Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Kelly Dyksterhouse Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 12/12/2022
  • Savannah Brooks Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 12/19/2022

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • All Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated as of 7/15/2020, and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for them to be fully updated in 2023.

Insecure Writer’s Support Group Post: What I’m Focusing on This Holiday Season

 


Happy Wednesday Everyone! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and is excited about the holiday season. I celebrated with my daughter, her boyfriend, and her boyfriend’s family. It was very special.

Posting: The first Wednesday is officially Insecure Writer's Support Group Day.

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!

I’m excited to be a co-host this month with Joylene Nowell Butler, Chemist Ken, Nancy Gideon, and Cathrina Constantine!

Optional Question: It’s holiday time! Are the holidays a time to catch up or fall back on writer goals?

I don’t worry too much about writing goals during the holidays. It’s more important to me to be excited about the holidays and enjoy them with family and friends. My daughter and I always like to spend an afternoon baking around the holidays too. I wouldn’t give up any of the holiday joy for my writing, though I try to write when I can.

This is in line with a big life change I’m going through. This was a super hard year where I was overcommitted with producing two plays and being co-coordinator of the Michigan SCBWI critique carousel. At the same time, I was also dealing with my boyfriend breaking up with me and moving across the country to be near his kids and taking care of my mom in hospice for four months until she passed away in early October. I miss her but am glad she’s not withering away from not eating anymore and is at peace.

I’ve done some soul-searching and plan to cut back on being so busy volunteering so I can slow down and focus on healthy living and enjoying all the things—including writing—that are important to me. A friend told me her mantra is “I only do what I want to do.” As much as possible this next year, that’s what I’m planning to do as well.

What about you? Are you focusing on the holidays or writing this month?

Upcoming Interviews and Guest Posts

Monday, December 12 I have an agent spotlight interview with Kelly Dyksterhouse and a query critique giveaway

Friday, December 16 I’m participating in the Dashing December Giveaway Hop

Monday, December 19 I have an agent spotlight interview with Savannah Brooks and a query critique giveaway

Wednesday, January 4 I have an agent/author guest post with Emily Fortney and Kaylie Smith and a giveaway of Kalie’s YA fantasy A Ruinous Fate and a query critique by Emily

Monday, January 9 I have an interview with debut author Tamika Burgess and a giveaway of her MG contemporary Sincerely Sicily

Monday, January 16 I have an agent spotlight interview with Kortney Price and a query critique giveaway

Hope to see you on Monday!

 

Winter Is Coming Giveaway Hop-$15 Amazon Gift Card



Happy Tuesday Everyone! Today I'm thrilled to be participating in the Winter Is Coming Giveaway Hop hosted by The Mommy Island and The Kids Did It. I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving and are looking forward to more holiday celebrations with family and friends. I had a fun Thanksgiving with my daughter and her boyfriend and his family. The Saturday before I went wedding dress shopping with my daughter and her bridal party. It was so much fun!

Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

 I'm offering a $15 gift card to Amazon for this giveaway. 

Giveaway Details

One lucky entrant selected by the entry form will receive a $15 Amazon Gift Card. Open to entrants internationally as long The Book Depository ships to you for free, 13 years and older. Open for entry from 12/6 – 12/29/2022 at 11:59 pm EST. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. The selected winner will have 48 hours to respond to the notification email to claim this prize or a new winner will be selected.

Please note that you must be a blog follower and leave a blog comment to enter the contest. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Upcoming Interviews and Guest Posts

Tomorrow, December 7th I have a guest post by debut author Deeba Zargarpur and a giveaway of her YA contemporary House of Yesterday and my IWSG post

Monday, December 12th I have an agent spotlight interview with Kelly Dyksterhouse and a query critique giveaway

Friday, December 16 I’m participating in the Dashing December Giveaway Hop

Monday, December 19 I have an agent spotlight interview with Savannah Brooks and a query critique giveaway

Hope to see you tomorrow!

And here's all the other blogs participating in this blog hop: 

 


Heroes and Villains: A Guide to Writing Strong Characters by Jessica Vitalis and The Rabbit’s Gift Giveaway

Happy Monday Everyone! I’m excited to have Jessica Vitalis here to share a guest post in celebration of her new MG fantasy The Rabbit’s Gift. It sounds like a unique story about the origin of babies based on French folklore. And it has rabbits and purple carrots. Need I say more about why I’m excited to read it?

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

When the delicate balance between the people of a small country and the mythic rabbits of age-old lore is broken, putting everyone at risk, a young rabbit and a young girl must overcome their prejudices and learn to trust each other.

Quincy Rabbit and his warren live a simple yet high-stakes life. In exchange for the purple carrots they need to survive, they farm and deliver Chou de vie (cabbage-like plants that grow human babies inside) to the human citizens of Montpeyroux. But lately, because of those selfish humans, there haven't been enough carrots to go around. So Quincy sets out to change that--all he needs are some carrot seeds. He'll be a hero.

Fleurine sees things a little differently. As the only child of the Grand Lumière, she's being groomed to follow in her mother's political footsteps--no matter how much Fleurine longs to be a botanist instead. Convinced that having a sibling will shift her mother's attention, Fleurine tries to grow purple carrots, hoping to make a trade with the rabbits. But then a sneaky rabbit steals her seeds. In her desperation to get them back, she follows that rabbit all the way to the secret warren--and steals a Chou.

Quincy and Fleurine have endangered not just the one baby inside the Chou, but the future of Montpeyroux itself--for rabbits and humans alike. Now, they'll have to find a way to trust each other to restore the balance.

Follower News

Before I get to Jessica’s guest post, I have Follower News to share. Judith Roth’s picture book, Cadence and Kittenfish: A Mermaid Tale, was recently released. Here’s a blurb: Cadence is a busy little mermaid, pranking fishermen and practicing Tai Chi with the lighthouse keeper. But something is missing and she discovers what it is--kittens! Getting a fluffy kitten to play with her in the ocean is a problem. . . maybe there's another kind of kitten in the sea that's just right for Cadence. And here are a few links: https://judithlroth.wordpress.com/, Bookshop, and Amazon.

 



Jacqui Murray recently released Natural Selection, book 3 in the Dawn of Humanity series. Here’s a blurb: Survival was tough. Lucy was tougher. Based on true events. And here’s a few links: Website, Blog, and Amazon author page.

 

Now here’s Jessica!

 

Heroes and Villains: A Guide to Writing Strong Characters

I spent thirteen years studying writing craft before I sold my first book. During that time, I developed what seemed like a pretty straightforward view of story: novels are character-driven. We choose a protagonist, give them a story goal, and create an antagonist or antagonistic force to stand in the protagonist’s way, thus driving the plot until the climax when the protagonist learns that what they wanted won’t make them happy and they get (or don’t get) what they actually need to make them happy.

But this simplistic view of story created problems when I was writing my sixth novel, which turned out to be my debut. The Wolf’s Curse is narrated by death’s courier, a great white wolf who is not only an omniscient narrator, but also an antagonistic force in the story. Since she isn’t the protagonist and she isn’t the only antagonist, I had to come up with creative workarounds to explain her omniscient presence, thus challenging my traditional ideas of story.

My straightforward view of story created trouble for me again when I was writing my sophomore novel, The Rabbit’s Gift. This story is set in a world in which human babies are raised in cabbage-like plants and delivered by rabbits; it’s written with dual points of view (a rabbit and a human), but rather than a protagonist and an antagonist, each character views him/herself as the hero and the other character as the villain in the story.

While this examination of the grey space between heroes and villains proved fruitful when addressing the themes in the story (what makes someone a hero? Can a villain be defined by one bad action? Can a villain be redeemed?), it created problems when it came to defining my protagonist and my antagonist. That’s when I realized that as long as I created nuanced, believable characters that were working against each other, I didn’t have to assign labels. It wasn’t until I set aside my preconceived ideas about how to craft stories that my characters (and the story) really came to life. Interestingly enough, the process of writing these two books taught me that for all the emphasis we give to defining protagonists versus antagonists (or heroes versus villains), the process for writing them is one and the same.

On that note, I’ll leave you with my favorite tips for writing strong characters—no matter what role they play in your story.  

WRITING STRONG CHARACTERS

1.     Give each of them a want: something that they think will make them happy. Something they can strive for throughout the story.

2.     Give each of them a secret need: the thing (which could be knowledge, an action, or a relationship, for example) that will actually make them happy. The thing that they will be resisting all the way through the story, until they finally embrace it (or not) at the end.

3.     Give them compelling backstories. Make sure you know EXACTLY what event or events led them to the belief that their want will make them happy.

4.     Delete most of the backstory from your manuscript. I’m serious! YOU need to know the backstory that made your characters who they are, but only share with your readers what they need to know to make sense of the story at that moment. (Sometimes this means moving backstory later in your manuscript—oftentimes, it means deleting it for good.)

5.     Give your protagonists/heroes character flaws and give your antagonists/villains positive character traits. This may seem counterintuitive, but it will help them come alive in readers’ minds. 

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Jessica! You can find Jessica at her Website, Twitter, and Instagram.

Giveaway Details

I'm offering a hardback of The Rabbit’s Gift for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower of my blog (via the follower gadget, email, or bloglovin’ on the right sidebar) and leave a comment by December 3. 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 or Jessica on her social media sites, 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. The book giveaway is U.S.

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is hosted by Greg Pattridge. You can find the participating blogs on his blog. 

Upcoming Interviews and Guest Posts

Tuesday, December 6 I’m participating in the Winter Is Coming Giveaway Hop

Wednesday, December 7 I have a guest post by debut author Deeba Zargarpur and a giveaway of her YA contemporary House of Yesterday and my IWSG post

Monday, December 12 I have an agent spotlight interview with Kelly Dyksterhouse and a query critique giveaway

Friday, December 16 I’m participating in the Dashing December Giveaway Hop

Monday, December 19 I have an agent spotlight interview with Savannah Brooks and a query critique giveaway   

Hope to see you on Tuesday, December 6!

 

 

 

In All Things Give Thanks Giveaway Hop


 

Happy Wednesday Everyone! ! Today I'm excited to participate in the In All Things Give Thanks Giveaway Hop hosted by MamatheFox. I'm very grateful for so much in life, including all of you wonderful followers who keep coming back to my blog. I've had a lot of losses in life and have discovered that being grateful every day is a great practice that helps me stay positive and happy about life. I'm super excited to go shopping for wedding dresses with my daughter on Saturday and the Thanksgiving holidays. I hope you're grateful about things in your life too.

Book of Your Choice or Amazon Gift Card

I am offering a book of your choice that is $20 or less on Amazon or The Book Depository. I’m looking forward to seeing what books everyone is looking forward to reading. If you don’t have a book you want, you can win a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

Giveaway Details

One lucky entrant selected by the entry form will receive a book of their choice for $20 or less at Amazon or The Book Depository or a $10 Amazon Gift Card. Open to entrants internationally as long The Book Depository ships to you for free, 13 years and older. Open for entry from 11/16 – 11/30/2022 at 11:59 pm EST. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. The selected winner will have 48 hours to respond to the notification email to claim this prize or a new winner will be selected.

Please note that you must be a blog follower and leave a blog comment to enter the contest. 

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Upcoming Interviews and Guest Posts

Monday, November 23 I have a guest post by author Jessica Vitalis and a giveaway of her MG fantasy The Rabbit’s Gift

Tuesday, December 6 I’m participating in the Winter Is Coming Giveaway Hop

Wednesday, December 7 I have a guest post by debut author Deeba Zargarpur and a giveaway of her YA contemporary House of Yesterday and my IWSG post

Monday, December 12 I have an agent spotlight interview with Kelly Dyksterhouse and a query critique giveaway

Friday, December 16 I’m participating in the Dashing December Giveaway Hop

Monday, December 19 I have an agent spotlight interview with Savannah Brooks and a query critique giveaway

Hope to see you on Monday!

And here are all the blogs participating in this blog hop:



MamatheFox and all participating blogs are not held responsible for sponsors who fail to fulfill their prize obligations.

Literary Agent Interview: Adria Goetz Interview and Query Critique Giveaway

Today I’m thrilled to have agent Adria Goetz here. She is a senior literary agent at P.S. Literary Agency.

Hi­ Adria! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Adria:

1. Tell us how you became an agent, how long you’ve been one, and what you’ve been doing as an agent.

In college I thought I wanted to be an editor, because it seemed like the dreamiest possible job you could have. But the more I learned about the industry, through research and through internships, the more I saw my strengths aligning with the job duties of a literary agent. I had an internship with Martin Literary for a couple years in college, and became a part-time assistant there once I graduated. I still felt so green at that point and felt like I needed to have a better understanding of the innerworkings of the industry, so I applied to the Columbia Publishing Course where I learned so much. When I returned, I was hired as an agent at Martin Literary the fall of 2016 which is where I agented for over five years. And then I recently joined the wonderful team at P.S. Literary which I’m really excited about! So far in my career I have been mostly focused on books for kids, and have got to work on some really incredible projects, like THE WHATIFS by Emily Kilgore, THE OCEAN CALLS by Tina Cho, BATTER ROYALE by Leisl Adams—just to name a few! I’m now looking to expand my list to include more adult fiction.

 About the Agency:

 2. Share a bit about your agency and what it offers to its authors.

 P.S. Literary has offices based in New York as well as Ontario, Canada. We have agents who represent everything from picture books through adult fiction and nonfiction. We work with co-agents for film and television adaptations, work with Taryn Fagerness for foreign rights projects, and shop audio rights ourselves when we retain them. It’s an incredibly collaborative team, so I think it’s special that you sign with one agent, but really you have an entire team supporting your work.  

What She’s Looking For:

3. What age groups do you represent—picture books, MG, and/or YA? What genres do you represent and what are you looking for in submissions for these genres?

I represent picture books, with a special focus on author/illustrators, middle grade fiction, graphic novels, adult fiction, and some select gift book titles. In picture books I love humor and heart and magic. In the middle grade space I love magical realism, grounded fantasy, mysteries, and historical fiction. In the YA space, the only type of project I’m interested in right now is graphic novels. In the adult space I love thrillers, rom coms, commercial fiction and upmarket/book club type fiction. I’m always excited to see graphic novels of any sort, from MG to YA to Adult. When it comes to stories within speculative genres, I tend to prefer grounded stories that have light touches of magic and lower stakes. 

4.  Is there anything you would be especially excited to seeing in the genres you are interested in?

In the picture book space I’d love to see more humor, adventure stories, stories about food, cultural traditions, mermaids, and spooky stories.

In the adult space I am always really excited to see something with a dual timeline. That always makes a submission jump to the top of my inbox. I love enemies to lovers rom coms, and I’d also love to see rom coms with light magical/speculative touches like THE VERY SECRET SOCIETY OF IRREGULAR WITCHES. I also love sweeping cradle to grave stories about fictional characters, like VIOLETA by Isabel Allende as an example. I also love mixed media novels that are told through texts, emails, receipts, things like that.

I have an overwhelmingly detailed manuscript wishlist on my website adriagoetz.com if anyone is interested in seeing more specific requests! There’s also a link there to a Pinterest board MSWL for those like me who are more visually minded.

What She Isn’t Looking For:

5. What types of submissions are you not interested in?

As a general rule of thumb, I am not the right for: memoirs, sports stories, space operas, Amish fiction, angel/demon narratives, ancient era historical fiction, high/epic SFF and thrillers of the military/FBI/espionage thriller variety.

Agent Philosophy:

6. What is your philosophy as an agent both in terms of the authors you want to work with and the books you want to represent?

I’ve noticed that both the books I love to read and the people I love to work with both tend to be very warm and have a lot of heart. And since I work heavily in the kid lit space, I always have in the forefront of my mind that the readers I’m facilitating content for are at a very formative age of their lives. The books I read as a kid have stuck with me, and I’m always thinking about how stories plant seeds in a young mind, which is a weighty thing to think about and something I try to take very seriously.

Editorial Agent:

7. Are you an editorial agent? If so, what is your process like when you’re working with your authors before submitting to editors?

I do consider myself an editorial agent. For novels, I typically do two rounds of edits. The first round is big picture, where I’ll put write up an editorial letter with any developmental edits I have for the client. This character arc needs developed, this section needs to be trimmed up to help with pacing, things like that. And then the second round is when I do more of a line edit of the manuscript. For picture books, it’s sort of a ping pong match where we volley the manuscript back and forth as many times as it takes to feel really confident in it. Sometimes it takes a pass or two, and sometimes it takes more than a dozen passes. Usually it’s somewhere in the middle. For author/illustrators, the process varies from person to person because everyone has their own unique process, but for these projects I give notes on both the text manuscript and the illustrations/sketches.

Query Methods and Submission Guidelines: (Always verify before submitting)

8. How should authors query you and what do you want to see with the query letter?

Authors can direct their query to query@psliterary.com with my name mentioned in the subject line. I’d like to see the query letter, the first 10 pages (or full manuscript if you’re a picture book writer), and if you’re an illustrator then I’d love to see a link to your portfolio and dummy/sample art.

9.  Do you have any specific dislikes in query letters or the first pages submitted to you?

The main thing that comes to mind that I don’t like seeing is a bad attitude! Oftentimes I see authors bash other books on the market or say something like “You probably won’t even read this email” or something like that.   

Response Time:

10. What’s your response time to queries and requests for more pages of a manuscript?

At P.S. Literary our submission guidelines say that if you don’t hear from us within six weeks, to consider it a pass. I know that radio silence is the worst part of the querying trenches for many writers though, so if someone ever wants to check in on their submission to confirm that it’s a pass, I’m always happy to respond to those emails.

Self-Published and Small Press Authors:

11.  Are you open to representing authors who have self-published or been published by smaller presses? What advice do you have for them if they want to try to find an agent to represent them?

If they’re pitching me something that hasn’t been published yet, then sure!

Clients:

12. Who are some of the authors you represent?

I work with so many incredible authors. I think that some of the authors I’m most known for representing are Tina Cho, Emily Kilgore, Christy Mandin, Valeria Wicker, Leisl Adams, Ellie Peterson, Bonnie Clark, and G.Z. Schmidt.

Interviews and Guest Posts:

14. Please share the links to any interviews, guest posts, and podcasts you think would be helpful to writers interested in querying you.

·       Podcast interview: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/literary-agent-adria-goetz-thinks-you-re-not-persistent/id1526755563?i=1000541249688

·       Books I’ve worked on: https://www.pinterest.com/adriaPSLA/books-ive-worked-on/

·       MSWL: www.adriagoetz.com

·       Video interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfnDFYgD2A8

·       Interview: https://journeytokidlit.com/episode-8-write-a-good-query-letter/

Links and Contact Info:

15. Please share how writers should contact you to submit a query and your links on the Web.

https://www.psliterary.com/submissions/

Additional Advice:

16. Is there any other advice you’d like to share with aspiring authors that we haven’t covered?

My advice to aspiring authors is always to take a moment before they click send on a query to imagine that the literary agent on the other end of the email is sitting at home in their sweatpants with a cat curled up on their lap. Because more often than not, that’s what I look like when I am reviewing queries! We’re not scary people in New York skyscrapers, we’re just normal people!

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Adria.

­Adria is generously offering a query critique to one lucky winner. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (via the follower gadget, email, or bloglovin’ on the right sidebar) and leave a comment through November 26th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest. If you do not want to enter the contest, that's okay. Just let me know 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. This is an international giveaway.

Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at natalieiaguirre7@gmail.com

Note: These agent profiles and interviews presently focus on agents who accept children's fiction. Please take the time to verify anything you might use here before querying an agent. The information found here is subject to change.

 

 

 

 

 

Super Stocking Stuffer Giveaway Hop-$10 Amazon Gift Card

 


Happy Wednesday Everyone! Today I'm thrilled to be participating in the Super Stocking Stuffer Giveaway Hop hosted by The Mommy Island and The Kids Did It.  I hope you're having a good month and getting excited for the holidays. Opening night is two nights away for a play I'm producing and I'm finishing up as a co-coordinator of a critique carousel for SCBWI. So I'm keeping this giveaway simple this month.

Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

 I'm offering a $10 gift card to Amazon for this giveaway. 

Giveaway Details

One lucky entrant selected by the entry form will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card. Open to entrants internationally as long The Book Depository ships to you for free, 13 years and older. Open for entry from 11/8 – 11/29/2022 at 11:59 pm EST. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. The selected winner will have 48 hours to respond to the notification email to claim this prize or a new winner will be selected.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please note that you must be a blog follower and leave a blog comment to enter the contest. 

Upcoming Interviews and Guest Posts

Monday, November 14 I have an agent spotlight interview with Adria Goetz and a query critique giveaway

Wednesday, November 16 I’m participating in the In All Things Give Thanks Giveaway Hop

Monday, November 23 I have a guest post by author Jessica Vitalis and a giveaway of her MG fantasy The Rabbit’s Gift

Tuesday, December 6 I’m participating in the Winter Is Coming Giveaway Hop

Wednesday, December 7 I have a guest post by debut author Deeba Zargarpur and a giveaway of her YA contemporary House of Yesterday and my IWSG post

Monday, December 12 I have an agent spotlight interview with Kelly Dyksterhouse and a query critique giveaway

Friday, December 16 I’m participating in the Dashing December Giveaway Hop

Monday, December 19 I have an agent spotlight interview with Savannah Brooks and a query critique giveaway

Hope to see you on Monday!

And here are all of the blogs participating in this blog hop:

Debut Author Interview: Elaine Kachala and Superpower? The Wearable-Tech Revolution Giveaway

Happy Monday Everyone! Today I’m excited to have debut author Elaine Kachala here to share about her MG nonfiction Superpower? The Wearable-Tech Revolution. It sounded fascinating to me after I read the first sentence of the blurb.

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

Imagine being able to run without getting tired. Or travel to the moon to observe Earth for science class. The technologies that could make these things possible are mixing into our lives faster than we realize. The stakes are high. In Superpowers: The Wearable-Tech Revolution, young readers will discover how technological innovation can help people survive and thrive, but the book also asks readers to question whether it should. What if super strength results in endless work? What if hackers can read our thoughts? Meet the inventors, designers, engineers, scientists and young people navigating the next tech frontier.

 Hi Elaine! Thanks so much for joining us.

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

I work as a health policy researcher, writer, and advisor for government and health agencies. Together with journalists and editorial teams, we'd talk about "our reports having legs" so they'd inspire people to make improvements in the healthcare system. Early on, we discovered the power of stories to explain complicated topics to governments and the public instead of just laying out the facts. It is satisfying and exciting to research a new topic, distill the information, and then write about it in a way that compels people to want to take action.

I'd never considered writing for kids, but I was looking for a creative outlet about six years ago. I love picture books; they're brilliant pieces of art. Why not write a picture book? I revealed this goal to my family, and they bought me Anne Whitford Paul's, A Hands-On Guide from Story Creation to Publication for Christmas. Many courses, conferences, and manuscript drafts later, I was at a workshop when I found myself discussing STEM/STEAM topics for middle readers. I'd started down the road of writing picture books, then, in one conversation, everything changed!

We talked about the impact of technology on people and the world and what would be the hook for this age group. I'm intrigued by STEM/STEAM topics because I have two daughters who work in these fields, and I'm always trying to understand their work. In my job at the time, I was learning about incredible technologies underway to improve people's lives, especially those with disabilities. But I didn't want to write a book merely about technology; I was curious about the implications of technology. Suddenly, many threads came together, and this book was born!

2. That’s great your family bought you a book that inspired you. Where did you get the idea for Superpower? The Wearable-Tech Revolution?

My earliest drafts were about many different technologies. The style was descriptive, and there was too much information; I had to sharpen the focus and needed a narrative arc. I reflected on what I saw in healthcare and dug deeper into the research. I read books like Klaus Schwab's The Fourth Industrial Revolution and Shaping the Future of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age by Microsoft's Brad Smith and Carol Ann Browne. I was learning about the importance of the responsible design of technology and what that meant. I researched the children's market. While there were many brilliant STEM/STEAM books and books that explained technological advancements and their impacts on society, I didn't find any current books that combined these themes.

After more research, the topic of wearable technology cast a spell on me. Why was I suddenly so invested? I realized two things: That deep down, this multifaceted topic has to do with health, well-being, and equity—issues that are important to me and are at the core of my professional work. Beyond the blow-your-socks-off cool factor, our society faces many challenges with wearables as these incredibly sophisticated devices go mainstream. Writing a book that explores how wearables are changing our lives and that delves into the pros and cons of technology is the book I wanted to write. I wasn't seeing these issues reflected in books for young readers, yet kids have a significant role in helping steer the world toward a better future. Also, when I interviewed youth for the book, I was seriously impressed by their thoughts, insights, and passion for creating technology for a better world; I had to write a book that included their ideas and opinions.

Your Writing Process

 3. Tell us about the research process that you used in writing this book. What advice do you have for other writers about researching for a nonfiction book?

·   I delved into the literature, focusing on primary sources (e.g., books, scholarly journals, government documents), then reputable websites (e.g., professional associations), and magazines (e.g., WIRED, Harvard Business Review). I also watched video presentations (e.g., TEDx) and listened to podcasts by experts (often, they produced YouTube videos or did TEDx presentations or podcast interviews). All of this research helped me understand news issues, learn about the technologies, and identify experts to interview. I found podcasts, presentations, websites, and magazines especially helpful for clarifying information with highly technical topics.

·   Read MG books of the same genre not only to learn about the market and what topics were covered and where there were gaps but to see how authors that I admired presented the information.

·   I delved deeper into the research and ensured I had a clear structure for the book and a better sense of what I knew and needed to know.

·   After I had a clearer sense of the outstanding questions, I finalized my list of experts and did more research on them and their work, and prepared questions. Always do your due diligence before reaching out; experts have limited time.

·   I conducted interviews. A couple were by Zoom; others were via email; in all cases, I sent my questions in advance. (It was during covid; I couldn't visit people). I was specific about why I wanted to talk to them in my outreach email.

4. It sounds like your research was extensive. How did what you learned when doing your research affect your narrative?

The research directly shaped the narrative. I was learning how wearable technology changed how we live, learn, work and play. As I continued researching and reflecting on this point, it hit me that wearables weren't just changing how we live but were changing and augmenting us as human beings, and developments were happening fast. Experts were speaking out about this and the pros and cons of technology; they were asking whether innovation can go too far and questioning the "move fast and break things" mindset that was common in the tech industry. While the benefits of wearables were huge, in many ways, this technology was crossing into some crazy ethical territory, and there were risks and challenges. The questions that struck me most were: how do we innovate and design technology responsibly? How do we reap the benefits but still protect against the harms? The book's structure followed my learning process and the information I found.

5. What tools did you use to stay organized?

For reference management, Zotero saved me! Initially, I'd tried Scrivener, but it could have been more user-friendly. I found it too time-consuming to learn when I was learning so many other things. When I learned of Zotero, I tried it and found it easier to understand; Zotero helped me with reference management, which was huge. Otherwise, I worked in WORD and EXCEL and had many folders.

6. What was a challenge you faced in writing this book? How did you overcome it?

Since Superpower? was my first book, the entire project was a sharp learning curve. My top challenges were managing version control, keeping references organized, controlling word count, and ensuring accuracy.

As the drafts evolved, I found it hard to keep track of older ideas; I'm still trying to figure out how to have the best version control system. But for reference management, Zotero saved me! I learned about this software for managing bibliographic data from a presenter at an SCBWI conference, and I'm ever grateful.

The last chapter is called How Do We Design Responsible Technology? SET UP! RISE UP! TEAM UP! Initially, each was a separate chapter, and the overall word count was too high. My editor asked if I'd consider condensing them into one chapter. I had a moment, but then I said, no problem! She was right. Condensing, SET UP! RISE UP! TEAM UP! into one chapter helped me restructure the material, present ideas more clearly and concisely, and reduce the word count. When I read it now, nothing important is missing! Always listen to the editor!

Finally, I did an insane amount of research on this topic; I had over 500 references, including expert interviews. I was meticulous about ensuring accuracy. I'm so grateful to the experts who reviewed the manuscript. They'd made some recommendations, but overall, I'd been accurate, so my research paid off! Getting expert eyes on the manuscript is essential.

Your Road to Publication

7. What was your road to publication like?

Thrilling! Nerve-racking! Fun! It was filled with lots of emotions and challenges. It was also a heartwarming experience. For example, becoming part of a community of children's writers was amazing. I can't believe everyone has been friendly, supportive, and welcoming.

Working with Orca Book Publishers has been an incredible experience. They are a fantastic publisher. All aspects, from editorial support to illustration and book design and promotion, have been incredible. It was truly a collaborative experience. They're so professional and friendly, and supportive, and communication was easy and timely. I couldn't have asked for a better first-time experience. I hope I can work with Orca again.

8. That’s great that your publisher was so good to work with. What is something that surprised you in the process of getting a book contract or working with your editor? Why?

Since this was my first book, I was curious to know what it would be like to work with an editor. What surprised me most was that she gently presented revision ideas but didn't change anything independently. I really appreciated that. Of course, I took all of her suggestions!

Marketing

9. You live in Toronto. How are you planning to market your book in the United States?

A few ways:

1.   Orca Book Publishers markets their books in Canada, the USA, and Internationally. Orca staff also attend conferences such as the American Library Assoc, pitch festivals, and sends direct newsletters to teachers, librarians, and schools.

2.   From a warehouse near Bellingham, Washington, Orca distributes its own titles and those of other Canadian publishers throughout the United States (to schools, libraries, boards, wholesalers (e.g., in US Follet, Baker & Taylor; Amazon).

3.   Orca connects directly with clients to pitch books.

4.   Sometimes clients put out calls for specific books, and Orca responds to the call.

5.   I had a Discussion & Activity Guide developed for educators. It was created by a US STEM educational consultant and is aligned to Common Core & National Generation Science Standards Grades 4-7.

6.   I am doing interviews with contacts in the American literary community, such as yourself, ReadingWithYourKids, and others.

7.   I'm also reaching out to contacts that I have in the US.

If you have other ideas, I'd love to hear them!

10. One idea would be to have a blogger who schedules blog tours schedule one for you to reach new audiences. What advice do you have to other debut authors getting ready for the release of their book?

Be prepared for the considerable time commitment that goes along with marketing and promotion, so start early and make a plan! I was new to the publishing industry and had no M&P experience. So about ten months in advance, I started researching and attending workshops. You'll be better prepared to work with your publisher, you won't miss opportunities, and you'll be able to plan and budget because if you do it right, there will be costs; it is an investment.

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

Website: https://www.elainekachala.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elainekachala

Twitter: https://twitter.com/elainekachala

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/elainekachala/

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/elainekachala/

YouTube Book Trailer https://youtu.be/hvbNOG7V48Y

Giveaway Details

Elaine’s publisher is generously offering a hardback of Superpower? The Wearable-Tech Revolution for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower of my blog (via the follower gadget, email, or bloglovin’ on the right sidebar) and leave a comment by November 19. 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 or Elaine on her social media sites, 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. The book giveaway is U.S and Canada.

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is hosted by Greg Pattridge. You can find the participating blogs on his blog.    

Upcoming Interviews and Guest Posts

Tuesday, November 8 I’m participating in the Super Stocking Stuffer Giveaway Hop

Monday, November 14 I have an agent spotlight interview with Adria Goetz and a query critique giveaway

Wednesday, November 16 I’m participating in the In All Things Give Thanks Giveaway Hop

Monday, November 23 I have a guest post by author Jessica Vitalis and a giveaway of her MG fantasy The Rabbit’s Gift

Tuesday, December 6 I’m participating in the Winter Is Coming Giveaway Hop

Wednesday, December 7 I have a guest post by debut author Deeba Zargarpur and a giveaway of her YA contemporary House of Yesterday and my IWSG post

Monday, December 12 I have an agent spotlight interview with Kelly Dyksterhouse and a query critique giveaway

Friday, December 16 I’m participating in the Dashing December Giveaway Hop

Monday, December 19 I have an agent spotlight interview with Savannah Brooks and a query critique giveaway

Hope to see you tomorrow!