Friday, August 19, 2011

Firsts Fridays: Robin Weeks

Robin Weeks is this weeks Firsts Fridays gal. She is sharing with us her first trip down queryville lane and don't you want to know where she sees it ending in five years?

Who is this Robin Weeks you ask? Well, if you don't know her these are some fun tidbits she has to say about herself...

My hobbies include reading, reading, reading some more, and writing. YA Urban Fantasy is my drug of choice, but a cereal box will do in a pinch.


I'm a host of Author's Advisory. As part of David Farland's Writer's Groups, I help host regular conference calls with really cool authors. :)

DB: Right off the bat I want to thank you for being here Robin! I can’t wait to find out more about you, so let’s do it shall we?

RW: I’m honored!
DB: Why are you a writer? Can you tell us a little about this journey for you?

RW: I wrote stories all through school and loved it. I minored in English with an emphasis on creative writing—but still never saw myself as a novelist, because I’d never written anything close to that long! Then, in law school, I wrote three major papers (the requirement was one) and published the longest one. Whadaya know? I could write long things! Still, it wasn’t until I’d been practicing for a few years before I really started to itch for a creative outlet. I read some books that inspired me, some others that made me think I could do better, and Voila! I decided to write a whole book. I started a couple projects that didn’t go anywhere and then decided to try YA. Turns out, YA is the coolest! :)
DB: Couldn’t agree more with that!

 You are just about to start querying, how long has it taken and what steps have you taken to get to this point?
RW: I started my book GEAS (which is a fancy word for a compulsion spell) in March of 2008. I wasn’t the most dedicated writer for a very long time (the thing just refused to write itself!), so by late 2009, I still didn’t have a completed draft. I was (re)learning about writing and the industry during this time and daydreaming about the world and the magic system, but not much made it to paper.

Then my wonderful college roommate Susan Jensen (who is now an awesome book blogger and writer) suggested that we attend a writer’s conference: LDStorymakers, which was held in Provo, Utah in April, 2010. Turns out, deadlines are highly motivational! I had the first half written before the conference, and finished the first (really, really, really bad) draft by November of that year.
I actually don’t even count that first draft among my (six) numbered drafts, because I wrote it in sections, with a different word doc per section. My “first” draft was when I compiled them, deleting something like (does some quick math) 13,500 words. By the end of February 2011, GEAS 1.0 was born and, in March, I submitted it to my wonderful, awesome, stupendous writer’s group. (Which I found in November 2010 through David Farland’s Writer’s Groups.) *Waves to Deana!* They quite rightly and wonderfully tore it to pieces (though they still professed to love it), and I finally knew what directions my edits needed to go in.

Five drafts and a score of awesome beta readers later… I started querying this week. :)
DB: Oh Robin your story gives me cold chills! What a seriously exciting journeyJ

For those wondering about querying agents too, how do you go about it? Is there a certain site you go to find your dream agent?
RW: The brilliant and amazing Brodi Ashton very helpfully sent me the Publisher’s Weekly list of the Top 50 YA agents (based on their reported deals), so I started my formal agent search by going through that list. You can also find lists and information on great agents at Query Tracker, Literary Rambles, and a host of others. Agents are on Twitter, have blogs, are mentioned by their clients, give interviews on blogs—if you’re online at all, you should be stumbling over them all the time. Definitely find out as much as you can about them before you query, so you know they have a good chance of liking your project.

DB: Those are some great links, thanks!
Are you giving yourself a time limit to get some nibbles? Do you have a plan of action while you wait?

RB: My plan was to use this week to rewrite my synopsis, “outline” a possible book 2, and then get to work on a separate project. That plan has been derailed slightly by WriteOn Con, some early nibbles, and the necessity of premature celebration. Maybe next week?
DB: Everyone loves early nibblesJ

What is your writing style?
RW: I can’t outline OR discovery-write. So I compromise by deciding how I want it to end, and major events along the way. Then I discovery write to connect the dots.

DB: I have noticed through your blog that Aprilynne Pike has given you tons of useful advice. Is there something she, or possibly another, has given you about writing that you would like to share?
RW: Aprilynne is soo cool. She was my LDStorymakers 2010 boot camp instructor, did a conference call for David Farland’s Authors’ Advisory about outlining, and soon afterward toured my area. She let me tag along as she visited the local high school and did a presentation at the library, so I learned tons from her. She was also nice enough to give me some amazing advice on my query letter. Her library presentation was about her publication journey and it was very eye-opening. I learned to never give up, that even your dream agent might not be able to sell your book if it’s not right for the market, and that, if you keep writing, success can happen “quickly.”

Since I’m a host for Authors’ Advisory, I’ve also learned tons from lots of great authors. There are literally thousands of authors willing to give back to the writing community by speaking at conferences, doing online chats and conference calls, and otherwise instructing wanna-be’s like me. It’s such a great community to belong to.
DB: This is true. For those of you who haven’t been To DAVID FARLAND'S site, you need to, such a slew of great info from amazing talent.

Last question and this is just for fun…
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

RW: Realistically or delusionally?
DB: You pickJ

RW: Aw, delusions are more fun so I’ll do that one. In five years, I want to be a successful author, live on the cattle ranch I’ll have purchased for my husband (except when I leave for book tours and conferences), and help raise my sons… and maybe a daughter or two. :)
DB: Livin’ the lifeJ

Robin, you are the best! Thanks so much for hanging out a bit and letting us get to know you!
RW: Thanks for having me!!


Join me next week for an awesome Firsts Fridays visit from Jeantte Larson, an accomplished children's author. She will be taking us down memory lane sharing and helping out with some of her firsts she went through.

Until next time...
Keep writing. Keep learning


Kelley said...

Great interview, and I love this blog. So cute. Literary Rambles is a great resource, I totally agree :)

<3 a newbie follower

Unknown said...

Thanks, Deana!! I agree with Kelley--I love your blog!

Kelley--Literary Rambles is amazing, isn't it?

Loree Huebner said...

Fun interview. Thanks Deana and Robin for all the great links and info.

Best wishes on the query process, Robin. I'm just about to start that myself.

Angela Cothran said...

Thanks for the interview. I love to read Robin's blog. She is a wealth of knowledge.

Emily R. King said...

Great interview, Robin and Deana! Thanks!

Deana said...

Kelly and Robin- Thanks:)
Literary Rambles is the one site you gave, Robin, that I haven't checked out yet. I guess I'll have to get with it.

Loree- Good luck with your querying too! And thanks for stopping by.

Angie - No doubt!

Emily- No, thank you:)

Donna K. Weaver said...

Robin is awesome. Wonderful interview Deana.

Unknown said...

Loree--oh, good luck! It's just as scary as everyone says! :)

Angie--Aw, thanks!


Deana--Literary Rambles is awesomeness itself for anyone wanting to know everything about almost any agent. She does the research and compiles stats, interviews, and links into one mindblowingly helpful place.

Donna--no YOU'RE awesome! :D

Unknown said...

Great info, Robin! And thanks for hosting, Deana.

I'll definitely check out Farland's blog. I love finding new resources from all you savvy writer/bloggers!!

Jessie Humphries said...

Cool interview girls. (Dont you love it when you get called "girl" instead of "ladies"?) Thanks for sharing the journey.

Melodie Wright said...

Nice interview, you two! Robin, I'm crossing my fingers for an easy query experience. It's a little like labor - I hope yours is short and sweet! :))

Unknown said...

Lora--there's tons of great interviews there now, and we're adding more on a regular basis. Lots of awesome advice.

Jessie--I totally prefer girl. I've never really felt older than 17.

Melodie--THANKS! I've been comparing the experience to childbirth myself! There's a lot of parallel with the final weeks, when you know your life could change any day now... or tomorrow... or the day after that....

Small Town Shelly Brown said...

Cute interview :) You are gonna get that ranch, Robin!

Unknown said...

Yay!! What Shelley says will happen happens.

Margo Kelly said...

Great interview!

I'm stopping in from the campaign. Nice to meet you!

Leslie S. Rose said...

Nice to meet you, Robin. I hope the nibbles turn into a big agent bite for you. Love your visions for the future. Isn't there a saying like: No dream is too big?

Unknown said...

Hi Margo!

Leslie--nice to meet you, too! And thanks! Me, too. :)

Donea Lee said...

Hi Deana/Hi Robin! Great interview, ladies. It's so great to learn more about fellow bloggers/on-line friends and see a little bit about their journey. Thanks for sharing!

Deana said...

Thanks everyone for stopping by and supporting Robin! She is great as you all say:)

Unknown said...

...and Deana is even greater than they say! :)

Deana said...

Hehe...flattery will get you everywhere in my book:)