Sunday, February 22, 2009

Tenacity and Talent: An Interview with Author Becca Fitzpatrick

Becca Fitzpatrick is tenacious. I encourage all writers who are afraid to trash sentences, paragraphs, even chapters that aren’t working to go to Becca’s webiste and read the Bio section. This part, in particular, floored me: “Even though it's embarrassing to admit, I probably have two thousand pages of deleted scenes, which is a nice way of saying unbelievably sucky scenes that were at one time, actually part of the book. Today, chapter one is the only part of the book that survived five years of rewriting.” Now that's a woman who believes in her story—and that's a woman with a two-book deal. Coincidence? I think not.

Here’s Becca’s deal report from Publishers Marketplace:

Becca Ajoy Fitzpatrick's HUSH, HUSH, a sexy and dangerous romance about a teenage girl who falls in love with a fallen angel with a dark agenda to get his wings back, to Emily Meehan at Simon & Schuster Children's, in a two-book deal, for publication in Spring 2010, by Catherine Drayton at InkWell Management.

Hi Becca, can you please tell us how you met your agent?
I found my agent, Catherine Drayton, by chance on agentquery.com. The Universe was being especially nice to me, I suppose! The day after Catherine requested sample chapters, I received an offer of representation from another agent, and Catherine promptly threw her hat into the ring. Despite what I always believed, having more than one offer is an extremely uncomfortable place to be. In the end, my heart made the decision, and I told Catherine, "Let's do this!"

How did the story that became HUSH HUSH come to you, and how long did it take you to write?
I feel like I've been collecting pieces of HUSH HUSH my whole life, but three instances in particular stand out. When I was in third grade, I discovered Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden. I kept a flashlight under my bed, and every night I read about the mysterious and frightening adventures of my favorite girl sleuths. I'm pretty sure all those hours spent reading mysteries played a role in my desire to write them! Also, I remember reading the Bible one day and coming across a passage of scripture in Genesis that talks about fallen angels. I experienced a Eureka! moment, and the sexy bad boy fallen angel in my book got his first breath of life.

Finally, in March 2008 I drove to Denver with two friends, Laura and Katie, to attend Left Coast Crime, a conference for mystery, suspense and thriller writers. I left the conference high on forensics, murder and crime and set about writing a sexy, sizzling mystery novel that would become HUSH HUSH. From first draft to book deal took five (yes, five!) years.

You sold your book in 2008, you pub date is spring 2010, can you tell us where in the process you are now?
Over Christmas break, I spent three intense weeks revising for my (brilliant!) editor. Next week I'm expecting line edits. Fun times!

Do you listen to music while writing? If so, what kind?
I was wondering if you'd ask that! Actually, there must be something wrong with my brain because I can't write with background noise. I do, however, listen to music when I'm plotting, and most of my plotting happens when I'm working out. Being the mother of two small children, I have to multi task as much as possible. If you spot me out running in the morning, there's a good chance I'm plotting my next scene/chapter/novel. I listen to a lot of everything, from classic rock to movie soundtracks.

You signed a two-book deal, is the second book a sequel or a standalone? Have you started it?
The second book is a sequel. I was never very good at the whole procrastination thing, so yes, I've started it. In fact, I'm close to finishing the first draft! Writing the sequel has been a blast, because I finally feel like I know what I'm doing. Both HUSH HUSH and the sequel are mysteries, which requires a lot of intricate plotting and twisting. The phrase, "Nothing is what it seems" is always at the forefront of my mind when writing.

Tell us about your exciting foreign rights sales! How many countries has your agent sold to at this point?
Life is definitely unpredictable! If you'd asked me a year ago if I thought I'd be published, let alone selling across the globe, I would have laughed myself sore! InkWell has an unbelievable foreign rights sales force, and so far they've sold HUSH HUSH in The United Kingdom, Brazil, Germany, France, Japan, Holland and Taiwan. It really is exciting to think I'll have the chance to entertain readers all over the world!

Do you have any words of wisdom or nuggets of advice for aspiring writers?
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.

Becca has all her webtastic bases covered: Website, LiveJournal, Myspace and Facebook.

Thanks for the interview, Becca. We’re looking forward to seeing your book with all those international covers!

12 comments:

patesden said...

Great interview.

Personally, I'm glad you had the tenacity to stick with it. I'm dying to read HUSH, HUSH.

PJ Hoover said...

Great interview, and the book sounds amazing! I'll totally add it to my (ever growing) list!

Anonymous said...

I went to Becca's site and read the whole bio - so much there to admire!

Thanks for another interview.

cdg

Katie said...

I am loving these interviews!!! Thanks Christy! I'll go check her bio next :-)

Anonymous said...

Another good interview, and another book to look forward to. Thanks.
cgm

Suanne said...

Great interview! I love the energy I can feel for this book. Very cool!

laura said...

"Look for opportunities to learn from criticism."

Wow. That is amazing advice.

And look where it got Becca! Left Coast Crime in 2010? (Hint, hint.)

Laura

beccaajoy said...

Christy - you rock! Thanks so much for the great interview!

Hardygirl said...

This sounds great! sf

Hardygirl said...

Oh wow! I just have to come back here and say how COOL the playlist for Hush Hush is!

And do we really have to wait until 2010 to read this book????

Paul Äertker said...

How do you know such wonderful people? And when do we get an interview with you?

Christy Raedeke said...

Paul, these are all authors in the debut author group called the Tenners (for publication in 2010). We've never met but we have scheduled chats and exchange email. Soon you too will be in a debut author club--2011 maybe?

I'll submit to an interview anytime, anywhere!