Anastasia Hopcus, Austin, Texas
New Book: Shadow Hills (young adult, Egmont USA, July 2010)
Time Frame: The first draft of Shadow Hills took about two months, but the rewrites took five.
The Agent: Including my first (still unpublished) novel, I queried for three years. I contracted at least 100 agents before finding Meredith Kaffle (with Charlotte Sheedy Literary), and she’s absolutely wonderful. I can still remember when she called my house. I almost hyperventilated.
Biggest Surprised: That my book could be rejected by agents and publishers and yet I was still able to find people who completely love it and believe in it.
What I did Right: I paid attention to advice from an agent who turn4d down the first draft of Shadow Hills. His letter was blunt, with more specific criticism than anyone else I ‘d sent it to. Though it took me a few days to get over my hurt feelings, the letter helped me figure out my manuscript’s weakness.
Helpful Communities: Luckily, I found the Tenners, a LiveJournal Group of authors who have debut YA or middle-grade novels coming out in 2010. The Tenners also helped me connect with online bloggers, and those collaborations and friendships have proven invaluable.
What’s Next? I have a few paranormal YA projects in the works. I see a lot of potential to continue the story of Shadow Hills, but I have plans to explore other characters and stories, as well.
By Chuck Sambuchino for Writers Digest.