Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Caroline Trussell Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 5/20/2024
  • Jenna Satterthwaite Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/10/2024
  • Bethany Weaver Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/26/2024

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 Wednesday Everyone! I hope you’re having a great summer. I’m excited to have debut author Rebecca Schaeffer here to talk about her YA fantasy NOT EVEN BONES. It sounds like she’s created an intense unique world, which makes me want to read it.


Before I get to Rebecca’s interview, I have this month’s IWSG post and some news. 

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday (Tuesday this month)of the month is officially Insecure Writer's Support Group Day.

The co-hosts this month are: Toi Thomas, T. Powell Coltrin, M.J. Fifield, and Tara Tyler!

Optional Question: What publishing path are you considering/did you take, and why?

Before I answer the question, I want to share some good news. Literary Rambles was named one of the top 50 blogs for writer by Freewrite. I'm honored to be included with all the other awesome blogs on their list. Check them out to find more help in your writing career.

I've only considered traditional publishingbecause it was better, but because I always knew that I would most likely be doing it while working. I have always been the wage earner of my family and now I still support myself and help my daughter. I can barely see the possibility of getting published with the support of an editor, agent, marketing team, etc. and don't see how I could do this if I had to take on all the tasks or hire others to do it that is part of self-publishing. I also don't think I could keep up a consistent enough publishing schedule for self-publishing. So that's my choice given my situation. But if I didn't have to work at a job so much and do all the other things required of me, I would love the freedom of being a self-published or hybrid author. 

What publishing choice are you considering/doing?

Now onto my interview. Here’s a blurb of NOT EVEN BONES from Goodreads

Dexter meets This Savage Song in this dark fantasy about a girl who sells magical body parts on the black market — until she’s betrayed.

Nita doesn’t murder supernatural beings and sell their body parts on the internet—her mother does that. Nita just dissects the bodies after they’ve been “acquired.” But when her mom brings home a live specimen, Nita decides she wants out — dissecting living people is a step too far.

But when she tries to save her mother’s victim, she ends up sold on the black market in his place — because Nita herself is a supernatural being. Now Nita is on the other side of the bars, and there is no line she won’t cross to escape and make sure no one can ever capture her again. 

Nita did a good deed, and it cost her everything. Now she’s going to do a lot of bad deeds to get it all back.

Hi Rebecca! Thanks so much for joining us.

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

Hi! I’m Rebecca. Thanks for having me on here!

I’m a digital nomad, so I live out of hostels and airbnbs and work off my computer. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, even since I was a child, but I think those first few 9-5 jobs I had after university were what made me realize I wanted it to be a career so that I could live the nomadic, irregular work-hour lifestyle I wanted!

2. Amazing that you can write living that life. From the blurb, your story sounds really different. Where did you get the idea for it?

I really wanted to write a novel with main characters who, in any other character’s story, would have been the villain. It was something I’d wanted to do for years, but I wasn’t really sure if an all villain cast was sellable, and I didn’t have quite the right idea for it. Then one day, I was talking to a friend about a different story I was writing, set in the same world as Not Even Bones, and she said to me, “this whole online black market for monster body parts is really cool, but where do the body parts come from?” And I realized that the people hunting down, murdering, and selling monsters would be the perfect opportunity to do the all villain cast I’d always wanted.

3. The world that Nita lives in is really dark. What was your world building like and how did you avoid the temptation to lighten up the world?

Honestly, there was never temptation to lighten up the world. The temptation was actually to make it
darker! Especially because I chose to center the novel around the black market, the book naturally leaned very dark, and I reveled in pushing it as far as I could get away with. I’ve often had issues with books where I felt like they should have pushed farther, or things were unrealistically good or light, and it always brings me out of the novel.

A lot of my worldbuilding is an extension of my desire to follow things as far as I can take them. I really wanted to play with how the existence of different mythological creatures would change law, society, religion, and culture. So there’s a church that believes Jesus was a vampire and has a very literal definition of the Eucharist. There’s businesses trying to get around animal cruelty laws by claiming creatures like chinchillas are supernatural, so the laws don’t apply. And of course, there’s a thriving black market.

4. Sounds like you had a lot of fun with the world building. Your book got rave reviews on Goodreads as really unique, gory, but super compelling. I want to read your book from reading the reviews. How did you plot this out to create such a gripping story?

I actually think this ties into your earlier question. When you go dark, when you actually take things to their logical conclusion instead of pulling back to spare readers, you naturally get some pretty extreme tension. And the more realistic you make the scenarios, the harder you make things for the character and the farther you push her emotionally, the more tense the scenes will become.

5. Right in the blurb, you tell us that Nita is going to do some bad things. How did you keep her as a sympathetic character?

This may sound counter intuitive, but I made her sympathetic by not caring if the reader liked her. She does terrible things. She justifies them to herself in ways that the reader can blatantly see through, ways that are selfish and wrong but also uncomfortably relatable. Sometimes she does good things, but she never does them for the right reasons. I think in many ways, my goal wasn’t to make her sympathetic, but to make her interesting. You will probably never want to be her friend – but you will want to read about her escapades.

6. Sounds like your desire to make her interesting worked. Your agent is Suzie Townsend. How did she become your agent and what was your road to publication like?

My road to publication was slow and pondering until it suddenly wasn’t. I started writing very young – I wrote my first “novel” at age 11 and tried to get it published. Shockingly, there were no takers. I kept writing, querying novels all through high school, and up into university. After graduating, I worked at several soul crushing jobs and decided I wanted to try to make writing a career, and became obsessed with writing, critiquing, reading structure novels, anything and everything to improve my work. It eventually paid off, and I got into Pitchwars with a draft of Not Even Bones. Suzie requested the novel during the agent showcase, and the rest is history!

7. Suzie has always sounded like a fantastic agent to me. What is she like to work with and what’s something that surprised you about the agent/writer relationship?

She’s lovely to work with! I was surprised by how intimidated I was by her at first. I’m what a friend jokingly called an “aggressively confident” person, so there’s not a lot I’m intimidated by. But for the first while I just lived in terror that this was all a dream and she’d realize she’d made a terrible mistake and drop me.

8. I'd have that nightmare too with my agent and editor. It sounds like you move a lot from your bio. How are you marketing your book and how does your moves impact on your marketing decisions?

I move a lot. It is true. Mostly, it means I don’t get to attend a lot of conferences. But on the flip side, I get to travel the world and have lots of interesting experiences to fuel my stories, so it’s a trade I’m willing to make.

It does affect marketing decisions though –  for example, it’s not feasible for me to run preorder campaigns, both because of the cost of shipping from abroad and the difficulty of getting items and travelling with them.

9. What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Keep writing and always have another project. When you start querying one project, don’t think about it, just pin all your hopes and dreams on the next one, the one you’re writing now. And when that one is done and you’re querying it, shift your hopes to the next, and the next. Always have another project to pin your hopes and dreams on, because if you only have the one book and you query it and it fails, it’s so much more soul crushing than if you already have another project in the works that you love.

10. That's great advice. What are you working on now?

Copyedits for the sequel to Not Even Bones!

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

Rebecca has generously offered an ARC of NOT EVEN BONES 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 September 23rd. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest.

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 years old or older to enter. The giveaway is U.S. and Canada.

Monday, September 10th I've got an agent spotlight interview and query critique giveaway with Larissa Helena

Friday, September 14th I'm participating in the Clean Your Shelf Giveaway Hop

Monday, September 17th I have an interview with debut author Amanda Rawson Hill and a giveaway of her MG contemporary THE THREE RULES OF EVERYDAY MAGIC

Monday, September 24th I have a guest post by debut author Laura Weymouth with her agent Lauren Spieller and a query critique giveaway by Lauren and a giveaway of Laura's YA fantasy THE VANISHING KINGDOM

Hope to see you on Monday!


Jennifer Hawes said...

That is awesome news!! Congrats on making it to the "Top 50" blogs:)) I have some exciting news as well... ;-)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Congratulations on top fifty! That's awesome.
I work full time and couldn't imagine doing it all myself.

Raimey Gallant said...

Top fifty! Wowzers! Congratulations. And Not Even Bones sounds like a fantastic read; quite a concept.

Crystal Collier said...

Yikes what a story concept!

Natalie, the blog recognition is well deserved. Keep the epicness coming.

Christine Rains said...

Congrats to Rebecca! Her story sounds like one I'd really enjoy, and I've added it to read on Goodreads. :) Congrats to you, too, Natalie, on making the Top 50! I love the interviews you have on here.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Some of the best characters out there you wouldn't want to be friends with.

Congrats on the recognition, Natalie!

M.J. Fifield said...

Gotta love any novel that's described as "Dexter meets This Savage Song"...Congrats to Rebecca!

And congrats to you, too, Natalie—for being one of Freewrite's top blogs for writers! Best of luck to you!

Suzanne Furness said...

Many congratulations on making the top fifty blogs, Natalie that's brilliant. I am seeking a traditional route too. Congrats to Rebecca!

nashvillecats2 said...

Clever you making it to the top 50 blogs.
Loved the most informative post great to read.


Cherie Reich said...

What fantastic news about the blog! One reason I enjoy self-publishing is because I like doing the behind the scenes work (editing, formatting, etc.).

Congrats to Rebecca!

Cathrina Constantine said...

Congratulations on being named the Top 50 Blog!!!!

Congrats to Rebecca!!

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Top 50!! How awesome!!

Loni Townsend said...

Congrats on making it onto the list! That's awesome!

dolorah said...

I don't have the time, or strength of will, for self publishing either. But, it seems the wave of the present/future.

Congrats on making the best blog list. Awesome.

Thanks for sharing the interview with Rebecca.

Jennifer Lane said...

Congratulations on the Freewrite blog honor, Natalie! I'm glad traditional publishing has worked out for you.

Olga Godim said...

Congratulations on making the top 50!
Fascinating interview with Rebecca.

Arlee Bird said...

Congratulations on the honoring of your site. I'm with you on the publishing situation.

All the best to Rebecca on the success of her book.

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out

Jemi Fraser said...

Love how Rebecca's story developed - very cool!
Congrats on the top 50 Natalie! :)

Chemist Ken said...

Congratulations on making the list. Yeah, doing everything yourself via self-publishing is definitely time consuming. And it sounds like you need to pump books out faster to be successful as an indie. So I can see why it would be hard to self-publish when you don't have a lot of time. Hopefully you find more time soon.

MeganC said...

Congrats on making the list! It’s well-earned! Not Even Bones sounds awesome!

Gwen Gardner said...

Natalie, that’s great news about being named one of the best writer websites!

Rebecca, your book sound very intriguing. How awesome that you’re able to travel so much, too.

I tweeted!

Cathy Keaton said...

Congrats on your website award!

Self-publishing is so ideal if you have to time to do everything yourself, but not everybody does. You do what's best for you, like everyone. Publishing is publishing at the end of the day.

Megan said...

I'd love to read this :)
GFC: Megan S.
Email: megan(dot)clarsach(at)gmail(dot)com
Tweet: https://twitter.com/WordsThatStay1/status/1037619873915068417

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Congratulations for the blog recognition!

I like the author's thoughts on making a character sympathetic...or not! Nice reminder that a character doesn't have to be likeable if they're interesting...and if we want to see what happens next.

Carol Kilgore said...

Congrats on the blog award. Well deserved.

This books sounds amazing. When I started writing fiction, I wrote short stories. Dark ones. I loved writing from the villain's viewpoint, and still do in novels. But I can't maintain that darkness for a novel. I always see the humor. So kudos to Rebecca for carrying it out and following through.

Tamara Narayan said...

Dark and gruesome appeals to me:

tamara (dot) narayan (at) gmail (dot) com

I love the fact that your main character is not sympathetic and you still got it published. Hurrah for the anti-heroes!

Angie Quantrell said...

Congratulations on the blog, Natalie! You do good work! And congrats on the new book, Rebecca!

Donna K. Weaver said...

Woohoo on the listing! I've found so many fun books here.

David Powers King said...

Good to meet you Rebecca, sounds like an awesome book! :)
And congrats Natalie, your recognition is well deserved!

Tonja Drecker said...

Congratulations to being in the top 50! And Rebecca's book sounds amazing. I'm putting it on my TBR list (I love darkish stories with twists like that :) ).

Taffy said...

This looks amazing!!


Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi Natalie .... AWESOME! CONGRATS! So well deserved!

Congrats to Rebecca, too! All the best with your book!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I self-published my last book because my life was so crazy busy, I didn't want to make promises I wasn't sure I could keep going with a traditional publisher. Now that life is settled, I'm trying the agent/traditional route. Fingers crossed!

Holly Bryan said...

First, congratulations on being in that top 50! What an honor! Second, great interview, as always. I am really dying to read this, it sounds very much up my alley. I have the same issue as Rebecca mentioned with some books when they're dark but then pull back. It's not like teens/young adults are either oblivious to darkness or don't want to revel in it now and then...after all, most horror movies, at least when I was growing up, were aimed at the young adult market! I've got my fingers crossed :-)
hmbryan (at) alumni.duke.edu

Pat Hatt said...

Congrats on top 50. Yeah, need time to do it all one's self indeed.

Having another project ready to go is great advice indeed.

Greg Pattridge said...

I liked her answer on querying. Her book sounds fantastic and I would love to read it. Alas, leave me out of the drawing as I keep tripping over my stack of MG books I need to read. Great interview as always!

Rosi said...

Great news for your blog. Congrats! Thanks for another informative interview. I will pass on the drawing. Too many books, too little time.

Danielle H. said...

Thanks for the interview. This book sounds amazing. I shared on tumblr: http://yesreaderwriterpoetmusician.tumblr.com/post/177833384447/rebecca-schaeffer-interview-and-not-even-bones

Yolanda Renée said...

Congratulations on the top 50. Truly awesome! That in itself takes a lot of work. But traditionally published with a full service publisher is the writers dream!
Great book and wonderful interview! Thanks for sharing. It's always an inspiration to read of another's journey!

Juneta key said...

Congrats on the award. Great interview. Happy Belated IWSG Day.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Your award is so exciting, Natalie, and well deserved. Congratulations. And following the traditional route is great. I wish you all the best.
And Rebecca, your book sounds awesome and scary. Good luck to you.

Natasha said...

Congrats on the award!
Thanks for the interview and the chance to win!
natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the giveaway! It sounds like a really intriguing book.

Nick Wilford said...

Congrats to Rebecca! I really do think dark stories can engage the reader very well because we wonder, what would we do in such a situation?

Lauren 28 said...

So excited to read this book!

Suzanne Warr said...

Congrats on Literary Rambles making the top 50! It's still probably the site I recommend most to authors in the querying trenches. And I think your decision to hold out for a traditional publisher is wise! I am doing the same for my MG stuff. I love the publisher who puts out my Lily Black RS stuff and appreciate that support, but as a smaller house there's still lots for me to do and I can't imagine doing it entirely alone.

Love the interview, too! I will pass on winning a copy since I have so little YA reading time, but I will add this intriguing book to my TBR pile!