’re connecting with teen readers more easily because you’re closer to them age-wise and if so, how are you doing that?

Tumblr is my favorite, though twitter is a close second.

10. What are you working on now?

I'm currently drafting book three of the EXTRACTION trilogy, which I can't reveal the name for yet. Suffice to say, it's already giving me lots of feels.

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

Add Extraction on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16210411-extraction

Stephanie has generously offered a signed ARC of EXTRACTION 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 August 2nd. I’ll announce the winner on August 4th. 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. This is for US and Canada residents.

Here’s what’s coming up:

Next Monday I'm interviewing debut author Julia Marie Gibson with a giveaway of her MG fantasy COPPER MAGIC. I really enjoyed the contemporary feel of it too.

Next Friday I’ll be participating in the Beach Reads in August Giveaway Hop. I’ll have lots of great book choices and will also be offering a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

The following Monday I’m interviewing debut author Lori Lee and giving away her YA fantasy Gates of Thread and Stone. I waited for ages for this and it was worth the wait.

And don’t forget Casey’s Thursday Agent Spotlights.

Hope to see you on Monday!


Donna K. Weaver said...

I've so excited for David and Michael. After what they went through, I was so glad things worked out this way. Love that cover.

And, wow, but Stephanie's is a real eye grabber!

Kristin Lenz said...

Congrats to Stephanie! I love the name "Clementine." It makes me like the character before I even know her. It's also Laini Taylor's daughter's name.

Jemi Fraser said...

Stephanie is completely awesome!!! Can't wait for this one to be out and about. :)
(off to tweet)

Greg Pattridge said...

Happy belated birthday! I enjoyed the interview especially with Stephanie's unique querying process. I know "query" wasn't even a word in my vocabulary in 7th grade. Best of luck on this new YA, Stephanie.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

She's fortunate her major allowed her to write so much in college.

Barbara Watson said...

Glad you enjoyed your birthday, Natalie! What a unique storty to publication, Stephanie.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Congrats to Stephanie. Her book sounds intriguing. Glad that you and Anna Li had a nice time. Hugs to you Natalie.

Jenni said...

Really enjoyed this interview! Love that you started so early on the route to publication, Stephanie! What a great story--and it sounds like a great book!

Anonymous said...

My gosh there are so many great books coming out and this sounds like another one. Very (very) cool on querying your first novel so young...think you have found your passion, your career. Good luck with the next stage of your journey.

A belated Happy Birthday, Natalie. Sounds like you had a great night with your girl!

Michael G-G said...

Belated birthday wishes to you, Natalie. And good luck to Anna Li in her championship swim meet.

Yes, query was not in my vocabulary in 7th grade! Good for Stephanie, though, being so driven and dedicated at an early age.

Vivien said...

Congrats and Happy Birthday!!!!
GFC: Vivien

kellis_amberlee at yahoo dot com

SStokes said...

So excited to read Extraction! Congrats Stephanie!!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Happy birthday, Natalie!
I can't imagine plotting a book like that. I'd never finish it.

cleemckenzie said...

Thanks for mentioning my book here today along with the others that look wonderful. Hats off to David and Michael and great to meet Stephanie.

Hope your birthday celebration was great.

Brenda said...

Happy belated birthday Natalie, sounds like you and Anna Li had fun together. Good luck to her at the swim meet.

Joanne R. Fritz said...

Happy Birthday Natalie! And best of luck to Anna Li in the championship swim meet.

This book sounds compelling. I loved hearing about Stephanie's road to publication. Please don't enter me in the giveaway; I won four books from other bloggers in the last two weeks.

Emily R. King said...

I love David's cover! And I'm in for the giveaway. Stephanie's book is my kinda read. Thanks!

S.P. Bowers said...

Wow, impressive! I wrote all through elementary school but didn't have a clue how to get published. I didn't query anything until my mid 20's

Suzanne Warr said...

I love a world with really in-depth world building, so this sounds delightful! I'm also making a mental note to make sure I get back here next week, for Copper Magic. I've been hearing good things about it. :)

Thanks for an awesome interview, ladies!

Christine Rains said...

Great news, and wonderful interview! Not only was Stephanie brave to query so young, but smart too. Good luck!

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

I love how stories evolve, and this one sounds just like my kind of story. Love the premise.

Emma A. said...

That is awesome! Thanks for the giveaway for an amazing sounding book!

Danielle H. said...

I love the conflict your book promises. I can't wait to read it! Thanks for the giveaway. I will share on Facebook.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I'm glad you and Anna Li had a good time celebrating your birthday!
Congrats to Stephanie, and I'm always happy to meet another person crazy enough to start writing with only a few plot points figured out!

Teri Polen said...

What an accomplishment to find an agent at such a young age - the book sounds great!

DMS said...

What an excellent interview! Not only does Stephanie's book sound fascinating, but it was great to learn about where the idea for the book came from. I am always curious about people's paths to publication. I am impressed that Stephanie first queried an agent in 7th grade. :)

Thanks for sharing Extraction with us and for the giveaway.

Congrats to the winners of the last giveaway and to Lee, David and Michael. :)

Stephanie Garber said...

Extraction sounds awesome! I can't wait to read this one. Congrats, Stephanie, and happy release day!

Anonymous said...

This looks interesting! I'll be mentioning the giveaway in my blog newsletter. =)

Gina Gao said...

This looks really interesting! Can't wait to read this.


Rosi said...

Happy belated birthday, Natalie. Thanks for this interesting interview. (She looks sooooooo young!) The book sounds wonderful, but please leave me out of the drawing. You know about my TBR list.

Unknown said...

Been waiting to get my hands on the book! Looks and sounds SOO good.
Also, my email is zaniebalhanoosh@rocketmail.com

Jocelyn Rish said...

I'm terrible at world building (which is why I set my stories in the here and now), so it was fascinating reading how Stephanie started with her world building and the thought process behind it.

Michelle Wallace said...

Woven & Double Negative - 2 great covers!
Extraction has a captivating cover too!
Congrats to the authors!

Crystal Collier said...

Wahoo! First off, huge congrats to David and Lee, and I hope Anna Li totally kicked trash in her competition.

I love hearing about other authors who started young, like me. We're awesome. =)

Lydia Kang said...

Her book sounds great and I love that cover!

Unknown said...

Happy Birthday! I hope Ann Li did well at her swim meet. Congrats to David, Michael, and Lee!

Congrats to Stephanie! I loved the interview. I can't believe how young she was when she first queried. Wow!

Michael Di Gesu said...

HI, Natalie! Happy Birthday!!!!!!

Congrats to DAVID, MICHAEL, and LEE... ALL the best you guys!

What a cool premise to Stephanie's book! Sounds like a very unusual read.


Nicole said...

Happy Birthday! Lots of great writing news and a fun interview with Stephanie. Congrats all around!

Anonymous said...

Extraction sounds amazing.

Congrats to the winners and Woven and Double Negative look good.

Happy birthday.

Cherie Reich said...

Congrats, Stephanie! Extraction sounds awesome! I love how you came up with the world first.

Unknown said...

Wonderful interview! And Extraction sounds like an exciting read. I spread the word about the giveaway here: https://twitter.com/Rose_crossed/status/492815486078296064

Empty Nest Insider said...

Happy belated birthday, Natalie! Hope you had a great time, and that Anna Li did well at the swim meet! Congrats to David,Michael, and Lee! Great interview with Stephanie, and I wish her all the best!


Carrie Butler said...

So many awesome covers in one post! I love it. :D

And happy belated birthday, Natalie!