Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

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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 New Year and Happy Wednesday! Hope you had a fantastic holiday season. I actually had time off this year and really relaxed, enjoyed family and friends, and read a lot. It was great. And I'm excited for this new year in general. I already have many agent query critique opportunities for those who are interested as well as some great debut author interviews scheduled. Hope you're excited for 2019 too.

Today I have debut author Gita Trelease here to share about her YA historical fantasy ENCHANTÉE and the setting of the story in the French Revolution in 1789. It sounds like a great page turner with a great setting. 

Before I get to my interview, I have my IWSG post.

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 is officially Insecure Writer's Support Group Day.

The co-hosts this month are:  Patricia Lynne, Lisa Buie-Collard, Kim Lajevardi, and Fundy Blue!

I'm going to skip the optional question this month. I just want to share that I am finally getting more excited about my writing and started writing on a more regular basis over the holidays. It feels really good. Not sure if it's just for myself or going further, but it doesn't really matter. I'm enjoying the creative process.

I'm at the point in my story where I have to confront the blank pages and put words down. That's the hardest part for me. I'm outlining as I write my chapters. But I wrote sentences at the bottom of the outline of the scenes I know that I need. I think that will keep me motivated and confident that I can write the chapters I still need. I have about 80 solid pages written, but I still have many pages to go. So no insecurities for me this month. 

To top it off, I'm going to be an IWSG co-host next month. My first time. I'm excited.

What about you? Where are you in your writing?

Now let's get back to Gita's fascinating interview. Here’s a blurb of ENCHANTÉE from Goodreads

Paris in 1789 is a labyrinth of twisted streets, filled with beggars, thieves, revolutionaries—and magicians...

When smallpox kills her parents, Camille Durbonne must find a way to provide for her frail, naive sister while managing her volatile brother. Relying on petty magic—la magie ordinaire—Camille painstakingly transforms scraps of metal into money to buy the food and medicine they need. But when the coins won’t hold their shape and her brother disappears with the family’s savings, Camille must pursue a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

With dark magic forbidden by her mother, Camille transforms herself into the ‘Baroness de la Fontaine’ and is swept up into life at the Palace of Versailles, where aristocrats both fear and hunger for la magie. There, she gambles at cards, desperate to have enough to keep herself and her sister safe. Yet the longer she stays at court, the more difficult it becomes to reconcile her resentment of the nobles with the enchantments of Versailles. And when she returns to Paris, Camille meets a handsome young balloonist—who dares her to hope that love and liberty may both be possible.

But la magie has its costs. And when Camille loses control of her secrets, the game she's playing turns deadly. Then revolution erupts, and she must choose—love or loyalty, democracy or aristocracy, freedom or magic—before Paris burns…

Hi Gita! Thanks so much for joining us. 

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

Thanks so much for having me, Natalie! I read your blog before querying so it feels like coming full circle to do this interview. I started writing in grade school, and dreamed of being a writer even back then. In high school and college I thought of myself as a poet, but no one encouraged me to write and I couldn’t see how it could become a career—this was before the huge surge in the YA market. After college, I decided to get a PhD in literature and embarked on an academic career. I really loved teaching, but deep down, I knew I wanted to write a novel. It took me a long time to let go of the safety of doing something I knew I was good at in order to wade into the unknown.

2. Yes, it's hard to let go of the security of a career that provides a pay check. Glad you could take the plunge. Where did you get the idea for ENCHANTÉE?

I had a daydream in which I saw a girl sitting at a gilded desk, writing a letter. Somehow I knew the ink she was using was made from her tears. When I looked closer, I could tell she was at the palace of Versailles, and the idea grew from there. I love characters who travel between worlds, so I gave her magic made from sorrow—the one thing she had plenty of—to help her move between the decadent world of the French court and the gritty streets of Paris. Around the same time, I happened to read a true story of a girl who rescued a hot-air balloonist in the 1780s—so that had to go in the book, too. Those three things—Paris, the magic, and the balloon—were the beginning.

3. That's such a cool way to get a story idea. What research did you do about the French Revolution? What advice do you have for other writers who want to write a part historical story?

While I would have loved to have had a time machine, nearly as good was immersing myself in historical documents from that time: letters, journals, newspapers, memoirs, political cartoons, music, and paintings that gave me a vivid sense of what it was like to be alive then. I was also lucky enough to be able to travel to Versailles and Paris, where many of the settings in ENCHANTÉE are still the way they were in 1789. As for advice, I’d say that if you want to set a story in the past, you should read and research until that world seems as real and alive to you as 2019, because then you’ll be able to vividly recreate the past for your readers.
4. Your story has been described as having high stakes and being a page turner. How did you plot this out and keep the pace moving? 

ENCHANTÉE is my first novel, and I pretty much “pantsed” the first draft, having only the vaguest sense of what the story arc was. Reading a lot of craft books about story structure—Story Engineering, The Secrets of Story, Anatomy of Story—helped me see that by fine-tuning the important plot points (for example, a midpoint event that turns everything upside down) I could create more conflict for my protagonist and raise the stakes.

5. You were a teacher of writing and fairy tales. How has this influenced your writing process?

 I fell in love with Grimms’ fairy tales when I was little, and teaching fairy tales and cultural history
to teenagers helped me see how important these stories could be. Because I spent so much time reading and talking about fairy tales, they’ve seeped into my writing: in many ways, ENCHANTÉE is a Cinderella story (the Grimms’ version) and my next book has echoes of “Bluebeard.” In terms of teaching writing, I learned that revision is the most important part of creation—no matter what you’re writing. In the first draft of a 450-page novel, you might have one or two chapters that come out perfectly. The rest comes together through revision after revision.

6. Good to know how important the revision process is. It's my favorite part of writing! Share a bit about Camille, your main character and how she grew as you wrote her story.

 At the beginning of the story, Camille finds herself caring for her fragile sister after their parents die of smallpox. She’s determined to make a better life for her and her sister, but chafes against the injustice of what she has to go through to make it happen. Torn between being responsible and wanting to be free, Camille makes some dangerous mistakes, but because she’s willing to face the consequences of what she’s done, she’s able to grow into a stronger person by the end of the story.

7. Your agent is Molly Ker Hawn. How did she become your agent and what was your road to publication like? 

My road to publication was unusual, because after spending two and a half years writing the book, everything happened so fast. When the manuscript was as good as I could make it, I queried a small group of agents who seemed like they would be a good fit for my manuscript. I got a request for a full within 24 hours, and my first offer soon thereafter. I was lucky to have many great offers, but in the end it came down to a feeling of who would suit me best as a partner in my writing career, and that was Molly. She’s insightful and knowledgeable, and has a ton of experience both as a former editor and an agent; she also has a great sense of humor and is always in my corner. After I signed with her, she gave me several pages of excellent revision notes. I revised nonstop for two weeks and then we went on sub! It was a whirlwind—my book sold at auction ten days later.

8. Wow! That is fast. How are you preparing to promote your book? What advice do you have for other debut authors? 

I’ve run giveaways, become more active on social media, and expanded my network of readers, author friends, and bloggers. I’m doing interviews for blogs and podcasts, and I look forward to attending festivals this year. I feel very lucky to have a publisher, Flatiron Books, that does a wonderful job of getting my book out there. My advice for other debut authors would be to join a debut group, find a few close writer friends you can rely on (I am so lucky to have friends like this!), and to remember that the road to publication is a roller coaster, with ups and down for everyone—no matter how big their deal or how much attention they seem to be getting. Try to enjoy as much of it as you can, and take care of yourself! I struggle with this myself, but I know it’s absolutely necessary. And write your next book.

9. What are you working on now? 

The sequel to ENCHANTÉE! It’s one year later and the Palace of Versailles has been shuttered, nobles stripped of their titles, and magic banned. And when Camille and her friends join the French Revolution, they discover that in this turbulent world, to be a hero is to question everything they thought was true.

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

Gita and her publisher have generously offered an ARC of ENCHANTÉE 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 January 19th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter either 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. This giveaway is U.S.

Here's what's coming up:

Monday, January 7th I have an interview with debut author Demetra Brodsky and a giveaway of her YA psychological thriller DIVE SMACK

Monday, January 14th I have an interview with Amy Tipton, a former agent who has an editorial service with a query critique or five-page critique giveaway--winner's choice

Monday, January 21st I'm off

Monday, January 28th I have an interview with debut author Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo and a giveaway of her MG contemporary RUBY IN THE SKY

Wednesday, February 6th I have a guest post by debut author Addie Thorley with her agent Katelyn Detweiler with a giveaway of Addie's YA historical fantasy AN AFFAIR OF POISONS and a query critique giveaway by Katelyn

Monday, February 11th I have an interview with debut author Astrid Scholte and a giveaway of her YA fantasy FOUR DEAD QUEENS

Wednesday, February 13th I have an agent spotlight interview and query critique giveaway with Amy Stapp

Hope to see you on Monday!


nashvillecats2 said...

Thank you Natalie for a wonderful post from the ISWG and your interview. Made wonderful reading.
I do wish you a Happy New Year and thanks for your support in the past.


Megan said...

I'm so excited for this gorgeous book :) Happy new year!
GFC: Megan S.
Email: megan(dot)clarsach(at)gmail(dot)com
I tweeted :): https://twitter.com/WordsThatStay1/status/1080418263149039616

Sarah Foster said...

That's great that you're excited about your writing! I'm trying to get back to writing on a regular basis so I can finish my book.

S.A. Larsenッ said...

Natalie, I'm super excited that you're getting back on the writing road with enthusiasm and a good feeling. I know what it's like to write and not feel like it for a long period of time. Life can do that to us. But life can also feed us our stories and help us work through emotions, issues, etc... At least, that's what I try to tell myself. LOL

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Natalie, hope you had a wonderful Christmas and new year. I'm glad that you are back to writing and have written 80 pages. Hope you are able to write more.

Bish Denham said...

I'm happy that you're writing, Natalie! I know it's been a desire of yours for some time. And Enchantee sounds very intriguing. Put my name in the hat, please.

mshatch said...

I am very happy to hear that you're writing again! And Enchantee sounds absolutely fabulous. If I don't win this ARC I'll probably have to buy it with my xmas amazon gift card :)

Raimey Gallant said...

When I'm outlining, I also rough in sentences or dialogue that I'm thinking about including. I'm so happy you're excited again. YEA! Enchantee sounds delightful!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

A time machine would be great for research all right.
You have time to write now, Natalie. Just enjoy it!

Jennifer Hawes said...

So glad to hear you are getting excited about writing again. It is a wonderful feeling!! Keep going:)

Tamara Narayan said...

Congrats on getting some writing done. I need to follow suit.

Something about Enchantee reminds me of Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth (one of my favorites) a little. Sounds amazing.

Jemi Fraser said...

Cool concept for the story - sounds great!
Yay you, Natalie on getting those words down. I tend to like those blank pages best of all :)

emaginette said...

There is nothing like writing when you're in the sweet spot. :-)

Anna from elements of emaginette

Victoria Marie Lees said...

The book sounds intriguing, Gita! All the luck with this new release. And bravo to you for your work at getting representation and having an auction for the purchase of your debut novel.

Thanks for sharing this with your followers, Natalie! All the best in 2019, ladies!

Michelle Mason said...

So glad to hear your writing is going well, Natalie!

Also, I've been hearing fantastic things about ENCHANTÉE, plus it's a book that would interest me anyway with the setting. I'm really looking forward to this one. Thanks for the interview!

Brenda said...

Love the setting of Paris, magnifique! Going to add it to the TBR. Happy New Year and thank you for all the support on my blog. Wishing you a wonderful 2019.

Chrys Fey said...

I am so glad that you're excited about writing again! Yay!!! I hope it continues. Enjoy it. Every second of it. :)

Donna K. Weaver said...

Yay for writing again--and being excited about it. I hope you can make a little time to continue.

Happy New Year!

Pat Hatt said...

Great that you are enjoying writing once more.

Could sure research with a time machine.

Ilona Bray said...

That book sounds fabulous! Love the hearkening back to Grimm's fairy tales.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Enjoy the creative process while you can, Natalie. Don't lose that joy of writing.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Congratulations on feeling good about your writing. Historical fantasy is my favorite genre. Congrats to Gita

Juneta key said...

Enjoyed the post and interview. Feeling good about your writing can mean everything and fills a little happy place that is always with you.

Thanks for visiting my blog and the offer of promoting the upcoming Grumpy God's anthology. Thank you. I will definitely let you know.

Olga Godim said...

It's wonderful that you got into a good place in your writing. Me too. After dry months of the worst writing block, I'm finally back 'in the saddle'. Almost finished my new sci-fi novella in December, although I'm not sure what I will do with it. Probably publish it on wattpad.
Gita's book sounds enchanting.

kimlajevardi.com said...

Congrats on your current Zen about your writing. I am currently doing final edits to then send my ms out for beta. Halfway to Zen, just a couple more weeks. Enjoy the co-hosting and thanks in advance.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

So happy to hear you're writing, Natalie. Enjoy every minute.
Congratulations on your book, Gita.

Gwen Gardner said...

Natalie, good for you for getting back into writing! You go girl!

Gita, I love Reading about that timeoeriod in France. Your book sounds very interesting. Congratulations!

Diane Burton said...

Natalie, I love your upbeat attitude, so full of optimism. Gita, congrats on your debut release. Best wishes to both of you.

Whitney Blair Wyckoff said...

Congrats on your wonderful book! Can't wait to read!

Jennifer Lane said...

Great title, Enchantee. It sounds so lovely when characters in movies say that word! Congratulations to Gita.

That's wonderful that you're getting your writing mojo back, Natalie!

Chelly Writes said...

Great interview. Thanks for sharing. I love Grimm's fairy tales, too.

I shared this interview on twitter: @chellypike

Claire Bobrow said...

This book sounds fabulous - can't wait to read it! Congrats, Gita, and thanks for sharing your journey.

Julie Abe said...

So excited for ENCHANTÉE!

Rosi said...

Wonderful interview. I always learn so much from these author interview. Thanks for that. I will step aside on the giveaway. I have so many books in my TBR pile.

Danielle H. said...

This book is one of my most anticipated books of 2019 as the premise and setting sound AMAZING! Thank you for the interview and congrats on publication. I shared on tumblr: http://yesreaderwriterpoetmusician.tumblr.com/post/181690361087/gita-trelease-interview-and-enchant%C3%A9e-giveaway-and

Tonja Drecker said...

Enjoy your writing, Natalie!

The book cover is gorgeous, and the blurb sounds amazing.

jean602 said...

Sounds good can't wait to read this book.

dolorah said...

Those blank pages can be daunting! I know. I like that you are filling in spots of your outline as you type it. I sometimes feel as though all my first writings are just filled in outlines, lol. Whatever works.

Enchantee sounds intriguing. Congrats and good luck Grita.

Angie Quantrell said...

I just was awarded a writing residency this summer at Hypatia-in-the-Woods. So exciting! I think this has energized my writing goals and plans for the year. Something happened that was NOT a rejection! ?:) Congratulations, Grita! I love books set in France! Sharing on Twitter. angelecolline at yahoo dot com

Cherie Reich said...

I'm glad to hear you're getting back to writing more, Natalie. Happy New Year!

Congrats to Gita! The book sounds fantastic.

Anonymous said...

This sounds like an interesting YA fantasy! Thanks for the giveaway.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Best of luck to Gita.

Woo hoo!!! Glad to hear you had a great holiday and are getting into your writing. I outline my chapters too with highlighted phrases or sentences I want to use, but mostly because I write sporadically and it helps me stay focused on where I left off.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

So thrilled that you are more excited about your writing again. Happy writing seems to turn out to be better writing too.

Gita, Your book sounds great!

Debra Branigan said...

Thank you for this most informative post. This novel sounds like a great read. I love the setting time period. Goodluck with this novel.

Natasha said...

Sounds like a great read!!
Thanks for the chance to win!
natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

Christine Rains said...

Congrats to Gita! What an enthralling sounding story.

So glad you're back to writing, Natalie! What a great way to start off the new year. :)

Michelle Wallace said...

It's good to hear that you're into your writing again!
For me, enjoying the creative process is priority. When I enjoy the process, then the words flow!
Happy New Year, Natalie!

linsleo said...

This sounds like an exciting read. Thanks for the opportunity.

DMS said...

Enchantee sounds fascinating and it was fun to learn more about Gita and how her book came to be. Wishing her the best of luck with the sequel.

Yay for you for getting more into your writing, Natalie. Wishing you the best too. :)

Loni Townsend said...

Woot about getting excited about your writing. That's awesome!