Bookish Interview: Rebecca Weston

Bookish Interview

Meet Rebecca Weston.

RebeccaWeston_RWL.jpg

Photo credit: Elizabeth Clark Photography

Hi Rebecca! Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi, thanks for having me! I started my publishing career as an editorial assistant at Random House Children’s Books. I was an editor there for eight years and was lucky enough to work on award-winning middle-grade and young adult novels. In December of 2016, my husband and I moved from New York City to Boston, and I started freelancing. A few months later, I founded Rebecca Weston Literary, LLC, an independent editing company. Currently, I edit middle-grade, young adult, and adult fiction, as well as memoir. I offer a wide range of services, from editorial letters focusing on big-picture aspects such as plotting, characters, and tone, to intricate line edits. I welcome writers at all stages in their careers, from those just starting out to published, seasoned veterans seeking a fresh set of eyes. I tailor each edit to fit the specific needs of each writer and to help writers develop their stories into the best versions of themselves. In addition to my editorial work, I am a co-host on the Writer’s Bone podcast, where I interview authors about their books and careers.

Website: http://www.rebeccawestonliterary.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rwestonliterary
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/rwestonliterary
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rwestonliterary

What is an average day like for an independent editor?
On a typical day, I am doing a combination of emailing, posting on social media, chatting on the phone with writers, and, my favorite and predominant activity: editing. I exercise first thing in the morning, which energizes me and helps me to focus. After breakfast, I check email, then get to work editing. I usually schedule author calls for the late morning or early afternoon, and I go for an afternoon walk most days. I like to get an early start and stop working before dinner, leaving my evenings free for reading published books, either related to manuscripts that I am editing or for my Writer’s Bone author interviews. Sometimes, I even find time to read just for fun!
Did you ever have a project that you struggled to connect with? If yes, how did you work through the roadblocks?
If I take on a project, that means that I have, on some level, connected with it and with the author’s vision for it. I always have had an active imagination and an overdose of empathy, so it isn’t difficult for me to connect with many different types of characters and stories. And, usually, I know fairly quickly what are the main areas that need work. I take notes and write my editorial letter with the aim of helping the author see what he or she needs to focus on and how to strengthen the manuscript. Once in a while, I notice a lot of little things that need work but not the overarching aspect that needs focus. When that happens, I set the project aside for however long I need—an hour or a day or two. When I take a break by going for a walk or working on another project, the ideas usually start coming to me pretty quickly.
You have the option of living in one of the books you edited for a day – what book would you pick?
Wow! Great question. Some of my favorite books involve scary or sad worlds, so I wouldn’t necessarily want to pick one of those. . . . I would have to say that, if I had the option of living in one of the books that I have edited, it would be Nate the Great and the Missing Birthday Snake. Well, the snake part isn’t great, but the world of Nate definitely is! The Nate the Great mystery series has existed since the 1970s, and the books all have been written or co-written by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat. A few years ago, I was lucky enough to get to edit the latest book in the series. Nate never ages, he always solves the mystery at hand, and he eats a lot of pancakes in the process. That is a world in which I would be happy to live.

Tell us about the experience of editing your first project and later seeing it published.
The first book that I acquired at Random House was Black Radishes by Susan Lynn Meyer. Editing this beautifully written, poignant novel was an honor and a wonderful experience from start to finish. The author is a really talented writer, and we are both obsessive perfectionists. We spent hours on the phone and over email, going back and forth about everything from plotting to commas. I was quite proud when the book was published and went on to win a Sydney Taylor Honor Award.

Share a daily routine fact that helps you focus.
I practice Pilates and walk, which are great ways to start and break up the day, reenergize, and refocus. Checking email or social media is not a break! I am working on checking email only three times a day . . . “working on” being the operative words.

What made you decide to start your own company and go independent? What challenges and joys have you experienced along the way?
I left Random House because I needed to give my arms time to heal from three repetitive strain injuries that I had developed from overuse on the job. It was really hard to leave my talented Random House authors and colleagues alike, but I am incredibly happy with how things turned out. I love working for myself, setting my own hours, and spending the majority of my day editing and chatting with writers about their stories. I am so grateful for the work that I get to do every day.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?
Writing is a solitary profession—to a point. It is important to know when to take a step back and share your manuscript with someone else. There always are things that you miss when you are too close to the story, and it is essential to get feedback before submitting to agents. You don’t necessarily need to find a professional editor. You can join a writing group, or find a friend who will be brutally honest. If you do want a professional set of eyes on your manuscript before reaching out to agents, or during that agent-hunting process, don’t hesitate to reach out! I’d be happy jump on the phone, listen to your vision for your project, and go from there. You can find out more about me, my independent editing company, and the editorial services that I provide at http://www.rebeccawestonliterary.com, where you can also listen to my Writer’s Bone interviews. And please follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @rwestonliterary. I look forward to connecting!
Thank you so much for your interest in my work! It was fun thinking about these different aspects of my job. See you around the online publishing community!

Meet Freelance Illustrator Nicole Tealdeal

Bookish Interview, Interview

Meet Nicole Tealdeal

Screen Shot 2018-06-25 at 9.33.16 AM

I am a 26 year old teacher,  book-loving fangirl, and now a freelance illustrator. I’ve been drawing since I was a child, and digitally painting since I was a tween.  I use photoshop and a Wacom intuos to paint images from my favorite books and creators. I live in the country, and am astray cat a person. Meaning I snuck into my fair share of pastures to read and eat home-made buttermilk biscuits. I have two dog and a cat and spend what free time I have volunteering/fostering for my local Humane Society.

Social media links
https://twitter.com/tealideal
https://www.instagram.com/blogtealdeal/
https://blogtealdeal.tumblr.com/

 

The Interview

What was your very first illustration? Share with us about the illustrator part of you.

My first illustration, that I can recall, was a graphite drawing of a young  girl with a head-sized pearl leading a giant koi from the Sea.  I had just read the Old Man and the Sea.  I have always had a deep fear of catfish and carp. Giant things that lay in the mud ready to swallow up a young girl with her toes in the slime. (My love of monsters and jewelry has only grown.)

 

What was your first fandom illustration? Share with us about the fangirl part of you.

Oh lord, it was probably Sailor Moon? But, in as far as me spending any real time- I believe it was ACOTAR related. I’d never been a part of a book fandom before that and it was so active. I made it to thank a fanfic writer. I do that often.  I enjoy showering writers I appreciate with fanart ranging from doodles to full on illustrations. I deeply believe in thanking creatives, and in return I always find myself friends with at least a few writers.

 

When did you open your shop? How did you handle the nerves + business side of things?

My first shop was opened January of this year. At the urging of one of those fanfic writers who I had been plying with gifts.  Before then I hadn’t even considered taking commissions let alone selling anything. I’m quite new to all of this.  But, after I made a significant amount of sales at my society 6 shop, I decided to move to Inprnt because the profit margins on prints was significantly better.

I’m still figuring out the freelance business and initially charged far too little. Which is a mistake many artists make starting out. Joining with an online artist/book community helped me navigate how to approach commissions, rights, licensing, etc.

Most importantly to me, is that I have other sources of income that help me keep the freelance pursuit less pressured and more able to be directed my decision instead of desperation. Variety is the spice of my life.

 

Tell us about what an average (or maybe not so average) day of being a freelancer is like.

First thing is walking dogs and answering emails with a strong bit of tea and my cellphone. Then I go to teach.  Something that brings me endless joy. When I get home, I play with the pups again and tidy the house. This helps me clean my head and get some physical activity in before freelance work.  I get some lunch and settle in for paintings and answering emails. I usually have an audiobook playing. This is usually a 3 hours working/ 1 hour walking the dogs/ taking a visual break schedule.  I find that Breaks let your brain do some back-burner processing. Plus my dogs are tempting as sin, and never fell to encourage me into our sunny yard.  I like keeping busy, but I need a turntable of things to rotate through, so I don’t stagnate.

I fangirl over your illustrations ever since I came across your Twitter! Any WIPs that you are able to share?

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What has been your favorite and least favorite experience so far since starting your freelancing and illustrating journeys?

Early on I was commissioned by one of my favorite authors, Rosamund Hodge, to do character portraits for one of her novels. That was hands-down one of the most surreal freelancing moments. One of my worst experiences was brought about by my own inexperience. I did not ask for payment up front and ended up working 8 hours on something that was never paid for. In those moments you feel quite foolish.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?

Creative community is essential. I talk about pricing, hours/ work schedule, critique and books with my art friends. It’s very relieving and eye-opening.  Please find those in your orbit and unite.  By that I mean, don’t always be looking up at artists further in their careers.  Instead Pull your face down and lift your mutuals up who may very well be wrestling with the same problems as you.

Interview: Anaphora Literary Press Says Hello From Director Anna Faktorovich

Author Interview

anna f.pngMeet Anna Faktorovich.

Anna Faktorovich is the Director and Founder of the Anaphora Literary Press. She previously taught for over four years at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and the Middle Georgia State College. She has a Ph.D. in English Literature and Criticism, an MA in Comparative Literature, and a BA in Economics. She published two academic books with McFarland: Rebellion as Genre in the Novels of Scott, Dickens and Stevenson (2013) and The Formulas of Popular Fiction: Elements of Fantasy, Science Fiction, Romance, Religious and Mystery Novels (2014). She published a poetry collection, Improvisational Arguments (Fomite Press, 2011). She published two fantasy novellas with Grim’s Labyrinth Publishing: The Great Love of Queen Margaret, the Vampire (2014) and The Campaigns against the Olden: Kingdoms of Laruta (2014). She has been editing and writing for the independent, tri-annual Pennsylvania Literary Journal since 2009, and started the second Anaphora periodical, Cinematic Codes Review in 2016. She has presented her research at the MLA, SAMLA, EAPSU, SWWC, BWWC and many other conferences. And she won the MLA Bibliography, Kentucky Historical Society and Brown University Military Collection fellowships.

Social Media Links:
https://www.facebook.com/anna.faktorovich
https://www.linkedin.com/in/anna-faktorovich-6063812b
https://twitter.com/AnnaFaktorovich

 

The Interview.

What is the origin story for Anaphora Literary Press? A brief bio works too!
Anaphora began when I applied for an Editorial Assistantship with a scholarly journal at my PhD program in 2009, but did not receive this post, instead winning a general Research Assistantship. I realized that I had to create a job for myself if I believed I could do superior work rather than waiting for somebody else to judge me as worthy. So, I posted a call for papers for the first issue of the Pennsylvania Literary Journal, and submissions immediately started pouring in. In the first year, I started receiving some book-length submissions without asking for them and decided to start helping writers publish their books.
Share with us a little bit about the services you offer and why you specifically picked those specialties to promote and assist writers with.
Anaphora is a general press and the services offered are a full range of services that writers need to successfully publish their books. The model came about when writers started purchasing copies of their books for resale. I realized that with help from this purchase, I could invest more time and money into each new release. Writers buy 50 copies at 25% off the cover price ($15-25). If they sell these at readings or the like at the full price, they make a 25% profit. Books sold through a distributor make a 50% royalty for the author. The need to sell books usually energizes a new release as a writer schedules many of these at libraries, bookstores, in the home and the like. My goal is to provide an all-inclusive package that leaves the writer with a profit. Some of the services included in this package are: formatting (soft and hard cover and EBSCO, ProQuest and Kindle ebooks); editing; proofreading; design (cover, interior); image (graphics, photographs) editing and creation; ISBN and LCCN assignment; title setup with the printer/ distributor (and payment of Ingram’s distribution fees); distribution/ sales processing; marketing; advertisement and merchandise design; electronic distribution of review copies to individual review forms on websites and an email distribution to over 10,000 reviewers, librarians, academics and other parties; processing print review copy mailings; LookInside submission, creation of an author page on the Anaphora website; print catalog mailing; exhibit display design and manning; and YouTube book trailer audio and visual design and distribution. Based on my research into publishing, these are the most important and relevant services that help writers make and sell top-quality books. If a writer informs me of a service he or she would like me to provide that is not currently available, I usually help them out, and if it’s a service that is relevant (and helpful) for all of the authors I publish, I add it to the standard list of services.
Has your experience starting as an academic press helped you grow into what you are today? Did it hinder you in any way?
I started Anaphora with the Pennsylvania Literary Journal, which was in part a scholarly and in part a literary or even general interest periodical. I don’t believe in narrowing the types of books I offer for the sake of having a story I can tell about what kind of press Anaphora is. I believe there are good books in all genres and book categories (non-fiction, fiction, poetry), and I want to share all of them with the world. Many new presses pick a focus like “feminist” or “liberal” or “African American” or “western”. This is particularly common among non-profit publishers who need this focus to explain which underrepresented category of writers needs their assistance. Since Anaphora is fully self-funded through the copies authors purchase, there is no incentive to narrow the focus in this way. I am considering starting a non-profit branch to Anaphora and perhaps there a general focus would be a hindrance, so I might come up with a narrow field of exploration.
Share a fun fact about your journal!
My periodicals, Pennsylvania Literary Journal and Cinematic Codes Review, accept around 80% of the projects that are submitted to them. There are no submission or publication fees. So, if you want to be published and you’ve written something you are proud of, email it to director@anaphoraliterary.com with a paragraph biography, and it will probably find a home.
What was the first book you published?
I believe the first single-author book Anaphora released is Lynn Clarke’s Evidence and Judgment in 2010. Clarke is a successful lawyer in Charleston, West Virginia, and she has since published a second book in this legal thriller series with Anaphora.
Is there any future projects that you can share with us today?
I don’t keep any secrets. I advertise all forthcoming books on the Anaphora website and on my social media. I usually wait to post about a new release until the editing is completed and I have at least a preliminary cover I can post on the author’s page. As far as my own books, I am currently editing a procedural mystery, and just started writing my first science fiction novel. I recently “resigned” from academia via cash purchasing a tiny house, so now I have little overhead, and can focus on my writing and publishing more fully. So, I hope to release even more of my books in the coming years than I have in the past.
Is there anything you’d like to share with the readers today?
You are all warmly invited to submit your books for publication with Anaphora. Each new purchase of books is a contribution to my variety of a funding campaign: I can spend another month doing nothing but art and writing on a single new release. More importantly, I hope Anaphora helps writers who might otherwise be screened out as unmarketable see their books released into the world. The top canonized authors (Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf, Sir Walter Scott) all self-published, and even though the term self-publishing is a misnomer (as few of us truly publish ourselves), the concept of independent, entrepreneurial self-promotion via self-publication can only be a good thing in this troubled world that we live in.

Interview with Olivia Van Ledtje

Bookish Interview
*Disclaimer: Permission to interview and feature Olivia on A New Look On Books was given by her mother Cynthia Merrill.

 

Meet Olivia Van Ledtje.

Olivia (aka LivBit) is a 10-year old reader, thinker, and kids’ voice believer. She is smart about all things shark and hopes to be a future ichthyologist. Olivia is an ambassador for the Gills Club, an organization promoting girls in science through inquiry-based experiences meant to grow enthusiasm and activism for sharks. She is also a passionate advocate for books and using social media to promote digital citizenship, voice and audience. Olivia’s work on LivBits has been featured all over the world, including conferences in Taiwan, Singapore, and England. She was so excited to be included as a keynote speaker and voice for kids using social media at the Digital Citizenship Summit at Twitter Headquarters. She’s been honored to present with accomplished authors at national conferences across the country, including NCTE, ASCD, ISTE, and ILA. Handpicked by Alan November, she was the youngest kid keynote at his 2017 international Building Learning Communities (BLC) conference in Boston, MA. Since then, Liv has become a seasoned kid keynoter, speaking all over the country about book activism, digital citizenship, and using tech for good. Her new podcast, The KidLit Show is produced by Panoply in NYC, and featured in their Pinna app. Olivia looks forward to more opportunities working with authors and organizations that share her drive to promote reading, thinking, and digital citizenship for kids. Connect with Olivia on her social media accounts (Twitter and Instagram) @thelivbits or by visiting her website: www.theLivBits.com

 

Onto the interview!

Congrats on your upcoming podcast: The KidLit Show! Tell me the story behind its creation and what inspired you the most when it became real.

Thank you so much! I am soooooo excited for my show! I actually got this opportunity from my social media presence — that’s how the people at Pinna found me. I received an email about the work I was doing for LivBits, and they asked if I would consider doing a podcast. I got to meet with the Pinna people in NYC, and before I knew it, I had my own show! So, the truth is The KidLit Show was very influenced by my LivBit work!

The show is created by my awesome producer, Hannah Cope. She and I collaborate on the scripts. I write the author questions and the Liv’s Lists. Hannah creates the themes for the show based on books I love. I contacted most of the authors to see if they’d be interested in talking with me. I feel really proud that so many of them were willing to be on the show. I really hope I get to do the KidLit show for A LOT of years, so I can share my thinking about LOTS of books!

One of my favorite things about the podcast is the theme music! I think as soon as anyone hears it, they will automatically feel happy! I also LOVED doing the “kids on the block” segments. It was fun talking with real kids about their reading lives, and honestly, I never knew what they were going to say. We got some pretty hysterical responses!

You will also learn loads of fun facts about the featured authors. Who knew Booki Vivat can’t ride a bike because she has bad balance or that Kate DiCamillo can’t braid? Listening to this podcast will give you sooooo many cool fun facts about authors you love!

 

When did you know you wanted to help other kids connect with books and promote digital literacy through becoming LivBit?

I started LivBits in February, 2016 almost two years ago when I was eight years old. My mum is a staff developer, and she was working with teachers to have kids use devices creating videos about their thinking. The project was called the Selfie Center, and I was sooooo inspired, I decided to make my own. I call my selfie videos,  LivBits because they are a little bit of me Liv, and a little bit of my thinking, Bits. Put it altogether and you have LivBits!

I really wanted to have an audience outside of just my family, so my mum suggested posting them on Instagram. As soon as I started posting, I got more and more followers, and incredible feedback that motivated me to read more books and make more LivBits! Shortly after that, I went to a technology conference where my mum was scheduled to present about the selfie center. I was lucky she let me share about LivBits too. That conference was life changing! Not only did I get a standing ovation, I also met incredible people who began using and sharing my work even more widely! The truth is, all kids need are grown ups who believe and encourage them. When kids have this, they can change the world!

I call myself a book activist. I want to encourage and inspire kids to read and think more. I want kids to know that reading can change their lives. I want them to know reading can help them care more about the world. I want them to know authors give us things to think about in books that can change us for the better. I want kids to know their stories matter.

 

Do you have a favorite book, author, or series? If yes, have you gotten a chance to meet the author in person yet?

This is a really, really HARD question for me to answer, because I LOVE so many different genres and authors! But, just recently, I met Victoria Jamieson, the author of the graphic novel Roller GIrl. I felt so lucky to be able to have a drawing lesson from her AND hear her speak about how she became a writer. She is also the first author to ever communicate with me on social media, and it motivated me SO MUCH to keep reading and creating.

I am a HUGE nonfiction reader, and I have a great friendship online with Seymour Simon. He’s the author of SO MANY incredible non-fiction books for kids. He’s written about pretty much EVERYTHING! My dream is to interview him on my podcast, because I think kids will be so excited to hear from an author who writes about cool topics like earthquakes, sharks, and the desert.

I think listeners can assume that any author I talk with on my podcast is a favorite! I got to talk with them about their books, their writing process, and things they love! I think listeners will enjoy the flow and the content of every show, and I promise, you’ll have books to add to your reading stack!

 

What is one thing you want your audience to know about you as LivBit and your digital literacy inspirations?

I’d love for my audience to look at my work and say, “Wow! Kids can do amazing things!” I also really want the world to know KIDS CAN TEACH US! We can do really HARD things if we are encouraged by others.

I want people to feel happy when they see things I create. I hope my work shows the joy I feel for reading, thinking, and life. I hope kids look at my work and feel inspired to try making their own Bits.

Anytime I post, I am telling my story to the world. I want my story to be one that is inspirational, motivating, creative, and unique. My work is always a reflection of my citizenship both online and off. I hope people feel happy when they see my posts, but also eager for what comes next in my LivBit story.

LivBits has changed my life. It’s given me opportunities to learn and grow from people all over the world. I am a better kid because of my LivBit experiences.

 

Is there anything you’d like to share with the readers today?

I think it’s really powerful to remember, your reading life can remind you to be hopeful during hard times. Reading stories can help you wonder more about the world. Stories can carry you through challenges and help you feel brave. Books can ignite your passions and motivate you to stand for a cause that matters. Every single kid in the world deserves to be part of a reading community that helps them feel important and wanted.

I wish everyone so many happy stories! I hope you keep reading and keep thinking about things you love. I hope you connect with people who encourage you to grow your ideas. But, most of all, I wish you reading experiences that make your heartbeep in ways you never dreamed possible.

 

Thank you Liv for stopping by!

Stay tuned for The KidLit Show coming soon!

 

Reign of the Fallen Blog Tour: Interview with Sarah Glenn Marsh

Author Interview, Blog Tour

reign of the fallen cover.jpgBOOK DESCRIPTION

 “This edgy fantasy doesn’t just blur boundaries of genre, of gender, of past and present, life and death–it explodes them.” –Cinda Williams Chima, New York Timesbestselling author of The Seven Realms and The Shattered Realms
Without the dead, she’d be no one.

Odessa is one of Karthia’s master necromancers, catering to the kingdom’s ruling Dead. Whenever a noble dies, it’s Odessa’s job to raise them by retrieving their soul from a dreamy and dangerous shadow world called the Deadlands. But there is a cost to being raised: the Dead must remain shrouded. If even a hint of flesh is exposed, a grotesque transformation begins, turning the Dead into terrifying, bloodthirsty Shades.

A dramatic uptick in Shade attacks raises suspicions and fears around the kingdom. Soon, a crushing loss of one of her closest companions leaves Odessa shattered, and reveals a disturbing conspiracy in Karthia: Someone is intentionally creating Shades by tearing shrouds from the Dead–and training them to attack. Odessa is forced to contemplate a terrifying question: What if her magic is the weapon that brings the kingdom to its knees?

Fighting alongside her fellow mages–and a powerful girl as enthralling as she is infuriating–Odessa must untangle the gruesome plot to destroy Karthia before the Shades take everything she loves.

sarah glenn marsh

AUTHOR BIO


Sarah Glenn Marsh has been an avid fantasy reader from the day her dad handed her a copy of The Hobbit and promised it would change her life; she’s been making up words and worlds ever since. When she’s not writing, Sarah enjoys painting, ghost hunting, traveling, and all things nerdy.
She lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband and their menagerie: four rescued greyhounds, a bird, and many fish. She is the author ofFear the Drowning Deepand Reign of the Fallen.

An Interview With Sarah Glenn Marsh

When you created Meredy were you worried readers would only see her as Evander’s little sister?
Had Meredy been younger and less sure of herself, or had she shared Evander’s magical gift of necromancy, that might have been a problem. But since she’s only a year younger than Odessa, and she’s the youngest beast master in a century—she wants you to know that little fact, since she worked hard to complete her studies and earn her title a year ahead of time!—she comes onto the scene as her own person, confident in who she is outside of her family (it also helps that her magical studies meant being away from her family for large periods of time, spanning years). If Evander ever cast a shadow over her, she’d shove him to the side so they could share the spotlight—and I have no doubts that he’d share it gladly!
I mean, we’re talking about the girl who watched her older sister become a beast master by bonding with greyhounds, and vowed to one-up her by bonding with a grizzly bear. Meredy is an original, different from both of her siblings through and through!
How did you come up with the rules of Death in Reign? Did any specific story or research inspire/influence you? Because to me the Dead are really zombies with manners.
The Greek myth of Orpheus was my biggest inspiration for how the Dead in Reign came to be. In the story, Orpheus tries to rescue his wife from the underworld, and is told he may bring her back to the living world only if he doesn’t look at her on the journey. But he can’t help the impulse, and he loses her forever. That’s how I decided that the Dead (that is, spirits who have been returned to their bodies by necromancers) in my story would have to wear shrouds when they’re in the living world; if anyone happens to catch even a glimpse of the flesh beneath, they become vicious monsters called Shades.
I then built on this idea by researching the Greek underworld (a big part of the inspiration for the Deadlands, the spirits’ world in Reign), and reading about how various cultures and religions view death, their mythology and rituals around it. While not every bit of what I researched made it into the final book, it’s all in my notebook that contains the world of Reign, and inside it you’ll find influences from all over!
Of course, a few tidbits came from my own imagination, such as the ritual of using milk, blood, and honey in the act of raising the dead.
Did you have trouble deciding on how the social classes would be handle in Reign since some of the kingdom’s members are… well, dead?
It was definitely something I gave a lot of careful thought to while world building! Since the Dead are in charge, it made sense for necromancers to be elevated to a sort of celebrity status, essentially, since they’re the ones who make the reign of the Dead possible in the first place. This line of thinking also gave me the idea for rogue necromancers, called “Shade baiters” in the book—unsavory people with blue eyes who claim they can raise the dead, wanting to make a quick coin off of the unsuspecting. Of course, those who choose to use their services most often wind up dead themselves…
Do you believe in second chances at love? It would seem your characters do.
Absolutely. I have loved, I am in love, and there are certain people I’ll always love—I’d say that’s human nature, and I think Odessa would back me up there.

There are different levels of relationships explored in Reign, from personal to professional to romantic. What was your favorite relationship to explore as it came to life during writing?
One of my favorites—I have many!—was Odessa and Valoria’s friendship. These two characters are both badasses in their own right- one, a celebrated necromancer and the other, a daring inventor in a land that fears change. The respect they come to have for each other as the story progresses was amazing to experience along with them. One of my favorite moments in their budding friendship is when Odessa, despite being hesitant about new ideas, encourages something Valoria has been building in secret up in her tower room. These two always have each other’s backs, even if they don’t always agree. I’d love to see even more strong female friendships in YA, and I have the feeling 2018 is going to deliver…!
Sparrow is in a dark place throughout the novel. Did you worry that it could negatively affect your readers?
For sure. I hope that pearly pink cover isn’t too deceiving about the darkness within! One precaution I took was to issue a trigger warning on Goodreads from my author account. I care deeply about the health and safety of readers. I want anyone who picks this book up to know ahead of time that it deals with violence, death and loss, and somewhat lengthy depictions of addiction.
If that content warning doesn’t deter you as a reader, however, I promise that the book’s message is a hopeful one, and that I would never end a story on a grim note. …At least, I haven’t yet!
What was one of the most important things you struggled to convey to your readers?
One thing that was challenging about writing Reign was staying in Odessa’s POV at all times! I wanted to convey so many things about, for instance, King Wylding’s past, or to show more of Simeon and Danial’s relationship, but I’m convinced that staying within Odessa’s POV was the right choice for this story. We need to be in her head for those pivotal spoilery moments, and the results of said spoilers are more deeply and immediately felt when we’re experiencing them through her gaze.
Change and the fear of change are so important in Reign. What made you decide to use change as your central theme?
Focusing on change seemed like a natural fit because of having the Dead walking around, running the kingdom. Death is a stagnant state, a final state in which there is no change, so it seemed only natural that my reanimated people would fear it.
Also, on a more personal note, change is something I struggle with at times. I’m the type of person who saves every card I’ve ever been sent. I have a very hard time letting go. So while this book is intended purely as entertainment, drafting it was helpful to me in working through my own mixed feelings toward certain types of change (like my grandparents getting older). At the same time, there are some changes I wish everyone today would embrace, and I think that’s reflected in the story, too.
Is there anything else you’d like to share or say?
When I set out to write Reign, it was still early in 2016. I had no idea that it would feel so relevant in 2018, and yet here we are. I have no illusions about changing anyone’s viewpoint on anything through this book- if you choose to pick it up, you’re probably a like-minded individual already- however, I do hope the book’s message will serve as a reminder to at least one person to strive for a better future. A reminder that change is a part of who we are. This is me hoping for many positive changes in 2018.
Oh, and this book has a grizzly bear in it. You’ve been warned!

BONUS: I have such a crush on Jax! Can you tell me more about him and how he came to be?
Why, Jax would love to tell you about himself! He’s more than just his own biggest fan—he’s a Gryffindor at heart, truly brave. Like many necromancers, he’s an orphan (they tend to be the best people for the job of journeying to the spirit world, since there aren’t loved ones waiting for them there, trying to lure them into staying forever…) with a tragic past—a past that is revealed in detail in book two, so you’ll have to stay tuned! Jax has a lot of anger, but he also loves to laugh. That’s probably why he’s been best friends with Evander and Simeon for so long. He also has several tattoos, and while he’d love to stay and chat and give you a list of them, I’ve got to get going! 😉

Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog today, Rae! And don’t forget to bring your own pet grizzly bear with you on your next trip to Karthia. You never know when you’ll need all that muscle and claw to back you up!

Penguin Random House Blog Tour Schedule

WEEK ONE
January 8A New Look on Books – Interview
January 9YA Books Central – A List of “Top 5″ of her choice (Potential Topic Ideas: movies she loves, things a reader would need, what a reader would need to survive in her book’s world)
January 10The Fandom – “Meet the Characters” Breakdown with pictures
January 11Twinning for Books – Q&A
January 12Becca’s Book Realm – Q&A
WEEK TWO
January 15Reader Rewind – Mini Review and Q&A on Instagram Page
January 16The Quirky Book Nerd – Review
January 17Once Upon a Twilight – Review + Q&A
January 18BookCrushin – Review
January 19BigScreenBooks – Review and included in your “Most Anticipated January Release” video.
WEEK THREE
January 22The Novel Knight – Review
January 23Across the Word – Q&A
January 24The Lovely Books – Review
January 25Adventures in YA Publishing – Interview (already done)
January 26The Royal Polar Bear Reads – Author Interview Spot
WEEK FOUR
January 29Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Review
January 30Good Choice Reading – Excerpt (and Review)
January 31 – Queership – Author Guest Post: The Reimagining of zombies and necromancy and what reading something that reinvisioned death in this way would have meant to her as a teen?
February 1Megan Write Now – Interview
February 2 –   The Life of a Booknerd Addict – Review and Banners with quotes
February 3Nocturnal Reads – Short Q&A

 

Thank you for stopping by!

Interview with Agent Sara Megibow

Author Interview

Meet Sara Megibow.

SaraMegibow_byKateTesterman

Sara Megibow is a literary agent with KT Literary in Highlands Ranch, CO. She has eleven years experience in publishing and specializes in working with authors who write middle grade and young adult fiction, romance novels and science fiction/ fantasy for the adult market. She represents New York Times bestselling authors including Margaret Rogerson (AN ENCHANTMENT OF RAVENS), Jason Hough (THE DARWIN ELEVATOR), Roni Loren (THE ONES WHO GOT AWAY) and Jaleigh Johnson (THE DOOR TO THE LOST). Sara is LGBTQ+ Friendly and speaks around the country at publishing events. Member of AAR, SCBWI, RWA and SFWA.

Social Media Links:

Sara Megibow on Publishers Marketplace:
https://www.publishersmarketplace.com/members/SaraMegibow/

On Twitter @SaraMegibow

On Manuscript Wish List:
http://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/mswl-post/sara-megibow/

KT Literary website:
http://www.ktliterary.com

KT Literary blog:
http://ktliterary.com/daphne/

 

Q: Tell us your story of how you got in to book publishing. First in five word or less and then however much you see fit.

A: Thanks for inviting me to this interview! How I got in to book publishing in five words or less =

Inspired By Authors And Bookstores!

Now, the slightly longer story…

I graduated from Northwestern University in 1996 with BAs in women’s studies, gender studies and American History. That was during the dot com boom and I spent the next decade as a corporate trainer, sales rep and process specialist at various tech companies. When those companies all went out of business, I decided to make a career change and pursue something I loved – namely book publishing.

As an agent, I’m an advocate for authors and I love my job! My husband is a musician and he was my inspiration for moving from tech to books – I wanted to be the kind of agent that his band needed in those early years.

 

Q: Can you tell us about any current projects in the works?

A. Of course! Thanks for asking!

I represent 39 clients right now. We had 37 book releases in 2017 and (so far) have 45 book releases scheduled for 2018. Margaret Rogerson’s AN ENCHANTMENT OF RAVENS just debuted at #5 on the New York Times bestseller list and Spencer Ellsworth’s A RED PEACE has been nominated for the prestigious Compton Crook Award. We’re always very, very busy and excited about upcoming projects.

Here are some exciting tidbits to share:

Just today I saw the final cover for WHAT GOES UP by debut author Wen Baragrey. This is a sweet middle grade novel releasing next fall from Random House Children’s – I’m VERY excited about it!
http://www.wenbaragrey.com

Last Friday I found out the THE TIGER’S DAUGHTER by K Arsenault Rivera debuted on the SCIBA Indie Regional Bestseller list. How exciting! K is another debut author and THE TIGER’S DAUGHTER is a queer epic fantasy written primarily in second person. The book has earned starred reviews and gotten tons of attention and we couldn’t be more proud of this book launch!
http://www.karsenaultrivera.com

Coming in January 2018, New York Times bestselling author Roni Loren launches the first book in her new contemporary romance series. I met with Roni’s editor two weeks ago and we were glowing with happiness – booksellers are excited! Readers are excited! Reviewers are loving this book! I can’t wait to get THE ONES WHO GOT AWAY out to the world!
http://www.roniloren.com

For more agency/ author news, check out the KT Literary blog:
http://ktliterary.com/daphne/

 

Q. What does your average day look like?

A. The most common misconception about agents is that we spend all day reading. Alas, that couldn’t be further from the truth. I receive 75-100 queries (submissions) per day but reading them only takes me about 30 minutes. The other 7+ hours per day are spent serving my current clients.

My day is spent submitting books to editors, negotiating contracts, auditing royalty statements, making payments, shopping and negotiating audiobook deals and translation deals, shopping and closing Hollywood deals, managing publicity and promotions, tracking delivery dates and book release dates and answering emails.

Clients have all sorts of questions every day like “can I show my cover to the public yet?” and “what should I work on while I’m waiting?” and “what should I put on my website?” and “can the publisher send me to the Book Expo conference in NYC?” It’s not uncommon for me to spend 2-3 hours per day just answering client emails.

Organizing strategy for client profit is the most important part of my job. In addition to all the tasks above, I am constantly looking at formats, distribution, sales & marketing, publicity & promo and subsidiary rights with an eye toward how to make money for my clients. I also work closely with authors on their Next Big Book ideas – reading sample pages, talking about pitches and offering editorial advice as they write.

That’s the tip of the iceberg.

 

Q. What advice do you have for aspiring agents, publishers, and writers?

A. Support Local Independent Bookstores!

If you have indie bookstores near you, buy from them! If you don’t have indie bookstores near you, buy from them anyway and have the books shipped to you. If you only read ebooks for yourself that’s fine but remember to buy print books from your local indie bookstore as gifts, donations to your schools and libraries and classrooms, as house-warming presents, as holiday gifts, as thank you gifts, etc.

Support Local!

 

Q, Do you have a favorite/unfavorite part of the book publishing process?

That’s a trick question. 😉

I used to be a Six Sigma process specialist at GE so I DROOL to get my hands on most publishing processes to improve them.

That being said, the part of publishing that I find least effective (from a profit standpoint) is the sheer volume of work we expect from our publishing partners (editors, publicists, sub-agents, cover artists, sales reps, etc). Our teammates at publishing houses put in hundreds of hours keeping on top of mountain-sized piles of work and they do it for our books. Thank you all! We see you and we appreciate you!

Conversely, my favorite part of book publishing is walking into my (local independent) bookstore and buying client books. I spend thousands of dollars per year buying books. I just love the energy of a bookstore – people ogling covers and asking for recommendations and buying. Seeing client books on the shelves gives my agent-heart its wings.

 

Q. Is there anything else you’d like to share or say?

A. I try to answer professional questions on twitter as time allows – come say hi @SaraMegibow

Also, I keep my travel and conference schedule updated here:
https://www.publishersmarketplace.com/members/SaraMegibow/

Thanks again for having me today and happy reading (and writing!) to all!