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Anyone can call in and ask questions: At the appointed time, dial 1-857-232-0155 (long distance charges may apply, depending on your phone plan). Enter the Conference Code: 245657. To raise your hand and ask a question, dial 5*. To Mute yourself, dial 4*.


New interviews are being scheduled. Watch this space for details.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

20 Janette Rallison: Romance, Romance

Tonight we were privileged to talk to Janette Rallison, who is a master of YA romance. She has published 15 YA contemporary romance novels, 2 YA Fantasy (romance) novels, and, in October, will be branching out into YA Urban Fantasy (with romance). Her upcoming novel, SLAYERS, tells the story of a group of youngsters descended from a long lineage of ancient dragon slayers... whose skills are needed again in modern times when the dragons threaten mankind. Watch for it under the pen name of CJ Hill.

Janette shared with us all the tricks of writing a great romance. Though she focused on YA romance, she also taught us how to create a believable romantic subplot, why subplots are important, and the elements of any great romance.

Some highlights are:
  • Romantic (or, really, any) characters, should have Grit, Wit, and "It"
  • Romances are mostly for women--add them to "regular" books to attract a female audience
  • Romantic men should be a "catch"--Lord Somebody, or a talented high school artist
  • Romances are about wish fulfillment
  • Don't worry about the first draft so much--fix it later
Janette has generously agreed to give two of her books as prizes to two lucky callers/listeners:

How to Take the Ex Out of Ex-Boyfriend - Sixteen-year-old Giovanna Petrizzo finds it hard enough to fit in. Three years since her family moved to Texas, she’s still the newcomer compared to everyone around her. It doesn’t help matters when her twin brother, Dante, takes on the mayor’s son by running for class president. The least she could expect, though, would be for her boyfriend, Jesse, to support their cause. But Jesse’s apparent defection triggers Giovanna’s rash emotional side, and before she knows it, she’s turned Jesse from the boy of her dreams to the exboyfriend she dreams of winning back.
UPDATE: And the Winner is... Erin Edwards!!

My Fair Godmother -Finding your one true love can be a Grimm experience! After her boyfriend dumps her for her older sister, sophomore Savannah Delano wishes she could find a true prince to take her to the prom. Enter Chrissy (Chrysanthemum) Everstar: Savannah’s gum-chewing, cell phone–carrying, high heel-wearing Fair Godmother. Showing why she’s only Fair—because she’s not a very good fairy student—Chrissy mistakenly sends Savannah back in time to the Middle Ages, first as Cinderella, then as Snow White. Finally she sends Tristan, a boy in Savannah’s class, back instead to turn him into her prom-worthy prince. When Savannah returns to the Middle Ages to save Tristan, they must team up to defeat a troll, a dragon, and the mysterious and undeniably sexy Black Knight. Laughs abound in this clever fairy tale twist from a master of romantic comedy.

UPDATE: And the winner is... Kathryn Packer Roberts!!

Here's how you win:

Required: Comment on this blog post
  • Certify that you listened to the call 
  • Say which piece of advice was the most helpful to you 
  • Say which book you’d rather win
Calculate Your Points:
  • 2 Points for listening to the call live
  • 1 Point for asking a question during the call (no extra points for extra questions)
  • 1 Point for listening to the recording 
Congratulations, Erin and Kathryn! Please email Robin with your snail-mail addresses: robinweekswriter at gmail dot com.

As always, you can listen to the recording below, or access the MP3 by clicking here.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

19 Lisa Mangum: Slush Pile Dos and Donts

Lisa Mangum was our first editor guest. That's okay, though, because she's also the award-winning author of THE HOURGLASS DOOR, THE GOLDEN SPIRAL, and THE FORGOTTEN LOCKET. We talked to her tonight about her decade wading through the slush pile for Deseret Book and Shadow Mountain, where she still works as an Assistant Editor (with her own Editor's Assistant!).

She broke her advice down into ten simple tips regarding what we can and can't control about the publishing industry:

Five Things You CAN'T Control:

  1. Publishing is a Business
    • Publishers want a book they can sell to hundreds of thousands of people--not just your mother and your neighbor
    • Authors who aren't willing to be business-like make it easier for the publisher to take a pass on their book
  2. The number of manuscripts submitted in a given year
    • At Deseret Book, out of over 2000 yearly submissions, they will only publish around four
    • 80% of those submissions aren't ready for publication
    • 30-40% of those that aren't ready didn't follow the guidelines
  3. The number of available slots a publisher has for new writers
    • Lisa has seen a debut author published every year she has worked for Deseret Book
    • If a publisher doesn't have room for a book, they can't publish it even if they love it
  4. Other submitted manuscripts that are similar to yours
    • If they get four books on Themes in the Book of Revelation, they can only publish one
    • They will publish the one that they like best
  5. An editor's mood
    • Lisa tries to do her critical work in the morning or after lunch
    • Don't put the editor in a bad mood by making your manuscript hard to get to
Five Things You CAN Control:
  1. Do your homework
  2. Follow the posted guidelines
    • See above
  3. Write a killer cover/query letter
    • Don't say "This is the next...."--Editors want the first book in a new trend.
    • Be authentic, professional, and memorable
    • Include the hook: what is the price of failure?
  4. Showcase your talent
    • Write what you're passionate about
    • Let your strength show in your cover/query letter
  5. Deal with rejection
    • You can let rejection stop you in your tracks or you can get over it and get on with your life
    • Remember that you can't get out of the slush pile unless you are IN the slush pile
Hear all of Lisa's awesome advice by accessing the MP3 here, or listening to the recording below.