DEBUTING AUTHOR BUDDIES
Aviva Orr and S.A.M. Posey
Shellie: Good morning, Candace. Thanks for having us on your blog. And hello Candace’s blog readers! I’m Shellie, aka S.A.M. Posey. And this is my friend Aviva Orr. We are so happy to be here!
Aviva: Hi guys. Today Shellie and I want to share our author stories and how we came to be due for publication within a month of each other.
Shellie: Right, because it’s such a fun story. See, Aviva and I met when I joined her critique group. I don’t think either of us would have guessed that four years later we would be debuting as authors together.
Aviva: It was a wild ride! Shellie told the group about a competition being run by WiDo Publishing. Every submission would receive a short critique from the acquisitions editor. I entered my first three chapters hoping to garner some helpful feedback. Much to my delight, both Shellie and I were chosen in the top ten out of three hundred manuscripts. But the road to publication only started there. The acquisitions editor asked me to rewrite my novel and change it from middle grade to young adult. At first I resisted. Rewrite the entire book! But as I started the revisions, I realized how spot-on WiDo had been with their critique. My novel worked much better as young adult. A year later, I resubbed and WiDo accepted The Mist on Brontë Moor.
Shellie: The book I submitted, The Last Station Master, was picked up by the Key Publishing House before WiDo got back to me with an answer. I accepted KPH’s offer and settled in for a long eighteen-month wait for The Last Station Master’s publication date to come around. While Aviva on the other hand …
Aviva: She’s never going to let me hear the end of that. The Mist on Brontë Moor had only an eight-month wait time to publication.
Shellie: How is that fair?
Aviva: Okay, focus, Shellie. Can you give Candace and her lovely audience a one-sentence summary of The Last Station Master?
Shellie: Sure. When fifteen-year-old Nate arrives on his grandparents’ remote farm for the summer, he will learn more than he ever wanted to know about honor, heritage, trusting his guts, and, oh yeah, becoming a modern-day station master. How was that?
Shellie: So now, can you sum up The Mist on Brontë Moor? And by the way, I love the cover.
Aviva: Thanks, Shellie. The Mist on Brontë Moor is literary fantasy that involves time travel, romance, and a modern teen’s encounter with the Brontë family.
Shellie: Good job, Aviva. People always want to know the story behind the book. For me, that story started with my son. When he turned eight, we had the hardest time finding middle-grade or even young-adult books with diverse characters. None of them looked like him. With all the ignorance of an uninformed layman, I promised to write a book to fix that. I had no idea what challenges writing held, but seven years later, The Last Station Master fulfills that promise. So, Aviva, tell us what inspired you to write The Mist on the Moor.
Aviva: As a child, I loved to read and started writing around age fourteen. As an English major in college, I loved British literature. Wuthering Heights became my favorite novel. After graduating with my master’s degree, I visited the Brontë Parsonage in Haworth and got the idea for The Mist on Brontë Moor, which as you already know started out as a middle-grade book called Heather and the Brontës.
Shellie: Even though I read bits and pieces of Aviva’s book as a critique partner, I haven’t read the finished product. I’m so looking forward to that. Oddly enough, both our books contain historical and paranormal elements.
Aviva: Oh, I feel the same way about reading your book. It’s so exciting to read a book that you were one of the people giving the first critiques for. How much did the publishing process change the book, Shellie?
Shellie: Actually, not as much as I thought it would. My editor did a great job of pointing out inconsistencies and logistic problems. Something that is often hard for critique groups to pick up on giving the patchwork critique process of most groups. I was also advised to change one character’s name because, post Nine-Eleven, it has taken on a derogatory meaning, which I was completely unaware of. How about you? Any major changes to your story due to the editing?
Aviva: It sounds like we had similar experiences, Shellie. There were no major plot changes to my novel. My editor asked me to flesh out a few scenes and fix some small problems. The copyediting stage was the hardest for me. My book takes place in England during two different time periods and includes several different dialects. Getting the words exactly right, and keeping things consistent, took a lot of revision and patience.
Shellie: The road to publication certainly has a steep learning curve.
Aviva: Absolutely. But we can apply everything we’ve learned to our next project. I know you’re working on a new middle-grade story. Tell us what it’s about.
Shellie: Oh, thanks for asking! This one is so fun. It’s called Josephus Maxwell and the Battle Drummer in which a twelve-year old Joe gets sucked back in time to become embedded with a Civil War infantry. It’s a time travel story like The Mist on Brontë Moor but it focuses on Joe’s efforts to save the drummer boys from a historical battle. Your turn. Tell us what you’re working on?
Aviva: My WIP is a contemporary young adult and completely different from The Mist on Brontë Moor. I do, however, have an idea for another literary fantasy involving the Romantic poets. And now, I think we’ve gone on long enough. Thanks everyone for reading. We want to show our appreciation by offering you a chance to win a copy of our books.
Shellie: That’s right. Just leave a comment and someone will win an e-copy of The Mist on Brontë Moor (available on Dec.15) and an ARC of The Last Station Master. If you love mysteries and if you love intrigue, then you’re going to love both these books. Happy day all and never stop dreaming. Or reading!
As Shellie and Aviva said, they are offering up copies of their books. One winner will win an e-book of The Mist on Brontë Moor (not available until Dec. 15th) and one will win an ARC (physical copy) of The Last Station Master.
Fill out the rafflecopter to enter.