Interview with author Becca FitzpatrickMarch 26, 2009 at 3:17 PM | Posted in Agents, Authors, Editing, Interviews, Publishing, Queries, Writing, Writing Advice, YA | 10 Comments
Today I’m totally psyched to post the Twifties’ interview with upcoming author Becca Fitzpatrick. She’s got a YA book coming out in early 2010, and she also happens to be a fellow Coloradan. *ahem* Which, you know, means that she MUST be completely awesome.
A couple of us collaborated for this interview, so a big thank-you to Emilia, Poppy and Rachael for helping me come up with questions!
Kristin: Describe your upcoming novel in 20 words or less.
Becca: A sexy thriller about a girl who falls for a fallen angel with a dark agenda to get his wings back.
Kristin: What first made you want to publish a novel?
Becca: This is going to sound way cheesy, but the first time I remember wanting to publish a novel was after watching Romancing the Stone at the tender age of nine. I thought all romance writers went to Colombia and hunted for treasure with a guy who wore crocodile boots.
Poppy: What has been your favorite part of the writing and publishing process so far?
Becca: Wow, it has all been amazing, but working with my editor just might top it all. There’s something incredibly exciting about working with someone who gets my book and wants it to succeed. Whoever said a team accomplishes more than an individual was dead on!
Emilia: On your blog, you said that after finishing your fourth manuscript revision and sending it out, you had three offers of representation in five days. Obviously, you worked insanely hard to get to that point. But for all the naively motivated daydreamers out there (okay, maybe just me) – how did it feel to have your dreams come true in less than a week?
Becca: It was sheer exhilaration. I was euphoric, and at the same time, I felt totally unworthy. As writers, we almost come to expect rejection. We earn every small success by stumbling twenty times first. I kept expecting someone to rip my dream away and tell me it was all a joke. Fortunately, it wasn’t!
Kristin: Since you had those three offers in one week, what made you choose your agent?
Becca: I’m a total people pleaser, so I knew I needed an agent who was tough, savvy and decisive. In hindsight, signing with Catherine was one of the best moves I’ve made in my career. We make a great team!
Kristin: Can you tell us a little about the revision process? What was your first revision letter like? Was it hard to make those changes to your “baby”?
Becca: I did a lot (and I mean a lot) of revisions for my agent before she shopped the book to editors, so my experience might not be typical. When my revision letter arrived from my editor, the changes were pretty cosmetic – I didn’t have to cut characters or plot lines, or rewrite the entire second half of the book. What I did have to do involved clearing up some character backstory, eliminating coincidental encounters that felt contrived, and bulk up my climax, holding nothing back. But going back to the much more comprehensive edits my agent required prior to selling the book: yes, it was a little scary and intimidating, but at the same time it was weirdly fun because I knew I was doing the best thing for my book.
Emilia: I love HUSH HUSH’s playlist! What kind of connection is there, if any, between classic rock and your novel? In your mind, what song does the best job of summing up the story and its characters?
Becca: My protagonist is a fairly naïve and pure girl who falls in love with the ultimate bad boy. She’s constantly walking the razor’s edge between her distrust of him, and her irresistible attraction to him. The music I chose makes me feel the conflict of a girl in love with a guy who might not be in her best interest. There’s a line from Erasure’s Always that says, “Wear no disguise for me, come into the open.” That’s exactly what my main characters is asking of the guy she’s falling for . . . but the more he reveals, the more reason she has to be frightened.
Rachael: How did you know when the novel, synopsis and query letter were ready? Do you have any tips on how to write a great query and synopsis?
Becca: I’ll be the first to confess—writing the query and synopsis are hard. Looking back, my query letter was pathetic. So pathetic that I’d be happy to post it as an example of what not to do. If I had to do it all over again, I’d concentrate on making it hookier. Meaning, I don’t think the role of the query is to summarize your book. Its role is to entice your reader into wanting more. One of the best ways to do this is by introducing the unique conflicts, setting or characters that should be immediately present in the opening pages of the book. Even when agents didn’t request it, I always included the first few pages of my story with my query.
Poppy: Did you write as a teenager?
Becca: I started a few stories that never made it past fifteen pages. They were always about unrequited love. I’m intentionally choosing not to draw any parallels to my own teenage life! However, I wish I’d written more as a teen. Teens writing for teens don’t have to remember what it feels like to be in high school, to fall in love for the first time, to fight for independence—because they’re living it in real time.
Poppy: What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
Becca: Look for opportunities to learn from criticism. Keep a journal, and write in it daily. Be true to your story, but also be true to yourself. Oh, and read—it’s brain candy.
Kristin: And now for the final million-dollar question – What is your favorite flavor of jelly bean?
Becca: Sizzling Cinnamon, baby!
Becca Fitzpatrick grew up reading Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden with a flashlight under the covers. She graduated college with a degree in health, which she promptly abandoned. After a stint as a secretary/accountant/teacher at an alternative high school, she considered becoming a spy, but rejected the career due to her inability to lie with a straight face. When not writing, she’s most likely prowling sale racks for reject shoes, running, or watching crime dramas on TV. HUSH, HUSH is her first novel.
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