Tell us about Emerald Talisman. What's it about? Is this the first book in a series?
To be normal, sixteen-year-old Julia Parker would shed her empathic gift in a second. Life has been difficult since her mother's mysterious disappearance ten years earlier - an event she witnessed, but can't remember. Julia's situation becomes more complicated after a near death experience from a blood thirsty stalker. As high school students go missing it is clear there is a connection to her own experience--past and present. Someone has to stop the madness and a chance encounter with a creepy psychic foretells that only Julia is the key to stopping the madness, but it may require the life of the one she loves. TET is a paranormal romance, the first of a three book series. The Sapphire Talisman comes out December 2010.
Who or what is your greatest inspiration in writing?
This may sound cliché but Stephenie Meyers inspired me, but not in the way you may think. Her compelling biography encouraged me to try writing a novel. I had no clue what I was doing, but after 18 months, I had a rough draft for The Emerald Talisman.
Do you specifically write YA or are you open to other genres as well? Why or why not?
Right now I’m only writing young adult novels and I’m not sure if I’ll ever venture into the adult side. I’m a kid at heart and enjoy weaving issues kids face into my writing to show the consequences of good and poor choices. Plus, young love and all the emotion that surrounds that time in our lives is an excellent foundation for really juicy drama.
Do you have any suggestions for unpublished writers trying to get published?
Finish and edit your manuscript first. Have qualified persons read your manuscript and give feedback. Be open to the feedback. I found Self-Editing for Fiction Writers an excellent resource. Make friends with people who are doing the same thing and bounce ideas off them. Research the market and make sure your genre and topic matches what publishers are looking to buy. Look to see who the agent is of books similar to what you’ve written and research to see if they are taking new clients. Nathan Bransford has a great blog on all of that. http://blog.nathanbransford.com/
Are there any specific resources you found especially helpful as you made your way through the query process?
Querying is a scary process. You’ve just spent all this time and emotional energy on your baby for someone to arbitrarily reject and/or criticize with hopes of landing an agent or selling your manuscript. I have to confess, I didn’t go this route. Instead, I started my own publishing company and my novel was it’s first to be published. Knowing the market had been and continues to be flooded with vampire manuscripts, I didn’t think I had a chance. In the process, I’ve become my own designer, agent, publisher, promoter, marketer, and publicist and so far, my novel is selling and well liked. I did have a leg up though because I’m a graphic and web designer. But I’ve found, it’s not so uncommon these days and I get to keep all the profits for myself. I’m planning to publish other novels as well, the next being Soul Stalker by Laura Kreitzer this September. The internet has leveled the playing field and with print-on-demand, I’m able to do it.
If you were forced to evacuate your home with only two possessions what would you take?
Well, since my kids don’t count because they aren’t possessions, I’d take my laptop and their blankies. My laptop is basically my life which is priceless to me and my kids couldn’t live without their blankies.
Thanks to Brenda for the interview and thanks to all of you who voted for my short story. I won the flash match and will most likely post the patch tomorrow.I am still exhausted from this week's travels by planes, trains, and automobiles and am too lazy to snatch the patch from my email.