Interview With A Writer Mom

Welcome to Interview with a Writer Mom! This is the place where all our #WM_chat interviews live!

Get to know these amazing women as they share their books, writing services, and how they find (or don’t find) balance in this fun and crazy Writer Mom life!

Featured: Rebecca Angus

Welcome to our interview with Rebecca Angus () Author and literary agent with (she also happens to be our own ‘s agent!!!)

 

WMI: How many children do you have and what are their ages?

 

Rebecca: I have an almost 2 year old son (he turns 2 next month *sobs*). While they aren’t necessarily human children, I do also have two dogs, three evil genius cats, and two horses.

 

WMI: (Asked by You!) What’s the truth about prologues and epilogues in traditionally published books? Do agents/publishers really dislike them?

 

Rebecca: This is a VERY good/somewhat hard question to answer because it’s subjective to who you are asking. Much of this has to do with what genre you are writing in. For SFF/F it’s more common to find books with prologues. They are acceptable in some cases, but the thing I like to challenge authors to do is to find a way to incorporate the info in the pro/epi into the story so it doesn’t feel like an info dump.

 

What we normally find in pros/epis are backstory or world building. It can be an overwhelming amount of information for a reader before they’ve even had a chance to connect with the character. The general consensus is that pro/epis can slow a story down. However, this isn’t always the case.

 

My suggestions would be to decided if there is a way to work that info into your story without falling into the “telling vs. showing” hole. Ask yourself if the information is really necessary. Is it more for you as a writer so you can set your story up?

 

Also, do research on comparison titles in your genre. Do those titles have pro/epis in them, or does the story work without them? When I consider a MS that has a prologue, I don’t automatically run away in fear–however, It does automatically have me thinking about possible ways I could suggest revising the manuscript to work that prologue into the rest of the story. Personally, I’m not a fan of epilogues, but again–the consensus on them is subjective to who you are asking in the industry. My biggest recommendation would be to research comp titles.

 

WMI: (Asked by You!) What factors go into picking clients? Is it just a storyline that catches you, the writing itself, or do you look at marketability too? Do books that don’t fit the genre molds get passed because they’re tougher sells?

 

Rebecca: This is a hard one because it’s different from client to client. When I read a query I’m looking for that attention grabbing hook. I want to see what the importance of the manuscript is, and why I should be engaged with the characters. In all honesty….comp titles aren’t a super huge thing to me. However, if you do comp your MS to a book that I absolutely do not like, that might make me a bit less excited to read more. But I do often suggest alternative comp titles that could work better when I sign a client. When I’m reading a full MS there are quite a few things going through my mind:

 

  1. Do I know an editor who I think will LOVE this project (this happens all the time)
  2. Where in the market would this fit?
  3. What similar titles have I read?
  4. Is the market right for this at the moment?
  5. What would I change anything about the project.

 

If I’m able to work through that list and I love the voice and writing, I will likely make an offer of rep. However, I do read full MSs that I need to do more research on market wise. I also re read some projects multiple times if I’m on the fence about it. In the end I do have a pretty good gut feeling about projects that I LOVE. I’ve lost a few that I loved to other agents as well. That’s tuff.

 

WMI: (Asked by You!) I’m struggling with specifying my genre. I think it covers a couple. Is it essential to specify in a query and if I don’t will an agent even read on?

 

Rebecca: These are my thoughts about the genre challenge (and again, it’s subjective from agent to agent). I am big on trying to identify the main genre of a story. I have received so many queries that have 4 or 5 different genres. I have to be able to place your project in the market which requires me to know which market to look at. This is my reasoning: If you label your manuscript Young Adult Historical Paranormal Romance it’s going to be impossible for an agent to pitch that book with all 4 genres. You can’t put a Young Adult Historical into the Paranormal Romance genre. And you can’t put Paranormal Romance into the Historical genre. You are better off saying that the book is a Young Adult Paranormal Romance. Show me the “history” feel in your query. If it’s a MS about YA civil war vampires who fall in love, I would still categorize it as YA paranormal romance. You are better off simplifying the genres than over complicating them.

 

Are MS’s that are tougher to categorize tougher to sell because there’s not already an established niche for it? Or are most categories broad enough that if it’s pitched well it’ll negate that?- Evelry Reed

 

It can really go both ways. It doesn’t have to be an established niche, but it’s important that we are able to place it in some kind of market with an audience. There can be some grey area though which would go in two markets equally as well.

 

WMI: (Asked by You!) Is it possible to transition from self-publishing to traditional publishing with works that are already “out there”?

 

Rebecca: Yes, it is possible, but an Agent/Editor/or Publisher is going to want to see that your sales numbers are high enough that it’s a smart decision to transition from SP to traditional. It can be done though. I would say that it’s most frequently done in the Romance genre.

 

What are considered high numbers in sales?- Sarah Armstrong-Garner

 

Some Agents/Editors are going to want to see sales numbers over 10,000. If you’ve been able to hit some of those best seller lists on Amazon, or If you have a long list of great reviews for the book, those can be helpful as well. Some of the sales expectations are going to depend on what genre the book is in. Again, much of it’s subjective, but it goes back to the sales numbers, strong author platform, and the social media presence.

 

WMI: (Asked by You!) How important is the biography section of the query letter for a fiction work (new writer, no credentials, nothing to brag about)?

 

Rebecca: You are going to get different answers for this, but personally I don’t think it’s a huge part of the query letter. If you have awesome writing credentials that you want to share, PLEASE share them. But, if you are writing about your pet bird and your Aunt Betsy in your bio, then I would say your query is better off with a short bio blurb, or leave it out all together. I would much rather the query be personalized then have a generic query with a bio filled with fluffy info which just takes up space.

 

WMI: (Asked by You!) How long does it take to typically receive a rejection/request from you?

 

Rebecca: I have requested manuscripts w/in a few minutes of receiving the queries, and I have taken a few weeks. It all depends on if I’m reading my query inbox the moment something new comes in, or if I’m bogged down with client work and my query inbox is feeling neglected for rejections this typically takes a bit longer.

 

I sort my queries into categories: Request, Maybe, Reject–there are also sub categories within those main folders. I try to sit down and go through rejections once a month, and it usually takes me a good chunk of time. However, I have actually pulled manuscripts from the reject folder to take another look.

 

So, I would estimate that rejections take 4-6 weeks and are slower than requests. I have to allocate time to send out rejection responses because I don’t email form letters. I do try and personalize rejections as much as possible.

 

WMI: On top of agenting you are also an author with a book coming out in 2019. Congrats! Can you tell us a bit about it?

 

Rebecca: Sometimes I forget that I have a book coming out. It’s still strange to think about that! Thanks for asking about it 🙂 WHERE WE FIRST BEGAN is a Time Travel Romance set in the time of the Alamo. I wrote it while my husband was on his first deployment in 2015, and I actually finished writing it in 19 days. That’s not normal…don’t try that. It was a really great outlet for me emotionally during the deployment, and it turned into a VERY emotional story. If you are familiar with the Alamo, it’s not a story where you can expect a happy ending. However, the time travel elements allowed me to twist the plot in a way that I’m really excited for readers to experience. It’s got a swoony Texas romance feel, and I can’t wait to share it.

Fun fact… the love interest was named after the youngest fighter at the Alamo, 23 year old Tapley Holland. We ended up naming my son Tapley because we loved the name so much.

 

 

Amy Brewer and Patty Carothers

Welcome to our interview with Amy Brewer and Patty Carothers , Co-authors of Texting Prince Charming and literary agents with !

 

WMI: How may children do you have and what are their ages?

 

Amy: I have two boys ages 15 and 14.

 

Patty: And I have six kiddos: 22, 18, 17, 15, 8 and 4. Crazy, huh?

 

WMI: Co-authoring a book must come with its own sets of challenges. What is the trickiest part of writing a book with someone else?

 

A&P: Getting our phones to work. Our phones never seem to work and we talk for hours everyday.

Patty: Locational difficulties. We’re in two separate cities, so that can make it hard to sync up our schedules.

Amy: We talk sometimes in 5 minute increments throughout the day. We only see each other every few months.

 

WMI: You two have a book coming out later this month, YAY! Can you tell us a bit about it?

 

Amy: TEXTING PRINCE CHARMING comes out MAY 29th. It is about a girl who has a disability and overcomes to find her HEA!

Patty: After a tragic accident leaves Shelby Ryan permanently injured, she gives up all hope in happily-ever-afters. She tries to put on a brave face though, while hiding her pain from everyone. Everything starts to change once Shelby returns to school and receives the first of many anonymous and corny messages from a mysterious Prince Charming. Adding to her confusion is her somewhat nemesis, basketball star, and bad boy, Sebastian’s sudden interest in her. Will she be able to cope with the allure of the texting prince, or will Sebastian be the real life prince in Shelby’s fairy tale? Hilarity ensues as Shelby tries not only to uncover Prince Charming’s real identity but also comes to terms with her true feelings for the last boy on Earth she’d ever think to fall for: Sebastian Freaking Birch.

 

WMI: (Asked by You!) If you have a series with a small press is there any way for an agent to sell them to a larger press?

 

Amy: Nope.

Patty: Once you are contracted with a small press, unless you get rights reverted back to you after the term of your contract, there would be no possible way to.

A&P: Once it is published it is almost impossible to get a larger press to publish it.

 

WMI: (Asked by You!) What kind of book promotion plans do agents expect when representing an author’s work to a publisher, especially a new author? A huge following already? A certain number of pre-orders?

 

A&P: You don’t have to have a plan, you have to be open to what ever options you can do to learn and grow in the book promotions department. Most of our clients didn’t love twitter until they met us and look at them now: 

Patty: It’s important to understand that writing is a dual thing. Almost 50/50. Half is the creative (writing) and the other is selling yourself and your platform!

 

WMI: (Asked by You!) Do agents take self-publishing as a credit or are they indifferent towards it when they are considering representing an author?

 

A&P: We are pretty indifferent to self-publishing. It doesn’t hurt or help you. We won’t try to traditionally publish something that is self-published.

 

Do you find that’s a common misconception- that it’ll be a boon to an authors career to get a book self published first? I feel like I hear this advice or stance often. -Everly Reed

 

Patty: I don’t believe so. I think that it can help prepare you for what is to come. Edits. Reedits. More edits. Tearing the manuscript up, setting it on fire and starting again. It’s the same if you are traditional or self. Only difference is the control self-pub’d have.

Amy: Self-pub can be great. But we really are looking for merit in the manuscript that is presented to us.

 

WMI: (Asked by You!) Do comp titles have to be recent? (How far is it okay to go back with them)? Also, what if a book is similar to one of the greats or classics? Is that a hard no even if it fits as a comp?

 

A&P: Comp titles need to be fairly recent. Don’t compare your book to a classic unless you really have the writing chops to hold up to that expectation. We get manuscripts everyday saying they are the next Harry Potter, They’re not.

Amy: Comp titles should be fairly recent. I’d say in the last 8 years unless it is a recent classic like the Thorne Birds or something. As far as comparing to a major classic, you are making some big shoes to fill by trying.

Patty: You also need to be careful to not be too similar or that can be a no-go as well.

 

You can find Patty Carothers on

Twitter: @PattyMCarothers

You can find Amy Brewer on

Twitter: @42amer

And you can find them both on Twitter under: 

Or on their website

Don’t forget to check out their book TEXTING PRINCE CHARMING 

 

 

 

Rachel Thompson

WMI: How many children do you have and what are their ages?

 

Rachel: I have 2 kids, Anya age 18 and Lukas age 12. She’s in college and he’s in middle school. I”m a single mom (divorced after 22 years) and their dad isn’t local or involved too much. I have lots of family close by and work hard to provide them a good life.

 

WMI: What is the role of a social media and book marketing consultant?

 

Rachel: I help writers understand how to market their books without constant “buy my book!” spam. My role is to help a writer develop their personal brand, learn how to carry that onto their site, blog, social, visuals, and build relationships with readers.

My website: BadRedheadMedia.com

Twitter: @BadRedheadMedia

Facebook: Facebook.com/BadRedheadMedia

Instagram: Bad Redhead Media

 

WMI: What advice do you have for pre-published writers wanting to build their platform?

 

Rachel: You can never start too early building relationships with readers. Tease out quotes, share articles on topics that interest you, share other people’s work, follow and interact. Remember: selling isn’t all about you. People buy from people they like and trust.

 

WMI: What advice do you have for published writers wanting to market their book?

 

Rachel: If your book is already out and you’ve done zero marekting, it’s not too late. Start building relationships with readers, book bloggers, reviewers, other authors (but not ONLY other authors). Social media, review, Goodreads, your site, blogging- it ALL counts.

I created the @BadRedheadMedia 30- Day Book Marketing Challenge to help any kid of author- pre-release or post-release. There are so many ways a writer can develop their platform. You can find that here.

WMI: You’ve recently started #NaNoProMo. What is it?

 

Rachel: I realized there wasn’t a book marketing month, only writing and editing months. So, I created #NaNoProMo! Week One has been amazing: blog posts each day from experts, incredible giveaways daily. I have a team behind the scenes helping me and it’s going great!

 

WMI:  How can authors get involved with #NaNoProMo and participate in everything you have planned?

 

Rachel: Go to my BadRedHeadMedia.com Blog daily, read each day’s post and COMMENT to enter. That’s it! We have amazing guests coming up like NYTimes bestseller @BarbaraDelinsky, giveaways from @mike_allton @JFbookman @hughhowey (of WOOL fame), @CoSchedule @ArevaMartin and more.

 

WMI: Random question time: What’s one talent you have outside of writing?

 

Rachel: Besides playing classical piano and Beatles songs, I am also excellent at burning dinner.

Alicia Gaile

WMI: How many children do you have and what are their ages?

 

Alicia: My son Jericho is about 2.5 years old. He’s a miniature me, complete with an early love of reading! He loves nothing better than bringing me his alphabet books to show off that he knows his letters.

 

WMI: What kinds of books do you write?

 

Alicia: I write YA fantasy stories that usually feature faeries in some form or another. My Faery Trials series blends multiple fairy tale retellings per book, and right now I’m working on a priestess/mercenary retelling of Rapunzel. Putting my own spin on familiar stories is something I’ve really enjoyed exploring so far. I try to infuse my stories with a strong sense of myth, magic, and adventure, but one of the themes that keeps reappearing is the idea of family. So often these characters are depicted isolated and alone, and I like exploring the types of relationships and bonds that they form with their biological and adoptive family units.

 

WMI: You have a new book coming out tomorrow! Congratulations! Can you tell us a bit about it?

 

Alicia: Cinders Dance picks up right where Trial by Song ended, with Jack making a deal with the faeries to save Eira’s soul. This time around, his friends launch a rescue mission that doesn’t end well, so Jack has to go deeper into Faerie to find a way to break a curse, stop a war, and find a way to go home.

 

WMI: Did you choose to traditionally publish your books or self-publish them? Why?

 

Alicia: I decided to self-publish because I liked the creative control that came with it as well as the freedom to release my books as soon as they were ready instead of waiting half a year or more between releases. I also wanted to learn how everything worked. There are some pros for both methods, but I am enjoying learning everything I can as I go.

 

WMI: You’ve developed quite a reputation for bing a resource for all things folklore and fairy tales. Where does that vast knowledge come from?

 

Alicia: Ha, well I’ve loved folklore and mythology since I started reading. My first love was the Arthurian myth. In high school I took a folklore class which introduced me to Gilgamesh, Beowulf, and some Norse mythology, but most of what I know comes doing my own digging into some of those legends.

 

WMI: What’s one random fact about yourself?

 

Alicia: Random, huh? Hmm…I love to snack on raw spaghetti noodles. There’s something comforting about the way they crunch, even though I drive everyone sitting around me absolutely crazy because I could go through a whole box.

Jewel Eliese

WMI: How many children do you have and what are their ages?

 

Jewel: Yay! Love the babies! I have two kiddos. My little boy (awesome chatterbox) is six and my toddler (adorable banshee) is two.

 

WMI: You run a website and Facebook group called Write Away, Mommy. Can you tell us about it and how it started?

 

Jewel: The Facebook group started from trying to actually talk to you wonderful moms. For almost two years I thought I was alone in this dream. Only recently I found out there was even a name for people like us, Writer Moms. Whoo hoo!

Write Away, Mommy started as a way to start publicly sharing my writing, since I kept hearing that’s what a writer is supposed to do. But it turned into a way to find other moms. Moms who we’re trying to figure out how to be the best writer and mother they could be.

Website: Write Away, Mommy

Facebook group: Write Away, Mommy

 

WMI: Do you have any advice for all of us writer moms trying to balance it all?

 

Jewel: Balance? Sometimes I’m even not sure I have it. One day I can write so many words and feel like a pro. Other days I feel like a pro mom. Yet, there are nights when I wonder if I did either right. YET, it’s all so worth it. We must follow our passions.

 

WMI: You’re also a successful short fiction writer. Where do you publish your work?

 

Jewel: The place that started it all was The Write Practice, with public practice. LOVE that site. Short Fiction Break and needleinthehay.net for contests. Thestoryshack.com and Medium have also been huge.

 

WMI: Medium has a large (and ever growing) audience. How do you think this changes the blogging world?

 

Jewel: Medium is the perfect place to find and test out your voice to an actual audience. There are so many ways readers can interact with the writers and read FANTASTIC articles. Plus, who doesn’t like applause? Something that is neat about Medium is that it’s suited to BOTH. Any genre as well. And if you can’t find what you are looking for, creating a publication to fit your needs is fantastic. Especially, when you do it with people like Autumn Lindsey.

 

WMI: Between maintaining a website, social media accounts, and now Medium, do you have any advice to avoid being stretched too thin?

 

Jewel: To avoid it… we have to say NO! Ha. Moms are good at that, right? Yet, it’s the most difficult. I am a people pleaser at heart and love new projects, but you have to stick to your long-term goal. Know your dream and say yes to things that help you get there.

 

WMI: Random question time: What is one random fact about yourself?

 

Jewel: Random fact. I am a twin and my favorite thing to do is eat spicy noodles and curl up with a good book. I may even smell the pages. Ahhh.

Sally Britton

WMI: How many children do you have and what are their ages?

 

Sally: I have four children, 9, 7, 5.5, and 1.5. They are incredible.

 

WMI: What kind of books do you write?

 

Sally: I write Historical Romances. I’m pretty proud of them, too. My first novel, The Social Tutor, took me a long time to write. It’s based in 1811 England – the Jane Austen era.  I love writing in the Regency/Historical time periods, because things were so different. A single touch of the hand spoke volumes more than it does today.

 

WMI: And you recently released a novel, The Social Tutor, and a novella, Martha’s Patience, congratulations! Can you tell us a bit about them? What are you favorite parts of each book?

 

Sally: Both books are romances, because I love the idea of love. My favorite part of The Social Tutor is a scene where my hero tries to convince the heroine to be wary of men who only want one thing. It goes terribly wrong for him.

I love Martha’s Patience, and my favorite scene is at the very end, when the hero FINALLY gets that his best friend has been in love with him. Finding love in unlooked for placed is always heart-melting.

 

WMI: What plans do you have for the Branches of Love seires?

 

Sally: The 2nd novel, The Gentleman Physician, will be out at the end of the month and I’m already in the editing phase for the third and drafting the next two after that. So 5 novels and MAYBE an assortment of novellas if I feel so inspired.

 

WMI: From a marketing perspective, what promotional tactics have you found to have the best return on investment, in terms of time and/or money?

 

Sally: I would rather write than market any old day. I’m the worst salesperson ever. I think I should note that one thing I haven’t been scared to do is ask other successful indies if they’d feature me in their email newsletters or websites if I returned the favor. I’ve seen some spikes in sales from that. Nothing crazy, but it’s cool.

 

WMI: Random question time: What is one thing you love to do outside of writing?

 

Sally: My favorite thing to do is probably go on hikes. I live near a beautiful mountain, with a natural spring, camp grounds, and just beautiful paths. We go as a family several times a month. I’m not an outdoorsy person, but being on that mountain always relaxes and calms me. The kids always take great naps after, too!

Abby Mathews

WMI: How many children do you have and what are their ages?

 

Abby: I have two lovely daughters, ages 8 and 5.

 

WMI: You are working on your debut novel. Care to tell us what it’s about?

 

Abby: Bernadette just wants to be an ordinary middle school kid, but with a dad who’s a book hoarding weirdo that looks and acts like he stepped out of the Victorian chapter in her text book, it’s hard to hide her embarrassment, let alone her home life.

 

WMI: You host a podcast for Writer Moms. Tell us about where to find it.

 

Abby: You can find Mom Writes on iTunes, it’s my and Melanie Parish’s baby. And of course it stars AMAZING veteran book coach Jennie Nash! The first season is all about writing the first draft with kids under foot. The kids even sometimes do the podcast version of a photobomb. A podcastbomb. Yeah, they’re loud.

 

WMI: You’ve hosted many wonderful guests on your podcast. Can you share with some of the things you’ve learned from talking to other Writer Moms?

 

Abby: “OMG PUT YOUR BUTT IN THE CHAIR AND JUST DO THE WORK!!!! LOL!” That’s really what I’ve gathered from everyone out there in the trenches writing. No excuses. Just make it happen. We all have sick kids and crazy lives and laundry. We can’t let it get in the way of getting shiz done!

 

WMI: Can you give us a sneak peek into what’s coming up for the Mom Writes podcast?

 

Abby: Season one has a running theme of “must finish first draft” then Season 2 will be “revision and pitching” and also some interviews peppered in. I have SO MANY UNEDITED EPISODES!!! LOL! Like, 40 hours worth!!

 

WMI: Random question time: Care to share a writing goal for 2018?

 

Abby: That’s not so random! Well, finish this dang book!!! But that’s probably a really predictable answer. I would like to be able to use everything I’ve learned on and be able to write an awesome second book in less time than the first one!

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