November 16, 2012

Casual Friday: Interview with Author Brenda Drake!

Happy Friday, Misfiteers!!

It's my first casual Friday and I wanted to share it with one of my favorite people ;o) I'm thrilled to have AWESOME author, who I like to call the Contest Queen, Brenda Drake!! You may have seen her around twitter... So, I asked her some questions about contests and writing. You know, the fun stuff ;o) So, here we Gooooooooo!

> What was your first contest that you conducted and why?

The first contest I did was The Never-ending Scene Blogfest (or cliffhanger--whatever). I wanted to do something unique on the blog to get to know more writers.  It was a blog hop, and I gave away editing prizes to the best cliffhangers. The first agent contest was It was a Dark and Stormy Night Blogfest Contest, which was a first line contest with Weronika Janczuk of D4EO Literary Agency. It was such a success, I kept throwing contests.

> What do you think the appeal is of contests?

For the writers, it’s a chance to showcase their work outside of the slush pile and, also, an opportunity to meet new writer friends. For the agents, we read through the slush for them, and I think they have a great time competing with each other. I know I have fun watching it all go down.

> How many success stories have you had?

Directly and indirectly with the contests I’ve put on or participated in with others, there’s been well over a dozen, I’ve lost count. My favorite are sneak attacks, where agents, not in the contest, contact a participant and offers representation. I do have agents contact me after contests to see if they can get information about a writer they saw in a contest. So you never know who’s following the contests.

> What is your new MG novel about? What appeals to you about MG?

Here’s a bit about my middle grade novel…
THE BRITANIKA JOURNALS:  Around the World in 80:45:07 is a middle grade adventure with steampunk elements set in 1872. When Maximillian Drayson’s friend, Annika Britanika, receives a magical globe from her missing father, the two, as well as a few tag-alongs, embark on a journey to find him. They retrace his steps from Queen Victoria's castle in London, over the peaked rooftops in Paris, through the crowded streets of Bombay, and finally to the sandy shores of the San Francisco Bay.
With Max using his detective skills, and Annika bringing a long a few quirky inventions, the two think they may have everything figured out. Until they come across a group of men in a hyper-speed air-ship who will stop at nothing, even murder, to recover the magical globe.
What appeals to me about MG? It would be easier to answer what doesn’t appeal to me—nothing, I love it all. I guess  I’ve always enjoyed the fantastical stories in middle grade. Younger readers are open to more things. There are so many possibilities in the world for them.  Everything is new and exciting, and they’re eager to explore. I like how that comes across in middle grade books.  When the voice is perfect, I’m hooked.

> Where's your favorite place to write?

I prefer writing at my desk, I’m just more comfortable there. The windows look down on the city, except my back is to the windows most of the time. I only turn around when I’m stuck and need to think. I do like getting out of the house to write in a coffee shop once in awhile.  Gotta mix it up. Plus, I love my coffee.

> What is your favorite part of the writing process?

When I get an idea and the entire story plays through my head.  I instantly know where I’m going with it and I have to plot it out right there and then. I’ve done that in the middle of dinner, in the middle of bedtime, and in the middle of a store. Did I mention I love my new iPhone? I no longer have to frantically scribble things down in a note book. I can either record my thoughts or type it out on the phone.  I miss my pretty notebooks, though.

> Your AWESOME book LIBRARY JUMPERS is coming out soon! What has surprised you the most about the process of getting your book published so far?

The waiting. It seems forever away. It all does move at a snail’s pace. I’ve never been a patient person, but I’ve had to learn to be one as I wait for all the exciting things to happen. The New Year promises to bring a lot of work to get LIBRARY JUMPERS out by February 2014.

> What do you wish you knew before querying that you know now? Any tips to our aspiring authors?

I wish I knew how to write a query when I queried my first book. It was long and awful. Now, I love writing queries, but don’t have to. That’s why I enjoy the workshops. I get a chance to help other writers perfect theirs.

Any tips? Hmm… Make sure your query is short and enticing, query wide, and never give up, your dream may be just around the corner.

> What's your favorite thing to do that no one knows you do. (Guilty Pleasure?)

Is there anything other than writing and reading? My guilty pleasure is Gold Fish crackers and coffee, but not together obviously.

> Let's tell our Misfiteers about our first meeting. What do you remember about it?

We met doing NaNoWriMo wars on twitter. The. Best. Day. Ever.  Who knew we’d be perfect for each other? Wait. I did. Our minds are now fused together as one. I hate when a day goes by and we don’t talk on the phone. Not only do we hash out plots and character problems, we talk each other through life’s miseries.

Awww, I agree. It was the best day!! Plotting and chatting with you is one of my favorite things to do ;o) Can you feel the warm fuzzies? 

> Anything to add?

That I love you LIKE A ROCK STAR!

Aww, I LOVE you!!

So, what do you think, Misfiteers? Do you have any guilty pleasures? Anyone seen Breaking Dawn yet?

Have a wonderful weekend!!!


KelsNotChels said...

Brenda is the best!! We love you, B!!

Gina said...

Gah! Brenda's first contest was also the first contest I ever entered! Two years and two books later, it was one of her contests that ultimately got me my agent. And now I get to be a mentor in her next contest, and I am PSYCHED!

Anonymous said...

LOVE Brenda & love finding out more about her... and you! :) Great interview!

Marieke said...

Love this interview! And Brenda, of course! <3

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