Sunday, August 8, 2010
Interview with author Jessica Souders
Today, I am ever so pleased to invite Jessica Souders to my little blog. So everyone please welcome her by leaving comments below.
I met Jessica by joining her blog, and then participated in one of her Secret Agent contests. Once again, I highly encourage others to always join contests. Great way to meet peeps and to learn all about writing. In addition to having SA contests, Jessica also has query help available. She helped whip my query right into shape.
Her blog can be found here - Angels and Demons and Portals. Oh My!
Jessica is a newly discovered talent represented by Natalie Fischer of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. Both of her novels, MIRROR IMAGE and THE EXILED are currently being shopped around to publishers.
I was lucky enough to beta read (something else I recommend doing) THE EXILED, and I can certainly say she should have no problem selling them. Both books should be up on a shelf at your local bookstore soon.
Now to Jessica....
Please share a little about yourself.....
I hate this question. LOL. Everyone always wants me to talk about myself and I never know what to say. :D In a nutshell, I’m a nerd, a bibliophile, a mother, a wife, and a klutz. I’ve been a klutz my whole life, before Bella Swan made it cool. :D Seriously. I’ve been known to trip over invisible curbs only I can find.
When did you become aware of your love for books?
I’ve always loved books. I’m pretty sure I was born with a book in hand. But I’d say the turning point was when I joined this contest my middle school was doing where you had to read a certain number of books they’ve chosen and then you would answer questions based on those books. One particular book caught my interest from the first page and I couldn’t put it down. It took place on the Jersey shore and was about a girl whose family had bought into a bed and breakfast. I don’t really remember a whole lot more about it, but it had romance and a ghost. From that day forward, I was a bibliophile. My parents used to hide my books so I would do something other than read!
What was the deciding factor that made you finally decide to write a novel?
I used to write all the time when I was in school, and had plans on being a writer when I graduated college, but then life interfered and I put it off to the side. It wasn’t until I had a dream about my uncle—who’d passed away 5 years earlier—that I started writing again. He used to give me angels all the time and was always very supportive of me in everything I did. I basically wrote my very first, very horrible story for him. I’ve since fixed it and it morphed into THE EXILED, which still deals with my angels, but it’s very different from the original.
Did you write any other books before MIRROR IMAGE or THE EXILED?
Yes. I’ve written a total of 6 complete novels and have several WIPs I’ve put off to the side. Most of those manuscripts, though, will NEVER see the light of day. LOL. They’re crap. Seriously. I think of them as my training wheels..
What inspired to you write paranormal?
Well, the idea of angels came from my uncle, and then I fell in love with world building. Yes, I know I’m insane. I’ve written contemporary, but I loved how I could twist the world in a paranormal to the way I saw it. That there is this secret world filled with the creatures that go bump in the night that the average human has no idea about.
Did you base your characters on people you know?
Not intentionally, no. Some of my characters did end up having traits of people close to me. For instance, Patrick is similar to my husband. Except my husband is a southern redneck instead of an Irish heartbreaker with a great accent. :D
Can you give us a teaser of both books?
MIRROR IMAGE: Lily Baker is losing her mind. She could have sworn that a stranger rescued her when her car careened into the murky waters of a local lake. But no one saw him, and all Lily can remember is his emerald eyes. It's probably all from the concussion, or so the seventeen-year-old thinks until she gets home and finds the mysterious stranger waiting for her on the other side of her bedroom mirror. Has she gone insane? Lily doesn't know what to believe anymore. Is it madness or her destiny waiting on the other side of the glass?
THE EXILED: Brianna knows she’s half-angel, but she doesn’t know she’s been sent to Ireland for protection and training, or that falling in love with her guardian’s apprentice could mean his death and her damnation.
Quick but oh so satisfying:
Vanilla or Chocolate? Chocolate
Cookies or Cupcakes? Cookies, cupcakes are too messy.
Angels or Vampires? Angels, but I think a few sexy vampires have their place.
Johnny Depp or Hugh Jackman? Yes please!! <---Excellent answer!
Wine or Beer? Wine
Okay, now to what unpublished writers want to know....
How did you perfect your query letter?
Well, I guess the question really would be what didn’t I do? I wrote it and then sent it off to my beta readers, then gritted my teeth through critiques from absolutewrite.com, who TORE it to shreds. But they helped make it a TON better and then I sent it off.
How many agents did you query?
For MIRROR IMAGE? 30
How many partial and/or full requests did you receive?
A lot? LOL. I don’t really remember. I think it was close to a 50% success rate, but of those that didn’t request, I didn’t usually get a form reject. I know one agent had something similar on her list, but invited me to requery if I hadn’t found an agent in a year. Another liked my premise, but didn’t think she had the contacts for a YA science fiction. And it’s SOO subjective!
What made you choose Ms. Fischer to query?
Intuition. Seriously. I was going through absolutewrite.com and their Bewares and Background Checks board, looking up agents I was thinking of querying. I got a little tingle when I saw her name, so I researched her and researched her. Then I went to her site and read up on their submission requirements. It was like being dunked in freezing water. They wanted a partial off the bat, snail mailed. I couldn’t send it. My printer didn’t work and I didn’t want to spend money on postage for a no response. But I just couldn’t get her off my mind. I finally begged my husband’s boss to let me print from their printer and bit the price of postage to send it off.
How did you know she was a perfect match?
We clicked. That sounds vague, but that’s all there was to it. She was more enthusiastic about my work, than I was. Before I signed, she gave me a list of edits she wanted made and then told me what she saw for my book. It was exactly what I wanted and the edits were exactly right and things I’d been planning for another edit before I did another round of querying.
You got an agent--now what?
Now I wait and write another story. I LOVE having an agent, because I get to write and she does all the hard work. While she’s submitting and taking notes from different editors (very similar to the agent querying process) I get to spend time working on my WIPs. I don’t have to spend time trying to find someone to love me. :D
Can you tell us a little more about the process?
There isn’t much more to tell. Natalie told me the edits she wanted would take about a month to complete (she was exactly right) and then I’d be on submission. I’ve been on sub for a while, but that’s pretty common and in the publishing world isn’t very long at all. If there is one thing I’ve learned during this whole process it’s that publishing has it’s own time period. LOL.
Any advice you'd like to share?
Learn patience. Seriously. Don’t rush anything. It’s not worth it. Take the time to research, EVERYTHING. And most of all, keep writing and having fun doing it.
And there you have, right from an agented author. A very talented one at that.
Thank you so very much for visiting my little blog, Jessica. Maybe you'll do us the honor again when your books hit the shelf. Let us know how exciting that is for you.
Okay.. Just to thank my followers....I'm giving away a Barnes and Noble gift card to one lucky person. All you have to do is leave a comment, and for an extra entry, tweet this. Be sure to leave your link for verification purposes.
Contest ends Sunday, August 15th.