Every other Wednesday, I’ll be showcasing authors who got an agent in the last couple of years. If you’d like to be a part of this, let me know in the comments or contact me via Twitter @judi__Lauren
Today Kim Ventrella joins the Wednesday interview, and her book just sold to Scholastic! Congratulations, Kim! Read below to find out what the process was like and check out her announcement in Publisher’s Weekly.
What was the hardest part about writing your book?
The hardest part for me are the days when I’m not writing. My brain starts to fray at the edges if I don’t have the practice of writing to keep me in check.
Me too! I love meeting writers with the same problem. How did you meet your agent?
I sent a cold query. We’d never met before, but her info on Publishers Marketplace made me think we’d be a good match.
Do you have a rough number of how many queries you sent out before being offered representation?
Technically, I only queried The Skeleton Tree once, and it was to a different agent. That’s because the original query I sent to my agent was for another novel. She sent a request to revise and resubmit on that one, but her email also left the door open for me to send another manuscript entirely. That’s what I did, and she signed me on that one (after a revision).
Only one, that’s amazing! What inspires you to write?
The world can be a sad, confusing place, but the redemptive power of stories can change all that. In stories, my characters confront terrible things, but they always manage to triumph in the end. Whimsy, wonder, loyalty, courage and love prevail in my story worlds, despite all obstacles. Writing makes me a better, more resilient human being.
Agreed. Can you tell us a little bit about your creative process? Where do you get your ideas and characters?
I tend to start with the germ of an idea (i.e. what would happen if a skeleton grew in a boy’s backyard?) and go from there. I don’t plan things out ahead of time, I just write as fast as I can (and then spend a lot of time revising).
Many people have jobs along with writing. How do you balance that schedule?
I am the Children’s Department Manager at the Southwest Oklahoma City Library, as well as being a writer. It’s hard to balance my schedule sometimes, but I get up early and do all of my writing before I go into work.
Is there a fictional character or book you wish you had created? Why?
So many! The Imaginary by A.F. Harrold, for one; it reminds us to always be on the lookout for the extraordinary. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman; his grand vision of existence rings truer to me than any other theory (religious or otherwise). Pretty much anything by Neil Gaiman.
I heard your book just sold, can you tell us about that process?
It was exciting, surreal and SUPER nerve-racking. It was INSANE just to hear my agent say amazing things about my book, and then to have editors and publishers gushing about something I wrote…it was too much for my brain to process. Then, came the hard decisions. We got a pre-empt offer within 48 hours of submitting. It was a great offer, but (sigh, gasp, wave of panic!) we turned it down. The book then sold at auction, and I am so glad I had my fabulous agent to guide me through this process. She matched me with a wonderful editor at a wonderful house, and I couldn’t be happier (but boy was it a nail biter!).
Congratulations on your book sale, Kim! And thanks for stopping by today!
Kim Ventrella is the author of the middle grade novel, The Skeleton Tree (Scholastic 2017). When she’s not writing, you might find her working as a children’s librarian or fighting crime with her dog/superhero sidekick, Hera. She is a fan of whimsy, magic and weird stories of all kinds. She is represented by Brianne Johnson at Writers House and Mary Pender at United Talent Agency. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and her website.