Writer Interview: Dahlia Adler

Ok, guys, here's a writer you should all get to know.  Dahlia has a really interesting story about finding her agent-- it was 100% through a contest, and she hadn't queried it at all!  Still, she's been in the trenches and has great advice.  Plus, her book is out on submission-- cue the squees!  :)

AG: Tell us about your current project.

DA: The project I currently have out on submission is called BEHIND THE SCENES, and it’s about a girl who takes a job as her TV-star best friend’s assistant to make money for college and ends up falling for her friend’s co-star. There’s drama, of course, and lots and lots of kissing.

AG: Is it your first book?

DA: No, prior to BTS I wrote another standalone contemporary YA set in a New Hampshire boarding school, and prior to that I wrote a “New Adult” series that was just for fun. I queried the first one in the series a few years ago, learned very quickly not to bother trying to get an agent with it (although it was a strangely positive querying experience), but kept writing it anyway for another year or two.

AG: How did you tackle the revision process before you queried? Did you use CP’s?

DA: I used two betas before querying, one with whom I exchange everything and one who doesn’t write and has never read anything of mine before. The latter gave me some seriously scathing notes, and I’m glad she did because I think the manuscript is far better for it. My revisions ended up being quite extensive as a result, and by the time I had a finished product, it was 10K longer than when I’d sent it out.

AG: What was the querying process like for you? Any tips?

DA: I actually didn’t have a real querying process for this one because I didn’t query it prior to submitting it in the Writer’s Voice contest. I did query a few agents during and right after the contest - ones I had queried with my last manuscript and with whom I’d had very positive experiences - but I don’t think they numbered more than five. As far as tips go, I’d say:
1) Be on top of contests and enter any and all of them you possibly can. They’re a fantastic way to get access to agents and to meet people.
2) Keep track of who requested a full from you, even if they ultimately rejected it, because if you end up querying them with a new project, you’ll want to mention it.
3) Don’t send queries in massive batches, because if at some point you realize you want to overhaul your query (which I did with my last ms), you’re not going to have a very deep pool of agents left to wade into with the revision.

AG: Tell us how you ended up with your agent.

DA: You can read the longer version of the story on both my blog and CupidsLC’s, but the very short story is that she (aka Andrea Somberg of Harvey Klinger, Inc.) “voted” for BEHIND THE SCENES in The Writer’s Voice contest, I sent the partial as a result, she requested the full shortly after, and the rest is history.

AG: What is that relationship like? What is doing agent revisions like?

DA: Andrea is very professional, very quick, and very knowledgeable. I have the utmost faith in her choices, which is really nice for me to be able to say because I work in publishing and I’ve seen how this works from the other side. We do not have a “let’s talk about everything every day!” relationship, but again, the fact that I trust her completely to do the best she can by my book renders that totally unnecessary for me.

I can’t really speak to agent revisions because Andrea had exactly one minor scene she wanted me to fix. I did it, she liked it, and the whole process took about fifteen minutes.

AG: Tell us about the editor submission process from your experience.

DA: My experience is not very extensive; it’s only my third week on submission! It’s kind of like querying in the “cannot peel my eyes away from my inbox” sort of way, but there’s something calming in the fact that there’s someone in the middle to break the news to you, and that someone has as much invested in this working out as you do. It’s strangely nice to know you’ll be sharing both the highs and lows of the process with someone like that.

AG: Do you blog? Where can we find you on Twitter and the internet?

DA: I do! Not as often as I’d like, because when I do have time to write, I prefer to work on one of my WIPs rather than on blog posts. I have a (work-in-progress!) website at, which links to my blog, (Or you can go directly, of course.) I’m also on Twitter as @missdahlelama.

AG: What online resources have you used to help your writing and querying and revision process?

DA: I’m not a diehard devotee of any of the writers’ forums (fora?), but when I want the brutal truth about one of my queries, it’s Absolute Write all the way. I also did NaNoWriMo for my first time this past November, and the result was - ta da! - BEHIND THE SCENES. It’s one of those things I think every writer should attempt at least once, because I think it teaches invaluable lessons about discipline. I don’t know if I’ll do it again, but I am so, so glad I did it the first time.

What’s really helped me are the not-so-obvious resources out there - Twitter, for following agents, editors, and fellow writers, which in turn has built relationships, taught me some great tips, and made me aware of what people are looking for; Evernote, for jotting down notes on my phone at the most random times and places; and oh, have I mentioned contests?

And for the love of God, don’t give up. Enlist help, write something new, but whatever you do, if you love it, don’t ever stop.
Great advice, and BEHIND THE SCENES sounds really fantastic!  Hope you get that exciting email or call soon.  If you do-- TELL US!  :)


Writer Interview: Jamie Krakover

I’m a sci-fi fan to the nth degree, so the stuff Jamie Krakover writes should be right up my alley, and hopefully yours too! Check out this interview!


AG: Tell us about your current project.

JK: I’m currently juggling two projects. The first, which is in various stages of editing, is a MG sci fi about a boy that is abducted by aliens. He’s given an ability that he didn’t ask for and it comes with a price. The second which I’m currently writing is a YA sci fi, but I’m not quite ready to tell the world what it’s about yet.

AG: Is it your first book?

JK: Neither is my first book.

AG: How did you tackle the revision process before you queried? Did you use CP’s?

JK: I have various stages of revision that I run through. I self edit, then run it by my CP for a sanity check to make sure what I wrote makes sense to someone else. After I fill in the gaps, I run an abused words check where I eliminate as many to be verbs and overused words as possible (I have a list I cross reference, and the ‘find’ tool in word is a big help). Then I submit it to my YA/MG critique group for more feedback.

AG: What was the querying process like for you? Any tips?

JK: I haven’t submitted a formal query yet, but I’ve done a lot of research on it. There’s a lot of great info online about how to write a good query, as well as numerous examples of successful queries.

AG: Do you blog? Where can we find you on Twitter and the internet?

JK: Yes I have a blog. I talk about everything from writing, to YA books to TV and movies. You can find me at I also use twitter and you can follow me @Spacecadet570.

AG: What online resources have you used to help your writing and querying and revision process?

JK: Google is my best friend. There’s a wealth of great free information out there about writing do’s and dont’s, querying and editing. There’s also some great reasonably priced online classes you can take about all stages of the writing process.

Another huge resource is twitter. If you follow writers, agents and editors on twitter you will see a ton of great advice and blog posts. All the advice there I’ve found to be invaluable. I’ve learned a ton about writing, querying, and publishing just by following people who know the craft.

AG: Any extra info you’d like to add or discuss?

JK: I know every writer hits that point where they doubt their work and don’t think they can continue. I’ve definitely been there many times, but that’s actually a healthy response. You can’t love your work 100% of the time otherwise you will never strive to improve it. But it’s important to remember that when you hit that wall, you aren’t alone and the writing community is a great resource. Go out there and do what you have to move forward in your writing career. Never give up, because every writer, and author has been there at some point. Look to see if you have a local writer’s guild or local chapters of some of the larger writing organizations. The information and support systems I’ve found there have been immensely helpful. And if you ever need a pick me up or some motivation, send me a tweet or a note on my blog and I’ll happily be there with a virtual hug :)


Thanks so much for your tips, Jamie!  Best of luck!  Go check her out, friends!

Cover Reveal of THE STARS FELL SIDEWAYS by Cassandra Marshall

Guys... THE STARS FELL SIDEWAYS is coming out.  And I have the deets on the cover.  *runs and squees*
So I totally fell in love with the premise of this story when I saw it on Miss Snark's First Victim back in January's Baker's Dozen.  Now, via MolliePup Press, we get to read it!  Here's a quick summary:

Alison Arroway takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’. She has to, or she won’t get paid. Alison is a stunt double for pampered teen actress Pomegranate and when the director takes the shoot to Portugal, Alison is anything but thrilled to be rooming with Pom. But getting to hang around teen hearthrob Erik? Now that’s a plus.

Erik invites both girls on a sunset boat trip and Alison manages to have a decent time. Until the storm hits and the boat is shipwrecked on a small island, leaving Erik missing and the boat captain dead.

In the morning light, Alison and Pom find themselves on the lost island of Atlantis. Only one problem: now that the girls know the secret of the island, the Atlanteans don’t want them to leave. They're stuck with corsets, full-skirted dresses, and the strange steam-driven contraptions that are just a way of life for the islanders.

When a plot by the ruthless army Captain to take over the island and declare himself General over all emerges, an underground group promises to return the girls to the mainland if they can help stop him. They'll go through a mountain, literally, to find the Book of Blue, a book that will explain how to make ‘the stars fall sideways' in order to save the day and earn their freedom.

THE STARS FELL SIDEWAYS, a YA Steampunkish fantasy, coming October 1st from MolliePup Press!

Doesn't that sound rad?  I love the cover, too.  Know what else is rad?  The contest! 

Cassandra Marshall is giving away a signed pre-order of THE STARS FELL SIDEWAYS! To enter, visit each of the blogs below to find special inside info about THE STARS FELL SIDEWAYS and Cassandra Marshall. The special inside info for this blog is: There are two kissing scenes in THE STARS FELL SIDEWAYS but only one includes lips touching. In the other, Alison is shot down, but for a very good reason!  Be sure to visit all of the blogs to find all of the insider info and then visit to enter to win a signed pre-order!  You can gain additional entries by sharing links to the cover reveals!

Go check out the other blogs and get ready for some steampunkish fun! 

Shiela Blank -
Julianna Helms -
Liana Brooks -
Jamie Corrigan -
James Matlack Raney -
Colleen Hampton -
Ren Wilson -
Kate SitHere-
Erica Haglund -
Alice M. -
Becca -
Amanda -
Eleni -
Lauren -
Cassandra -


Writer Interview: Valerie Lawson

Today’s writer interview is with YA author Valerie Lawson, who advocates playing Halo to eating Haagen Daas after a rejection.  I like her already.  So will you!  Check out her great advice and follow her!

AG: Tell us about your current project.

VL: INSTITUTIONALIZED is a YA novel that takes place behind the walls of a private psychiatric hospital and follows Sara Peterson, a 16 year-old girl who’s been admitted under false pretenses to protect someone else’s secret. As she tries to navigate the unfamiliar and often violent world of true deviants and sociopaths, she soon realizes that straight talk and honesty are getting her nowhere; she’ll have to pretend to be one of her psychologically challenged peers in order to escape this nightmare. She has other worries as well; she left her sister on the outside with no one to protect her from the real psycho in the family.

AG:  Is it your first book?

VL: No, this is my second completed novel manuscript. I’ve written a middle grade mystery as well.

AG: How did you tackle the revision process before you queried? Did you use CP’s?

VL: I have a critique group I meet with once a month. They are a tremendous help with the chapter by chapter edits and with questions I may have about the overall arc of the story while I’m writing it. Once it was finished and I’d gone through a few revisions on my own, I had about four other people read the entire manuscript and give me feedback. Each reader had a unique viewpoint that gave me helpful advice for my final revision. Getting your work critiqued is so important; I can’t see how anyone could improve without it.

AG: What was the querying process like for you? Any tips?

VL: I am at the beginning of my querying process, two months in, and right now it feels like a test by fire. It’s utterly painful, but absolutely necessary for me to move on and keep growing. You will never get published if you don’t submit...and get rejected a few times. Maybe a few hundred times. (God, I hope it doesn’t get to be THAT many times!)

One tip I would give other writers is to make friends with the query. If you can’t write a decent query, you’re not going to get much farther than the slush pile and form rejections. I know ‘query’ can feel like a dirty word. It took a long, long time for me to embrace it, but once you realize that it is a tool to help others understand what your story is about and not just some torture device for writers, then it makes the process a little easier. I had to really work hard at writing passable queries. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert by any means, but I’m finally getting feedback on mine that tell me they no longer suck. I can’t tell you what a great feeling that is.

One other tip is to keep busy. Work on the next project and STOP checking your inbox. That is something I find very hard to do.

When the rejections come, and they will come, have a routine for that. Maybe something as simple as moving that one agent to the ‘no’ pile or playing an intense round of slayer on Halo. DON’T eat a pint of ice cream for every rejection - bad idea. Just take a moment and let yourself feel it, then move on. You’re one step closer to the agent who’s going to say ‘yes’.

AG: Do you blog? Where can we find you on Twitter and the internet?

VL: I do have a blog Barbies on Fire at . You can also follow me on Twitter @litbeing.

AG: What online resources have you used to help your writing and querying and revision process?

VL: Nathan Bransford has an excellent online resource as far as figuring out the querying process. I know there are many others that were recommended to me as well like Query Shark where you can actually get your query critiqued
but, Nathan Bransford’s made the most sense to me in a language I needed to hear.

I also interacted with other bloggers, and on Twitter, especially my #writemotivation community. Through this interaction, I was able to participate in several online contests where I received feedback from other writers, agents, and editors about my writing - especially my first pages and query letters - before I actively started approaching the agents on my wishlist.

AG: Any extra info you’d like to add or discuss?.

VL: Thanks for the questions! This was great fun!

It was fun having you!  I love your blog’s name and your MS sounds fascinating!  Best of luck and keep us posted!


Writer Interview: Brittany Pate

Today on the blog we have a writer who’s smack dab in the querying trenches—Brittany Pate.  She has great advice on revising and a solid approach to sending out queries.  Check it out!

AG: Tell us about your current project.

BP: I’m querying Fire’s Kiss, a romantic fantasy. It’s about Embyr, a half-demon who hides her power and pretends to be human. When Romeo McLennon, the leader of Death’s Horsemen and the most feared man in history, discovers what she is, he manipulates her into help him fight a secret war that’s been raging for eight hundred years. As she struggles to gain mastery of her power over fire without letting madness overcome her, she unearths the man Romeo used to be before he took on the facade of Death.

AG: Is it your first book?

BP: I’ve written others, but this is my first completed manuscript.

AG: How did you tackle the revision process before you queried? Did you use CP’s?

BP: I broke it down chapter by chapter, improving each one until I was (mostly) satisfied. I also had a good bit of help from a literary agent who requested a major revision. Sadly, that ended up with a rejection, but her critique made my manuscript so much stronger.
I do have one person who acted as my beta and CP. Without her, I don’t think I would have finished. I would have liked a few more pairs of eyes on it, but I just don’t have those connections yet.

AG: What was the querying process like for you? Any tips?

BP: Querying was beyond difficult. I went through so many query letters, tweaking this or that, trying to find what worked. I still haven’t found it.
My tips on querying are to start out slow. If you get several rejections from one query, try revising. Enter contests, as many as you can find. Results are subjective, though, so be prepared for conflicting advice. Read contest entries from other writers to see if you’re making similar mistakes. Don’t forget to twitter-stalk the agent you intend to query. Most of them mention what they’re looking for, what they don’t want, and other random, helpful advice.

AG: Do you blog? Where can we find you on Twitter and the internet?

BP: I blog, though it has nothing to do with writing. My blog is here: Adventures in Retail
Twitter: Brittany Pate @brittanypate2
Website: Brittany Pate

AG: What online resources have you used to help your writing and querying and revision process?

BP: Gabriela Lessa’s blog hosts Query Wednesday, which has been extremely helpful for me. has helped so much in finding literary agents and keeping my query list organized.

AG: Any extra info you’d like to add or discuss?

BP: Find someone to push you to finish that paragraph, that chapter, that manuscript. Then find someone to go through your manuscript with a fine-tooth comb. They’ll catch things you may have missed.

Brittany, thanks so much for sharing.  I think your MS sounds fascinating, romantic and epic,  so best of luck!  Keep us posted!


Writer Interview: Tamara Pederson AKA Feaky Snucker

Two words, friends: Feaky Snucker.  Is she a superhero?  A spy?  I say both.  This funny, snarkastic and badass writer NEEDS to be in your get-to-know list if you haven’t met her yet.  Big things are coming for Ms. Snucker, as I’m sure you’ll see in this interview.

AG:  Tell us about your current project.

FS: It’s an upper young adult urban fantasy with a romantic twist. Pitch: When the corrupt Fae Council manipulates Syxx into attending a creepy traditional Fae breeding ceremony, she has three choices: submit (nope), die (hell no!), or overthrow the system...

AG:  Is it your first book?

FS: I’ve written two manuscripts before this one, but this is the one I’m currently querying.

AG: How did you tackle the revision process before you queried? Did you use CP’s?

FS: I only found my first CP, Jessa in May. I found another, Laura, recently as well. I’m starting to think I’m co-dependent:) My revision process before I found them was sad and alone. I think you NEED someone else to read your work. We lose objectivity. A fresh set of eyes can get you from a good MS to something that gets published. Friends and family aren’t typically a good idea - they will tend to hold back the criticism.

AG:  What was the querying process like for you? Any tips?

FS: Yeah, anyone who bitches because they had to query five whole agents before snagging their agent has NO idea... Querying is hell. And exciting. Mostly hell, but it’s a lot of hard work and kermit-flailing. Make sure the query is ready before sending. That’s the hardest part. Waiting until it is *really* ready.

AG:  Do you blog? Where can we find you on Twitter and the internet?

FS: Yes I do. My blog is
I’m on Twitter, @feakysnucker

AG: What online resources have you used to help your writing and querying and revision process?

FS: Janet Reid is an amazing lady, not only her blog, but Query Shark as well. I’m proud to say that I beat the Query Shark - after an embarrassing amount of revisions. But I did it. The point isn’t how many tries it takes - the point is that you keep trying, and don’t give up until you get there!
Miss Snark was invaluable for me, so I’d suggest reading her archives.
Absolute Write is a great one, as is Predators and Editors for researching Agents/ Publishers.

AG: Any extra info you’d like to add or discuss?.

FS: Writing is work. People might think that you are “just” writing. Eff that. YOU ARE BUILDING WORLDS. There is nothing insignificant about that. Your writing deserves your time and attention. The laundry can wait. I promise. ;)

My laundry is officially building up as we speak, Feaky.  Tamara.  Ms. Snucker.  Thanks so much for the interview and GOOD LUCK!  Any questions or support, friends?  Please comment if you have the inclination.