Pay It Forward Interview: Susan Adrian

Hello on day 2 of Pay it Forward interview week! Hopefully you’ve taken some time 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.

And *cough* MY *cough* interview is going up today at: . Go check it out. There’s a Miahaiku involved…

Susan Adrian aka the inspiration behind all those Twitter “tiara days” is a champion cheerleader and beacon of positivity. With all the good karma she’s spread, she’s due for heaps in return. Watch out for her name in the upcoming years, you’ll be seeing it.

1. Tell us about your book.

SALVAGED is the book I’m working on now, and I’m SO excited about it. Here’s the basic blurb (I always do one of these while I’m writing the first draft):

Sixteen-year-old Annika (Annie) has never used a computer or a cell phone. She’s never watched TV, slept in a real bed, or kissed anyone but Xander. Until now.

Annie’s always lived in The Community, an ultra-environmental commune tucked in the canyons of San Diego, led by her idealistic, maybe-crackpot dad. What they can’t grow or raise they salvage from the wasteful people of “the wild”. You’d be amazed what you can find back of a restaurant. But Xander runs away with Annie’s sister Zilla, and Dad sends her to drag them back.

To find them Annie has to venture into the wild by herself, into an alien culture of excess. When she crashes a company picnic she meets Bryan, a cute, rich boy who thinks she’s homeless. She lets him think it, lets him help. All she needs is a couple days to get Zilla and Xander.

But once she finds them, Annie’s not so sure she wants to return, much less force her happy-go-lucky, impulsive sister back under the strict Community rules. The wild is much more complex and captivating than she imagined. And there’s Bryan, who’s also just a tiny bit captivating. But if she doesn’t bring them home soon, Dad will come after them himself. And the last time he brought a runaway home…that’s the one thing Annie won’t let herself think about.

Can Annie be salvaged? Does she want to be?

It’s a real challenge to get the point-of-view right–a girl who has none of the cultural knowledge most teenagers are drenched in. Of course that challenge is what makes it fun.

2. Can you tell us a little bit about your road to publication (finding an agent)?

Like most other writers, my road has been–and continues to be–decidedly unsmooth. My first book was a historical, set in Chaucer’s England, with a 16-year-old protagonist (always the YA!). I got some strong agent interest, but no takers. So I wrote a straight-up contemporary YA, a juicy mix of all my favorite stuff, all my passions. I could tell the difference, between writing what I thought I should write and what I *loved*. Fortunately my agent, the fabulous and sharkly Janet Reid, loved it too. Even though that book didn’t sell right out of the box the way we wanted it to, I’m SO glad I wrote it, and that it led me to Janet.

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

Of course! I think every writer has those crippling moments where the possibility enters your mind–where the rejections and the doubt monsters get so loud and hurtful you consider just Not Doing It Anymore. You can’t face the battery of rejection that is this business without that feeling. The trick is to let yourself feel that way…for about 10 minutes. Then go talk to some of your writer friends and get support. Let their encouragement soak in. And then realize, if you’re meant to be doing this–if you’ve got writing in you–you’ll keep doing it anyway. It’ll pop out somewhere. You don’t HAVE to keep trying to get published, but I have a feeling you probably will. Just like I will. I want others, especially teens, to read and enjoy the stories I have to tell.

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

My writer friends. They are there for me every single day. I don’t see how I could do any of this without them.

Now that you’ve enjoyed Suze’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.

Pay it Forward Interview Week

We’ve all had those Little Engine That Could moments, where we’re telling ourselves, “I think I can. I think I can,” even though the Doubt Monster is desperately trying to add an “n’t” to the end of that mantra.

This week, YA writer blogs across the net are being sprayed with Doubt Monster repellant in the form of the Pay It Forward Interviews. The brain child of Elana Johnson and Lisa and Laura Roecker this blog interview chain/web focuses on stories of writers at different places on the publication path: from the newly agented to those anxiously counting down the days till their first novel releases.

On my blog, you’ll be able to hear stories of five wonderful writers:

3/29 Monday: Linda Grimes

3/30 Tuesday: Susan Adrian

3/31 Wednesday: Trish Doller

4/1 Thursday: Chelsea Campbell

4/2 Friday: Heidi Kling

I hope you stop by each day to see what these talented women had to say. I’m sure you’ll find their journeys as inspirational as I do.

And you can find my interview on the fabulous Leah Clifford’s blog on Tuesday – she made me write a synopsis in haiku form. I’m not sure I’ve forgiven her yet.

Wherever you are on your path to publication, I hope you find encouragement in all the interviews this week and apply the collective wisdom to your courageous journey.

Next time that Doubt Monster attacks, remember: patience and perseverance.

I think you can. I think you can.

How to Eat A Cupcake – Team Sparkle Style

The SCBWI winter conference was last week in New York. I was there, as were fellow Team Sparklers: Susan Adrian, Emily Hainsworth and Victoria Schwab… and more than a thousand other writer-people.

It was wonderful.

Just ask Susan:



Or Nova Ren Suma, who we dragged away from her deadline to come conferencing with us.

In fact, because they’ve already done a fabulous job summarizing and describing all the wonderful people, books, laughter, wisdom, and hijinks we discovered, I don’t feel the need to re-state it. Procrastination WIN! I will just add this:

How to Eat A Cupcake – Team Sparkle Style.

…because it is a widely accepted fact that all the best writing is fueled by sugar.

If you’ve never tried my less-mess sandwich technique, you’re missing out. Run, don’t walk, to the nearest bakery and procure yourself a cupcake.

Then, once the sugar-jitters have faded, sit down and write some sparkly words.

You can thank me later.