Friday, January 28, 2011

Authoress: Demystified (sort of)

I've been trying to tell you that Operation Awesome is where the cool kids hang out, but maybe you can't get past my supreme geekness? As if Wednesday's incredible guest (Hello! Beth Revis!) didn't convince you, today's special guest pretty much proves my seemingly outlandish claims!

The fabulously mysterious Authoress Anon, mistress of the Secret Agent contest, has granted us an interview.

We will not be revealing her identity, but we will be celebrating her recent agent-signing success and finding out more about her writing journey. *clinks glasses with Authoress* 

First of all, if you by some fluke haven't met Authoress on her blog or twitter, make sure you stop by and soak in some of that awesome!

Get her legendary e-book, Agent: Demystified.

Who needs an author photo when Authoress has a PINK TOES PICTURE?!

Without further ado, here's the interview:

Katrina: This will not surprise our readers, but our Mystery Agent contest idea came from your awesome SECRET AGENT contests! How was that idea born?

Authoress: You know, I have no clear memory of this.  I literally just “thought it up” shortly after the blog was born and went from there.  The blog itself was a sudden, off-the-cuff idea, too, designed to be a safe and happy place for aspiring authors.  After doing a couple of critique sessions, it occurred to me that it would be a lot more fun if I could include an agent. I never dreamed what it would blossom into!

Katrina: How Authoress got her agent. What do you see as the moral of your how-you-got-your-agent story?

Authoress: NEVER. GIVE. UP.  I think sometimes aspiring authors get a little tired of hearing that.  But, yanno, if you believe in what you’re doing, and if you’re working hard at your craft to assure that you keep moving forward, then you’ve got to push through even when things are at their bleakest.  In the few months prior to my happy agent signing, I can’t tell you how many times people said to me, “When your misses are THIS CLOSE? When it feels THIS HORRIBLE? You’re really close to making it.”  And they were right.

Katrina: It’s clear, after reading your first agent horror story and then your awesome Josh Getzler story, that all agent-author relationships are not created equal. What’s the one piece of advice you can give writers like me who are hoping for the kind of relationship you have with Josh?

Authoress: Well, it’s a twofold piece: DO YOUR RESEARCH and BE CONFIDENT IN WHO YOU ARE.  Careful research will ensure you’re sending your material to agents with whom you can potentially “click,” and approaching the relationship as you would any other—with confidence, poise, and friendliness—will likely lead to the “perfect match.”

Katrina: As your blog title indicates, you really were Miss Snark's first victim! How has her (snarky) advice affected your writing? What would you say to her now if she were listening?

Authoress: Oh my goodness, I’m cringing at the memory! It was the opening page of my first-ever, really-horrible-but-I-didn’t-know-it-yet novel, and she shredded it. It was absolutely the kick I needed, though.  Miss Snark taught me what it means to not be in love with my words.  That’s the bottom line, really.  I think a sign of maturity as a writer is when you can chop entire paragraphs without batting an eyelash.

If she were listening right now, I’d say, “Thank you for drop-kicking me (gently) into reality.  Yours was the first of many painful-wonderful things that propelled my writing where it is today.”

Katrina: Your e-book, Agent: Demystified, discusses the Agents As God syndrome many writers develop in the quest to get published. We know agents are just people, but if Josh Getzler were a god, which one would he be?

Authoress: Naturally, I consulted with Josh before making my final decision on this important question.  He pretty much gave me carte blanche, provided I didn’t choose someone who came to a horrible end (like Hephaestus).  So I’ve decided he would be Momus, the god of satire, mockery, poets, and writers. 

(What, you’ve never heard of Momus?  Me neither.)

Katrina: How many books have you written? What genre is the book that snagged you your agent? Can you tell us about it?

Authoress: I’m currently writing my sixth novel.  I snagged my agent with the fourth one, which is a YA dystopian.  It’s the story of a 16-year-old boy (named after my husband!).  And I promise I’ll say more about it on my blog after we’ve sold it.

Katrina: Do you outline or fly by the seat of your pants?

Authoress: Hello, my name is Authoress and I’m a pantser.

Actually, though?  I’m gradually learning the art of planning.  I could never sit down and write an entire outline, cold.  I don’t think that way.  But I’ve plotted myself into enough corners to finally see the value in a wee bit of planning.  And also in taking the time to write out detailed backstory, which brings life and depth to the worldbuilding as well as to the plot.

The logline and storyboarding advice in Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat has had a profound impact on my writing.

Katrina: What makes a great first sentence?

Authoress: Wow.  I think it should be fresh and compelling without being forced or pretentious.  Definitely not gimmicky, and definitely not a description of the weather.

I will confess that the earliest drafts of my second novel (a middle grade fantasy) opened with the sound of my protagonist yelling as she slipped beneath the water, on her way to drowning.  I thought it was cool.

I was totally wrong.

Katrina: Do you listen to music while you write? Does it change with the WIP?

Authoress: I always have music playing! Pandora makes me happy. It’s funny though; even though I majored in music (I’m a pianist) and have strong opinions about it, I’ve never taken the time to create specific play lists for each WIP.  I listen to jazz, Celtic, Renaissance, or soundtracks, depending on my mood.

Best thing ever?  My husband is writing a soundtrack for my novel.  AND I LOVE IT!  Hopefully he’ll have enough of it done by the time I’m working on revisions for a publisher that I can write to it.  My own, built-in, custom-made play list! J

Katrina: What’s your favorite color?

Authoress: Unabashedly pink! (a woman after my own heart!)

Katrina: Favorite TV show and/or movie?

Authoress: I don’t watch TV.  My favorite miniseries is A&E’s Pride and Prejudice and my favorite movie is—wait for it—Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. (you have awesome taste!)

Katrina: Favorite candy?

Authoress: It’s a toss-up between Teuscher truffles and homemade toffee.  Neither of which deserves the piddling label of “candy,” of course.

Katrina: Edward or Jacob? Peeta or Gale?

Authoress: 1. Neither. (ugh)  2. Peeta!  Okay, I’ll come clean.  I was totally Team Gale until about a third of the way through Mockingjay.  Then I realized he was all wrong for her.

Katrina: At some point, you might want to use your blog to pimp your book. Is this going to be the end of Authoress Anon or will you find a way to remain anonymous?

Authoress: Both!  I’m going to unveil my real identity when the book sells, but I’m going to continue to run Miss Snark’s First Victim as Authoress.  I’ve already got my author domain parked, and will simply link to it from the blog.  I think Josh and I will have some fun figuring out the best way to approach the “big reveal.”

Katrina: Thank you for agreeing to this interview! You are a literary rock star!

Authoress: What a fun interview! Thanks so much.

Everybody say hey to Authoress in the comments. Give her an OpAwesome Welcome!


  1. Hey Authoress!

    A belated congrats on landng your agent. Can't wait for you to sell your book. (And it's not just because I really really want to know who you are.)


  2. Yay for Authoress. A huge congrats on landing your agent!

    Great interview, Katrina. Now I need to happy dance that Authoress is a pantser like me. LOL. *dances*

  3. Congrats on your agent.

    Love the interview! Always nice to meet another pantser.

  4. Hey Authoress! Thanks for sharing your story. Gives the rest of us who have been SoClose some hope.
    And congratulations! Can't wait for the big reveal.

  5. It's very cool to read more on Authoress. I wish her the best of luck in selling the book - I'm sure something will come thru soon!

  6. It's so interesting to hear you say you have to have music playing! I'm a musician as well, two degrees in flute, and I write music. If I have noise of any kind, I absolutely can't concentrate. Which makes my writing life interesting, as I often have to write to the strains of Bob the Builder, Star Wars or Superman. :) I can revise (to some extent) and email/network, but I can't create. Isn't that interesting?

    I'd also like to say that this is a reality check, because I have *not* been SO CLOSE. So I guess I'd better hunker down and prepare for a long raod still to come!

  7. This is clearly where the cool kids hang out! Great interview, and congrats again to Authoress. :)

  8. Wonderful interview! Thank you :)

    Authoress: I think it's cool that music is now being combined with novels! I compose my own mood music to write to, and am creating soundtracks/character themes, etc. for my WIPs (I majored in music, too).

    I can hardly wait to hear the soundtrack to your novel as I read it!

  9. Great interview. Love Authoress. Congrats on the agent. Good luck with the sale.

  10. Would a female Momus be a Momusa? Love the idea. Authoress is a goddess herself. She's done so much for aspiring authors. She's a great example of the principle that if you do good for others, it will come back to you.

  11. Fun interview. Can't wait for Authoress to sell her book.


  12. This story continues to inspire me. Thanks for sharing, Authoress, and OA ladies! :)

  13. Awesome interview, and can't wait for that big reveal one day soon! :D

  14. Very fun and interesting interview! Thanks Authoress and Katrina!

  15. I can't wait for the big reveal either. Great interview ladies. Pink toes. Hmmm....

  16. Okay well I was totally confused with who Authoress was before, so now I'm a little more clear ... as mud. lol. At first I thought you were an agent, then I realized you weren't. For awhile I thought you were Miss Snark.

    Whew! What's a girl to do to keep up with these things??? Anyway, nice to learn more about you, Authoress.... can't wait to learn your REAL identity.

  17. Wow, thank you all for your comments! This was an off-the-charts fun interview to do. Katrina rocks!

    I love the way you music majors came out of the woodwork when I mentioned my degree. :D Some day I'll have to share the love song I wrote for a boy when I was seven...

    And Pk, you're not alone in thinking I was Miss Snark. I actually receive emails that begin "Dear Miss Snark." I'm thinking I should wear an "I am not Miss Snark!" tee shirt. ;P

    ***hugs to everyone***

  18. Authoress: Congrats again on signing with your agent. I can't wait to find out who you are. Wouldn't it be awesome if we knew each other from high school? Wow! Is there a novel somewhere in that thought?

  19. Fantastic interview Awesome Ladies. And lovely to see your pink toes Authoress ;)



  20. Great interview! And, you're right, Authoress, your blog is "a safe happy place" for writers in all stages of the game. Many thanks~

  21. I love MSFV site and recommend it to people all the time. Can't wait to see the big reveal about story and Autho Anon. Good luck selling your novel : )

  22. great interview! i just knew of MSFV today. would you believe that? hmm. :)

  23. Thanks for the inspiring words. My dad used to stick up typed quotes on my wall when I was a kid: Never Give Up, Believe in Yourself and Everything is Possible, A quitter never wins and a winner never quits....I remember them all. And he was right. Thanks Ladies.


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