Lisa, and her work. I can't wait for the first, Personal Demons, which means waiting for the other two in the series (I know, right?) will be....well....Hell.
Lucifer Cain works in Acquisitions--for Hell. Frannie Cavanaugh is a good Catholic girl with a wicked streak and a unique skill set that has the king of Hell tingling with anticipation. Luc shouldn't have any trouble tempting Frannie down the fiery path.
But, unfortunately for Luc, Heaven has other plans, and the angel, Gabriel, is going to do whatever it takes to make sure that Luc doesn't get what he came for. And it isn't long before they find themselves fighting for more than just her soul.
When the higher-ups notice Luc falling down on the job there's Hell to pay, unless Frannie can figure out how to save him. But, with the whole of Heaven and Hell doing battle for her soul, before she can save him, she needs to save herself.
And the awesome review by author Melissa Marr!!
Wow, Suzie Townsend of FPL as your agent?! What dreams are made of. :0) How has it been working with her?
Suzie is uber-fabulous. I'm beyond thrilld to be working with her. She has an incredible editorial eye and is very hands on which, as a newbie in the biz, I needed. She's always in communication and makes me feel like I'm her only clint. (I'm not. She has a slew of fabulous writers as clients now.) I just got back from NYC where I got to spend the day hanging with her and my uber-cool editor, and she's every bit as nice as she seems.
How many queries/rejections did you go through before finally finding the one?
I sent out 18 queries initially and had 10 manuscript requests. While I was waiting for those agents to get back to me, I sent out three more queries and two of those agents requested. One of those last few was Suzie, who had just started taking on clients. I ended up with four offers (one after I'd signed with Suzie) and went with Suzie because of her energy and enthusiasm.
I'm curious to know where you came up with such an intriguing story line? Angels and Demons are nothing new, but your story sounds like something quirky and original.
Truly, what happened was that a name popped into my head--Lucifer Cain--and I thought "what a fun name for a demon." And then Luc popped into my head--a fully formed character. He's definitely a bad boy and what makes my book unique is that we get half the story from his first-person POV. You ever been in a demon's head? It's surprising the things you'll find in there. =)
My other MC, Frannie, evolved out of a song by The Fray, You Found Me. She's got a lot that she's struggling to deal with, and having an angel and a demon both vying for her soul isn't helping. Of course there's a demon, there has to be an angel, so along came Gabriel. The story is a classic good versus evil, with a seriously kick-ass, but very confused teenage girl caught in the middle.
What has been the most exciting part of this whole process? The most surprising?
That's a really tough question because there's such a fine line between "exciting" and "nerve-wracking." Getting my first manuscript request was really exciting, but also nerve-wracking. Finding the perfect agent was even more exciting. My book selling at auction was way exciting, and that they all believed in me enough to offer a three book deal was thrilling too!
The process of writing the book was the most surprising, because I really couldn't believe some of the stuff Frannie, Luc and Gabe came up with. They and my Muse were in charge and I was truly the poorly paid help with the laptop. My job was to get out of the way and let it happen--and try not to screw it up getting it onto paper. The whole experience was pretty unbelievable.
Did you originally plan Personal Demons to have two additional books, or did that evolve as writing?
Okay, so one sort of embarrassing thing about me is that I never plan anything. I don't write with an outline and, for the most part, have no idea what's going to happen next in a story util it does. That said, I was always told that a first novel needed to stand-alone. Personal Demons does. When Suzie offered representation, she asked what other projects I was working on, and the one that was knocking around in my head, demanding to be written, was a sequel. She was thrilled and decided we should pitch it as a series. The problem with that was, as I mentioned, I don't know what's going to happen in a sotory until it happens, and when you pitch a series to an editor, they kind of want to know...well...what's going to happen. See the rub? So I spent a few weeks letting Frannie, Luc and Gabe have at it while I took dictation to see where book two might go. When I had enough to put together a "series concept statement" meaning a very short synopsis for the end of the series, I handed it off to Suzie to send to interested editors. The first draft of book two is done and I have snippets of book three. I have a sense of where book three is going to wind up, but I'm not sure what's going to happen along the way.
You mention when you aren't writing, you're torturing patients...Do tell or is this your secret life?!?
Nothing stealth or secret about it. =) My day job is my physical therapy practice. You know that the credentials PT stand for "physical torture," right? My weekend job is teaching medical seminars all over the world, so I'm on the road about 14 weeks out of the year. My night job, obviously is writing.
Whoa! How do you juggle all that work and writing?
As I mentioned already, I actually have two other jobs, so it's a bit of a struggle to find time to write. When I'm traveling, I get my evenings to myself (no cooking or laundry) so I can get a lot of writing done. The real trick was that my husband didn't know I was writing until I signed with my agent. (Stupid, I know. He's forgiven me.) so I split my evenings between writing and hanging out with the family.
Do you write every day or for long periods of time on certain days or just whenever?
If I'm in the middle of a story, my characters take over my life, so I scramble to get their conversations down whenever I can. If I have five minutes between patients, I write. If I can find a long stretch, that's a luxury. It really only happens when I'm traveling. I've been known to pull all nighters when I'm really immersed. When I'm between projects there may be days here and there that I don't write at all.
What do you enjoy in your free time? Hobbies? I noticed a guitar in your picture.
Okay, so another embarrassing fact about me: I'm an instant gratification type. I really want to know how to play the guitar, but I'm not patient enough to learn how to play the guitar. (thus the book on the knee when I should have been practicing)
I love to hike and we live close to Yosemite and the Sierra's so I get some opportunities. I love to travel and see new sites and I get to do that for my job, so that works out. But my reality is that free time is rare. When I'm home and not working, I'm really wrapped up with my very busy kids and all their activities. So enjoying them is my hobby, more or less.
Do you read a lot of YA while writing or do you shy away from it?
While I'm in the middle of a project, I'm obsessed, so I don't read anything. It takes me a couple of months to get the whole story down (first draft) and I'm totally immersed in my own characters during that time. When I get into revisions, then I can concentrate on someone else's characters and I love to read. My tastes are really eclectic, so I read from a lot of different genres, YA included. Probably about 2/3 of the books I read last year were YA. You didn't ask for my favorites, but I'll tell you anyway. (I'm jumping on a few bandwagons here.)
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, both Graceling and Fire by Kristen Cashore, and of course The Hunger Games and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.
Advice for aspiring writers?
Wow...Lots really. First, I guess would be that if you're truly writing the story you were meant to tell, it shouldn't feel hard. I'm not saying writing isn't hard work --it is. I just mean that the story itself should flow easily for the most part. Also, I'd say trust your gut and your voice. When you're writing "your story" don't try to imitate others. Keep it real and keep it yours. There were a few scenes in Personal Demons where I had forced things a little trying to introduce more conflict because I thought that's what I was supposed to do. In other words, I wrote those scenes for someone else. I shouldn't have been surprised when those were the scenes both my agent and editor asked me to change. (read "cut) They were things that hadn't felt authentic while I was writing them.
I guess the theme of all of that is, write for the love of writing. Not for agents or editors. The road to publication can be rough, but it's rougher if you're not loving what you're doing. I wrote for my daughter and myself. That was it.