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 Monday Everyone! I’m excited to have Swati Teerdhala back on the blog to share about her new book, THE ARCHER AT DAWN. It’s the second book in her The Tiger at Midnight trilogy. You can read her interview with me in 2019 when her first book released.

Her new book has gotten good reviews as a fantastic second book in the series. After reading all the reviews and finally starting to read more fantasy books again, I’m really looking forward to reading this series.

Here’s a blurb of THE ARCHER AT DAWN from Goodreads

The Sun Mela is many things: a call for peace, a cause for celebration, and, above all, a deadly competition. For Kunal and Esha, finally working together as rebel spies, it provides the perfect guise to infiltrate King Vardaan’s vicious court.

Kunal will return to his role as dedicated Senap soldier, at the Sun Mela to provide extra security for the palace during the peace summit for the divided nations of Jansa and Dharka. Meanwhile, Esha will use her new role as adviser to Prince Harun to keep a pulse on shifting political parties and seek out allies for their rebel cause. A radical plan is underfoot to rescue Jansa’s long-lost Princess Reha—the key to the stolen throne.

But amid the Mela games and glittering festivities, much more dangerous forces lie in wait. With the rebel Blades’ entry into Vardaan’s court, a match has been lit, and long-held secrets will force Kunal and Esha to reconsider their loyalties—to their country and to each other. Getting into the palace was the easy task; coming out together will be a battle for their lives.

Hi Swati! Thanks so much for joining us again.

1. For those who don’t know you, tell us a little about yourself and your journey to publication.

I’ve been a writer since I was a child but it was always something I did on the side. I started to take my writing more seriously and pursue publication a few years after joining the workforce. I loved my job but I had always been actively creative since I was a kid (singing, dancing, writing, etc.) and I’d always had a little dream of being published. I started writing and querying but it wasn’t until I pitched THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT during #DVPit, a Twitter pitch competition, that I got my agent. After that, we went on submission and eventually sold THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT in a trilogy!

2. Writing a series can be scary because all the books have to work as a single book and as part of the series. How did you plot out yours and how much did you know about what would happen in books 2 and 3 when you wrote THE TIGER AT MIGNIGHT?

I had the broad sketches of the trilogy and I knew my ending after my 3rd draft of THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT. I hoped to be able to sell it as a trilogy (and was able to!) because I had envisioned the rise and fall of the story in a very particular way. I plotted it out using a simple technique. I simply thought of the trilogy as if it was a 3 act story in itself, and the plot fell into place.

3. I think I'd need to know the whole rise and fall of my series like you did before I query it. I’ve read that you did a good job in continuing the character growth of Kunal and Esha and their relationship in your second book. Share a bit about how they are growing in book 2 and how to maintain character growth, which is important, in subsequent books in a series.

Kunal and Esha start out on opposite sides of a conflict, burrowed into their preconceived notions and prejudices. By the end of book 1, a lot of that has shifted, but there are still emotional scars that both of them have to face. That’s a lot of their character development in THE ARCHER AT DAWN. Now that they realize their previous beliefs were wrong and the world isn’t so black and white, they have to face what that means. I can’t give too much more away without spoilers, so I’ll stop there!

As for maintaining character growth, I think it’s really important to have a clear idea of where you want your characters to end up at the end of your series and you can take that and map it backward over each book.

4. Was your experience writing THE ARCHER AT DAWN and working with your editor different than when you wrote your first book? How so?

Yes, very much so. THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT was sent to my editor after it had already been through numerous rounds of edits and wholesale revision. Not so with ARCHER. My first draft of ARCHER was an unformed ball of clay and I had to work with my editor, and dig really deep into my own editing toolbox, to form it into something beautiful within a year.

5. Your book is being released on May 26th. I’m sure the coronavirus and stay at home orders has dramatically changed your approach to marketing your book. How are you planning to promote it? What advice do you have for other authors whose books are being released in these challenging times?

More than anything, books have been my solace in the past few weeks and I’m using that as my
inspiration. The book community is stronger than ever and I’m really focusing on engaging with readers and supporting other writers. While its always important to do so, it’s even more vital right now. Plus, it’s a way to have fun! I’m also planning on diving into social media and video chats!

My advice for other authors is to reach out to other writers and work together. So many people have been incredibly wonderful and supportive. Readers are promoting their favorite and new reads. Authors are boosting each other. This is a great time to promote the thing we all love–books-together as a community.

6. Yes, so true that we need to band together. Your agent is Kristin Nelson. Has it been different working with her on your second book in comparison to your first one?

Not really! Kristin has always been a great guide and partner. It’s my first time around writing and promoting a trilogy, but Kristin is a pro! Her wisdom has been so helpful.

7. It’s been a little over a year since your first book was released. Is there anything you would have done differently in terms of building your social media platform or promoting your debut book? If so, what?

You know, I’ve been thinking about this recently and I’d say I’d have focused more on doing the kind of marketing I loved rather than what everyone else is doing. Lean into your strengths, whether that’s vlogging, writing short fiction, giving speeches, making TikTok videos, whatever!

8. That's great advice to do the marketing you like, and I've heard other authors say that too. What advice do you have for aspiring authors who just signed their contract and are preparing for their release in the next 12 to 18 months?

Figure out what makes you you as a writer and build your brand unapologetically. And don’t ever be afraid to self-promote or advocate for your book!

9. What are you working on now?

I’m currently working on book 3 of THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT trilogy and something else that’s a secret for now!
Thanks for sharing all your advice, Swati. You can find Swati at:

Swati and her publisher are generously offering a hardback of THE ARCHER AT DAWN for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower  of my blog and leave a comment by May 23rd. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest. Please be sure I have your email address.

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 U.S.

Here's what's coming up:

Wednesday, May 20th I have an agent spot light interview with Erin Clyburn and a query critique giveaway

Wednesday, June 3rd I have a guest post by debut author Chelsea Ichaso and her agent Kristy Hunter and a giveaway of Chelsea's YA psychological thriller LITTLE CREEPY THINGS and a query critique by Kristy

Monday, June 8th I have an interview with debut author Josh Roberts and a giveaway of her MG fantasy THE WITCHES OF WILLOW COVE

Monday, June 15th I have a guest post by MG and picture book author Elaine Kaye and a giveaway of three of her picture books

Wednesday, June 17th I have an agent spotlight interview with Kristina Perez and a query critique giveaway

Monday, June 22nd I have an interview with author Niki Lenz and a giveaway of her MG humorous contemporary THE STEPMOM SHAKEUP

Hope to see you on Wednesday!


nashvillecats2 said...

Some wonderful giveaways and also a wonderful interview Natalie. Hope you are keeping well despite the continuing virus. It's a beautiful day here but still remaining indoors. Take care.


L. Diane Wolfe said...

She's right that not all marketing works for all authors - or all books. We have to find what we enjoy that's also effective.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I've heard great things about Kristin Nelson! Sounds like the series is in good hands. :)

Computer Tutor said...

This book sounds excellent, and what a great cover!

Jemi Fraser said...

Love the cover and the concept - fabulous world building!

Joanne R. Fritz said...

Loved this interview, Natalie, especially #7 and 8! Gulp. Have to learn to self-promote!

Samantha Bryant said...

Sounds like a great series! I'll check it out. @samanthabwriter from
Balancing Act

Jenni said...

Another great interview, Natalie! I really liked the advice on doing marketing based on what you love to do.
Congrats to Swati!

Megan said...

This was a lovely interveiw - congrats Swati! I'd love to be entered for the giveaway.
GFC: Megan S.
Email: megan(dot)clarsach(at)gmail(dot)com
Tweet: https://twitter.com/WordsThatStay1/status/1262682139511926785

Debra Branigan said...

I loved The Tiger at Midnight and am excited about the second book. The cover is great and synopsis sounds excellent. I look forward to reading it. I also shared on twitter (https://twitter.com/BraniganDebra/status/1262726254781968384?s=20). Thanks for the opportunity. (dbranigan27 at gmail (dot) com.

Theresa Norris said...

Sounds like a great interview.
Theresa Norris
weceno at yahoo dot com

Michelle@Book Briefs said...

Thanks for the great interview. I am super excited for this book.

michelle.bookbriefs AT gmail DOT com

Max @ Completely Full Bookshelf said...

Thank you for the great interview! It's interesting to hear how authors are getting through the process of debuting books right now. I'm also excited to see your interview with Josh Roberts, since I've heard a lot of praise for The Witches of Willow Cove!

Natalie Aguirre said...

I loved The Witches of Willow Cove! Glad you're excited about it too.

tetewa said...

New author and series for me, sounds good! tWarner419@aol.com

Rosi said...

Thanks for another terrific author interview. We live in interesting times. Bringing a book to market during a pandemic is a challenge. I will pass on the giveaway. Too many books right now.

DMS said...

What a great interview. I love the advice about marketing. It definitely makes it feel a bit more manageable. The Archer at Dawn sounds like an interesting book. Thanks for the chance to win a copy. :) Best of luck to Swati!

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

What an exciting book and series. Congratulations. Grea interview too. Nice to meet you.

Danielle H. said...

Thank you for the wonderful interview! I can't wait to read both of her books. They are on my wish list. I shared on tumblr: https://yesreaderwriterpoetmusician.tumblr.com/post/618587208253931520/swati-teerdhala-interview-and-the-archer-at-dawn

Carolyn Chambers Clark said...

Great interview!

Bethany said...

great interview. and loved her first book. would love to win this second.