My original intention for the series of interviews I do here was to focus on agents (BBCHAT) and successful authors (SAT). In the course of internet wanderings though, I’ve ran across a lot of really awesome people, and culled an enormous amount of information from blogs. As I raided my brain – yes, I picture myself on the prow of a Viking ship, approaching my own gray matter – for more people I’d like to interview, it repeatedly offered up names of bloggers. And so, my readers, I give you the third series; Bloggers of Awesome. Yeah, it’s the BOA.
Todays guest is Lindsay Currie, who lives in Chicago with her husband and three beautiful children. With a love of language and a passion for great fiction, making the decision to write seriously was a simple one. Vivid memories of the teenage years - both beautiful and haunting - fuel her desire to write for young adults. The raw emotions and dizzying first romances of the teenage years are still huddled up in the corners of her mind, just waiting to be poured out into the next manuscript. Lindsay works with her co-author, Trisha Leaver, whose own blog can be found here.
BBC: So you run an excellent blog over at Tiptoe Kisses. What made you decide to take the approach you do on your blog? UPDATE: Lindsay's blog has moved to this address.
LC: Awww, thank you! Well, I guess that my primary goal is to be honest. I have always felt that one of the most amazing products of blogging is the friendships you build with other writers/bloggers and that really only happens when you are willing to really put yourself out there.
My blog isn’t anything flashy, but it’s 100% me and I do my best to discuss not only positive things, but also the difficult/challenging aspects of writing. The publishing journey isn’t easy and the more we are willing to share, the more we learn from each other.
BBC: I know a lot of aspiring writers who are intimidated by the idea of blogging. They want to, but they are worried it will cut into their (already precious) writing time. How do you recommend one be both a successful blogger and writer?
LC: Oh, this is really a tough question. I feel like there’s a balance you have to strike and I honestly think it’s pretty hard. I think the authors who manage to keep their writing and projects as the number one priority actually have the right idea. Marketing yourself is really important, yes, but not if it’s at the expense of your work.
So, blog when you can - don’t let your blog go stale. But if you have to choose between blogging and working on a WIP. . . you know which you should choose.
BBC: When do you recommend building a platform? After an agent? Or should you be working before?
LC: I say before, but I’m sure that varies. I’m no expert and in fact am quite new to Twitter (@lindsayncurrie) and other social media. However, I see a lot of benefits and can’t imagine any reason not to jump in and start networking as soon as possible. There are so many amazing writers out there – every connection I make could be another potential reader, reviewer or simply a life-long friend on the journey. That’s worth a lot.
BBC: Do you think social media helps build your readership?
LC: Absolutely. A classic example is the Roecker sisters. I am amazed with the platform they managed to build for THE LIAR SOCIETY release. The “pinkifying” of hair – BRILLIANT. I saw those pink heads all over Twitter and knew exactly what book it was for as well as what the release date was. That’s absolutely fantastic.
BBC: You are freshly agented! Congrats on that! Tell us a little about who your agent is, and how you got that YES! out of her.
LC: Oh wow, thank you! Yes, my co-author (the brilliant, patient and amazing Trisha Leaver) and I recently signed with Ginger Clark of Curtis Brown LTD. Our novel is a YA speculative fiction and Ginger happened to be one of the agents holding our query (she hadn’t even gotten to us in her massive queue) when we received our first offer. When we notified her, she was so amazingly nice and professional – promising to let us know her thoughts by our deadline. When she requested a phone call, I was afraid I might faint. In reality, she had so many good things to say about SILO (originally titled both ATLAS-F and FATUM) that I was put at ease almost immediately. In short, it was one of those stories I dreamed would happen to me someday, but never really expected it to.
BBC: Let's talk about your writing for a little bit. What's your genre, and what led you to it?
LC: Cool question. I originally attempted my hand at picture books. I really felt that this was my niche and wrote a book called “Jalepenos Please” several years ago. I loved that book and threw myself into the querying world. . . only to face a ton of rejections. It was incredibly painful to hear from multiple agents that they loved the concept, but that my voice simply didn’t lend itself to young readers.
From there, I attempted YA and realized that although it may have been a heartbreaking way to discover myself. . .they were right. I didn’t belong in picture books, I belonged writing for teens. Although that journey broke my heart a few times, I wouldn’t change it for anything. It made me the writer I am today and without having that hands-on experience, SILO wouldn’t exist.
BBC: Do you use beta readers, and if so, where do you find them?
LC: Ah, yes. I think beta testers are absolutely invaluable. The testers that my co-author and I use for our joint writing are a blend of my contacts and hers. People that we know, trust and whose opinions we respect. These people are hard to come by and I can’t stress enough how important I think it is for you to have a circle of writers who function as a critique group. Brutally honest but supportive... a combination that’s worth its weight in gold.
BBC: What other websites / resources can you recommend for writers?
LC: You know, Publishers Marketplace is really valuable. Read what’s selling – no matter what you hear the trends are, what is selling is more accurate. It also gives you a good indication of what different agents are prone to like and where their interests lie. Also, in terms of resources, SCBWI is probably one of the biggest for me. Local events are a great way to network and conferences are a fantastic resource for authors – both those who are published and those who are on their way. I’ve not been to a conference yet but 2011 is the year for me. I’m looking for a good one to attend and can’t wait!
BBC: Any words of inspiration for aspiring writers that aren't clichéd?
LC: Wow, I’ll try! I would have to say that in order to find your place, sometimes you have to travel some seriously bumpy roads. I faced (and I know BBC is no stranger to this) some painful rejections and some very dark days on my path towards finding an agent. There were times when I wasn’t sure if the sacrifice and the pain of the “no” was worth the possibility of hearing a yes, but I assure you that it is. It’s like I tell my three kids: do your best and you can’t ever feel disappointed in yourself. That applies to writing as well.