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 Everyone! Can you believe it's August? For me, it means swim season is starting and this is probably going to be one of the busiest months.  We've got pool pride day, our annual informational picnic, two bonding events, a 8 team relay we host, and a U of M concession working day. And of course the girls start swim practice soon. It'll be fun and will feel good to have accomplished it all.

First I have a winner to announce.

The winner of EXTRACTION is Gina Gao!

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

Today I’m thrilled to have debut author Lori Lee here to share about her YA fantasy GATES OF THREAD AND STONE that releases tomorrow. I’ve been waiting for this for ages and it was worth it. The world building is fantastic and I loved Kai’s power to manipulate time.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

In the Labyrinth, we had a saying: keep silent, keep still, keep safe.

In a city of walls and secrets, where only one man is supposed to possess magic, seventeen-year-old Kai struggles to keep hidden her own secret—she can manipulate the threads of time. When Kai was eight, she was found by Reev on the riverbank, and her “brother” has taken care of her ever since. Kai doesn’t know where her ability comes from—or where she came from. All that matters is that she and Reev stay together, and maybe one day move out of the freight container they call home, away from the metal walls of the Labyrinth. Kai’s only friend is Avan, the shopkeeper’s son with the scandalous reputation that both frightens and intrigues her.

Then Reev disappears. When keeping silent and safe means losing him forever, Kai vows to do whatever it takes to find him. She will leave the only home she’s ever known and risk getting caught up in a revolution centuries in the making. But to save Reev, Kai must unravel the threads of her past and face shocking truths about her brother, her friendship with Avan, and her unique power.

Hi Lori! Happy Release Day Tomorrow!

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

I sort of equate reading with my intellectual “awakening” lol. And by that I mean I had really terrible grades and trouble understanding school lessons until I discovered a love for reading in second grade. That might not seem like a big deal since it was only second grade, but it might make more sense to know I flunked kindergarten. To be fair, I was three years old when my family relocated to the US, and I probably wasn’t the greatest English speaker yet by the time they put me in school.

Once I discovered how much I loved books and reading, however, everything changed. I began writing in third grade during an after school program, and I haven’t stopped since. I wrote tons of short stories and my first (terrible) book between fifth and seventh grade, totally made up the “essay” about my grandmother in high school, and exchanged notebooks with my friends, filling the pages with letters and thoughts and stories.

2. Awesome how writing changed your life. Where did you get the idea for your story?

Kai developed out of something a writing friend said in passing about time. That, combined with my fascination of mind-controlled super soldiers, was the spark for the plot of Gates of Thread and Stone.

3. I loved the world building and the fact that we get to see more than the world Kai grew up in. Share about your world building process and some of the questions we need to ask ourselves when creating our new worlds.

The details of her world came together in bits and pieces. On the way home from work one day, I was
driving over a bridge and it was so foggy that I couldn’t see the other end. It simply disappeared into the mist. And perched on top of every lamp post on either side of the bridge was a single seagull. This became the spark of an idea that led to one of my favorite places in the book.

When world building, an important thing to focus on is your world’s history, even if most of it never makes it into the book. Your world’s back story is just as important as your characters’, and it’s something I almost always think about first when approaching a new book. Kai lives in the Labyrinth, the worst part of the city, but how did it become that way? Why and how did the Labyrinth form? In what world would such a place exist? These things might not be relevant to the plot, but they’re important to making your world more dimensional.

4. So cool how your world building came in part from every day life. And the questions you share to ask ourselves are really good ones to consider. I read you are a total outliner and can write a 50 page outline. That’s pretty detailed. What was the outline process like for GATES OF THREAD AND STONE and how long did it take to write your first draft?

I made a document for character profiles, a document for world building details, and a document with the overall story structure (e.g. Act I, II, turning point, Act III, climax, etc). Then there was the actual detailed outline, which was 24 pages long. Just preparing to write the book took some time. But once I sat down and began writing, I finished the first draft within four weeks.

5. I wish I could outline like you because maybe then I’d be able to write my first draft quicker. Kai is such a loyal, one-pointed character. Share a bit about her and any struggles you had in developing her as a character.

Like I told a friend recently, Kai has “crazy loyalty issues.” She doesn’t trust easily, but when she does choose to trust someone, she does so implicitly. Loyalty is an admirable quality, but it becomes problematic when it blinds you to the truth. I didn’t have any particular struggles developing her because much of her internal conflict and growth reflects external events, so it happened naturally.

6. Your agent is Suzie Townsend, who sounds like a fantastic agent. How did she become your agent and what was your road to publication like?

Suzie is a rock star. She had sent me the most awesome rejection + notes on a previous manuscript, so she was already familiar with my work when my second manuscript came to her attention. That’s why it’s so important not to burn your bridges. A rejection on one book might turn into an acceptance on the next.

7. Yes, I’d love to have her as my agent. I saw on your website that you’ve already been interviewed a number of times on other blogs. How did these come about and what other plans do you have to spread the word about your book?

A couple of those interviews I sought out on my own, but most of them happened simply because they asked to interview/feature me, which was lovely. My publisher is doing a number of things, but I’m also doing what I can to get into libraries and schools. I’m not having an official blog tour, but the blogging community is wonderful so we’re doing some blogger outreach as well.

8. Getting into libraries and schools is a big key in getting the word out about your book. Share something that’s surprised you in the time from signing your publishing contract to reaching publication release day.

It’s not so much a surprising thing as it is just frustrating—which is that SO MUCH is out of my control. Deadlines and covers and marketing and ARCs. So many things to stress over, but I’ve learned that the best use of my time is simply to work on that next book.

9. That is one of the most frustrating things about this profession. What are you working on now?

Getting the sequel ready for release next Spring, and working on a new fantasy WIP. I’m very excited about it :)

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Lori. You can find Lori at:
Author Links:

Author Links:

Purchase Links:

Lori has generously offered a copy of GATES OF THREAD AND STONE 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 23rd. I’ll announce the winner on August 25th. 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 an International giveaway as long as you live where The Book Depository ships for free.

Here’s what’s coming up:

On Wednesday I'm hosting a pick any YA book giveaway to help Martina Boone celebrate the release of her YA debut COMPULSION in October.

Then I’m taking a blog break for two weeks until Monday, August 25th when I have a guest post by Holly Schindler and a giveaway of FERAL, her new YA psychological thriller.

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

Hope to see you on Wednesday!


Donna K. Weaver said...

Congrats to Lori. Love the sound of this. It's added to my TBR list. Checking audible now ...

Donna K. Weaver said...

Squee! It is!! Preordered it.

Joni said...

I am SO EXCITED for this book- thanks for hosting this giveaway! ^^!

blacklaceblonde (at) yahoo (dot) com

Holly said...

I've been excited about this book ever since I heard of it! And that cover is seriously GORGEOUS! Also, great interview. I love hearing about other writers' process and road to publication. :)

GFC: Holly U

Bish Denham said...

Gates of Thread and Stone... the title alone is great, but I love the premise too. Sounds like a book I would enjoy. I agree with Holly, the cover is spectacular.

Natalie (Never Trust a Duck) said...

I can't wait to read this. I saw what the book looks undressed and it is SO pretty!!!!

Karen Lange said...

Congrats to Lori! Wishing her all the best. Appreciate the intro and info, Natalie. Thanks so much.

I'll pass on the giveaway for now. Have a great week! :)

Ann Finkelstein said...

I can't wait to read THE GATES OF THREAD AND STONE!

Vivien said...

I have been SO bloody eager to read this book. I love the cover and it sounds fantastic!!!
GFC: Vivien

kellis_amberlee at yahoo dot com

Alexandra Perchanidou said...

Thank you so much for the giveaway!
Twitter: https://twitter.com/alexperc92/status/496287140204904448
my blog: http://alexperc92.blogspot.gr/2014/08/literary-rambles-lori-lee-interview-and.html

La La in the Library said...

I am reading the ebook now, and I am in love with her writing style. I want a physical copy because I will hopefully be able to get somewhere to get it signed! I have no idea if my email is on my Google+ profile, so here is my blog email lalainthelibrary@inbox.com Thank-you both for the fab giveaway. :) I will be back with a Twitter link.

La La in the Library said...

Tweet link : https://mobile.twitter.com/LaLaT0adst0ne/status/496290303289360384

La La in the Library said...

And a Facebook post: https://www.facebook.com/lalainthelibrary/photos/a.305200922978147.1073741831.250664988431741/343789469119292/?type=1&theater

La La in the Library said...

And a blog post!! http://lalatoadstone.blogspot.com/2014/08/gates-of-thread-and-stone-author.html

L. Diane Wolfe said...

With a YA book, getting into schools is so important. Congrats on your first book, Lori.

Brenda said...

Labyrinth sounds very intriguing and the cover is gorgeous. Love the questions you asked yourself about the world to get the back story going. Congratulations on its release.

Leandra Wallace said...

I love the imagery of that foggy bridge w/the seagulls- so cool! Congrats to Lori! =)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I put about that much preparation into writing my books. Anything to make the fist draft go faster.
Congratulations, Lori!

S.P. Bowers said...

Mind-controlled super soldiers? I'm sold! It sounds like a fabulous book.

cleemckenzie said...

Sounds very exciting. Hope you can get your book into schools. The kids will love it.

Myrna Foster said...

Great interview! This sounds like something I would love. Thanks!

Unknown said...

I would LOVE this book! I also mentioned this on my Twitter @yabytheway!

erin said...

Congrats to Lori on the new release!!! I love that cover and the blurb sounds fantastic!!! Thanks for the fun interview!!
bloglovin: erinf1

Jamie Coudeville said...

Thanks for hosting this giveway. I'm a follower through both email and Google. My Google name is Jamie Coudeville, in case you cannot find my email: jamie.coudeville@gmail.com


Nicole said...

Congrats Lori! Excellent interview-thanks for sharing your backstory. Adding this to the TBR!

Greg Pattridge said...

How exciting for Lori! A most enjoyable interview especially how her love of writing went back to elementary school. A big thank you to her teachers for providing a spark that now her readers can benefit from.

miki said...

Thank you a lot for this interview i always enjoy discovering more about the author especially for the books i'm deeply interested to read. your story sound fascinating and i would love to have the power over time at the moment^^

bloglovin follower: username: mikilectureaventure

mshatch said...

What a fun sounding story and gorgeous cover!

Christine Rains said...

Great interview! What a beautiful cover, and I love the sound of the story.

Emma A. said...

I keep trying to win this because it sounds like an amazing read! I would LOVE to win this! Thanks for the giveaway!

I shared on Twitter @emandm2222

Leigh Covington said...

Fantastic interview. And may I just say that the cover is a refreshing bit of awesomeness? I love it! Book sounds wonderful! Congrats!

Rosi said...

Wonderful interview. And what a terrific cover! Thanks for telling me about this. I'll be looking for it. Since I recently won a book from you (Thanks!), please let someone else win.

Carl Scott said...

That was a really good interview, I enjoyed it a lot. I've just seen this book for the first time today and already I know I really want a copy. Thanks for the chance to win one.

I also tweeted a link to this post: https://twitter.com/carlrscott/status/496514288970760192

and pinned on Pinterest cause, you know, wanted to: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/336573772125325803/

Christina Fiorelli said...

LOVE how she builds her worlds and how everyday life gives her ideas!

Loyalty being a fault at times is also a unique way of approaching character.

thank you so very much!!

GFC Christina Kit.

email subscriber ccfioriole at gmail dot com

Christina Fiorelli said...

I also tweeted https://twitter.com/christinafiorio/status/496560809192198144

GFC Christina Kit.

email subscriber ccfioriole at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

This book just sounds so amazing, I absolutely love the title. And great interview. Thank you so much for the giveaway.
I follow you by email sharpewords (at) gmail (dot) com
I also tweeted this: https://twitter.com/RochelleSharpe/status/496626925259862017
And shared it on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rochellesharpe.01/posts/4381109582332

jaimiengle said...

Sounds awesome! Loved this part: When world building, an important thing to focus on is your world’s history, even if most of it never makes it into the book. Your world’s back story is just as important as your characters’, and it’s something I almost always think about first when approaching a new book. Kai lives in the Labyrinth, the worst part of the city, but how did it become that way? Why and how did the Labyrinth form? In what world would such a place exist? These things might not be relevant to the plot, but they’re important to making your world more dimensional.

Danielle H. said...

Thanks for the interview and giveaway! This book sounds like I will enjoy it very much. Going on my to-read list. I have shared on Facebook.

Ashfa said...

I'm so excited for this one and that's one gorgeous cover!!!
GFC Follower: Ashfa Anwer
Tweeted: https://twitter.com/TopsyTurvy_Ash/status/496638421951983616

Thanks for the giveaway.
blackcapballistics AT gmail DOT com

Rebecca Hipworth said...

Thanks for the giveaway!
I follow via email: Becky01x(at)gmail(dot)com
I tweeted here: https://twitter.com/Becky01xBooks/status/496653071163068416

Stephen Tremp said...

Its great to meet Lori and best wishes to her and Gates of Thread and Stone! I'll make sure I'm following her social networks too.

Heather said...

Congrats to Lori on the release of her book. I absolutely love that cover, it's gorgeous!

Danielle said...

Congrats, Lori! I preordered and will hopefully be getting my book soon! Good to know that's a sequel coming up, so I can keep that in mind as I read this one. Yay you, first book!

erin said...

this book sounds awesome!!! I'm definitely dying to read it ;) Thanks for the fun post and giveaway!!! I follow by email:efender1(at)gmail

Patchi said...

I've been hearing about this book quite a bit, seems like a fun read.

Anonymous said...

I'm up for this book! Sounds awesome. I'll share the giveaway in my blog newsletter.

_Sandra_ said...

Happy book birthday to Lori and Gates of Thread and Stone, this book sounds amazing. Thanks for a chance to win it! :)

*following via GFC: Sandra K
*email: sandra.zg.13 @ gmail.com
*twitter: https://twitter.com/_Sandra_R_/status/496740515505655808
*Google+: https://plus.google.com/107598100375357110332/posts/A7fFUtReMTD

Lisamarie said...

I first fell in love with the cover when I saw it popping up all over the different blogs I follow. Then you read the excerpt and I'm all in !


GFC tropicalsunlover05 (at) yahoo (dot) com

Bill Scott said...

Sounds like a great read. Congrats!

La La in the Library said...

And my FB bookish giveaway page... https://www.facebook.com/bookishgiveawaysforbookworms/photos/a.716018178465385.1073741827.716012671799269/752472611486608/?type=1&theater

Mary Preston said...

A fabulous post thank you & a story that makes my wish list.


Alisha S. said...

Thanks so much for the giveaway! It sounds like an interesting read!!

Bloglovin: Glenn Woods
sienkiel1821 at yahoo dot com

sarah said...

I love the cover it's so pretty, it looks like a book I would enjoy.
gfc: sarah k

sarah said...

Tweeted: https://twitter.com/sarabird26/status/497092119706628096

Carina Olsen said...

Aw, yay :D Amazing interview. <3 Thank you both for sharing. I loved getting to know Lori a bit more :) She's adorable. And I am SO excited about her new book :D Just waiting for it to arrive. <3 (Would love to win a second copy, though, hiiih :D Thank you for the chance. <3)

Donna K. Weaver said...

I am about halfway through the audiobook and LOVING it!

I sure hope it's not a cliffhanger ... *nervous*

Unknown said...

This book sounds so good! Thanks for the chance to win!

I follow on GFC as rainjeys.

My email address is rainjeys@yahoo.com

Beth Gallagher said...

Lori, your book sounds fantastic!!! I'm definately a "time writer", so this is really fascinating. Thanks for the chance to win a copy, and congratulations on publication!

Valentina B-v said...

GFC: Valentina B.
Bloglovin’ follower username: Valentinachibivi
E-mail subscribe: bv_byby27@yahoo.com
FB share: https://www.facebook.com/valentina.bv.77/posts/697313303679606

Adriana said...

Great interview and giveaway!!
GFC: Adriana
Email: holdontight98@libero.it
G+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/116208764573819596394/posts/gREGRYPkwNG

Jolene and Family said...

Would so love to win this! Thanks for the chance!!

GFC Jolene and Family

tweeted- https://twitter.com/joleneallcock/status/500391364635271169


traveler said...

Thanks for this captivating and wonderful giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Unknown said...

I've wanted to read this book since i found out it was coming out.
My email is lobbimanon@live.nl

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH! This book sounds amazeballs!! xD I really like magic and I really like the concept of time manipulation so I'm quite excited :D Sounds like a book I may just stay the whole night (and morning) reading...and then, if the inside really is as beautiful as the cover, maybe rereading...

Anyway, great interview!!! I wish I discovered my love for reading at a younger age rather than spend my childhood being lazy and refusing to do anything that my little brain thought was too challenging. Oh well. I love it now and that's all that matters :)

I followed by email (saniyashake@gmail.com) :) x

Jocelyn Rish said...

The story sounds really interesting, but I especially love the title and the cover. I'd definitely pick it up from the shelf without knowing anything about it.

Anonymous said...

I'm late for the giveaway, but this looks like an amazing book. Congrats to Lori.

Penelope Sanchez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Penelope Sanchez said...

Beautiful, twisty, and dynamic story. I am a forever fan of Mrs. Lee. She writes a powerful story with a complicated, fast-paced plot. But perhaps the thing I loved most about this book is the rich setting and the way it affected me. I love that I was able to leave my piles of laundry and screaming children behind and enter the amazing fantasy world the author created. WELL DONE. I loved this book sooo hard!

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