During three years of blogging I have interviewed a number of authors and today I get to interview my real life friend Kristin Rae! We met on twitter and found out we both lived in Houston so we became close after going to book events together.
First congratulations! You just announced the news that you signed with Marietta Zacker of the Nancy Gallt Literary Agency.
Thank you!! This is my first interview!!
What are you feeling right now?
Eeeeep! Excited and very blessed.
How hard was the querying process?
I went through spurts where I'd watch my email like a hawk. This is not good. This produces stress and doubt. There are a lot of rejections, which are sometimes hard to swallow, but there are also bright spots that make up for it. Querying is a beast, and if you let it, it will chew you up and spit you out. Making it through really has a lot to do with your mindset. Once you get past that point of being so emotionally attached to the idea that the story you're querying is THE ONE, because it really might not be, you find a bit of peace and motivation to move on to your next story. Once I really came to terms with that idea, everything exciting really started happening.
When you look at other authors who are your role models or who do you look up to?
Publishing story wise, I think Beth Revis' experience is both heartbreaking and inspiring. She wrote something like 10 books in 10 years before Across the Universe came out of her obviously brilliant mind, and it's incredible (and a bestseller!). Maggie Stiefvater has a gorgeous way about her writing that leaves me in awe. I was just telling someone recently how I remember exactly where I was, my surroundings and everything, when I read the first few pages of Shiver. It was that beautiful and powerful to me. I'm also a huge fan of Stephanie Perkins' books and I'm extremely impatient to meet the next swoon-worthy boy she's created.
How long did you work on your project and when did you say I think it's ready?
I started IF ONLY YOU WERE ITALIAN in April of 2011 and wrote THE END on the first draft in February of 2012. After several rounds of revisions and read-throughs by betas, I had a novel that was pretty well polished and a story I was proud to share. I was fortunate to get two revise and resubmit requests with amazing notes from agents relatively early on in my querying process, which helped further strengthen the story, making it that much better for the fresher agent eyes that would look at it later.
What is the best advise you can give someone who is working on a manuscript and thinks ok now what?
Polish that sucker! Have people you trust read it for you, both readers and writers (but sparingly because too many conflicting opinions will make you lose your mind). It takes some practice, but learn which criticisms to take, and which ones to let roll off your shoulders. Some things are just nit-picky opinions, but I've found that most of the time if someone bumps on something, there's a reason, and you owe it to your story to take it seriously and consider ways to express it differently.
We are really lucky to live in community with book events every week. Do you feel this helped or made the process intimidating?
Both. It's intimidating in the sense that I see how many books are out there already, so it's hard to imagine room for my own book on a shelf one day (a silly way to think, I know. Doubt is a tricksy little twerp). But it's also inspiring because when I meet another author and hear first-hand how they broke into the business, I really come to understand that they were once where I am now. They just never gave up on their dream.
How do you deal with the stress, rejection, nerves, waiting?
Chocolate. Just kidding! Sort of.... Depends on the level of stress involved. If it's mild, I try to distract myself from it with a funny television show or movie and a constant supply of sugared cereal. If it's severe (like having to pick between multiple agent offers), I don't eat or sleep very well. The very first rejection was exciting. You shout "I'm OFFICIAL!" and hang it on the wall. As they roll in a little more frequently, it gets sort of sad. That tricksy little twerp Doubt comes knocking, and it's all too easy to slip into a funk and feel worthless. That's when you have to get your mindset right, remember that you're doing this first and foremost because you love creating stories, and keep on keepin' on. One of my new favorite bands, Imagine Dragons, has a great part in one of their songs that says, "Your time will come if you wait for it, if you wait for it. It's hard, believe me, I've tried." Yes, it's hard, and it hurts sometimes, and there really is a lot of waiting involved. But if you put the work into it, your time just might come sooner than you expected.
I want to thank Kristin for taking time to talk to us about her journey so far! To learn more about her visit: http://www.kristinraewrites.com