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 that you are all healthy and that all your family is healthy too in our challenging times. I'm looking forward to reading how everyone is and sharing how I'm doing in my IWSG post. 

Today I’m thrilled to have debut author June Hur here to share about her YA historical murder mystery THE SILENCE OF BONES. This is one of the books that I’m dying to read this year because I’m really murder mysteries these days, and it has the added bonus of being historical fiction set in Korea too. But first I have my IWSG post to share.

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 Diane Burton, JH Moncrieff, Anna @ Emaginette, Karen @ Reprobate Typewriter, Erika Beebe, and Lisa Buie-Collard!

Optional Question: The IWSG’s focus is on our writers. Each month, from all over the globe, we are a united group sharing our insecurities, our troubles, and our pain. So, in this time when our world is in crisis with the covid-19 pandemic, our optional question this month is: how are things in your world?

At first, I was really overwhelmed by how quickly the coronavirus threat escalated. One night I went to dinner with a friend and planned to see my mother the next day. Then the very next day, her independent living facility closed to guests and I was shopping for both of us and planning to stay in as much as possible. I know this is all for the best and my mom's safety. Thankfully, no one there has gotten the virus.

Once I got over the shock, I have adjusted to my new life, which is mostly at home alone with my sweet dog. We're under a stay at home order in Michigan. I still go to my boyfriend's three nights a week, walk with a friend at a local park most days, and otherwise stay in unless I need to go to the grocery store.

As a contract writer for an online company, I can still work from home. My daughter and her boyfriend are hunkered in together and healthy. So I'm feeling grateful in these scary times. I also feel pretty strong and resilient. I feel up to doing my part to help get rid of this horrible virus and face this huge national crisis we're in the midst of.

I'm actually starting to enjoy a quieter, slower life for a bit. I am planning to support local restaurants by ordering delivery. And I'm hoping to read and write more during the six weeks to two months that we'll have to stay inside.

What about you? How you doing?


David Powers King's new YA THE DRAGON'S HEART releases today. Love his cover ! Here's a blurb:

Terrible things happen whenever Princess Celesia falls in love—she blacks out and attacks her suitors, which makes an alliance with a more powerful nation impossible. Believing that she’s cursed, Celesia is given two choices: marry without love, or be responsible for her kingdom’s demise. Instead, she sneaks off in search of a remedy. 

She doesn’t make it far when she encounters a dragon who bears a curse of his own—he is a prince, desperate to reclaim his humanity before the dragon takes over. He's heard of a stone that can lift both of their curses, but neither of them can find it alone, and they’re not the only ones after it. An evil alchemist is intent on using it to steal the land’s magic and dominate the realm. Only together, with the help of an even greater magic, can Celesia and the dragon stop this evil, or be bound forever by their curses.
And some links:

And I want to give another shout out to Jemi Fraser whose book 
DANCING WITH DEMENTIA released this week. Here's a blurb: Dementia slammed
into our family a few years ago. It took us by surprise and we missed a lot of clues. The book Dancing With Dementia is the story of our journey through the early stages of the disease.
Throughout the book, we share tips of what worked to help our Mom combat the disease. We share what didn’t work. What made us laugh and what made us cry. And here's a few links:
Amazon.com           Amazon.ca.          Apple Books.           Barnes & Noble          Kobo.     
Add it to your Goodreads shelf
June Hur's Interview

Now onto June's interview. Here’s a blurb of THE SILENCE OF BONES from Goodreads:

I have a mouth, but I mustn't speak;
Ears, but I mustn't hear;
Eyes, but I mustn't see.

1800, Joseon (Korea). Homesick and orphaned sixteen-year-old Seol is living out the ancient curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Indentured to the police bureau, she’s been tasked with assisting a well-respected young inspector with the investigation into the politically charged murder of a noblewoman.

As they delve deeper into the dead woman's secrets, Seol forms an unlikely bond of friendship with the inspector. But her loyalty is tested when he becomes the prime suspect, and Seol may be the only one capable of discovering what truly happened on the night of the murder.

But in a land where silence and obedience are valued above all else, curiosity can be deadly.

June Hur's elegant and haunting debut The Silence of Bones is a bloody tale perfect for fans of Kerri Maniscalco and Renée Ahdieh.

Hi June! Thanks so much for joining us.

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

I was born in Korea and spent most of my life in Canada, except for the time I attended high school in Korea. I wasn't too fluent then in the Korean language, so I'd spend most of my time in class writing stories. But I never really considered pursuing a career in writing until I started querying, which was around the time I started university. Behind this dream were two books that really made me fall in love with storytelling: pride and prejudice, and Jane eyre!

2. I admire you starting to query when you started college. I can't imagine having the time to focus on writing. Where did you get the idea of THE SILENCE OF BONES? 

I got my idea while studying about Korean history, mainly the early 19th century when Korea (a closed-door kingdom) was trying to fight off any form of Western influence (i.e. Catholicism). It was a piece of history I didn't know about, and there were so many fascinating historical figures involved in this time period, so I ended up wanting to explore this world further and ended up basing my story on what I'd learned.

3. Your story is set in Korea. Your bio says that you lived in Korea while in high school. Did that help you with getting the setting and culture right? What research did you need to do?

The main way my experience in Korea helped me with the writing of my debut was by allowing me to immerse myself in the Korean language. Knowing the language made a huge difference when it came to researching, which I needed to do a lot of since my book is a historical. While there are English translated Korean resources, the very niche information are difficult to find unless you research in Korean. But besides the research, the lived experience as a Korean in Korea helped me represent the culture as accurately as I could.

4. That's so interesting that you feel learning the language was so important. How did you plot out your story and the mystery elements of it? Do you have any tips for other writers who want to write a murder mystery?

I plotted out my story by choosing certain historical events I wanted to write about, and used plot as a
vehicle to narrate those events. As for the mystery aspect, I found it quite challenging as I'd never written a mystery before. I spent the first few drafts trying to figure out who the killer was, and the remaining drafts connecting the dots and refining the killer's motive. Throughout this experience, what really helped me, besides reading mystery novels and writing books, was watching and studying a really good mystery TV show. Something about the visual aspect of television helped me understand the structure of a mystery better. An excellent example of great mystery storytelling would be Broadchurch.

5. I added Broadchurch to my Netflix wishlist as I'm interested in learning how to write a mystery. Share a bit about your main character, Seol, and something that surprised you about her as you wrote her story.

When I first began to draft THE SILENCE OF BONES, Seol was supposed to be a cynical woman in her 20s whose loyalty to the Queen Regent would be tested. But draft by draft, I kept seeing the image of Seol as a 16-year-old teen, smiling and skipping down stairs, totally clueless about the horrors awaiting her. This is why I love writing. It’s moments when suddenly the characters come to life and take over the story!

6. Your agent is Amy Bishop. How did she become your agent and what was your road to publication like? 

8 years and two failed rounds of querying later, I put aside my first book and decided to work on a new project. A korean historical mystery. I didn't think anyone would be interested in a police drama set in 1800s Korea, but I didn't care at this point and just wrote the book for myself. Fortunately, as I was browsing through Manuscript Wish List, I found an agent who was passionate about diverse literature, and so I decided to send a query her way. I didn't think Amy Bishop would actually offer. But then on September 20, Amy emailed me with an offer and shared that my debut was a book she wished had existed when she was a teen.

7. What an awesome road to getting an agent.I noticed that you have a large twitter follower—over 5000 followers. How did you build up your following and how long did it take? Do you have any tips for the rest of us on using Twitter?

Over a span of two years, I had two tweets go viral and that's where I gained a good chunk of my followers. After that, most of the followers were gained from maintaining a steady presence and engaging with others, being honest and transparent about the ups and downs of publication. So that would be my tip—to be consistent and to engage with the writing/bookish community, to be open and vulnerable, but also to make sure you know your boundaries so twitter doesn’t end up becoming toxic.

8. How are you marketing your book? What are you doing to connect with your readers in the United States given that you live in Canada?

I'm not marketing myself as much as I'd like! I have a baby so I've had to be very selective about how I use my time. Often, it's either a question of: do I spend my time working on the second contracted book, or do I use that time to market myself? Usually I end up choosing to write, but if I do decide to focus on marketing, I usually make pretty graphics, or I share interesting facts about the Joseon dynasty-era Korea.

Also, thanks to Twitter and Instagram, even though I live in Canada, I’m able to engage with many U.S. readers, and even readers all around the world. It’s wonderful how encouraging and supportive bookish people can be.

9. You also work in a library in Toronto. How can debut authors connect with libraries that aren’t in their home town?

Many libraries these days have an online presence via Twitter or Instagram, mainly through the librarians. So in order to connect with libraries, I’d definitely encourage that authors get to know the librarians who work there.

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

I'm working on the second book of my contract, titled THE FOREST OF STOLEN GIRLS. It's about two estranged sisters who are forced to work together in search of their missing father, who happens to be the greatest detective in Joseon Dynasty-era Korea.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, June. You can find June at:
Twitter: @writerjunehur
Instagram: @junehwrites

June has generously offered an e-book of THE SILENCE OF BONES from Amazon for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower  of my blog and leave a comment that includes your email address by April 18th. 

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog and/or follow me on Twitter, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry for each. You must be 13 years old or older to enter. This giveaway is international.

Here's what's coming up:

Monday, April 6 I have an interview with debut author Jessica Kim and a giveaway of her MG contemporary STAND UP YUMI CHUNG

Tuesday, April 14 I am participating in the Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop 

Monday, April 20th I have a guest post with debut author Lorial Ryon and her agent Kristy Hunter and a giveaway of Lorial's MG magical realism INTO THE TALL, TALL GRASS and a query critique by Kristy

Monday, April 27th I have an agent spotlight interview with Lindsay Davis and query critique giveaway 

Hope to see you on Monday!


Pat Garcia said...

Hi June; Hi Natalie,
June, I am on twitter but my presence is so inconsistent. Reading how you got 5000 followers has encouraged me to get back to twitter and stick with it. I like also the description of your book. It sounds interesting and I have put it on my book list.

I am happy to hear that all is well with you. Here in Germany we are on a complete lockdown that will probably end the first week of May, but no one is sure. The virus has hit Europe pretty bad so many people are panicking and I try to do what I can to help people deal with their fears.
Take care, be safe, and thanks for introducing June. Your blog is a great place for me to learn about other diverse writers like myself.

Shalom aleichem,
Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

Jennifer Hawes said...

This murder mystery sounds wonderful! Glad to hear you are doing okay. We are enjoying our together time here with our family and our two cats. The "boys" are so glad we don't have to go to work:)

Cathrina Constantine said...

I live in Buffalo, NY, and and staying isolated, but New York City is getting hit so hard that it's frightening and heart wrenching. It's good that you can work from home. Take Care. Stay healthy.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Natalie, I'm glad you are safe. Prayers for you all. Sadly New York City is getting hit hard.

David's book looks lovely, what an amazing cover. Congratulations David.

Computer Tutor said...

What an uplifting positive reflection on the new virus world. I like that you say you are 'up to doing my part'. I've come to that conclusion personally also. I trust those trying to fix this situation, until I don't, and then maybe I'll rethink things. Until then, I'll just 'do my part'.

Pat Hatt said...

We all have to do our part indeed. Great all are safe there.

Very true, Twitter and Instagram sure help one stay in touch with readers from afar, when one decides to advertise haha baby and writing kinda wins out.

Bish Denham said...

Hubby and I have been self-isolating for over 2 weeks, only going out when absolutely necessary. We do take an occasional country drive just because, but mostly we are staying home and enjoying it.

Nice selection of books. I think I'm very partial to The Dragon's Heart.

emaginette said...

I'm glad you've adjusted. Let's hope we don't have to do it for long.

Anna from elements of emaginette

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm hosting both Jemi and David today as well!
Glad you can work from home and your family is safe. Yes, it did seem to happen overnight, didn't it?

Rebecca M. Douglass said...

Those both sound like fantastic books! June, I can relate to your tale of drafting and redrafting the mystery, trying to figure out who did it and why! I definitely approached my first 2 mysteries that way—then figured out that it went a whole lot better if I planned more! Who knew? :D

We haven’t been in the new world long enough to know how it’s going to work for us. Right now, the challenge is figuring out how to keep provisioned while under (self-imposed, but I think necessary) quarantine.

Nicki Elson said...

I hear a lot of people comment that they look forward to slowing down - I hope that's a practice we all learn to carry forward once our lives get all busy again. And I hope the people who are ultra busy right now will get their chance to slow their pace at some point.

Congrats to David, Jemi & June!

Michelle Wallace said...

The world is upside-down at the moment. We need to hang in there and remain as positive as we can.
Thank you for showcasing these books - The Silence Of Bones sounds very interesting!
Stay safe, Natalie.

Jennifer Lane said...

Hi Natalie! I also feel a mix of concern and resilience during this crisis. Michigan has been hit hard, and your southernly neighbor, Ohio, is sending you good vibes. I'm glad your mother is healthy. The title, The Silence of the Bones, is chilling! Sounds like an interesting premise.

David Powers King said...

Thanks for the shout out, Natalie. Oooh, I've heard about these silent bones. Congrats on your release, June! :)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Congrats to June. Sounds like you're doing well, Natalie, with the lockdown. Hope your mother stays safe and healthy.

Gwen Gardner said...

Hey Natalie, glad you're safe and well!

Hi June, I love the premise of your book, it sounds right up my alley! Congratulations!

Gwen Gardner said...

Oh, forgot to say I tweeted!

Anonymous said...

Congrats to David and June! Glad to hear you're hanging in there. We're sheltered in place in Illinois, as well. So far, we're all healthy.

Olga Godim said...

It's great you can work from home. Hopefully, this crisis will be over soon. This year at least - is that a too optimistic approach?
Good luck to David and June with their new books.

Carol Kilgore said...

So glad you and your family are safe. It's the same here. Our stay-home-stay-safe order runs until April 30. At minimum. Maybe it really was time we all slow down and really get to know each other again. Stay safe!

Jenni said...

This book sounds really intriguing. I love historical mysteries and that's certainly a time period I don't know much about!
Glad to hear you and your family are safe and well, Natalie!

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

An interesting interview. Thank you, ladies. And the books sound fascinating.Take care, Natalie and everyone. Life is tough now, but it will get better. Believe.

Jemi Fraser said...

Thanks so much for featuring Dancing with Dementia again!! You're the best!!!
Good luck to David with his release.
Love the title/cover for the Silence of Bones. I can see how learning the language give you insights into the culture and people.
Glad your mom is safe (mine is too) and that you're coping well. Keep it up!!!

cleemckenzie said...

Some good books to add to my TBR list. Thanks, Natalie. And glad to hear that you and your family are coping and staying well.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Great books to add to my TBR list! I really enjoyed reading the interview.
I'm glad you are doing well, Natalie!

Doreen McGettigan said...

Wonderful interview and great books!
Everything did escalate quickly, it was frightening! I'm used to it already, enjoying the quiet and doing a lot of praying and supporting for the less fortunate.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

A slower life - what on earth is that? LOL It did seem like someone just flicked a switch and everything changed overnight.

Nancy Gideon said...

I picked up my grandguy to fill in while schools were closed just before the Shelter in Place went into effect. Having him under foot has made all the difference. The month of April is going to drag on forever without him unless we finally get some sun. Ahhh, Michigan!

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Good to hear you're staying safe..and enjoying it.
THE SILENCE OF BONES sound super intriguing.

Samantha Bryant said...

Checking out The Silence of Bones! Sounds good. Also, I'm glad to hear that you're handling our Corona crisis with aplomb. Alone isn't all bad for writers :-) @samanthabwriter from
Balancing Act

Yolanda Renée said...

Wow, so many wonderful books! I too don't mind the shelter in place, although I do worry about my hubby who is considered an essential worker. It's just scary due to the unknown!

Fundy Blue said...

I'm glad to hear that you are coping, Natalie. I was watching the development of the pandemic from the beginning; but I, too, was shocked at how quickly my world changed. Most of the time I'm a homebody and don't mind being here, but it's weird not to be able to go out to my usual haunts. I can't imagine how difficult it must be to not be able to see your mother in person. Wishing you, her, and your loved ones all the best! Loved your interview with June Hur! Her book sounds awesome! And Jemi's book sounds excellent as well. Take care!

dolorah said...

Glad you are able to shelter at home. I have a traveling job and really wish I could stay home. Seriously though, I don't see too major a decrease in traffic at Travel Centers.

Hopefully this will all end someday soon.

Good luck to you. And also to David, Jemi and June.

Victoria Dixon said...

LOVE the sound of this book and look forward to the read!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Glad you and yours are safe and healthy, Natalie. I'm hoping to read and write more, too.

Ronel Janse van Vuuren said...

Silence of the Bones sounds like a fun, chilling read!

We're on complete lockdown here in South Africa -- no-one is allowed out of their houses until the lockdown ends in two weeks (no fast food deliveries, only essentials). It's kind of peaceful...

Tamara Narayan said...

Things are peaceful-ish here in Rochester, NY. Luckily we are far away from NYC. But in our third week of stay-at-home, we are getting on each other's nerves.

I can't imagine querying a book in college. Of course, I didn't start writing until much later in life anyway.

diedre Knight said...

Hi Natalie!

You're so right about the slower pace. It was hard to take at first. It all seemed so surreal. Now I hope that when this is all over, we maintain - and entertain - the presence of wonder rather than zooming right past it. I had no idea there were so many birds in my yard every day ;-)

I'm sorry you can't actually visit your mom just now, and very glad to hear her facility is taking good care of residents.

The Silence of Bones sounds excellent! Great interview, too.

Tonja Drecker said...

This book sounds so good!
Natalie—Glad to hear you've found a balance of some sort. It can be tough.

mshatch said...

I love historical mysteries. It's so interesting to learn how crimes used to be solved! Congratulations to June :)

Brenda said...

Congratulations to June on the release of The Silence of Bones, sounds like a fascinating book. Happy to hear that you and your family are safe and that you're able to work from home Natalie.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Glad to hear you and your family are doing well! Congrats to Jemi and David...all the best with your books!

I just had news that I may be able to head north sooner than expected, IF I can. The friend who needed my help to move decided to stay in her current apartment. I wasn't too happy since I pretty much stayed an extra two weeks to help her move, I could have left. Now I'm stuck here in a very high COVID-19 area. NW IL only has a few cases where as Orlando has thousands. Ugh. I just hope I can leave in a few days. Hoping I can. Stay safe, Natalie!

Rosi said...

Thanks for another interesting interview. I always enjoy reading your interviews. I will pass on the giveaway. Stay well.

Chrys Fey said...

I'm glad that no one at your mom's independent living facility has the virus. Stay safe!

Anonymous said...

This sounds like such a unique book! Thank you for the giveaway!

Megan said...

I'm so excited for this gorgeous book and I really enjoyed reading the interview! Thank you June!
I'd love to enter the giveaway!
Email: megan(dot)clarsach(at)gmail(dot)com
GFC: Megan S.
I tweeted here: https://twitter.com/WordsThatStay1/status/1246391380617973762

Juneta key said...

Belated IwSG! We are all healthy so far and staying in too, as well as contributing to delivery for the local businesses. Great interview.

Victoria Marie Lees said...

Natalie, my mother-in-law's assisted living place won't allow visitors either. June's book sounds intriguing. All the luck with this new release. Thanks for a great interview. Stay safe, everyone!

Debra Branigan said...

I am a fan already. This mystery thriller sounds like a fabulous read. I am so excited for you on your new release and I hope I do get chance to read it.

DMS said...

The Silence of Bones sounds like a fascinating book. Interesting to learn about June and her path to publication. Wishing her all the best!

Glad you are staying safe! I have been working from home for the past month and haven't been anywhere besides my house and yard (I have someone who goes to the grocery store). I do love being home, so I don't mind staying in. Stay safe!