I’d like to welcome Melanie Card, a young adult author, to our Author and Editor Interview Series today! Melanie’s first book, Ward against Death, is available through Entangled publishing. Thank you so much Melanie, for being here!
Me: How did become a published author? And what drew you to YA?
Melanie: I think my publishing story is a pretty common one—at least up until I received the call. I started seriously pursuing publication back in 2004 half way through my Masters of Writing Popular Fiction. I sent out queries for my thesis novel and received a few bites but ultimately all rejections. After I graduated I was even more determined and I continued to write more manuscripts, query more agents and editors, and enter contests. I was also determined to continue learning about my craft and about the business of publication and joined a number of groups. One of those groups was a critique group where I shared parts of my novel Ward Against Death.
I carried on this way until last year when Liz at Entangled emailed me. We’d been a part of the same critique group, she remembered Ward and asked me to send it to her senior editor, Heather Howland, who loved my quirky hero as much as I did. There are a lot of examples of persistence in publishing, and I feel I’m more evidence for its case. By the time I got “the call” I had been querying for 8 years, won and lost contests, received over 200 rejection letters and had written 6 manuscripts.
As for YA… I didn’t intend to write YA, but I think themes I like to write about—self discovery, confidence, coming into oneself—resonate with the genre. I love the stories where we follow a character learning to accept and love who he or she really is. Often the heroes and heroines of these stories are young, so I naturally have young characters in my head telling me to write their tales.
Me: Can you tell us what a day for you is like, in terms of writing?
Melanie: I try really had to keep a regular schedule, which means I don’t tend to take weekends. At the moment, the best place for me to write is anywhere that doesn’t have internet, so usually I get up in the morning, go someplace that is internet free, and try to get in a solid morning of writing. Sometimes that involves lots of pages and sometimes that involves sitting around trying to figure stuff out. I don’t think I have any weird quirks. I like having a cup of coffee nearby when I write, I find it relaxing and I like having warm fingers and I do 50% of my drafting on a laptop and 50% by hand, some days words just flow better from a good pen.
Me: Can you tell us a little bit about what it’s like to be an author for Entangled Publishing?
Melanie: Entangled has a well supported publishing process and by this I mean your book goes through detailed developmental edits (sometimes a few times), line edits, and copy edits. You know when your book is put into print it’s clean and tight and you have produced a good product. I think the best thing about working with Entangled is their enthusiasm and sense of camaraderie. Everyone at Entangled is excited about your book and completely supportive. Right now the hardest thing for working with them is keeping up with all the wonderful books. So many books to read, so little time!
Me: I’m planning to cover small presses and self-publishing in addition to large publishing houses and E-Book publishers in my interview series. Do you have any thoughts/ideas on these other forms of publishing?
Melanie: There are advantages and disadvantages to all forms of publication. I think it’s important for an author to learn as much as she can about herself and what she wants and doesn’t want. I also think (because this is how I work) it’s important to experiment and try different things to see what feels right. And I wouldn’t necessarily rule out all the others once you’re published in one form. A writing career can be organized in a lot of different ways. Some authors prefer the simplicity of writing only for one house, others like the flexibility of writing for more than one house (big and/or small). Some books fit better with a larger house and some fit better with a smaller house. I’d recommend doing research, talking to people, and taking an honest look at what you write and what you want and determine how that fits or doesn’t fit with each form of publishing. Do what’s best for you, not anyone else.
Me: Do you have any words of wisdom or advice for my readers hoping to publish a book? If you could go back and talk to yourself when you were just starting out, before you had any success, what would you say?
Melanie: My advice would be just keep writing. And write what you love. As for going back and talking to myself… I’d probably just offer encouragement to keep at it. I’m the writer I am today because of my experiences (good and bad, in writing and in life). If I warn myself away from any of the pitfalls I wouldn’t have gained valuable knowledge. Sure there are some lessons I’d rather have not learned, but I recognized that they were important and I am a stronger person now because of them.
Me: Thank you so much for being here today Melanie!
Melanie: Thank you for having me!
Mealnie’s first book, Ward against Death is available now. Her second book in the Chronicles of a Reluctant Necromancer series, Ward Against Darkness, will coming out August, 2012.
Get your copy of Ward Against Death at: