Pay It Forward Interview: Heidi Kling

For my last days of Paying it Forward, I’ll be interviewing authors who have books coming out this spring. While I feel like this week is going so fast, I’m sure Chelsea and Heidi are counting down the interminable minutes until their release days! Hopefully you’ve taken some time this week to visit some of the other writers’ blogs (links below), and let yourself be inspired and encouraged by their publication journeys. There are more than 70(!) writers participating, so clear some time for blog-reading.

Heidi Kling’s book, SEA, releases on June 1oth and has one of the most stunning covers I’ve seen lately. The story sounds equally amazing and after reading Heidi’s story and passion below, I’m sure you’ll be joining me on the pre-ordered list.

1 . Tell us about your book.

Sea is a romantic adventure story about a fearful California teenager’s
life-changing trip to a post-tsunami Indonesian orphanage. Ultimately, it’s
a love story about hope after tragedy. (Longer version on my website:
heidirkling.com

2. Can you tell us a little bit about your road to publication?

I found an interested agent at a “Speed dating agent event” in
S.F.–after hearing my pitch. Sea wasn’t finished, and we had a trip to
France planned so I actually finished the draft there. I ended up not going
with that agent, but after I finished and polished the book, I asked an
author contact of mine via MySpace for a short-list of YA authors she heard
good things about. She suggested five. I queried them all. My agent wrote
me back right away requesting a “full” of SEA–other things transpired, and
she offered representation. We had multiple offers within two weeks. This
SOUNDS like it was a quicky thing, but I’ve been writing since I was 17,
earned both my BA and MFA in creative writing, wrote several “drawer”
novels, had queried and been rejected for past projects. SEA, from it’s
very inception, felt like it would be for me “the one”. And it was!

3. Was there ever a time you felt like giving up? Why didn’t you?

I would never have given up on trying to publish SEA. I felt (and feel) so strongly that the story of survivors of a natural disaster, especially teen and
child survivors, don’t have a voice in literature or in film–especially
after the news cameras go home and the hype goes away. I feel SEA gives
them a voice. Plus, so many teens and adults feel lost and don’t know how
they can find their way back. It’s very important to me to be optimistic
and hopeful and I think traveling with Sienna (who feels lost and hopeless)
to Indonesia is a good thing. It was a good thing for me. My point is, I
would never have given up on this book. I would have kept trying and
pushing until it sold.

4. I wouldn’t have survived querying/revisions/submissions without…

… my eternally optimistic nature, my incredible support team (husband, friends, online network)and the knowledge that with hard work and some luck we can all find our happy ending.

Now that you’ve enjoyed Heidi’s interview, click here for more inspiration: Lisa and Laura Roecker, Beth Revis, Leah Clifford, Victoria Schwab, Kirsten Hubbard, Susan Adrian, Dawn Metcalf, Kim Harrington, Carrie Harris, Amy Holder, Kathy McCullough, Suzette Saxton and Bethany Wiggins, and Elana Johnson.

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