Welcome to a new series on Another Hartman Author! I decided that it’s time to pay it forward but didn’t know how. I don’t have any free books to give away nor do I have editing skills someone would covet. So The Five Question Interview was born! Its mission: to give back to the writing community one interview at a time. We can be cutthroat and just plain mean, or we can support one another. I choose the latter. Without further adieu, let’s learn a little bit about:
When did you start writing? Were you always interested in telling stories or did the passion for it come later in life?
Great question! I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I remember, and started writing fanfiction at age 14 with a group of my friends. But I didn’t begin to take it ‘seriously’ until I moved to the United States in 2007. Being almost completely alone in a sea of strangers drove me to create new worlds and characters to keep me company.
You are from across the pond, Ireland. What differences have you seen between the European publishing world and the US one? Is one “easier” than the other?
The biggest differences have to do with spelling, grammar, word choices and general verbiage as opposed to how publishing works. The inner workings of traditional publishing are the same: query, to agent, to publisher. But I definitely feel like I need ESL assistance when it comes to writing for the U.S. market. Even simple turns of phrase get ripped to shreds by betas and Critique Partners (now that I think of it…do you even use the term ‘turn of phrase’? Eep!)
Has it gotten better over the years? Absolutely. I clung to Adult Historical Fiction for a few years to try and transition, but since switching gears into the world of Y.A. of many different genres, it’s been a challenge. All of that to say…even as an English-speaking immigrant, I’ve encountered my share of hurdles. But neither market is easier than the other.
When and why did you become involved in #RevPit? What drew you to it? Also, for those who do not know what IS RevPit?
Oooooh! So. Let’s start with what RevPit is. It’s an annual contest run by the Revise & Resub team where entrants—with a polished, ready to query manuscript—choose two editors and one alternate, then submit their query and required pages in hopes of being chosen to win a free, Developmental Edit from an editing professional. You then get five weeks to work together and implement changes before a live showcase. It’s a super exciting event, and one I’ve entered in the past as a writer.
As for how I got involved, let’s rewind to January 2018. My Twitter bestie, Ari Augustine (@SouffleLumiere) came to me with an idea. What if writers had a safe space? A fun, interactive website where they could meet Beta Readers and Critique Partners, seek editorial services, and watch live, talk-show-esq streams about writing craft on YouTube? I said awesome, and CraftQuest (@writecraftquest) was born. Over the last year, CraftQuest has taken off. We’ve featured so many amazing publishing professionals, including writing craft queen, Angela Ackerman, and even 2018 debut novelist, Dana L. Davis – Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now. In January 2019, CraftQuest merged with The Inkwell Council—Editor, Justine Manzano; Editor, Pitch Wars Mentor, and Literary Agent Intern, Megan Manzano; Content Editor, Ismael Manzano—and haven’t looked back since. A few months into CraftQuest’s inception, superstar editor Jeni Chappelle asked to see my full manuscript after I submitted to the 2018 RevPit event (I may be an editor, but I’m still a writer, damnit!). We’d had a little interaction via Twitter, so when she ultimately chose another manuscript, I was naturally a bit let down. However, a few weeks later, I received a DM from the lady herself, letting me know that as she read a bestselling YA book, she kept getting it confused for my RevPit entry. My jaw dropped.
In the meantime, I had started implementing her feedback from the event, and so her DM prompted a conversation about my revisions. That conversation led to another, and another. Months went by, and Ari and I, along with Justine and Megan, decided to attend the Corvisiero Writing Workshop in Red Bank, New Jersey. Well…guess who else was attending? Jeni Chappelle! We got to meet our idol in person! We all kept in touch after that event, and about a month later, I received an e-mail from the Revise & Resub Board asking if I’d be interested in interviewing for RevPit.
The process took a few rigorous months involving sample edits and a mock-up 10queries, but here I am—a RevPit editor for the 2019 event. Having gone through the selection process, I can guarantee this: For any writers thinking about entering the event, all the editors have been extensively tested and screened.
Now, for a highly debatable topic:
cake, pie or neither?
Neither! Haha! Give me fresh bread with real butter any day of the week.
From writing to editing and everything in between, what do you like the most about your involvement in the publishing world?
I love helping other writers on their journey. I went in blind thinking it would be easy to get published, not understanding the craft of fiction writing. So, if my editing services, blog, or Twitter posts click with just one person out there, I’ve done my job and paid it forward.
Bonus: With RevPit just around the corner, are you working on any new projects you’d like to share with your readers?
I’m desperately trying to get my latest manuscript whipped into shape so I can start the querying for the bazillionth time! It’s a Dark Contemporary Fantasy infused with elements of horror and everything that makes a good thriller…and mummies. Yes. Mummies. Once this bad boy is out in the world, I’m going to take a break. This manuscript was my ‘keep-your-mind-off-querying’ baby while querying my last manuscript, and I’m burned out. Two query-ready books in two and a half years can take its toll, especially when you work full-time, edit part-time, and have to care for a mini human.
Any final thoughts you’d like to share?
Writers of the world, never give up. It only takes one yes, so keep pursuing your dreams. And for some silly tweets, peppered with actual, useful tips, follow me on Twitter.