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: Megan Brennan and Kira and the (Maybe) Space Princess Giveaway

Happy Monday Everyone! Today I’m excited to have Megan Brennan here to share about her MG graphic novel Kira and the (Maybe) Space Princess. It sounds like a fun story that also tackles many issues middle graders go through. I don’t read many graphic novels, but this one looks like one I’d enjoy.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

Fashionable fights, flashy attacks, and friends that are out of this world! This wacky and funny graphic novel series is a love letter to manga fans. With a tongue in cheek humor and delightfully fun action scenes, this series is perfect for fans of Sailor Moon , Cardcaptor Sakura , and Katie the Catsitter.

There's nothing cooler than Magical Girls - pretty superheroes fighting villains with the power of friendship and glitter? What could be better than that! This year in middle school, Kira is going to be cool and popular and have SO many friends because she’s going to be a MAGICAL GIRL! ...Or not.

Frustrated beyond belief, Kira makes a wish on a shooting star that her life will change – and when Catacorn, a cat-unicorn-space-princess, crashes into Kira's backyard, it seems her wish has come true…kinda…maybe… Oh no. Is Kira's dream of being a Magical Girl really possible...or is Catacorn not really what she promises to be?

Follower News

Before I get to my interview with Megan, I have Follower News to share. Follower Elizabeth James has

a new chapter book release, Pippa Speaks Up. Here's a blurb: All Pippa wants to do is blend in at her new school—which isn’t easy when your mom’s new job is President of the United States!  But when her teacher assigns class speeches, Pippa's best-laid plans at blending in begin to crumble and she literally becomes sick to her stomach. She must learn to calm her anxieties and embrace the power of speaking up—before she not only flops the assignment but also buries her true feelings from everyone closest to her, including the President herself.

And here are a few links: 

https://youtu.be/VxEelHTfimM?si=A3r2YD7aG0H65xZm and www.elizabethjameswrites.com/pippa-speaks-up/

Interview With Megan Brennan

Hi Megan! Thanks so much for joining us.

1. Te ll us about yourself and how you became a writer.

I always loved writing and drawing, and spent a while as a teen trying make some kind of epic fantasy story, but never really got past the daydreaming stage! I ended up going to school at the School of Visual Arts in NYC and majoring in cartooning, because I knew I wanted to make comics (and luckily had parents who supported me in that). Getting to be in an environment that nurtured young creatives while also pushing them to improve was really helpful for me, because I lacked a lot of confidence in sharing the things I wanted to make.

 After graduation I made my own comics while trying to freelance – doing art assistant work and collaborating with people occasionally. Eventually, after posting my own comics online and doing some smaller jobs, I got a gig writing scripts for Boom! Studio’s Amazing World of Gumball graphic novels. Having to come up with ideas and write whole graphic novel scripts for a property I didn’t create was weirdly great for my growth as a writer! There was an existing framework of characters and world, so I had to focus only on making the plot make sense and feel engaging within that. I learned a lot about the process itself.

2. That’s great that your job helped you with your own writing. Where did you get the idea for Kira and the (Maybe) Space Princess?

It’s funny, I originally drew Kira and Catacorn in a 3 page tiny submission to a comic anthology focused on nostalgic shoujo comics (shoujo comics = Japanese comics aimed at young girls, the genre which magical girl stories like Sailor Moon, a huge inspiration for me and for the Kira books) called Hana Doki Kira. I had so much fun coming up with scenarios related to magical girl tropes! After I finished that little comic, I kept coming up with what might happen next. I ended up expanding to three short Magic Girls comics that I self-published over a few years.

Back in 2019 I was trying to pitch a completely different graphic novel that didn’t work out, with a pitch for Magic Girls as a graphic novel as kind of a backup plan. Of course, I ended up struggling with my other pitch, but Magic Girls was more fun and ended up being what Random House Graphic wanted anyway! I feel lucky that the comic I have fun making is the one that seems to also connect with people.

Your Writing Process

3. What is your plotting process like? Do you think this is different than for writers who are only writing the text and not illustrating the story too?

In some ways it’s different for sure, but I think the need to find some kind of structure under the creativity on is the same. Especially since I have to keep in mind that I need to make the drawing and planning process understandable to my editor, so she can see what’s going on.

I usually have to use my sketchbook to think about what should happen, and what kinds of visuals I want to include, but to make it all cohesive I have to make an outline. I think because my previous work in making a graphic novel was focused on the script, I am a little more intense about that stage of the book than some other comic artists. I have to write myself a really detailed outline to get my ideas in order. Some of this is because as I go into the thumbnail stage (rough sketched plans of all the pages) I end up tweaking things. Once you’re working visually, things sometimes come together differently than you planned! So I have to really know what I was intending to happen in each part of the book. But that kind of thing is what’s so magical about writing and drawing the comic myself.

I also have to step back and think a lot about how the reader will view each page objectively, if it makes sense from panel to panel, and if the way the page is set up will lead to reading things in the correct order. I guess a novelist wouldn’t have to think about that on each page!

4. It’s so interesting to learn about your plotting process and what you have to think about creating the graphics too. Writing a graphic novel that is a satisfying middle grade story sounds challenging because you’re telling it through a combination of illustrations and words. What are some of your tips for getting the balance right and telling a complete story?

I think you have to take advantage of each half of the medium - the potential for really funny or cool images, and the power of dialogue (or narration, though I don’t use this as often), and really embrace them. You don’t want to crowd up a page with a ton of text when an image could communicate the mood or action in a more effective way. The art is also part of telling the story, so while it’s more work, it also means I have another tool in my arsenal.

5. Share about how Kira developed as a character and three things you really like about her.

Honestly, the first version of Kira was really just a parody character! She was kind of a generic teenager, who just loved snacks and wanted to look cute. Which is definitely relatable, but I hadn’t given much thought to her as a whole character. The old version of the comic was all jokes. As I tried to expand it into a graphic novel, I ended up having to think of her as a person, what kind of kid she would be.

I like that she is really determined, and even though she is SO easily embarrassed, she still is pretty sure of who she is and what she wants. I like that she is also is really open to trying things, even if she might complain a little about it.

Your Road to Publication

6. Linda Camacho is your agent. How did she become your agent and what was your road to getting a publishing contract like?

Graphic novels usually require a kind of proof of concept packet/etc to communicate what the book will be, instead of an entire manuscript. Obviously it’ll vary with each publisher, but that seems pretty standard, in my experience. was really lucky, in that I had a version of my pitch in talks with Random House Graphic before talking to Linda! I already knew Whitney Leopard from comics shows and from working with her at Boom!, so we were in an ongoing conversation about pitching things. She wound up being interested in the Kira books! But I had to go on a panicked search for an agent to negotiate for me.

I had previously been trying to find an agent and didn’t hear back from anyone at the time. One of the agents I queried actually was Linda, but it was with a totally different comic pitch, that worked less well. Thankfully Linda was able to take me on when I emailed her that I had an offer and needed help with negotiating specifically, which I am so grateful for! I was interested in working with her because I knew a few of the other graphic novelists she works with, and I thought my work would fit on the same shelf, if that makes sense.

7. It’s cool that you had a connection with your publisher through your job. How long did Linda and you work on revising your manuscript before you went on submission? What are your tips on working with an agent on revisions?

Honestly I’m an anomaly and mostly skipped this stage of the process with this project! I’m interested myself in how it will work in the future. Linda has been great at helping me navigate all other complicated parts of the process and being a cheerleader.

My revision conversations are with my editor. I’m pretty open to making changes to my work, so I think trying to weigh what are necessary changes vs things that might cloud the vision I have for the story is the thing I keep trying to keep in mind. I want all the changes I make to make the overall story more clear and cohesive.

Promoting Your Book

8. How are you planning to promote your book after it is released? What advice do you have for other authors who have an upcoming release on marketing their book?

I’m planning on attending some comic festivals with my book, which will be an exciting way to meet readers and potentially get new readers who are seeing it for the first time! I’m on social media, and will be using that to talk about the book, but getting to see people in person and feel the enthusiasm for comics hits different.

9. What are you working on now?

I’m currently midway into the follow up to Kira and the (Maybe) Space Princess. I’m finally at the stage where I’m working on the final version of the line art (we call it inking), so the book is starting to feel real to me!

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Megan. You can find Megan at www.Megan-Brennan.com or on Bluesky under the username @MeganBrennan

Giveaway Details

Megan’s publisher is generously offering an ARC of Kira and the (Maybe) Space Princess 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 9th. If your email 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 ARC giveaway is U.S.

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

Upcoming Interviews, Guest Posts, and Blog Hops

Friday, March 1st I’m participating in the Lady Luck Giveaway Hop

Wednesday, March 6th I have an interview with author Rajani LaRocca and a giveaway of her MG fantasy Sona and The Golden Beasts and my IWSG post

Monday, March 11th I have an agent spotlight interview with Rebecca Lawrence and a query critique giveaway

Saturday, March 16th I’m participating in the Chasing Rainbows Giveaway Hop

Monday, March 18th I have an interview with debut author Anne Rellihan and a giveaway of her MG contemporary/mystery Not the Worst Friend in the World

Wednesday, March 20th I have an agent spotlight interview with Stuti Telidevara and a query critique giveaway

I hope to see you on Friday!



Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's cool it's a graphic novel.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

So interesting hearing how the submission and publication process works for graphic novelists!

Chris_Shestak_Author said...

I love hearing how we get to live our dream job!

Jacqui said...

There is so much to like about graphic novels. Thanks for sharing this.

Kate Larkindale said...

What a cool idea for a graphic novel!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I was sold at glitter!

The story sounds amazing. I'll have to put it my granddaughter's gift list.

Greg Pattridge said...

I'm reading more and more graphic novels. The MC and story line of this one should attract a lot of readers. Great interview and best of luck with the sequel.

Liz A. said...

It's a different sort of process, the graphic novel. But so many kiddos do better with reading when they have access to graphic novels. They're great for younger readers.

traveler said...

This is a wonderful graphic novel that my granddaughters would enjoy greatly.saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Rosi said...

Congrats to Elizabeth! The GN looks pretty cute. Interesting interview with Megan. Thanks for the post. I will pass on the giveaway. Buried in books.

Carol Baldwin said...

If I win this giveaway I know a few girls who would enjoy reading and reviewing it "Catacron" Is a fun name.

Sue said...

Sounds like a fun book.

Sandra Cox said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sandra Cox said...

Congrats to Elizabeth and Megan.
'Lo Natalie;)

Leela said...

I'm an email subscriber.

Valinora Troy said...

Great interview! It's always fascinating reading different paths to publication. Wishing Megan the very best of luck with her book, I hope it goes really well, I'd love to win a copy but unfortunately I am eligble!

Sue Heavenrich said...

what a fun interview. My kids loved to read Manga (and one still does!) and my D-I-L is definitely a superfan. This sounds like a tremendously fun story because who among us has NOT wished on a falling star (or coin or dandelion seed)?

debi o'neille said...

Thank you for sharing, and good luck to Megan on her book. Wonderful news.

E. T. Charles said...

Great interview. It's always nice to read about the creative process.

Annmarie Weeks said...

This looks like a good one! I know my niece would love it!

J.Q. Rose said...

Breathless as I read how busy Rajani is--doctor, mom, wife PLUS writing award winning books! She is dedicated. I think Sona would be a great character for my granddaughter to follow. I am curious to check out those graphic books. What a different reading experience. AS always, I enjoyed your jam-packed blog post. Have a Happy IWSG Day!!