Well, it's week 3 now, so I'm guessing you've got the idea, right? Each week as part of the Third Writer's Platform-Building Campaign, I interview a fellow blogger and get to know them just that little bit better. This week is the turn of Kate Walton. Kate is the first (soon to be published) author of this series and was also the first to reply to all her interview questions. Unfortunately, Kate did not win any prizes for this, but hopefully she will gain some new blog readers. So, without further ado, please welcome Kate.
Kate, your book CRACKED comes out on January 3rd 2012. Why should we add it to our to be read lists?
CRACKED is serious and touching, heartbreaking and hopeful. It tells the story of a bully and his victim in alternating points of view. I thought it would be interesting for readers to see the effects of bullying from both sides. I taught middle school for ten years and I never encountered a bully who didn’t have his/her own junk to deal with. That anger and rage has to stem from somewhere.
You are represented by Sarah LaPolla from Curtis Brown. Can you tell us a little bit about how you got your agent?
I’d like to invite everyone to go grab a cup of coffee or tea, put your feet up and get comfy because this is going to take a while. I sent my first query on April 7, 2008 and didn’t land the brilliant Sarah LaPolla until August 2, 2010. Yes, that is 2.4 years. In that time frame I did everything and anything to land an agent: sent close to 150 query letters, attended 4 SCBWI conferences…two of them national conferences, started my blog, publically shared my query letter and the first 250 words of my novel as many times as I could to get the feedback (no matter how painful or snarky), racked up well over 100 rejections…many of them on partial or full requests (you know the kind that REALLY hurt). I’ll tell you what, my husband got so damn tired of putting Band-Aids on my bleeding soul, but he kept doing it—cheering me on and up, telling me it was going to happen, believing in me. His solid belief in me fueled me and I refused to give up.
What does an agent do for a new writer like yourself?
The reason I fought so long and hard to land my agent was because I wanted my writing to be traditionally published. Without an agent you can’t get your work in front of the Big Six publishers. I knew Curtis Brown Ltd. had a long and powerful reputation in publishing, and when I heard Sarah LaPolla was building her client list, I sent my query off to her with lightning speed. What Sarah has done for me as a writer is more incredible than I can put words to (I know—lame—I’m a writer). Of course the obvious, she pulled me from her slush pile and requested a partial manuscript, then full, then “the call” but the real magical parts about her came after all that and continue to come. It’s knowing that she truly believes in my writing and my characters. It’s how she pushes me with her editorial notes before my books go out on submission. It’s how she works tirelessly for me and my stories. All magical. I tell her frequently I’m incredibly lucky to have her leading this ship.
There is a lot of talk about platforms nowadays, and this challenge is all about building a platform; why is it so important for a debut author?
Even though this is my first platform building challenge I have been working diligently on said platform for years. I think I’m everywhere I’m supposed to be as a debut author. My follower number is low but my readers have been loyal and I am thankful for their dedicated readership. But with that said, I would love to build my blog readership and add more lovely people into the fold.
Now onto writing. This is a little obsession of mine, so I'd like to know are you a plotter or pantster?
Pantser all the way. I love to see where the characters and story will take me—it fuels me as a writer. I do generate a bullet pointed stream-of-consciousness list before I begin writing. I also do some character building by jotting down personality ideas for my MCs, so I have a general sense of who they are. I give major props to writers who plot and know the exact direction their stories will take them – I find that absolutely fascinating.
What's your top writing tip?
Write. Write a lot. Write some more. Revise. Revise a lot. Revise some more. Then repeat and repeat and repeat. Never stop writing or growing as a writer. Don’t stop at one book. Push yourself to write a second, then a third, etc….
As a pre-published writer, I look to others for advice about writing, but I do like to share what writing resources I find, so what have been your most valuable writing resources?
For writing: read ON WRITING by Stephen King (Check) and BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott (I'll have to look that one up).