Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Hillary Fazzari Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 4/22/2024
  • Miriam Cortinovis Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 5/6/2024
  • Jenniea Carter Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 5/8/2024
  • 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 6/24/2024

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.

Debut Author Interview: Jenna Voris and Made of Stars Giveaway and IWSG Post

Happy Wednesday Everyone! Today I’m excited to have debut author Jenna Voris here to share about her YA science fiction Made of Stars. It sounds like a well-plotted story with memorable characters that I’m excited to read.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads: 

Inspired by the lawless love story of Bonnie and Clyde, Jenna Voris's heart-stopping tale of passion and crime will have you seeing stars.

Shane and Ava are a team. He steals the aircraft, she charms their mark, and together they take what they need. Not even their distracting chemistry could get in the way. Until Shane was caught and left to rot on a prison moon. Now, freshly escaped from confinement and simmering with anger, he has his sights set on their biggest job yet.

Cyrus just graduated from the flight academy with a shiny new position lined up reporting to a well-respected general. On his very first assignment, he stops the outlaws in their tracks--or, he would have, if the annoyingly handsome Lark hadn't fallen for Ava's deception.

But when Shane uncovers a top-secret plot that would leave his home world at the mercy of Cyrus's military leaders, he makes it his mission to thwart them at all costs. It isn't long before Shane and Ava make interstellar headlines with each new heist. And thanks to a chance run-in with the rebels, Cyrus is caught between two versions of the truth. He must pick a side and fast. Because Shane and Ava will bring the planet to its knees...or die trying.


Before I get to Jenna’s interview I have my IWSG Post.

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!

The awesome co-hosts this month are: Diedre Knight, Tonya Drecker, Bish Denham, Olga Godim, and JQ Rose!

Optional Question: Have you ever read a line in a novel or a clever plot twist that caused you to have author envy?

I’ve definitely read many lines in novels and plot twists that have made me admire an author’s talents. I don’t know if I would describe the feeling as author envy. It’s more of an appreciation of how talented an author is. And yes, I wish I could write like my favorite authors and wish I could produce stories faster like other authors do.

But I’ve always been a reader at heart. So I’m mostly grateful when authors entertain me with their words and plots.

Do you feel envious of other authors?

Interview With Jenna Voris

Hi Jenna! Thanks so much for joining us.

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

Hello! I feel like a lot of people say that they always knew they wanted to be an author, but that wasn’t quite true for me, mostly because I didn’t think that “author” was a job real people could have. I ended up going to college for journalism and during the course of my degree, I realized beat reporting was never going to be for me. The rules felt too structured—as they should be when you’re reporting actual news—but I was so bored that I just started jotting down other story ideas during class and experimenting with structure in every assignment. The first book I ever wrote and completed was written partially during those journalism classes (sorry to every professor who had to put up with me) and after I graduated, I started pursuing publication more seriously.

2. That’s something that you were able to focus on writing your story while in college classes. Where did you get the idea for Made of Stars?

I’m a theatre kid (if you couldn’t tell be everything about me) and if you were a theatre kid in 2012, you were contractually obligated to be obsessed with Jeremy Jordan. He was in his peak Newsies era and he’d been in the Bonnie and Clyde Broadway musical a few years earlier. I had obviously listened to the cast recording in high school and was such a fan of the music. The summer before I was going to go back to grad school, I was querying my first (very bad) book and trying to figure out what to write next. One of the songs from the Bonnie and Clyde musical came on my Spotify shuffle as I was coming home from work and it just sort of clicked. I thought the story was interesting, there was a real historical framework for me to follow, and it had everything that I would want to read—danger, crime, betrayal, star-crossed lovers, political intrigue, etc. I went home, started writing, and these characters have lived rent free in my head ever since.

Your Writing Process

3. Were you a plotter or a punster when you wrote Made of Stars? Has your plotting process changed since you wrote this book? If so, how?

Made of Stars was the first book I ever tried to plot. It helped that I was drawing inspiration from real life events, so I had a timeline of things that had to happen in a certain order. Once I knew how to translate that into story structure (aka, what was the midpoint, what was the Act III break, etc) everything fell into place. That’s not to say it was easy—I’ve done a lot of revisions on this book since I started it in 2019, but I did complete the first draft a lot quicker than I had finished anything before and I think that’s mostly due to having some sort of roadmap to follow. I’m still not a huge plotter now. For me, writing is a process of getting to know your characters, so sometimes I don’t know what choices they would make unless I’ve jumped in and started writing, but I’m definitely more structured than I was before writing this book.

4. It sounds like we’re the same kind of plotters. Reviewers have said that your book is hard to put down. What did you do to make your story a page-turner? What advice do you have for other writers?

That’s so nice of them! I’m a big advocate of writing the book you want to read. You’re going to read your book more than anyone else and it should be enjoyable, even if parts of drafting/revising are hard to work through. When I was drafting Made of Stars, I made sure to include scenes and storylines that I was genuinely excited to write—whether it was the tense, romantic buildup to the first kiss or an interesting piece of worldbuilding. I really do love this book and hope that readers will be able to tell how much fun I had with these characters.

5. What was a challenge you faced in writing Made of Stars before or after you obtained an agent? How did you overcome the challenge, and what did you learn from the process?

I feel like this book and I have been through a lot together. It wasn’t the first book I wrote, but it was the first one that felt “good enough.” I’ve done a lot of big, developmental rewrites both with my agent and my editor that I don’t think 2019 Drafting Jenna would have been able to fathom. There are so many scenes and characters that ended up on the cutting room floor. It’s only now that I can look back and know that every change I made was for the best and only enhanced the story I was trying to tell in the first place. If there’s anything I’ve learned from this process, it’s to not be precious with your words and not be afraid to try something new.

Your Road to Publication

6. I so agree with you that it’s best not to think of your words as precious. Your agent is Claire Friedman. How did she become your agent, and what was your road to publication like?

I queried Made of Stars at the end of 2019 and into the beginning of 2020. During that time, I sent it to every agent on my query list and got exactly zero responses. The overall consensus was that YA sci-fi just wasn’t selling, which was great to hear as someone who had just spent a significant amount of time writing a YA sci-fi. I entered the Author Mentor Match program on a whim as my last hurrah for Made of Stars and I ended up getting in! I revised with my mentor and when I was ready to query again, I was more or less ready for it to go the same way. I had already queried my agent before Author Mentor Match and most agencies won’t accept the same manuscript unless it’s been significantly revised. My book had been revised, but the query and the opening chapters were still the same, so I just sent an email and hoped she didn’t remember ignoring my book three months earlier. Fortunately, it worked out!

7. How do you feel that working with your agent or editor strengthened your story?

Literally so much! I talked a bit about this earlier, but I did a significant revision with both my agent and my editor. They both had pretty big notes, which was super intimidating, but once they explained the vision and how it would work with the story, I couldn’t wait to try them out. Writing is such a solitary activity that I personally love the moments where it gets to be collaborative like that.


8. I noticed on your website that you have hired a publicist. How has hiring a publicist helped you market your book? Would you recommend that other debut authors hire one? Why?

I actually didn’t hire a publicist—the contact listed on my website is someone from my publishing house!

9. That’s cool that your publisher has a publicist working on your publicity. What other ways are you planning to promote your book?

Part of the reason I wanted to pursue traditional publication is because I knew I didn’t have the marketing/publicity skills to make it in self-publishing. The authors who do that are so incredibly badass and I simply don’t have the mental capacity to think about all the things they do. I’m lucky that I have a publicist at my publishing house.  

10. What are you working on now?

I’m working on revisions for my second book! It’s called Every Time You Hear That Song and it comes out in spring 2024. It’s a sapphic, coming of age road trip story about a girl who goes on a cross-country quest to find her favorite singer’s lost time capsule and I’m very excited for everyone to read it one day.

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

Twitter: @JennaVoris

Instagram: @JennaVoris


Giveaway Details

Jenna is generously offering a pre-order of Made of Stars 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 March 18th. 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 Jenna 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 International wherever the Book Depository ships for free.

Upcoming Interviews and Guest Posts

Tomorrow, March 2 I’m participating in the For the Love of Reading Giveaway Hop

Monday, March 6 I have an agent/author guest post by Lizz Nagle and J.A. Nielsen and a giveaway of J.A.’s YA fantasy The Claiming and a query critique giveaway by Lizz

Monday, March 13, I have an agent/author guest post by Sara Crow and Maria Jose Fitzgerald and a giveaway of Maria’s MG contemporary mystery Turtles of the Midnight Moon and a query critique giveaway by Sara

Thursday, March 16, I'm participating in the Chasing Rainbows Giveaway Hop

Monday, March 20 I have an agent spotlight interview with Kristen Terrette and a query critique giveaway

Monday, March 27 I’m doing a post about a scam authors need to watch out for

Hope to see you tomorrow!





Sonia dogra said...

I enjoyed reading about Jenna's journey. I agree that having a publisher who gives you a publicist or hiring one makes it so much easier for you.

Liza said...

Thank you, Natalie as always for the informative interview. I like the idea of "2019 Drafting Jenna" learning what it takes to make things even better.

Bish Denham said...

Interesting concept for a novel! I think I write novels in a similar way, a rough outline so I have a kind of road-map but leaves open the door for unplanned detours and side trips.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Yeah, I'm not sure envy would be the word I'd use either. More about their words making me want to grow my own talent.

C.D. Gallant-King said...

I gotta admit, you had me with that blurb... I was picturing Bonnie and Clyde - tommy guns, fedoras, rum-running - and then you hit me with moons and planets. I'm down.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Grateful of others' writing is much better than envy anyway.

Adrienne Reiter said...

Envy isn't the best word for it but I do remember a psychologist saying, "Follow your envy." I follow my allurements. I'm thankful for writers who inspire me. Happy IWSG Day!

Pat Garcia said...

I so agree. I have read many great lines, but it is purely a feeling of admiration when I read a line that stays with me. It has nothing to do with envy.
Shalom shalom

Cathrina Constantine said...

I guess I do feel envious of talented authors, and not in a mean way. I so wish I had such fabulous writing skills. And I also admire and respect and love those authors and their novels!

Tonja Drecker said...

Natalie- Appreciation is the word I'd use too. And Jenna's read sounds like a fun scifi read.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Natalie, I like the idea of saying I appreciate other authors instead of saying I envy them.

diedre Knight said...

Hi Natalie!

Made of Stars sounds like a great read. I like the premise.

If an epic line can capture a reader's heart, so too can it sharpen a writer's pen;-)

Rebecca M. Douglass said...

I am now debating if envy is the right word for how I feel about the immense gift of some writers. On some level, it is. I want to have that gift (though I admit that at this time of my life, I don’t want to work that hard, so I guess I’ve accepted being where and who I am). But I am also immensely grateful that I can read writers like Pratchett and Doig and others who leave me totally in awe of their skill.

I’m also now starting at Jenna’s line about having scenes you are really excited to write, and adding that to Jemima Pett’s post about feeling your characters’ emotions and I think I know what’s wrong with my book.

Loni Townsend said...

I agree with you! I feel appreciation, not envy.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Continue enjoying being the reader, Natalie.

Jenna is right. You will be the one who reads it more than anyone else. Except maybe your editor!

Computer Tutor said...

This sounds good. Thanks for sharing!

cleemckenzie said...

It's good to have a supportive agent. Makes a huge difference.

Kate Larkindale said...

Sounds like a fun read! Love the idea of Bonnie and Clyde in space.

Karen Baldwin said...

Always love hearing other author's road to publication. Thanks for sharing.

Olga Godim said...

Interesting interview.
I don't feel envious of other writers when I read their books. I admire them and feel grateful to them for giving me, a reader, so much pleasure with their stories.

Liz A. said...

You definitely don't want to hear the story you've spent years on is something people "aren't interested in". Glad to hear that wasn't truly the case.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I really like the idea of it being more about author appreciation and/or admiration then envy.

MCD said...

Thanks so much! This book sounds so interesting!

Victoria Marie Lees said...

Another great interview, Natalie. I always need to know where I'm going in my stories to move forward with them. And boy, do I understand the need to know how to market books.

Natalie, you have the better word about envying other writers. We admire what they have created, what they have accomplished. I didn't think of this when I wrote my answer to this month's question. Bravo to you!

Sandra Cox said...

Ooh, this sounds like an excellent read.
'Lo, Natalie;)

Carol Kilgore said...

I love reading great lines. I especially love stumbling upon them when I'm totally engrossed in story. That makes them extra special.

Jemi Fraser said...

I agree - I'm so grateful to authors who pull me into the stories and have me cheering for the characters!

Fundy Blue said...

Congratuationd on your debut book, Jenna. It sounds like a fun read. Your title grabbed me because we are literally made of stars. Natalie, I'm as much a reader as I am a writer. I just finished a great book called, "I See You" by Clare Mackintosh. I admired her excellent, tasty plotting. I learn much of what I know about writing from reading the books of others. Have a happy March!

Denise Covey said...

Hi Natalie! I'm in a ripping hurry so will have to come back to read through your interview. Actually I should set aside a day to read those I've missed! You do a great job and skimming isn't good enough.

Anonymous said...

More wanting to do the same as opposed to envy! caseygarvey74@gmail.com

Mary Preston said...

A great interview. I'm a reader, so no author envy here.


Shannon Lawrence said...

Nice to hear that some publishers still offer publicists! Great interview and a clever spin on the inspiration of Bonnie and Clyde.

Kimberly Yavorski said...

Terrific interview! Thanks

Anonymous said...


Carol Baldwin said...

Congratulations on your debut novel. Your publishing journey is encouraging!

Carol Baldwin said...

Congratulations on your debut novel! Carol Baldwin

Danielle H. said...

Congratulations on your exciting debut novel! It sounds exciting and the setting is amazing. I shared on tumblr, follow Natalie on Twitter and Instagram, and follow Jenna on Instagram https://at.tumblr.com/yesreaderwriterpoetmusician/debut-author-interview-jenna-voris-and-made-of/ayc2t5nuld4l

Jennifer Lane said...

I also very much appreciate being entertained by authors. Jenna's path from journalism to writing fiction made me laugh.

J.Q. Rose said...

Thanks for reminding us, we writers are readers. Sometimes I forget the pure joy of curling up with a book and escaping reality for a while.

Rosi said...

I must admit I have author envy often. But I also think those moments inspire me. Thanks for another interesting interview. I will pass on the giveaway.

emaginette said...

Like you, I'm not envious. It's more like full of admiration. :-)

Diane Burton said...

Most of us agree about admiration rather than envy. I'm in awe at times at the perfect description or unexpected twist.

Megan said...

Thank you for the giveaway of Made of Stars - I'd love to enter for a copy :)
I follow via Bloglovin' (ChickensGal), email is megan(dot)clarsach(at)gmail(dot)com :)
I also follow both of you on twitter and mentioned on twitter here: https://twitter.com/WordsThatStay1/status/1633558923973099520

Suzanne Diehl said...

I love the concept of this novel and love reading science fiction YA which is hard to find! I'd love to enter for a copy. :)

Melissa said...

Great interview!

(Sorry I missed making return visits for IWSG. My internet went out for over 40 hours.)