Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Visit from Kate Coursey!

I don't know if you know Kate - but if you don't - you should! She is one of those awesome teenage novelists! YES ~ I am serious! She is 18 years old and already has a book out to an editor. Can you say... "You go girl!" She was kind enough to agree to an interview today so I hope you will show her some love. And when you're done, be sure to hop over to her blog and say "hello!"

Kate! Thanks for being here today! I've followed your blog for a while now and love what you have to put out there for us. What I think is particularly awesome, is that you are 18 years old and you already have a novel being published, correct? What stage are you in with the publishing, and can you tell us a little about the process?
Hi Abby! Thanks so much for having me. I have a novel that's undergoing revisions at Scholastic Press (LIKE CLOCKWORK), and a second novel, AILLEA'S CARDS, that's almost ready to go out on submission with my agent Edward. I recently finished revisions for both these books, so I guess you could say I'm at the beginning of the publishing process (!!!). I got an agent the traditional way (lots of queries and lots of rejections), and I've received editorial letters from both my agent and my editor at Scholastic, Jody. Thus far revisions have been the hardest part of publishing. They took absolutely forever, but my agent worked with me a great deal and the changes made my books a lot better. 

Your book, LIKE CLOCKWORK has already been accepted by Scholastic, right? Could you tell us a little bit about it and when it is supposed to be released?
Actually, LIKE CLOCKWORK is not officially contracted as of December. There are still some issues to work out after I turn in my latest revision, due to the fact that Scholastic "discovered" LIKE CLOCKWORK through the PUSH Novel Contest, rather than through traditional channels (such as an agent).. There are no guarantees in publishing....I would be very surprised if the deal fell through completely, but I can't say anything with certainty at this time. If all goes as planned we'd probably be looking at a late 2013/2014 release. 

As for the story, LIKE CLOCKWORK is a YA steampunk novel set in a city resembling  16th century India. I know that's a pretty vague description....I'm still trying to come up with a good pitch paragraph!

What advice would you give to those ready to query?
Research, research, research! Read blog posts on querying! Stalk agents like a madman! (Okay, maybe not the last one.) In all seriousness, through, it's important to know an agent's tastes before you send a query letter. I'd also suggest spending a fair amount of time working on your opening chapters. An awesome query letter is all well and good, but it's not going to get you anywhere if your first chapters aren't captivating. 

Lastly, resist the urge to query prematurely. I'll repeat for emphasis: RESIST THE URGE TO QUERY PREMATURELY. Now, I'm a total hypocrite for saying this, because I'm definitely guilty of sending out a few premature queries. Guess what? I got my first full request within a half hour. That's right, a half hour. What are you going to do if your manuscript isn't ready? I sent it along anyway, and ended up with a personalized rejection. I understand the urge, I really do, but spare yourself the pain and make sure your manuscript is fully polished before querying..

So that's like the worst/most generic/boring query advice ever....sorry, guys! :)

I see that you are part of the TEEN EYES Editing Service. That looks so cool! I think it would be awesome to get a teens opinion of a book - especially for those writing YA - and especially since you know what you're talking about! Can you tell us a little more about TEEN EYES?
Of course! My friend Taryn and I started Teen Eyes because we felt we had something useful to offer in terms of manuscript appraisal. I'm agented and editored (yeah, totally just made that word up) with extensive freelance experience, and I spent the summer as an intern at Scholastic Press. Taryn is an amazing/insanely prolific writer, and she interns for one of New York's top literary agents. Taryn and I (at 18) also happen to be within the target age range for most YA novels. We read with teenagers in mind.....would your 16-year-old protagonist actually say that to her mother? Are high school cliques really so pronounced? Technological advances have completely altered the high school scene in the past 5-10 years, so Taryn and I offer the dual perspective of being familiar with modern day teenagers as well as experienced writing-wise. 

Give us a little sample of what you think teens are looking for in literature today..
Oh goodness....I would never presume to speak for the teenaged population as a whole, but I can tell you what I myself would like to see. Some things I (and my friends) love:

~Flawed, morally ambiguous protagonists.
~Complex antagonists, who aren't just evil for the sake of being evil.
~Unique hooks.
~Please, no more just doesn't happen.
~Expanding on the last point, romance that feels realistic/develops in a believable manner.
~Strong, lyrical writing.
~No more love triangles....I think some writers can pull them off, but it's really difficult to do without making your protagonist seem whiny/self-centered/unable to make her own decisions.

Now, in 40 words or less... tell us a little bit more about yourself.

I eat. I run like a maniac. Sometimes, on rare occasions, I sleep. My BFF and I once accidentally died our skin green with shaving cream in a child’s swimming pool. BAM. You’re jealous. (We were 16 at the time.)

(That's exactly 40 words.)

Awesome! Now for my "chocolate chip questions." (These are the little morsels that I throw in for added flavor!)
ahem... If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
Turquoise, like the Caribbean. 

If you could be a literary character, who would you choose and why?
Hmmm.....probably Crookshanks the cat. Because I think it would be awesome to be a cat. 

If you could take a trip in a time machine, would you travel to the past or the future, and why?
Past. I have this obsession with ancient cultures....I'd love to visit Egypt/the Mayans/India/Ireland/ZOMGEVERYWHERE. Just the mention of traveling gets my blood pumpin'. :)

And last but not least... will you share a favorite thought or quote?
"Fairy tales do not tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed."
Again, thanks so much for having me! I love your blog and I'm so honored your agreed to interview me :). 

I won't lie Kate... I am honored that you came! Thank you! Now everyone show her some love!
AND... if you haven't had the chance to enter the "Wrap it Up" Blog Hop go HERE! It's turning out great so far! We'd love to have you join!



J. A. Bennett said...

LOVE Kate! I had the chance to meet her a couple weeks ago and she is just as cool in person (and a truly talented writer) Thanks for having her on!

Brenda Drake said...

Aww, love Kate! She hosted a contest on my blog for her Teen Eyes Editorial service here - Such a great and talented young woman. Great interview! <3

E.R. King said...

Nice meeting you, Katie! I agree that querying too early is a huge mistake too many of us make. You've given us some great advice. Thanks for having her, Leigh!

Kelley said...

I follow Kate too!

Great interview!

Stacy Henrie said...

Awesome interview! And great advice. Good luck with everything, Kate!

Michael Offutt, Supra-Genius said...

Kate is like a writing prodigy. She'll be the next Stephanie Meyer or something like that driving around town with diamond studded windshield wipers.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Great interview. Kate, you rock. If you're this articulate and experienced at your age, you've got a wonderful future before you.

Jenny S. Morris said...

Oh, I love Kate! And her interview was so great. LOVE the quote.

David P. King said...

I'm happy to have met Kate before she became a superstar. She knew exactly what she wanted to be early on and worked like crazy to get where she's at. Excellent inspiration to us all! :)

Cortney Pearson said...

Great interview, and nice to meet you, Kate! Good luck with your revisions!

Mark Koopmans said...

Aloha Leigh & Kate,

Good questions and great interview, Leigh... and Kate, I started following you several days ago... oh my, to be young and have your head screwed on like you do... God bless, and good luck :)

Sarah B said...

Awesome interview and great to hear about another new author.

But I have to say this comment is more about the Channing Tatum on your sidebar. It was all about that photo until I saw the picture of Christ over his shoulder. Who thought up THAT?

Chantele Sedgwick said...

What an awesome interview! I can't believe she's so young! Seriously amazing. And I'll definitely be reading her books! :)

Kate Coursey said...

Thanks so much for hosting me! You guys' comments made my day :).

Crystal Collier said...

Love the interview Kate. Great advise in there. Wishing you all the luck in the world with your publishing perspectives! Yay!

Patricia T. said...

I've been reading your e-mails on your posts, but just realized I couldn't respond and had to add google. DUH! For some reason the e-mails arrive from many of you 12 hrs after you post.

Anyway, I just had to comment on this interview. Soooo much talent. I loved the interview with Kate -- one of the best I've read. Ilike to hear how the younger writers think since they are closer to their youth -- and I'm not. Kate is a real gem and we'll be hearing a lot from her in the future. Great interview Leigh!

Liesl Shurtliff said...

Excellent interview! I love Kate!

eva fhadilah said...

Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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