Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Agent/Author Claire Friedman & M.K. Lobb Guest Post w/Seven Faceless Saints Giveaway on 2/1/2023
  • Lori Steel Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 2/6/2023
  • Bethany Funk Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 2/23/2023
  • Agent/Author Lizz Nagle & J.A. Nielsen Guest Post w/The Claiming and Query Critique Giveaway on 3/6/2023
  • Kristen Terrette Agent Spotlight Interiew and Query Critique Giveaway on 3/20/2023

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.

Debut Author Interview: Megan Reyes and Heroes of Havensong: Dragonboy Giveaway

Happy Monday Everyone! Today I’m super excited to have debut author Megan Reyes here to share about her MG fantasy, Heroes of Havensong: Dragonboy. I’m looking forward to reading it because it sounds like a fast-paced story with a unique magical system.

Here’s a blurb from Megan’s website:

This timeless fantasy debut follows four children—a boy-turned-dragon, his reluctant dragon rider, a runaway witch, and a young soldier—bound together by the Fates themselves to save their world—and magic itself—from being destroyed. 

Blue, River, Wren, and Shenli all grew up on different sides of a war they didn’t start. Their land has been torn apart over centuries of conflict, with humans taught to fear all things magical, dragons driven to near extinction, and magic under attack. But an ancient prophecy has put the four of them on a collision course with destiny—and with each other—in a mission to heal the fractured realm once known as Haven.  

All of them must follow the threads of Fate, leaving behind the lives and homes they know to discover the truth about the seemingly endless war—and the truth about themselves. As the barriers between them begin to crumble, can they unravel the lies they’ve been taught to believe in order to restore the balance between humans, dragons, and magic before it’s too late?

Follower News

Before I get to Megan's interview, I have Follower News to share. Cathrina Constantine has a new YA release, Defy the Stars. Here's a blurb: Sage possesses a forceful energy for good and evil.Crew's untapped powers are growing stronger by the day. Survival will demand they rely on each other. And here's a buy link: bit.ly/defyingthestars 


Interview with Megan Reyes

Hi Megan! Thanks so much for joining us.

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

I’m so thrilled to be here! Thank you for having me. A little about me: I am a mom of four boys and married to the greatest guy ever. We live in Northern California, where I grew up. Other than reading and writing, I enjoy painting, drawing, going on walks, and collecting dragon and fox figurines.

I’ve been creating stories my whole life. When I was a kid I imagined far-away worlds in my head, drew comic books, then later I shifted into full-page stories. Eventually, I decided to try writing novels, which I’ve been doing for 13 years now. Dragonboy was the 5th book I wrote when I got my literary agent. I’ve learned a lot on my journey, especially the importance of studying story craft and finding the right editors and critique partners.

2. That’s great that you’ve been writing since you were a kid, Where did you get your idea for Heroes of Havensong: Dragonboy?

One single sentence popped into my head: “Every twenty-five years, the king was eaten by a dragon”. This ended up being the first line in Dragonboy, almost word for word! With that single sentence, a ton of questions flooded my mind. What kind of kingdom would allow their kings to be eaten, and why? Who else lives in this world? Why are the dragons eating kings? From there, my characters came to life, as did the land of Haven. It became clear that this was a story that would be told from the points of view of 4 kids—coming from 4 different parts of Haven.

About Your Writing Process

3. What a great first line. I read on your website that you are a total plotter. Share about your plotting process and why plotting in general and how you do it works for you.

I am very much a plotter! Whenever I get a new story idea, I grab a new notebook and jot down all my ideas. So everything starts out as a jumbled mess. But once I get a sense of the main characters and the world they live in, then I start to focus in on plot points. With all of these notes, I’m able to write out a list of what happens—this list eventually becomes the chapters of the book. All of this produces a solid outline of the story. So by the time I sit down to actually write the book, I have a good sense of where the story is headed.

I think plotting works for me for a few reasons. One, I’m a naturally fairly organized person. Two, I tend to write stories with big sweeping worlds with big casts of characters. I like to have a sense of where my characters are headed—as in, how the entire series is going to end. From there, it’s a matter a going step by step (chapter by chapter) in order to get them there. Being a plotter allows me to hold all of this information in my head. But I will say, even with my love of plotting, when I sit down to write, I am very much open to making changes. In fact, my characters constantly surprise me and take me in directions I didn’t see coming. And that can be really fun.

4.  It sounds like you’ve figured out a good balance between plotting and being open to new directions that your story can take. You have four fairly major characters-- Blue, River, Wren, and Shenli—in your story. How did you create them as unique characters with their own character ARCs?

Yes, I have four main characters, each with their own point-of-view chapters. Honestly, this took a lot of work! I came up with a detailed backstory for each. They are all very different kiddos. They come from four different lands and have unique personalities and quirks. The most challenging thing is making sure they each have strong character arcs—including their own internal journey as well as external journey—which really does feel like I’m writing four books at once.

5. What was a challenge you faced in writing this book pre- or post-getting your agent? How did you overcome it?

I think the biggest challenge was how long revisions took. I went through at least ten rounds of revisions from first draft to final draft (the draft that made it to publication) over a period of four years. My editor, Liesa Abrams, is fantastic and she really helped me dig into the details of world-building as well as the emotional character journeys. When you’re writing a fantasy series, there are a lot of foundational things established in book one, so I really wanted to get all the details right. What helped persevere was imagining holding the final copy of my book and imagining how proud I would feel. All those rounds of revisions really were worth it!

Your Road to Publication

6. Joanna Volpe is your agent. How did she become your agent, and what was your road to publication like?

Joanna is fantastic. I couldn’t ask for a better agent! But it was a long road. It took 10 years, 5 novels, and over 200 query rejections before my Dragonboy manuscript landed with Jo. Luckily for me, she loved it. She doesn’t take on very many new clients so her belief in my story was (and is) a major confidence boost. She discovered my story through my query letter. Along with the letter was a short writing sample—maybe the first ten pages. She then asked for the full manuscript and about a month later, she offered representation. That phone call was honestly one of the best moments of my life and I am grateful on a daily basis that I’m her client.

7. What was something that surprised you about getting an agent or the process of getting your book published?

It’s surprising how long everything takes. From book deal (that is, getting an offer from my editor) to publication was just over 2 years.

Also, I was surprised by how many people it takes to make a book and get it out into the world. First, there’s all the work with your editor to shape the manuscript. There are also copyeditors and proofreaders who help clean up the writing on a line-by-line basis. Then there’s a whole team of people at the publisher who design the cover and pitch your book to booksellers (marketing and publicity) and, in my case (because it’s a kidlit book), teachers and librarians. My book is absolutely beautiful and I couldn’t have done it without the amazing Labyrinth Road team at Random House Children’s.

Promoting Your Book

8.  Did you do a pre-order campaign or something to celebrate your cover reveal? If so, what did you do? Were you happy with the response?

I did a cover reveal with the blog: From the Mixed Up Files of Middle Grade Authors. That was a lot of fun. My pre-order campaign is connected to my local bookstore, A Seat at the Table Books. Anyone who orders from them will receive a signed copy of the book, a bookmark, 2 exclusive stickers (a fox and a dragon—art by me) and a postcard with a world map of the Land of Haven. I’ve been really happy with the pre-orders!

9. How are you planning to market your book? What advice do you have for other authors getting ready to release their debut book?

My marketing was/is done on social media, and it’s been super low key. Really, I don’t ever want to seem like someone who’s being pushy to sell books. So for me, social media is all about making connections with authors and readers. I want to share my life as well as support other authors. And also talk about my book from time to time. There are other authors who take a more active/assertive approach by launching a street team, holding giveaways, etc, but that’s just not really my style. I don’t have the energy to go “all out” on social media. And that’s okay. You have to find what works for you.

10. I like your advice to find what works for you. What are you working on now?

I am currently wrapping up edits for book 2 of the Heroes of Havensong series and I’m really excited about it. There will be a lot of favorite characters returning as well as some fun new ones. I hope readers will enjoy the continued adventure with Blue, River, Wren, and Shenli.

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

Twitter: @MReyesWrites

Instagram: @MReyesWrites

Facebook: Facebook.com/MReyesWrites

Website: meganreyes.com

You can preorder **signed** copies of my book (plus get exclusive book swag) at my amazing local bookstore:

https://aseatatthetablebooks.org/item/ymASTSSKIbYnzxuyJGXC-Q

Or anywhere books are sold:

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/695558/heroes-of-havensong-dragonboy-by-megan-reyes/

Giveaway Details

Megan’s publisher is generously offering a hardback of giveaway of Heroes of Havensong: Dragonboy 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 February 4th. 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 Megan 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. This 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

Wednesday, February 1 I have an agent/debut author guest post with Claire Friedman and M.K. Lobb and a giveaway of M.K.’s YA fantasy/mystery Seven Faceless Saints

Thursday, February 2 I’m participating in the February Favorites Giveaway Hop

Monday, February 6 I have an agent spotlight interview with Lori Steel and a query critique giveaway

Monday, February 13 I have a guest post by Shawn Peters and a giveaway of book 1 or book 2 in his The Unforgettable Logan Foster series

Thursday, February 16 I’m participating in the Wish Big Giveaway Hop

Monday, February 20 I have an agent spotlight interview with Lori Steel and a query critique giveaway

Hope to see you on Wednesday, February 1!

 

26 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's a lot of queries.
I like that first line as well. Really pulls one into the story.

Carol Baldwin said...

First line is amazing. Thanks for all the info about plotting--it resonated with me. I shared on FB and Twitter and follow your blog.

Danielle H. said...

I'm excited to read your series and get to know these characters and dive into the world you built. I shared on tumblr, follow Natalie on Twitter, and the author on Facebook and Instagram: https://at.tumblr.com/yesreaderwriterpoetmusician/debut-author-interview-megan-reyes-and-heroes-of/3ah1gib9af5x

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I bought Cathrina's book, now I need time to read it!

Greg Pattridge said...

Great insights from Megan on her writing and publishing journey. An inspiration for others to keep on trying. The book sounds like it will be well received by readers. Thanks for featuring the interview on this week's MMGM.

Annmarie Weeks said...

I'd love to win this...thanks for the chance! I follow at amweeksoc at comcast dot net. And I tweeted here: https://twitter.com/amweeks00/status/1617599001012105216

Brenda said...

What a wonderful first line, really grabs your attention. Thanks for all the information on plotting.

Liz A. said...

I kind of plot like that--I need a good outline before I can start anything, but sometimes the characters will go off-script. It sounds like a fun book.

Fundy Blue said...

I enjoyed this interview a lot, Natalie and Megan. "Heroes of Havensong" sounds like a great kid lit book. It's always fascinating to me to read about a writer's journey from the beginning to publication. And congratulations to Cathrina on her new release.

Debbie Moeller said...

Congrats Megan! It sounds intriguing! I would love to win a copy of your book. Thank Natalie for a great interview.

Valinora Troy said...

Very interesting interview and the book sounds great (I would love to win a hardback but sadly not eligible!). Best of luck to Megan and I hope the book does really well!

Donna Weidner said...

I LOVE the first line!And thee entire premise. Congratulations Megan!

Cris Riedel said...

Megan, 200 queries, wow, what grand stamina you have! Thnks for the example you set, and the great story.

Sandra Cox said...

Sounds like a fascinating read.
'Lo, Natalie.

Patricia T. said...

Megan, your novel sounds enchanting. I love fantasy. And thank you for sharing the sentence that opened the door for your story to emerge. Very cool. Look forward to checking out your debut. And I enjoyed reading the interview about your journey to publication. Congratulations!

Christine K said...

The first line is terrific! I just ordered the book. Congrats!

Kasey @ The Story Sanctuary said...

This book sounds like so much fun! I love that it has four POVs. And that first line is fabulous. :) Thanks for sharing this interview!

Rosi said...

Thanks for an interesting interview. I will pass on the giveaway.

Angie Quantrell said...

Oh this sounds fun! Congrats!!

angelecolline at yahoo dot com

tetewa said...

Thanks for the opportunity, would love to get a copy!

Leela said...

I'm an email subscriber.

Kate Larkindale said...

Great first line! No wonder you wanted to write that book!

Deniz Bevan said...

Great interview! It's always inspiring to hear about the publishing journeys of other authors.

Congratulations to Cathrina (that is a gorgeous book cover!)!

Leela said...

I'm an email subscriber.

Aziza Evans said...

would love to win this book and I am an email subscriber

Yangmama said...

I can't wait for your book to hit shelves! I LOVE the opening line and it's already gotten me thinking about a few of my own WIPs. I also love your 4 main characters' names :) Congrats on the upcoming book birthday!