It's party time!!!
We love book releases, and this Wednesday marks an extra special one. TOUCH OF DEATH, a chilling new YA novel published by Spencer Hill Press, was written by one of our own Rate Your Story judges: Kelly Hashway. And she's taken time out of her (very) busy schedule this week to pop by and answer a few questions about her path to publication (and she read a few submissions, too!).
About Kelly Hashway
Kelly Hashway is the author of the Touch of Death series (Spencer Hill Press) and the Game. Set. Match. Heartbreak series (Swoon Romance). In addition to writing young adult novels, she also writes middle grade and picture books. She's represented by Lauren Hammond of ADA Management.
Kelly: I tried to write a novel before I began writing short stories and picture books, but I found that going back and starting smaller was a better plan for me. Working with shorter word counts made the task of revision more manageable and it taught me a lot about using specific verbs and the importance of word choice. That's something that I was able to carry over into my novel writing.
Miranda: Interesting. That makes me wonder...What does your office/workspace look like?
Kelly: I write at my dining room table. I dream of having an office one day, but for now, I'm content with my laptop, container of flash drives, notebooks, pens, and my day planner.
Miranda: Impressive! If you had to estimate, revision is what percentage of the writing process?
Kelly: 85-90% I draft quickly and then spend a lot of time revising. After the books are acquired, I go through multiple rounds of edits, where I revise further. Most of my time is spent in revisions.
Miranda: I know that many of our readers are searching for an agent, and last week we featured one RYS submitter who recently landed an agent. How did you land your agent? Can you shed some light on the process? Does your agent love everything you write?
Kelly: I queried agents off and on for 13 months before I signed with my agent. I queried too soon, before the query and manuscript were ready, so I hit pause and revised. Then I entered some query contests and learned more about how to craft a query that works. I spent about five months getting requests for fulls and waiting to hear. It's a lengthy process, but when I got "the call" it was all worth it.
I actually pitch my ideas to my agent so I can judge her reaction before I dive in. She's great with letting me know what will work and what is going to need to be reworked.
Miranda:What was the harshest critique you've ever gotten on your work? Did you end up changing your manuscript to make it better because of that critique?
Kelly: Hmm, honestly it was probably from a reader and not a critique partner, so no, I didn't go back and change the book. Not everyone will love your work. It's just a fact of the industry. I write the best story I can and hope for the best. However, when it comes to my critique group, if I get the same comments from a few of my CPs, then I definitely revisit the manuscript.
Miranda: Do you attend conferences and workshops? Which ones, if so? If not, why not?
Kelly: Yes! Conferences are wonderful. I've attended The Pocono Retreat for the past three years. It's my local SCBWI writers' retreat, and I always learn a lot. I also attend online conferences because those are cheaper and some are even free. I love WriteOnCon, which takes place in August each year.
Miranda: Thank you so much for sharing your story. Now, just one more question...What's your favorite NFL football team? (Think carefully.)
Kelly: The Green Bay Packers!
Miranda: Good answer :) Let's hope for a better postseason next year, then!
Thanks everyone for stopping by. And don't forget to check out TOUCH OF DEATH and Kelly's soon-to-be-released YA novella later this month. You can also learn more about Kelly and her books at http://kellyhashway.blogspot.com.