Writer Interview: Nicole Steinhaus

Today’s interview is with Nicole Steinhaus, whose YA thriller is repped by the fabulous Bree Ogden. Check out Nicole’s success story!

AG: Tell us about your current project.

NS: The project currently out on submission is a YA suspense that follows a sixteen-year-old girl’s journey into proper diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder: Ellie Cox can’t remember--her childhood or how she got the tattoo on her stomach. It started out small...forgetting a drive home or a conversation with a friend. But her blackouts are getting worse, more difficult to disguise as forgetfulness. When Ellie goes missing, no one expects to find her in the apartment of another boy. Not even Ellie. Or her boyfriend, Shane. Another three days have escaped her and, if that isn’t bad enough, the boy, Griffin, keeps calling her “Gwen.” Ellie is branded a cheater at school and, fighting for Shane’s forgiveness, she struggles to regain her three days and understand why she lost time in the first place. After discovering her biological last name, Ellie sets out to learn more about her past. And it turns out “Gwen” isn’t just a name Griffin calls her. Gwen is a real person. Living inside Ellie. Created by Ellie’s childhood mind to protect her from the horror she used to call home. Gwen now wants to take over Ellie and live her own life...at Ellie’s expense.

AG: Is it your first book?

NS:This was the third manuscript I wrote, though the first after spending a few months intensely studying the craft of writing. I read craft books, devoured the entire YA section of my local library and basically trained myself to write under the guidance of Donald Maass and others alike.

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

NS: I signed with Bree Ogden of D4EO Lit. Agency almost exactly one year from when I finished the first draft. I rewrote the manuscript twice (start to finish) during that year. I used my trusted CPs, but also feedback from contests and online forums. I don’t have any crazy revision routines. I usually outline after the draft is complete to look for plot holes and assess character/plot arcs then--my favorite part--line and copy edits.

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

NS: By the time I was querying the third version of my manuscript, I’d learned to query a handful of agents, wait for feedback, revise, then query another batch. Luckily, I didn’t have to query too many within that round. I guess my tip would be to do just that--not query dump. During the first few rounds of querying, I received such great feedback from industry professionals, that it, for the most part, guided my revisions. In time, I worked out most of the issues and the manuscript became what it is today.

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

NS: I laugh now because even though I’d researched Bree before querying her and had read she was looking for a “Dexter-type” story, because I don’t watch much TV, I had no idea who or what Dexter was. I mean, I’d heard of it--I’m not that far out of the loop, but I didn’t realize how to-her-taste my manuscript actually was. Fortunately, my writing style was to her taste as well.

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

NS: I love working with Bree. She’s funny, easy to talk to, and--whether she knows this or not--is slowly training me out of my got-to-get-it-done-right-now tendencies. When I signed with her, Bree didn’t see any need for revisions before the submission process, so I haven’t had to go through that yet. She does have a second manuscript of mine which I’m waiting for her opinion on, so we’ll see...

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

NS: Can you say STRESSFUL? The huge difference between editor submissions and agent submissions is I don’t have worry every time I open my inbox if there’s going to be rejection letters. Bree handles all of that and every few weeks will send me an update of where we are--which I love. It gives me more time to WRITE and focus on my editorial internship with Entangled Publishing rather than worrying about what I should revise next.

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

NS: I run a community blog called YA Stands (http://yastands.blogspot.com) where several authors and I blog daily about everything YA (book reviews, writing craft, and industry tips). I’m also on Twitter (https://twitter.com/NicoleSteinhaus), and Facebook ( http://www.facebook.com/#!/NicoleSteinhausAuthor)

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

NS: I used to enter a lot of contests like WriteonCon and also used forums like those found at Agent Query and Query Tracker. I made a lot of friends and, more importantly, found some valuable CPs.

Thanks, Nicole! Sounds like you and Bree are a fantastic match, and I wish you all the best in the submission process! Go check out Nicole and her blog, everyone!


  1. This was a great interview. I think the books sounds awesome. I've always been fascinated by the complexities of a split personality, so I will definitely be picking this one up when it comes out.

    And thanks for the links to some cool new sites!

  2. Thanks so much for having me!

  3. Such a fun interview and what sounds like a VERY cool ms! Can't wait to pick it up in stores!